Great movies still reign over TV. At the start of the fall arts season, a look back at the 20 best films so far this year. These pacesetters prove that good movies aren't always blockbusters and come from unexpected places.
(Please note: These films are ordered alphabetically and not by rank.)
Director Radu Jude's period comedy-drama about peasants and tyrants in Eastern Europe is not only the best film to come out of Romania but a scary, funny epic about its 19th century heritage. Think Stanley Kubrick remaking Blazing Saddles.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Zack Snyder eroticizes the comic book and the bromance as Bruce Wayne and Jor-El (Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill) fight, suffer--and bond--exquisitely.
Several Philadelphia men looking for love then looking inside themselves. A rare American gay film as passionate as the French usually make.
Mel Gibson's action film comeback is a father-rescuing-child story, an open letter apology and a timely confrontation with America gone off the rails.
Men on a boating trip play macho head games that redefine, through sex and politics, modern ideas of what it means to be a man.
Eddie the Eagle
The real-life story of Britain's Olympic ski-jumper Eddie Edwards puts Rocky on the slopes. Coach Hugh Jackman gets back to his inspirational niche of Real Steel.
Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Legendary Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein (Actor of the Year: Elmer Back) opening-up about his gayness and his genius in a worthy, inventive bio-pic by Peter Greenaway.
The Finest Hours
All-America heroism on display in a 1950s maritime rescue with moving, relatable performances by Chris Pine and Casey Affleck.
Hell or High Water
Chris Pine is back and matches Jeff Bridges in a modern western that uses cowboy movie ethics to explore the recent recession. This is political True Grit.
Knight of Cups
Terrence Malick turns his camera on contemporary Hollywood. Emmanuel Lubezski's breathtaking images uncover a search for God in a sexual and spiritual wasteland.
Kubo and the Two Strings
Combining Japanese anime and origami, this story of an orphan boy finding his heritage is animation worthy of adult viewers.
Love & Friendship
Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny bring the camp missing fro the AbsolutelyFabulous debacle. Whit Stillman's Jane Austen adaptation is the first to be really funny.
This bio-pic deals with the unpredictable arrogance and genius of legendary jazz artist Miles Davis. A triple-crown achievement for Don Cheadle's acting, writing, and directing.
Politics start with people. A deposed dictator hides-out among his victims and both sides realize how exactly alike they are in this new masterpiece from Iran.
What it's like to be closeted in the Korean American community becomes a universal plea for gay empathy.
Radiant and intense Catherine Deneuve plays a judge helping a white youth through the same social traps that also engulf France's immigrant teens.
DC Comics beats Marvel's Avengers through this hyped-up fantasy of outcasts who become comrades to save mankind and their own souls. Margot Robbie and Jared Leto bring sexy back to comic book super villains.
Terence Davies ties a Scottish woman's (Agyness Deyn) sexual liberation to her love of the land and its various men. Davies in majestic, John Ford mode.
Valley of Love
Parents of a gay child (Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert) grieve about their lack of understanding and search for forgiveness. A French art-movie companion piece to BloodFather.
Heartbreaking satire of desperate Americans as seen through the eyes of a pet Dachsund who goes through different owners. A great queer fable.
Will You Dance With Me?
Derek Jarman's never-seen project documents '80s gay culture's pop and dance scene. Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" is the sex anthem of the era. Reality is made revealing in what may be Jarman's legacy movie.