1 MAPS TO THE STARS (David Cronenberg) Hilariously funny and, dare I say it, yes, pernicious. I love this film more than I love my own mustache.
2 CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO (Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Karlyn Michelson) A nail-biting, fear-of-flying 3-D experimental movie where you are locked in six separate cockpits with the flight crew as they reenact black-box dialogue from actual aviation mishaps and crashes. The scariest airplane movie ever.
3 THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ (Guillaume Nicloux) My favorite writer is now a movie star, and he’s great playing himself in a literary whodunit that revisits his supposedly factual but still vague and unexplained book-tour kidnapping. Did it really happen, or was Houellebecq just drunk? Who knows? Who cares? I do, a lot.
4 THE SMELL OF US (Larry Clark) When the director, playing a wino savant named Rockstar, actually sucks the toes of his French teen male star on-screen (with subtitles yet!), you’ll know you’re beyond Odorama. The smell here may be ripe, but Larry Clark is back in top form. Oh, yeah . . . it’s a great musical.
5 GLORIA (Sebastián Lelio) A feel-bad date movie for old people who love their lives but hate romantic comedies.
6 WHO TOOK JOHNNY (David Beilinson, Michael Galinsky, and Suki Hawley) An amazing, lunatic head-scratcher of a documentary about missing children with plot twists that will leave you creeped out, surprised, and excited. As good as Capturing the Friedmans.
7 LI’L QUINQUIN (Bruno Dumont) Yes, there is such a thing as hillbillies in France. A comic barnyard mystery that asks the nagging question: Who is killing people in the countryside, cutting up their bodies, and stuffing the pieces up cows’ asses?
8 NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME I and VOLUME II (Lars von Trier) I, a Woman meets Salò. I thank the director for every hideous second of this comic masterpiece.
9 VIOLETTE (Martin Provost) An upbeat biopic about one of my longtime literary idols, Violette Leduc (aka the “female Genet”), a doubly miserable bisexual who only fell in love with gay men or heterosexual women yet found salvation through writing. The fact that she doesn’t commit suicide seems like a happy ending.
10 THE FILMS OF JOANNA HOGG (Unrelated ; Archipelago ; and Exhibition ) As the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s miniretrospective last summer made clear, this British director’s perfectly framed scenes of simmering family resentments and embarrassed silences will thrill you in a severely modest way, and that should be enough. More than enough.