Sight & Sound Announces Their Top 20 Films of 2016

sight & sound top 20 toni erdmann

We’ve reached the point in the year where every publication, website, and critics’ group is rushing to announce their favorite movies of the year before everyone else, a time-honored tradition known as “First!” But few film publications carry as much weight in the end-of-the-year game quite like Sight & Sound, whose Greatest Films of All Time list (updated every ten years after polling critics and film directors) tends ignite movie site comments sections like a match dropped in a puddle of gasoline.

Their annual lists tend to reflect a similar sensibility – a mixture of arthouse fare from around the world with a sprinkle of Hollywood.

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elle trailer

Paul Verhoeven has a unique talent for getting a rise out of audiences. RoboCop is a goofy action movie…that is also about the inner rot eating away at American culture. Starship Troopers is a wild science fiction action movie…that is also a vicious parody of fascism and military propaganda. Basic Instinct is a sexy psychological thriller…that leaves you feeling disgusted with yourself on just about every level. And Showgirls is…well, it’s Showgirls.

Excluding 2012’s crowdsourced experiment Tricked, Elle is Verhoeven’s first feature film since 2006’s exceptional World War II drama Black Book and it certainly looks like he’s up to his old tricks. Here’s a thriller that looks standard on the outside, but promises all kinds of provocative nastiness on the inside. The trailer and the talent involved is more than enough to grab my interest, but I’ll be honest: I’m dreading this movie as much as I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Watch the Elle trailer after the jump.

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2016 fall movie preview

This 2016 fall movie preview was written by Jacob Hall and Jack Giroux.

The summer is over and the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting milder and (fingers crossed) the movies are going to start getting better. The next four months offer an embarrassment of cinematic riches, with new films from Martin Scorsese, Damien Chazelle, Tim Burton, Gareth Edwards, Paul Verhoeven, Mel Gibson, Robert Zemeckis, Park Chan-Wook, Terrence Malick, J.A. Bayona, Jeff Nichols, Ang Lee, Denis Villeneuve, Kenneth Lonergan, and other filmmakers of note waiting in the wings.

We’ve narrowed down the list of must-see movies to 32 titles and have ranked them from “We really want to see this!” to “We will push you out of the way at a sprint to see this!”

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arrival first look

UPDATE: Fantastic Fest has unveiled the second wave of films in this year’s line-up, including Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden, and Sadako vs Kayako (which finds the monsters from The Ring and The Grudge battling it out). We have added the complete list of second wave films to the bottom of this post.

Fantastic Fest, the Austin, Texas-based film festival built around showcasing genre movies from the around the world, has announced its first wave of programming and it’s a doozy. Sure, the biggest news here is a red carpet screening of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, but that’s just the bait. The real appeal of Fantastic Fest, and the real appeal of this first wave announcement, is the collection of odd and unusual films that accompany the headliners. Come for the Tim Burton movie, but stay for the latest from Werner Herzog, Andrea Arnold, Don Coscarelli, and a number of the most unusual filmmakers working on the international stage at the moment.

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