Top 10 Films of 2014

10. Dear White People dir. Justin Simien

There are movies that manage to touch upon current issues and then there are films that speak to you, as an audience member, and your life experiences. Luckily, for me, Dear White People managed to be both of those films, and extremely successful at that. While Justin Simien does encounter some minor stumbles, in his capable hands Dear White People is a perfect film for today’s generation. – Read the full review

9. kink dir. Christina Voros

Raucously entertaining and yet incredibly earnest, Christina Voros’ documentary kink is a fascinating film about the inner workings of the porn studio Certainly not for the faint of heart or prude of mind, Voros spares us nothing in her examination of BDSM porn by way of the most profitable studio of the genre. It’s a lightning rod of a film instantly sparking discussion, division and derision. But that’s what makes the documentary great, you can’t help but be compelled to have a longer conversation about the film. – Read the Full Review

8. Under the Skin dir. Jonathan Glazer

When Jonathan Glazer made Birth in 2004, it was met with about as much enthusiasm as a trip to the dentist. However, in the years since the film has regained some critical favor, sparking many talks of a genius work that was misunderstood at the time. So it’s only fitting that Glazer follows up that movie with Under the Skin, a movie that could have been equally trashed and misunderstood. However, lucky for us viewers today, Under the Skin proves to be a mesmerizing film that takes you on a hypnotic journey and Under the Skin is one of cinema’s most unique experiences. – Read the full review

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier dir. The Russo Brothers

While the first Captain America felt like the rah-rah go America WWII film of yore, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is like a modern-day Cold War movie, with that patriotism twisted into something more sinister and distrustful. Marvel movies often pack in the entertainment, but this was the first time that I really felt the atmosphere of the world the characters were in and watched it impact the movie. – Read the full review

6. Mommy dir. Xavier Dolan

If there was a movie definition of the word bristling, Mommy would certainly be the representation. This movie, directed by Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan, is brash, aggressive, and all-consuming, yet there’s never a moment you aren’t caught up in its spell. It’s one thing to make a movie that’s incredibly charged with energy, populated with characters who are at once repulsive and magnetic, but quite another to add the humanist element that makes you extremely invested in the movie. – Read the full review

5. Child’s Pose dir. Calin Peter Netzer

By the time Child’s Pose ended all I could do was say “Man, that was a great movie.” Throughout the nearly two-hour running time I was awed by the various twists and turns employed by the narrative, the fantastic acting, and the complexity that a film like this can employ. Calin Peter Netzer has created a dynamite film that’s not only one of the best films of the year. – Read the full review

4. Selma dir. Ava DuVernay

Movies can often stir up emotions and speak to a current culture’s issues and climate. Often times this is a conscious choice, but in the case of a film like Selma, which comes at a time where protests and racial conditions have factored into the news cycle, a film can hit a portion of the zeitgeist. Thankfully for audiences Selma is more than just a film that people are using to explain the now, it’s a wonderfully made picture with crackling energy and a larger than life performance at the helm. More than just the technical aspects, Ava DuVernay manages one of 2014’s best feats, showing the amazing diversity within the community. – Read the full review

3. The Way He Looks dir. Daniel Ribeirto

There are movies that make you happy and then there are movies that so thoroughly fill you with joy that you can’t help but burst into applause and feel giddy even weeks after seeing it. The Way He Looks, directed by Daniel Ribeiro and starring a marvelous young cast led by Ghilherme Lobo and Fabio Audi, definitely qualifies as the latter and you’d be hard pressed to find a movie more enjoyable to watch that this one. In an era of queer tragedies are still one of the main ways we see this communitiy, The Way He Looks presents many of the settings for these films ie. questioning character, bullying, and parental struggle, yet never dallies.  It delights in the hard earned succeses of its characters and lets things play out relative to real life. He grounds the movie so close to the ensemble that once you finally get to the end where everything comes together, it’s just a magical release. – Read the full review

2. Boyhood dir. Richard Linklater

I don’t think I can recall having as transformative screening experience at a film festival as I did with Boyhood. This new film from Richard Linklater was a picture 12 years in the making and the finished product is a wonderfully epic sojourn into the life of a child as he grows into a young man. Dazzling without being over the top, soulful without being pandering, Boyhood is a great film that leaves you a changed person at the end. – Read the full review

1. Foxcatcher dir. Bennett Miller

Foxcatcher is not an easy movie to sit through. In fact it’s quite unpleasant, oppressively intense from the start of the movie, and by the time the movie is over, you’ll feel as if all your joy and life has been sucked from you. Watching Foxcatcher is like having your heart put into a vice grip for two hours and fifteen minutes. Bennett Miller paints such a bleak and unrelenting picture of psychosis, machismo and darkness that in the happy moments you’ll be gasping for air. This isn’t to say the movie is too dark to enjoy as I found myself captivated by every character beat the movie hit and the journey the film took me on. You’ll also be hankering to see it again as Foxcatcher is also one of the finest films of the year. – Read the full review

Want to know more about the 2014 film year? Check out these links.
Films Screened Archive
Special Film Awards
Traditional Superlatives/Oscar Categories
Top 10 Post

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