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The Best Films of 2014 Voting/Pimping Thread

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I usually wait until the New Year to start this thread, but I am fully, 100% into my 2014 viewing right now and feel like going wild.  Recently, I was reading an article that basically was predicting the end of film as a medium with anything to say, by pointing at the fact that 12 of the top 14 films of the year are/will be sequels/franchises etc.  Now I don't really agree with the article (And feel it does an injustice to those working within said sequels/franchises that somehow what they're doing is less than art) but I thought that if this is the end of film as we know it, then we should go all-out celebrating it, so for the first time this year's poll will allow voters to vote for up to 30 films!

 

Due Date: March 6th, 2014 (Will likely change but let's use it as a place-holder

Criteria: Any full-length movie regarded as a '2014' movie by Rotten Tomatoes is eligible, whether said movie premiered on TV or in theaters, DVD etc.

Ballot Size: Let's say a minimum of 10 (But I'll listen to arguments for inclusion of less than 10) with a maximum of 30.  I'm thinking I will weigh Top 10 higher than 11-20 and maybe 1 point each to everything in the 21-30 range.

How to Vote: Ballots will be accepted THREE (!) ways this year.  You can PM them to me through the board, email them to me ([email protected]) or, for the first time, you can post your final list right here in the thread!

 

So, get watching, get pimping, get discussing, and get voting!

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Right now, after really limited viewing on my part (I missed both 'Boyhood' and 'Birdman's limited local theater runs, and have yet to be visited by 'Inherent Vice' or 'American Sniper'), I feel like I have a solid 5 film upper tier

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: I liken this a lot to seeing 'Star Wars' (the first one) in the theater.  A big, fun, expensive action movie in space.  I mean, you can offer the critique that it didn't have much to say outside of "Teamwork is awesome!" (Which was better illustrated in the also Pratt-starring 'The Lego Movie') but it was just such a great, entertaining spectacle. There are few scenes in cinema this year that have put smiles on my face or given me that rush of "Awesome!" like when Groot unleashes the angry "I am Groot!", or when Rocket comes back to help out in the final battle, or even the opening credits with Star Lord's dancing.  What makes this also such a spectacular achievement  is that it would have been so easy for this to go so wrong in so many ways (Too wacky, too serious, too heavy-handed, too silly) but it straddles that line and never over-steps its boundaries even when you're worried it's going to ("Dance contest!").  I've never had a comicbook/superhero movie as my #1 film of the year, maybe it could be this year.

 

Interstellar: I'll be honest, I still don't get any of the criticisms of this movie.  It was an enormous, all-encompassing, senses-destroying beast of a movie about space travel.  Matthew McConaughey was letter-perfect in the title role (That scene on the ship where he gets messages from his kids damn near teared me right up) and he's surrounded by great actors: Anne Hathaway, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn.  But the special effects were just incredible, and everything in space looked amazing.  And that score!  The other day I was listening to it on my headphones and the track 'Mountains' came on and just OBLITERATED me.  I would have loved to catch it in theaters again, but I think it's already gone.

 

The Lego Movie: I liked this the first time I saw it, several months after all the hype had died down, but a funny thing happened when it hit cable up here, I found myself watching it again.  And again.  And again.  Now it's joined the ranks of movies like 'The Tree of Life', 'Tombstone', 'Rushmore', 'The Big Lebowski' or '21 Jump Street' where, if it's on, I'm gonna have to watch a couple minutes of it.  It's so silly, and wacky, and stupid, but I love it.  As a big 'Clone High' fan, I realize this is as close as we're ever likely to get to a 'Clone High' movie, so I'm going to enjoy it for what it is.

 

Like Father Like Son: A Japanese drama about what happens when a drive, workaholic father finds out that his dreamer son was switched at birth by a spiteful nurse with another boy who has been raised by an unambitious, slacker-ish family.  The hospital official tells him and his wife that they have time to make their decision about what to do, but that in 100% of these situations, the family has always chosen to raise its biological child instead.  It's positively heartbreaking and oh-so affecting as he tries to befriend a son he's never known, while wondering if the son he never appreciated even cares for him, then wondering what choice to make.

