2014 sets a precedence for high quality movies and filmmaking. Genres were redefined. Movies were introspective, cathartic, smart, tense, nuanced and above all, made bold statements about the human condition. Every film is wonderful in its own unique way, so rankings are entirely subjective and based on overall liking and feel too. So if you’re interested, here’s my list of the best movies this year.
*The movies I take into consideration are English speaking movies. Best foreign film in my opinion is Force Majeure.
These nine films truly rocked the cinematic world. Aaaaaaand here we go.Coming in at number nine
It’s something remarkable for films like Locke to make any impact at all. Though it’s deemed as too eccentric and experimental for it to be considered for awards, Locke is the type of film that daring audiences would enjoy. Debasing the film to simply ‘Tom Hardy in a car’ is too simplistic. In fact, the lack of visual theatrics and action elevates the power of words to a whole new level. It literally drives with the sole vehicles of dialogue and emotion, featuring Tom Hardy as the wonderfully nuanced driver of his own fate. With dialogue alone, it explores deep questions on the human psyche, and about morality and judgement. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/locke-review-small-visual-theater-but-huge-thematic-scope-of-morality-and-damnation/
8. The Theory of Everything
The Stephen Hawking biopic is 8th on this list. This one beats out The Imitation Game because it’s emotional undercurrents are much stronger. The Theory Of Everything is not just about glorifying Hawking’s achievements, but also provide an accurate depiction of his personal struggles with the debilitating Lou Gehrig’s disease. Jane also holds her own very well, unfazed by her husband’s deterioration. This is an extremely touching film that’s above all else, a triumphant one. And I actually teared it few times as well.
7. Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
Whatever you say about Birdman, you have to agree that it’s has a technical prowess that’s unmatched. To have made this film is already an achievement. Alejandro G Inarritu’s one-take style and dark humour is quite refreshing, adding to the satirization of every actor’s ego and stresses. Ultimately, Riggan’s strong birdman subconscious is something that’s destructive, and confuses the lines of ‘love’ and ‘admiration’. The internal struggle with ego is captured in layers of dark humour and dramaticization that’s only complete with wonderful acting performances. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/birdmanimpressive-technical-detail-and-unique-perspective-which-might-obscure-some/
I don’t see Wild in many, if not any, top ten lists. Cheryl Strayed’s biopic is just as important as the other biopics you’ve seen. Just because she’s probably not the best role model (which is debatable) doesn’t mean that we should overlook her story. Jean Marc Vallee has directed Wild with style and passion, and it’s artistic non-linear style with highly introspective tone is one to savour. Reese Witherspoon plays a broken woman in the search for meaning and hope with a unique raw quality. Wild’s message in my view, resonates with many and will probably inspire you in a genuinely relatable way. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/wild-an-introspective-journey-reese-witherspoon-is-at-her-finest/
Selma is a gritty biopic with a very convincing and charismatic Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played by David Oyelowo. This one places pretty high on my list because Dr.King is not portrayed as an all-encompassing glorious saviour. He’s shrewd but flawed; A great leader but a struggling husband. The film has probably garnered equal praise and criticism for its biased view. But this is one biopic that comes at a timely moment, and calls on us to reflect on our society as we speak. For me, Ana DuVernay’s film is the best biopic this year. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/selma-gritty-glory-ava-duvernay-and-david-oyelowo-produce-an-epic/
Watching Lou in Nightcrawler might bring back some memories of Travis in Taxi Driver. But Jake Gyllenhaal brings in his own quality of extreme determination and sociopathic tendencies. What’s I really love is that Lou’s horrific acts are portrayed in a glorified manner, Lou is the victorious anti-hero. In this neo-noir thriller, Lou’s acts are as much his responsibility as it is ours. The film brilliantly leaves out back-stories and focuses on Lou’s neurotic-confident behaviour. His dead-pan eyes seem to mirror a camera, always recording, always feeding an even greater systemic problem; Our despicable need for sensationalized news. This is one deep and entertaining film that should place high on anyone’s top ten. Don’t ever confuse this with a marvel film. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/nightcrawlerinto-the-greyambigiuity-and-violence-is-beautifully-captured/
I had a hard time choosing between Whiplash and Boyhood for number 2. Whiplash just lost out to Boyhood by a razor thin margin. This is just a testament to how great Whiplash is. It’s going to be intense watching this. The complex relationship between teacher and protege is hard to come by but when done right like in Whiplash, the results are electric. Miles Teller and J.K Simmons give the performances of their life in their respective roles, their chemistry is unmatched. In my view, Chazelle doesn’t place any judgement on morality, and instead focuses on celebrating the process of achieving greatness. With it’s pulsating rhythm and mellow moments, this one will no doubt, leave an awesome impression. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/whiplashsimply-electric-miles-teller-and-jk-simmons-give-the-performances-of-their-career/
Boyhood is a special film because you won’t ever see a film like it ever. It’s a 12-year coming of age story that’s simply heartwarming and all encompassing. The narratives of each character flow well and are quite rich in their own right. Time is not merely transitory, but is also an important technical element that allows actors to age as their characers would have on-screen. There’s something truly unique about a film like that, where acting is informed by personal experiences. There’s no surprise that what we see on screen is genuine and entirely relatable. Boyhood is one masterpiece that would not have been possible without one giant leap of faith from Richard Linklater. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/boyhoodorganicunashamedly-real-but-alasheart-warming/
1. Gone Girl
And here we are. At number one on my list of the best movies of 14/15, is Gone Girl. Many will probably disagree but I think this is a great film, and one of the most important films of our generation. These are times where we thrive on sensationalized media. Victim culture is becoming more attractive. Modern marriage are all but stable, with partners having duplicitous natures and a need to control and manipulate. Gone Girl dares to surface these issues in a highly unsettling psychological drama. Told with the beauty of subjective truth, Gone Girl is able to create catharsis that lies not with its characters, but with the audience. With brilliant performances everywhere, especially Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl is a tour de force. It’s also trademark David Fincher. The only difference is that Gone Girl is his best one yet. And by far, my favourite and best movie of the year. Full review here- https://filmandnuance.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/gone-girl-duplicitymodern-marriagemedia-and-a-negotiation-for-power-a-stellar-performance/
1. Gone Girl
7. Birdman ( Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
8. The Theory Of Everything
Honourable mentions: A Most Violent Year. Under The Skin. Still Alice. American Sniper. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The Grand Budapest Hotel. Interstellar. Foxcatcher. Snowpiercer. The Imitation Game. The Lego Movie. Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Let me know how you feel about my favourites and I would love to know yours too! 🙂