The Best of Cinema 2014

I saw 39 films in theaters this year. These were my favorites.

10. Inherent Vice

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Paul Thomas Anderson gleefully throws out coherence in favor of mind altering atmosphere, observing an eccentric community in transition. Full review here.

9. Rosewater

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The directorial debut of Jon Stewart may be too earnest at times, but also displays remarkable visual confidence and well written moments of unexpected humor.

8. A Most Wanted Man

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Anton Corbijn’s microcosm portrays the inner complexity and perhaps futility of combating modern terrorism, making for essential post-9/11 cinema. Full review here.

7. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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Despite the narrative padding, Peter Jackson’s final Middle Earth venture brings thematic and character arcs to an equally rousing and quietly moving finish. Full review here.

6. Enemy

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Identity, self deception, and arachnids add up to the most tantalizingly enigmatic film of the year, with a never better Jake Gyllenhaal providing superb double duty. Full review here.

5. Interstellar

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If Christopher Nolan’s odyssey doesn’t nail each tiny beat, then it succeeds on the grander scale, with impressive ambiguity and moral dilemmas to match the marvelous visuals. Full review here.

4. Birdman

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Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s unapologetic departure displays its virtuoso elements in every frame, yet never loses sight of its examination of the pursuit of relevance as anchored by Michael Keaton. Full review here.

3. Leviathan

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A haunting depiction of a so called “democracy” whose social and political practices demonstrate exactly the opposite, coloring all of its characters in compromised shades of grey. Full review here.

2. Foxcatcher

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The slow burn pace and measured, objective aesthetic may not welcome all, but its trio of textured performances crystallizes this vital inquiry into the struggle of national identity and the suffocation of the American Dream. Full review here.

1. Boyhood

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Richard Linklater’s magnum opus takes the core building block of cinema itself, the passage of time, and contextualizes twelve years in a life, effortlessly weaving a deeply profound experience that gives as much to you as you bring to it. Full review here.

 

Honorable Mentions: CitizenfourHow to Train Your Dragon 2Locke, Under the SkinWhiplash

Overrated: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Underrated: The Immigrant

 

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~ by romancinema on December 31, 2014.

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