 

Under the Skin: A weird sci-fi/horror hybird with Scarlett Johanssen as a hot alien who goes around picking up guys in Scotland, then killing them.  There's very little dialogue here and a staggering, haunting score.  One thing this movie does better than many is convey how weird everything on Earth would look to a complete outsider.  It's visually staggering (With two specific scenes that are repeating endlessly in my head) and something that kind of creeps up on you.  Even as I watching it, I wasn't sure if I was enjoying it, but several hours removed, I find myself unable to think about anything else.

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I would recommend everyone get on letterboxd and keep track of how they rated things on there as well. It's going to help me with my list this year. Although, I admittedly have not seen a lot this year, and letterboxd goes by IMDB I believe, so a lot of 2014 stuff is categorized as 2013 or even 2012.

 

You can follow me at:

 

http://www.letterboxd.com/mattbolin/

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Criteria: Any full-length movie regarded as a '2014' movie by Rotten Tomatoes is eligible, whether said movie premiered on TV or in theaters, DVD etc.

 

Was doing some end-of-year cramming this month, and I've seen close to eighty movies under that criteria.  It's been a very good movie year for me.  And I still haven't seen 2 Days 1 Night, American Sniper, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Selma, etc...

 

Right now, I've got a rough list of 21 movies that I'd vote for.  By the end of February, I might end up having to cut some off to make a list of 30 (not complaining though).

 

Will do some pimping before the end of the week.

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On the flip side of Caley, I have a hard time understanding the praise for Interstellar. I don't want to hijack the thread because I assume this discussion has been done to death on the board elsewhere, but while it looks fantastic, the plot/characters is so by-the-numbers in the worst possible way. Not meaning it had to be super original or mind-blowing, but there's nothing surprising about it at all. Maybe my expectations were too high cause of Nolan/2001, but I was left bored and wanting more. The fact that the message of love was able to get to so many people's emotion is kinda surprising to me. Many better movies have been able to do a similar thing in less obvious ways.

 

I also disliked Inherent Vice. Like Interstellar, visually fantastic. Everything else blah.

 

I've seen basically everything I plan on seeing this year and that includes the majority of "BIG" films.

 

Here's my top 15.

 

 

  1. Whiplash
  2. Calvary
  3. Snowpiercer
  4. Boyhood
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. X-Men: Days Of Future Past
  7. Edge Of Tomorrow
  8. 22 Jump Street
  9. Nightcrawler
  10. Gone Girl
  11. What We Do In The Shadows
  12. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
  13. Birdman
  14. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  15. Life Itself

Ones I disliked the most would be Monuments Men, The Babadook, Under The Skin, Starred Up, and Inherent Vice.

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Watched Locke tonight and I can't help but feel it's at or near the top of my list (I always overrate films upon first viewing, though) but it's totally riveting.  I might write more about it tomorrow, but it's literally just Tom Hardy in a car, on a carphone for 80+ minutes and it's amazing and somehow never boring.  Basically how one man chooses what he thinks is right and loses everything in the process.

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Finally saw a Boyhood last night. So my number 1 on the ballot I'll probably never do feels locked.

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I am going to PM you before the deadline, Brian, every year you suggest films, never vote, then tell us what films you would have voted after!  2015 is the year you submit a ballot!

 

I've watched something from 2014 every day for the past week (FRI: Captain America: The Winter Soldier; SAT: Enemy; SUN: Under the Skin; MON: Locke; TUE: Blue Ruin; WED: Guardians of the Galaxy; THU: 22 Jump Street; FRI: The Trip to Italy and The Raid 2)

 

I think I've commented on the rest but

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Was briefly one of my favourite superhero movies (Until Guardians of the Galaxy came along, it was in a relative tie with 'The Dark Knight Rises', now they're both #2).  Just a good, solid action movie with understandable, properly fleshed-out characters with real purpose taking on understandable, fleshed-out characters to battle for the fate of the planet.  Chris Evans has a really interesting charismaless charisma, Scarlett Johanssen looks much more comfortable as Black Widow, and the supporting characters are all motivated and solid.  Good action set pieces and fights and a just a good, solid film.  That it was somehow directed by the Russo Brothers (of Arrested Development and Community fame) is still fascinating to me.

