Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top 10 Movies of 2014

My #1 movie of 2014... Boyhood

The great movies seemed to come towards the end of 2014. Here’s my list of the best of the year, and a few reasons why... plus a few more worth remembering.

1. Boyhood - I think it’s the movie of the year. It captures the passage of time in a new and creative way. Shot over 12 years, we watch a boy finding his way from age 6 to age 18, as his family splits, re-forms, and splits once more.

2. Selma - Makes history thrilling, recreating the event that sparked the 1965 voting rights act and the politics & strategy behind it. The movie also taps into King’s doubts and humanity.

3. Birdman - Mixes reality and dreams in a mind-blowing, hilarious backstage comedy. Michael Keaton does amazing work as he shocks and delights us.

4. Whiplash - A musical revenge fantasy about a drummer and his abusive teacher. I wish Buddy Rich were alive to see this.

5. Gone Girl - I didn’t read the book, so I found the movie delightful and mind blowing. It never went where I expected.

6. The Lego Movie - I can’t think of a better animated comedy with a subtext for adults and candy-colored delight for kids. The Lego Movie captures the subversive spirit of the great 1940′s Warner Brothers cartoons.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy - The number one box office winner in 2014... It also had the most fun of the year, as it tweaks Star Wars and 70′s pop music.

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel - A story within a story within a story, Grand Budapest has all of director Wes Anderson’s visual delights mixed with a little nostalgia and yearning. I got a little sad when this ended.

9. Nightcrawler - Jake Gyllenhaal gave me the chills as a midnight-to-dawn free-lance news cameraman who gives new meaning to the phrase, “If it bleeds it leads.”

10. Life Itself - The documentary on the last days of film critic Roger Ebert captures the competition and even jealousy that made the Siskel/Ebert show priceless. It also captures Ebert’s love of movies and life, in his final days.

And wait, there’s more... I loved Inherent Vice, Snowpiercer, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, A Most Violent Year, The Homesman, Still Alice, Mr. Turner, Into the Woods, The Drop, Calvary, and Chef. Whew! What a pleasure.