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!
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.
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.
11. The Babadook – Directed By Jennifer Kent. Easily the scariest film of 2014.
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.
9. Calvary – Directed By John Michael McDonagh. Beautiful landscape overlooks and engulfs the horrors of the past. Gleeson puts on an acting clinic!
8. Gone Girl – Directed By David Fincher. Dark and mysterious = Fincher at his best. Rosamund Pike is one bad ass lady!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
Tomorrowland, Kingsman: 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.