 

Enemy: I did not enjoy this one, though I know some people on the board loved it.  I just found it rather unrelentingly bleak/eerie to the point it almost became comical to me where a guy would be walking to his car with this menacing music playing and no actual tension, but like it was trying to manufacture some.  I thought Jake Gyllenhaal was really good, though, especially the way that he played the two doppelganger characters quite differently, until the last stretch when they become similar.  Not sure how I felt about the shock ending, at the time it just really annoyed me, but it has stuck with me in a way...so maybe it was effective.

 

Blue Ruin: Mentioned it in the ongoing movies thread, but I really liked this one; a grim though subtly funny look at what happens when a regular person tries to carry out a bloody mission of revenge.  Macon Blair is incredible in the lead as a guy trying to kill someone who just got out of prison and getting in way over his head.  Chilling, intense and fascinating.  Definitely worth a watch.

 

22 Jump Street: I don't think this is quite as good as the original (Cutting the run-time down a bit probably would have made it much snappier) but I still thought it was pretty good.  I love the way they keep tossing in jokes about how it's the same thing as the original and the meta-references (Many of which I did not get until looking them up) were pretty great.  This might make the lower part of my list.

 

The Trip to Italy: Again, I don't think this is quite as good as the first but I still thought it was great (The first has become one of my favourite go-to movies, so it had a lot to live up to).  Again, Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden play fictionalized versions of themselves who go on a mini-tour of restaurants, this time in Italy.  They bicker, do competing imitations and discuss life and death and all that stuff.  I thought the ending was a little abrupt, and I'm sure it was something that was probably much more developed in the mini-series, but it's still quite affecting and the Italian scenery is gorgeous stuff.  My favourite segment, though, was actually on the deleted scenes where they do a scene as Michael Caine coming home to tell his wife he's killed a high-class prostitute and has to bury the body that is just so great it actually makes them both laugh.

 

The Raid 2: Unlike the two sequels above, I think this one SURPASSED the original.  There's more of a story this time, more acting, some pretty damn impressive cinematography and the stunts actually top the original.  Taking place two hours after the first part, Rama (the cop from the first one) is secreted away and assigned to anti-corruption program that sees him incarcerated in order to get him close to a top gangster's son.  This is some brutal, bloody stuff this time with all kinds of mayhem.  Every time you think an action sequence can't top itself, it goes and does it again and again and again.  The prison bathroom fight -> the muddy outdoor prison fight -> the fight at the porno studio -> the fight on the subway -> the car chase -> the final battles.  Sometimes in martial arts flicks you have a great early fight and the final bit drags but I felt every scene gradually got better and more intense.  The car chase is some incredible virtuoso filmmaking.  How a good portion of these stuntmen aren't dead is completely a mystery to me.  This is a definite Top 5, candidate for #1 for me.

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I wish The Raid 2 would have decided if it was Tony Jaa or if it was Stephen Chow. Some of the action scenes looked like a legit UFC fight, but then you had Hammer Girl and Baseball Boy who were more like something out of a Dragonball cartoon. I liked all of the above, but I didn't like 'em trying to mix together inside the same movie. And THEN sometimes it would go all John Woo outta nowhere... fun flick, but way overstuffed and tonally dissonant.

