We know, we know. The summer was rough. We all talked endlessly about the flops, the controversies, and if you listen real quiet during a muggy late-August night, you can still hear the last of the people having arguments about Suicide Squad like it’s something to do. For all the good and even great movies that have come out in 2016 (and yeah, they exist), there’s been a general negativity about film, particularly as it relates to where the industry might be headed as it turns its gaze to the global, to the broadest possible audiences.
But like salve on an open wound, here comes “Oscar season” to perk up the collective cultural spirit. While there’s still much debate to be had about all the “good” movies coming out in a massive end-of-year cluster because of the American awards season cycle, it’s still an exciting time of year to be a cinephile. Big names are in play this year, too: Ang Lee, Warren Beatty, Kelly Reichardt, Denis Villeneuve, Kenneth Lonergan. There’s a new Star Wars movie, a new Harry Potter story, and even Disney and Marvel are getting in on the late-year fun. It’s the rare holiday season where we can truly say, without hyperbole, that there’s a little something for everybody.
So as we tuck in for the return of fall sports, the cooling of the air, and the coming of the good movies, allow us to help point you in the right direction during a crowded time of year. Most movies are worth watching for one reason or another, but here are 25 that we find especially promising through the end of 2016.