4. Queen of Earth (Dir. Alex Ross Perry)
Alex Ross Perry follows up this year's tremendous Listen Up Philip with Queen of Earth, a psychological thriller produced by indie veteran Joe Swanberg. Described by the director as his "miserable women" counterpoint to Philip's story of volatile men, Queen of Earth stars Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss and Inherent Vice's Katherine Waterston as two beach-bound vacationers whose cottage idyll soon becomes a flashpoint of anxiety and paranoia. Perry has cited Roman Polanski as an influence; the premise, irresistibly, suggests Knife in the Water by way of Bergman's Persona.
5. Mommy (Dir. Xavier Dolan)
Since his debut, 25-year-old Québécois prodigy Xavier Dolan has proven a magnet for equal vitriol and praise, and Mommy, his fifth feature in as many years, has scarcely dampened either. The film shared the Jury Prize with Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language at Cannes -- a provocative decision, but not without merit. Mommy, while perhaps incomparable to the work of the nouvelle vague master himself, is nonetheless a sprawling, vigorous film, dazzling in its formal abandon, and in its drama deeply felt.
6. Eden (Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve)
Mia Hansen-Løve's rich and expansive Eden, her fourth feature, spans two decades in the life of Paul, a moderately successful French DJ closely based on the director's brother, Sven, who co-wrote the film. Tracing the rise and fall of the Chicago garage scene in Europe through the 1990s and beyond -- and colliding with an upstart duo called Daft Punk on the way -- Eden is a gentle, nuanced portrait of dance culture at the height of its vibrancy, as well as of the adolescent revelers who grew up with it.
7. High-Rise (Dir. Ben Wheatley)
"Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months." So begins J.G. Ballard's unforgettable High Rise -- and the novel only gets weirder from there. Long regarded as unadaptable, the book arrives onscreen at last courtesy of British director Ben Wheatley, whose film Kill List, encouragingly, boasted a certain Ballardian flair for the disturbing and drolly macabre.