I'm still somewhat amazed that Edge of Tomorrow hasn't gotten a LOT more hype than it has. Yeah, most if it is a patchwork of derivative material from various other movies; but that's kind of the point, in a film which gets to play around with ideas that less ambitious movies would run away from in fear. It's like someone said "okay, what if we took Groundhog Day, Starship Troopers, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, every James Cameron movie, every WWII movie, and put them ALL together?!" and somehow the finished product was utterly seamless and worked like a charm. (Well, except for that painfully banal ending; but, it's a 21st century scifi/action epic, they ALL end underwhelmingly, whaddya gonna do?) Tom Cruise turns in his best performance since Tropic Thunder, and Emily Blunt is all like "yes, I'm SO talented that I can even be a kick-ass action heroine and it looks like I don't even need to try at being effortlessly cool with steely muscles and big guns and shit. I can do ANYTHING. Bow down before me, mortals!"

Speaking of Blunt, she and several others were so damned good in Into the Woods that it makes me wish I could officially pimp it out for voting purposes. Sadly, I can't quite bring myself to do that; the original stage play is SO heavily edited, with so much of its plot and material ripped brutally out like a partial-birth abortion, that it leaves me with more of a "what could have been..." sigh, rather than the fist-pump of triumph that I had hoped for. Still, the cast is AWESOME, performing everything just as beautifully as one could wish; too bad they were only working with Disney's hack-job of an edited script, rather than the full brilliance of the complete book.

And this is gonna sound like a joke, but I am dead-fuckin'-serious: Too Many Cooks is quite possibly the most disturbing horror film I've seen in a long time. Yes, that Adult Swim music video which most people regarded as one of their typical one-note pieces of wannabe-Dadaist surrealist comedy for stoners. Have you actually gone back and rewatched it? Try that, once or twice. Pay attention. See just how often that one guy keeps appearing, slowly becoming more and more prevalent, even before he takes over the entire video. It's creepy as all fucking hell. It's as if one of the goofier episodes of Community was suddenly invaded by BOB from Twin Peaks.

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I liked 'Edge of Tomorrow' quite a bit.  Although my two favourite things about it were not actually in the film.

#1. Emily Blunt doing an interview about it and the interviewer saying "Earlier in your career you said you didn't want to be the love interest in a Tom Cruise movie, what changed?" to which Blunt replied "I never said that".  Then the interviewer dug up the article where she said "I don't want to be 'Girl with spear' in a Tom Cruise movie" at which point Blunt DOUBLES over with laughter and says "Well at least I wasn't holding a spear!"

 

#2. That awesome trailer with the song (Apparently by some bad named Fieldwork) with the minimalist piano and the repeated robot vocals saying "This is not the end..." that gradually builds and builds and is so awesome.  Why wasn't that damn song in the movie!?!?

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I liked 'Edge of Tomorrow' quite a bit.  Although my two favourite things about it were not actually in the film.

#1. Emily Blunt doing an interview about it and the interviewer saying "Earlier in your career you said you didn't want to be the love interest in a Tom Cruise movie, what changed?" to which Blunt replied "I never said that".  Then the interviewer dug up the article where she said "I don't want to be 'Girl with spear' in a Tom Cruise movie" at which point Blunt DOUBLES over with laughter and says "Well at least I wasn't holding a spear!"

 

#2. That awesome trailer with the song (Apparently by some bad named Fieldwork) with the minimalist piano and the repeated robot vocals saying "This is not the end..." that gradually builds and builds and is so awesome.  Why wasn't that damn song in the movie!?!?

 

I really liked Edge of Tomorrow. It has an outside chance at making my top 10-20. I actually had it ranked ahead of Guardians, but I think my second viewing of Guardians has elevated it for me somewhat. 

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Will do some pimping before the end of the week.

 

 

Here are three that I liked a lot.  More to come.

