So here we go. The movies of the year. For me. Unfortunately, that list of movies I had not seen often felt like it did not get any smaller. Which is odd as I have watched a lot of movies – especially over the last three months. The fact is, though, the list did get smaller. That mere assumption is likely more fuelled by my disappointment in not seeing more. Nonetheless, I think I covered most bases.
There are a few movies I will likely see beyond the publication of my Films of the Year (30-11 tomorrow; the Top 10 on Saturday). Movies I wished I had seen by now, but have simply not been available. These include The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Dear White People, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Beyond the Lights, Love Is Strange. And those movies that have been available, but I have not gotten around to (shame on me), like A Most Wanted Man, The Good Lie, The Homesman, Pride, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chef, Get On Up. And then the movies I am not, or have been, in a huge rush to see, like Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, or The Interview.
Let’s get straight on with it then. The top 50 movies I have seen, listed in no particular order (though grouped by genre perhaps) will not include Unbroken, Godzilla, and American Sniper. Just thought I would mention that. To begin with the movies that did not quite make the top 30 (but it was more close throughout the entire fifty movies than I anticipated), the twenty movies ranked between 50 and 31:
What positively stood out for me in 2014 was perhaps the more obscure, alternative, and indie films. The incomparable Mia Wasikowska appeared in three of those making this section of the list (and another one later). As a hapless bloodsucker in the vampire cold turkey movie Only Lovers Left Alive, as a disturbed wannabe actress venturing into a rather surreal Hollywood in Maps to the Stars, and then as an object of desire for a clerical loser and his doppelgänger in The Double.
There was some truly original and diverse work, also indies, with the distinctive book-like narration of Listen Up Philip, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig breaking from SNL into drama effectively with The Skeleton Twins, and Gia Coppola’s vivid teen movie Palo Alto. A couple of non-English movies were also like no others. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? was a colorful, violent, and blackly funny ride (for me anyway), were Jean-Luc Godard made a film so subliminal with Farewell to Language, it may have perhaps landed much higher in the list, given more time for it to sink in.
Animated movies made a huge splash in 2014 with the Oscar snub The Lego Movie reminding many of their childhood, while there was perhaps more serious parental themes in Big Hero 6. What was also memorable about this year was the genuine quality of the summer action movies (blockbusters?). Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt also managed to provide chunks of humor in Edge of Tomorrow, were the generally light-hearted Guardians of the Galaxy gave us some surprisingly moving moments. Luc Besson was mercifully back in form with Lucy (I’m not saying I love it), even if the ending was a little too out there for some. Christopher Nolan’s spectacular-looking Interstellar, in my opinion, also had it’s bizarre moments, but missed the mark at times.
Tim Burton made one of his more dramatic movies with Big Eyes, while the bleak, beautifully shot The Immigrant further demonstrated the acting prowess of Marion Cotillard. Three stories to come out of, and be about, Britain or the British made very good viewing. Gugu Mbatha-Raw shone brightly in Belle, Timothy Spall was outstanding as Mr. Turner, and possible Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne is astonishing as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The Irish also put in a good show with small town, losing-my-religion in Calvary.
50 through 31 (alphabetical order)
BelleBig EyesBig Hero 6CalvaryThe DoubleEdge of TomorrowFarewell to LanguageGuardians of the GalaxyThe ImmigrantInterstellarThe Lego MovieListen Up PhilipLucyMaps to the StarsMr. TurnerOnly Lovers Left AlivePalo AltoThe Skeleton TwinsThe Theory of EverythingWhy Don’t You Play in Hell?
Coming up: 2014 Films Of The Year: 30 – 11.