1. 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'

This dark comedy from writer/director Martin McDonagh, the Englishman who made “In Bruges,” is a bitingly told character study that goes beyond Southern stereotypes to delve into rape culture, cover-ups, grief and criminality on all sides. It is powered by a searingly funny performance from the great Frances McDormand. And it’s not, as some would claim, cut-rate Coen Brothers.