 

Clouds of Sils Maria - Plot is that a famous actress, who made her name starring in a play where a younger woman seduces an older woman, is asked to return to a production of the play - but she'll now be playing the older woman, opposite a young celebrity actress with a wild reputation.  The genius here is that Juliette Binoche is playing the actress, and Kristin Stewart plays her assistant (with Chloe Grace Moretz playing the younger actress).  Stewart opposite Binoche is stunt casting, but it works so well. I almost couldn't process them doing scenes together early on, to the point where I had trouble focusing on the actual dialogue, but in the end I bought them as BFFs (though their relationship is more complex than "BFFs").  Seeing them doing line readings together is a hell of a thing, though, and Binoche choking on her beer while Stewart attempts to explain the character motivations in a superhero movie put a huge smile on my face.  First time I'd actually seen Stewart in a big role, and if she ever actually was a bad actress, then she must be getting better now.  The whole arthouse vs. TMZ theme and the idea that we perceive art and life differently with more experience is a conversation-starter too.

 

The Drop - Based on the script alone, I'll grant you that this is "only" a very good movie, not an exceptional one.  But strictly from the perspective of creating a completely new persona, Tom Hardy gives the performance of the year here with his simple Brooklyn bartender, even better than Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler (and Gyllenhaal playing a sociopath is a much more natural fit than Hardy playing this character).  Compare Hardy in Locke to what he does here.  It's like two completely different people.  Matthias Schoenaerts' psycho ex-con character, also totally different than what he was doing in Rust And Bone, is the icing on the cake.  Then they go head-to-head against one another... it was just a complete delight.

 

Stretch - Patrick Wilson plays a limo driver who needs a bunch of money by the end of the day to pay off gambling debts.  Chris Pine chews absolutely all of the scenery as an insane coked-up billionaire, and Ed Helms shows up every 15 minutes or so as the ghost of a dead limo driver to make discouraging comments.  This is kind of like Crank, but with the volume at 6 instead of 10, more of a nighttime neon-tinged feel, and with Wilson as the relatable everyman in an crazy situation.  Also features a couple of fun cameos from celebrities playing themselves.  Thought it was a really good time.

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And I still haven't seen 2 Days 1 Night, American Sniper, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Selma, etc...

 

 

I've been looking through "best of 2014" lists on the web as a guide to what I've missed seeing.  Just wanted to mention that my goal is to watch the five mentioned in the quote before the end of February, plus the following:

 

  The Blue Room
  Code Black
  Dear White People
  Kill The Messenger
  Listen Up Philip
  Love Is Strange
  Miss Julie
  Mr. Turner
  A Most Violent Year
  Night Moves
  Norte: The End of History
  Obvious Child
  Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors
  We Are The Best!
  Wild
 
A few of those will just be released on dvd in late February, so there'll have to be some last minute scrambling.  Also, Norte is going to take some work to get through - it's four hours long.

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2014Movies I still haven't seen:

 

 Interstellar, Gone Girl, The Babadook, The Lego Movie, Birdman, John Wick, The Interview, Nightcrawler, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Inherent Vice, Stage Fright, A Girl Walks Alone At Night, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, Big Hero 6, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Big Eyes, Sharknado 2, St. Vincent, The Boxtrolls, The Purge: Anarchy, Doc of the Dead, As Above So Below, Wild, What We Do In The Shadows, Dead Snow 2, I Am Santa Claus, Monty Python Live (Mostly), Our Robocop Remake, Dumb & Dumber To, Crawl or Die, Lizzie Borden Took an Axe, Atari: Game Over, Suburban Gothic, The Dead Lands, Black Butler, Camp Dread, The Pyramid, Free the Nipple, all the new Studio Ghibli animes, and oh yeah of course Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever. 

