Click through for my Top 14 films of 2014 and a few interludes along the way.

14. Locke – Directed By Steven Knight.  A tremendous acting showcase for Tom Hardy.  Wild to think he really was sick!

Locke One Sheet from A24 Films

13. American Sniper – Directed By Clint Eastwood.  A wonderful tribute to a real hero and a Texan to boot.  Cooper and Miller give great performances in this tough and tragic tale.

AS-01609r

12. Jodorowsky's Dune – Directed By Frank Pavich.  Wonderful look into the "what could have been" and to bring two men back to friendship made for a heartwarming close.

Video thumbnail for vimeo video Jodorowsky's Dune - In Depth Interview with Director Frank Pavich | Selig Film News

11. The Babadook – Directed By Jennifer Kent.  Easily the scariest film of 2014. 

The-Babadook-Poster

Interlude #1 – Top 3 Best Short Films of 2014.

Easy –  Directed By Daniel Laabs. Local short film that tackles a young boy's sexuality in a honest way.

I Am Sami – Directed By Kae Bahar.  The impact of war hurts the children (future) the most.

The Bravest, the Boldest – Directed By Moon Molson.  Subtle and striking look at a mother's grief.

10. Fury – Directed By David Ayer.  Muddy and brutal look into the men inside the tanks.  Incredible performances all the way around.

Fury

9. Calvary – Directed By John Michael McDonagh.  Beautiful landscape overlooks and engulfs the horrors of the past.  Gleeson puts on an acting clinic!

Calvary_movieposter

8. Gone Girl – Directed By David Fincher.  Dark and mysterious = Fincher at his best.  Rosamund Pike is one bad ass lady!

Gone_Girl_Poster

7. Whiplash – Directed By Damien Chazelle.  Tremendous battle of wills mixed in with some amazing jazz playing.  Can't wait to see more from Chazelle.

Whiplash bloody drumsticks

6. Birdman – Directed By Alejandro González Iñárritu.  "Chivo" the DP is a master and this is a showcase of his homage to the old school one-shot boldness of the masters from the 30s & 40s.

Birdman_poster

Interlude # 2 – Standout Actors, Actresses and First-Time Directors.

Standout Actors:  Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Tye Sheridan (Joe), JK Simmons (Whiplash), Brendan Gleeson (Calvary)

Standout Actresses:  Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer), Tessa Thompson (Dear White People), Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year), Agata Kulesza (Ida)

1st-Time Directors: Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Justin Simien (Dear White People), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home…), Charlie McDowell (The One I Love)

5. Kids For Cash – Directed By Robert May.  Shocking look at the impact of having our jails be businesses.  Important subject that is glossed over and it shouldn't be!

KIDS FOR CASH Families of the scandal attend the premiere at the Perelman Theater at Kimmel Center!

4. Boyhood – Directed By Richard Linklater.  Not a gimmick.  Not just a film either.  As close to showing a full life as one could think to accomplish in a fiction film.  Ethan and Patricia were amazing as the parents.

Boyhood

Interlude # 3 – An Eye On 2015.

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens might be the most anticipated film on a majority of lists but here are five other films to put on you MUST SEE LIST FOR NEXT YEAR:

TomorrowlandKingsman: The Secret Service, The Revenant, Ex-Machina,  Pixar's Inside Out, & Midnight Special by Jeff Nichols.

3. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – Directed By Ana Lily Amirpour.  My favorite soundtrack of 2014.  Haunting and still funny at times.  Visually a real masterwork especially the beautiful cinematography.

2.  The Grand Budapest Hotel – Directed By Wes Anderson.  His most adult work and the year's best ensemble cast brings to life this quirky world.

1.  Ida – Directed By Pawel Pawlikowski.  No movie captures the pure agony of loss like Pawel's "holocaust" film.  Two amazing actresses give powerful performances.

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