Best and Worst of 2014

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A number of surprises this year: several animated features making the list, Wes Anderson is getting better and better, Cineplex screening films that aren’t made by Marvel and DC (although those are sometimes good too), Cineplex films that address social, ethical, and political issues; the power of Ida, perhaps the sexiest art film I’ve seen, Jodorowsky, my first television series since Lost….

I’ve again separated my Best into Cineplex and Other theaters or home-viewing. Cineplex provides a certain kind of attraction with its marketing, pre-shows, and the limited selection offered. This is an entirely different experience than actively seeking out films that I must travel to see or, as I often do, read critical reviews then find the film to watch at home. Perhaps this organizational principle makes sense, or perhaps it is unnecessary. Either way, a wonderful year.

There are probably a number of films missing, likely because I haven’t seen them. Nevertheless, I feel it is a comprehensive list. Enjoy!

Cineplex

1. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (Alejandro González Iñárritu)

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)

3. Gone Girl (David Fincher)

4. Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

5. Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

6. Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman)

7. The LEGO Movie (Chris Miller, Phil Lord)

8. Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn)

9. The Boxtrolls (Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable)

10. John Wick (David Leitch, Chad Stahelski)

Noteworthy: Godzilla (Gareth Edwards), A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn), Oculus (Mike Flanagan)

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Home or other theater

1. Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski)

2. The Knick, Season One (Steven Soderbergh)

3. Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund)

4. Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier), Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie)

5. Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)

6. We Are the Best! (Lukas Moodysson)

7. Borgman (Alex van Warmerdam), Enemy (Dennis Villeneuve)

8. Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg)

9. Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)

10. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)

11. Tim’s Vermeer (Teller)

12. The Dance of Reality (Alejandro Jodorowsky), Jodorowsky’s Dune (Frank Pavich)

Noteworthy: Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch), The Raid 2: Berandal (Gareth Evans), The Double (Richard Ayoade), Boys in the Sand (Wakefield Poole – re-released), The Wind Rises (Hiyao Miyazaki), Manakamana (Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez)

Disappointments

Interstellar (Christopher Nolan), Calvary (John Michael McDonagh), Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer), Lucy (Luc Besson), The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese), 300: Rise of an Empire (Noam Murro), Robocop (Jose Padilha), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony Russo, Joe Russo), X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Marc Webb), Fury (David Ayer)

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