Tuesday, February 17, 2015

50 Best Films of 2014 - #40 - #31

Moving on to my next ten favorite films of 2014, #40 through #31.

40. Coherence

A delicious low budget slice of science fiction, Coherence takes a really cool concept and executes it very well. I will say no more because I don't want to spoil the fun of the film, as I found not knowing what to expect to be the very essence of why it works so well.

39. Still Alice

A very good film featuring a breathtaking and devastating performance by Julianne Moore. As hard as the content of Still Alice is to swallow, you owe it to yourself to sit down and watch the very definition of what makes acting an art form. I keep on saying it, over and over and over: just give her the damn trophy already.

38. Force Majeure

A very simple concept done fascinatingly well, Force Majeure examines a husband making a split second decision and the ramifications of it being deemed the wrong one by his wife. This one is sure to lead to some interesting conversations between spouses after seeing it, as you can't help but wonder...what would they do in the same situation?

37. Locke

Minimalist cinema done so, so well, Locke takes place entirely inside the car of a man as he drives. Sounds boring, right? Thanks to the performance of Tom Hardy, and the creative decision to let the man carry the film with his amazing talent, Locke is surprisingly riveting stuff, and the more you learn about where he is headed and the pressure he is under, it's impossible to look away.

36. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

While not quite as excellent as the second installment, Catching Fire, it is unfair to hold it to such lofty standards. Mockingjay Part 1 is still a very well made movie and one that leads beautifully into the highly anticipated final chapter, due out later in 2015. I was pessimistic about the choice to split the third book into two films, and obviously the decision was financial motivated more than a creative necessity, but I was surprised to find that there was very little fat to trim off these bones. While I'm sure sequences could have been cut, the film still flowed with ease and there is plenty to look forward to in Part 2.

35. Tangerines

Excited to include some Estonian cinema on my list, and Tangerines is a worthy choice. This is a film driven by the amazing performances from the entire ensemble, and I honestly think it would work just as well as a stage play because I could watch these quiet yet intense conversations over and over and never be bored. 

34. A Most Violent Year

J.C. Chandor strikes again with another winner, as expected when a gifted filmmaker casts the amazing Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain to play the two key roles in the movie. A Most Violent Year is a tense, exquisitely crafted work.

33. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I am more than willing to admit when I am wrong, and my skepticism about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes proved to be misguided. I really believed a sequel to the surprisingly good Rise of the Planet of the Apes seemed like it had no chance to work, but not only did it work, it was a step up from the previous film in every way.

32. Starred Up

I love when a film that I never anticipated sneaks up and shocks me due to its high quality. Starred Up did just that, a movie about a father and son both serving time in the same prison and the charged, dangerous dynamic such a thing would cause. Jack O'Connell was good in the otherwise cringe worthy film Unbroken, but this was his breakout role of the year. 

31. Godzilla

I'm a sucker for big blockbusters involving giant, awesome monsters. Godzilla very clearly fits that bill, and while the performances along with any attempt to develop a meaningful human character came up flat, it didn't matter in the end because everything else kicked so much ass. Some of the set pieces are breathtaking and the musical score of Alexandre Desplat perfectly suited the film, leading to some sequences that were flat out amazing to experience on the biggest screen in town.

Another ten down, into the top 30 we will go soon. The image above is from a film that will appear on the next list.

No comments:

Post a Comment