Toni Erdmann: Delving into microeconomics and macroaggressions, Toni Erdmann, the dynamite, superbly acted third feature by writer-director Maren Ade, is social studies at its finest. This quicksilver, emotionally astute comedy operates in many different registers and moods: Whoopee cushions and gag teeth are part of the fun, but so too is a piquant dissection of father-daughter bonds and of the sinister banality of corporate consultancy. In the filmmaker’s no-nonsense humanism, mortification motors the plot so that a modicum of dignity can be restored. —Melissa Anderson
Watching movies for a living is a tough job, but somebody's got to do it, and our film critics are up to the task. While they see plenty of stellar movies, they see some not-so-great ones, too. They've weeded through them all to give you their picks for the best films of December 2016. If a few haven’t opened in a theater near you just yet, don’t fret: There’s always a chance you’ll be able to stream them on your small screen, or they may go into wider release in January.