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My Top 10 Movies to Watch (Well 9 now)

02. Boyhood

03. Birdman

04. Calvary

05. Foxcatcher

06. Nightcrawler

07. Whiplash

08. Snowpiercer

09. Gone Girl

10. John Wick

 

Top 9 because on Sunday I took in a matinee of Inherent Vice which is an odd one.  It's like a more psychedelic, less overtly funny 'Big Lebowski' with tons of characters with really goofy names (Ensenada Slim, Petunia Leeway, Japonica Fenway) and a lead character that is so often stoned that we're never quite sure if the plot is as complicated as it seems, or if he's making stoner conspiracy theories out of thin air.  This is definitely going to be one of those 'Not For Everyone' kind of movies because there were a couple moments in the film when I heard people in the audience laughing out loud, but I didn't think there was anything funny going on onscreen, and other moments where I was laughing out loud and realized I was the only one in the theater doing so.  But, it looks pretty impeccable, has a great massive cast (Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon and...Martin Short?!) and can be quite a lot of fun.  I wouldn't be surprised if by a 2nd or even 3rd viewing I didn't end up actually loving this.  On a first watch, though, it's a little overwhelming.

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To play off of Jingus's  list, here is my 2014 Big Unseen stuff from Me (I am sure I am forgetting stuff):

 

Ida, Blue Ruin, The Immigrant,The Double, Frank, The Drop, The Babadook, Lego Movie, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, 2 Days 1 Night, Winter Sleep, St. Vincent, Whiplash, Love is Strange, Tale of Princess Kaguya, Night Moves, A Most Violent Year, Unbroken, American Sniper, Wild, Selma, The Imitation Game, Mood Indigo, Foxcatcher, A Most Violent Year, and I am sure a few other ones.

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Despite the fantastic reviews, I recommend avoiding Winter Sleep.  That thing needed to be cut down to like an 80 minute movie.

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Despite the fantastic reviews, I recommend avoiding Winter Sleep.  That thing needed to be cut down to like an 80 minute movie.

 

I still need to see all of Anatolia.

 

That director does not know how to make anything short of three hours it seems.

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To play off of Jingus's  list, here is my 2014 Big Unseen stuff from Me (I am sure I am forgetting stuff):

 

Ida, Blue Ruin, The Immigrant,The Double, Frank, The Drop, The Babadook, Lego Movie, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, 2 Days 1 Night, Winter Sleep, St. Vincent, Whiplash, Love is Strange, Tale of Princess Kaguya, Night Moves, A Most Violent Year, Unbroken, American Sniper, Wild, Selma, The Imitation Game, Mood Indigo, Foxcatcher, A Most Violent Year, and I am sure a few other ones.

I'm about halfway through this thing...if quirky's not your thing, stay far, FAR away from it.  I mean, the movie opens with a guy cooking along to a chef on TV who reaches through the screen and helps him, there's a guy in a mouse costume playing a mouse who lives in their house, and when the doorbell rings, it comes to life crawls around the floor until it gets smushed by a frying pan.  And that's in the first five minutes or so!

 

So, one of the most enjoyable watches of 2014, for me, has to be 'We Are The Best'.  It's the early 80s in Stockholm Bobo and Klara are thirteen year old punk girls.  They decide to form a band, mostly out of spite to get back at metal band for making fun of them, despite the fact they have no musical ability whatsoever.  They recruit another outcast who can actually play guitar to help them out.  It's just wonderfully acted and all the details are spot-on.  If you have any punk rock past (which I most certainly do!), no matter the era, and even if you don't, there's so much in here that's going to be instantly recognizable: rebelling against nothing, music as the be-all/end-all, teenage relationships, scamming, bumming around.  It's really incredible.  One of my favourite things I've seen all year!

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To play off of Jingus's  list, here is my 2014 Big Unseen stuff from Me (I am sure I am forgetting stuff):

 

Ida, Blue Ruin, The Immigrant,The Double, Frank, The Drop, The Babadook, Lego Movie, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, 2 Days 1 Night, Winter Sleep, St. Vincent, Whiplash, Love is Strange, Tale of Princess Kaguya, Night Moves, A Most Violent Year, Unbroken, American Sniper, Wild, Selma, The Imitation Game, Mood Indigo, Foxcatcher, A Most Violent Year, and I am sure a few other ones.

I'm about halfway through this thing...if quirky's not your thing, stay far, FAR away from it.  I mean, the movie opens with a guy cooking along to a chef on TV who reaches through the screen and helps him, there's a guy in a mouse costume playing a mouse who lives in their house, and when the doorbell rings, it comes to life crawls around the floor until it gets smushed by a frying pan.  And that's in the first five minutes or so!

 

 

Gondry without any studio funding can be way out there. I think the last thing of his that I watched and never got around to finishing was The Science of Sleep, which was another quirky film. The last film o his I enjoyed was Be Kind Rewind.

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It's not like Gondry WITH studio funding is much more explicable: The Green Hornet, for example.  But yeah, this sounds more like Science of Sleep than anything else he's done.  Or like Gondry somehow tripped and fell into being responsible for a Jean-Pierre Jeunet production.  Still, the guy who made motherfuckin' Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has pretty much infinite benefit-of-a-doubt credit with me, I'm always interested to see just what the hell new bizarre idea he has next.  

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For what it's worth, both Film Comment and Sight & Sound had Boyhood as their top picture in their new issues.

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I unexpectedly adored Foxcatcher.  It'll probably be in my top 3, possibly even #1.  The knock on it seems to be that it's a slow movie, but I was right with it the whole way.  I wish Carrell had looked slightly less like an alien - and they insisted in shooting him in profile, to emphasize that nose - but the performance was great.  He does this thing where he swallows mid-sentence where there shouldn't be a pause, like he's never fully sure about what he's saying, and him being uncomfortable makes the audience uncomfortable.  Liked the idea that Mark Schultz (played by Tatum) lives very simply despite being a gold medalist, which seems a little sad, but later on you realize that he's so driven precisely because he doesn't have any of the trappings of success, and when you start throwing money at him, he loses his motivation.

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I meant to see that today, but got up lazy (Parking is lousy down there on weekends, and I hate parking in the parkade on weeknights), but I'm hoping to partake some time later in the week.

 

I did watch The Skeleton Twins and pretty much straight-up LOVED it.  Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig play twins who have been separated for 10 years when the former's suicide attempt brings them back into each others' lives.  Both are damaged by their father's suicide in their teenage years and trying to deal with it.  Really staggeringly great performances by Wiig and Hader which are not 100% comedic.  Hader, in particular, shines in as the brother trying to atone for his failed life while keeping his head up high.  There's a scene where he lip-synchs to Jefferson Starship's 'Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now' that is so perfect and pretty much one of the best, most joyful scenes of the year.  Also nice to see Luke Wilson turn up in a supporting role as Wiig's husband and look and sound much...healthier (?!) than he had recently.

 

I've seen some suggestions that this was a weak year for film.  Now maybe it's just the selection of films I've been watching (I've kinda gone out of my way not to watch the big OSCAR! movies unless there's specific actors/directors/trailers that appeal to me.  Like I haven't bothered to see the Hawking movie, Unbroken, the code-breaker one, etc. because, you know, life's too short for stuff that I feel like I'm gonna see and go "Oh yeah, that's well-made...depressing...but well-made") but I've just been repeatedly blown away by stuff I've seen.  I had a nice tidy little Top 5 before, and every time I see something I end up going "Hmm, well now I'm going to have to bump something else out of there).

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I unexpectedly adored Foxcatcher.  It'll probably be in my top 3, possibly even #1.  The knock on it seems to be that it's a slow movie, but I was right with it the whole way.  I wish Carrell had looked slightly less like an alien - and they insisted in shooting him in profile, to emphasize that nose - but the performance was great.  He does this thing where he swallows mid-sentence where there shouldn't be a pause, like he's never fully sure about what he's saying, and him being uncomfortable makes the audience uncomfortable.  Liked the idea that Mark Schultz (played by Tatum) lives very simply despite being a gold medalist, which seems a little sad, but later on you realize that he's so driven precisely because he doesn't have any of the trappings of success, and when you start throwing money at him, he loses his motivation.

I got the impression they were trying to paint Mark as ... Developmentally Challenged or having some kind of mental issue. There was almost a Lenny and George vibe with Mark and David at times.

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