The Top 12 Films Of 2014

The Top 12 Films of 2014

Not since 2006 have I done a “Best Of” list, and for good reason. This is the first time since then I have felt truly qualified. Juggling a full-time job (not this one – I wish), life’s obligations, and trips to the theater doesn’t always go as swimmingly as I hope. … Continue reading

A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year (2014)

You have to hand it to writer/director J.C. Chandor. He is immensely skilled at taking otherwise mundane topics (the stock market in Margin Call, a disastrous solo sailing adventure in All Is Lost, and the oh-so-glamorous heating oil industry here) and making tense dramas surrounding them. His films are all character-driven, … Continue reading

The Interview (2014)

The Interview (2014)

It would seem nearly impossible to discuss The Interview without addressing the bizarre circumstances leading up to its release. On December 17, 2014, Sony announced that the film would not be released in the wake of the Sony hack and subsequent 9/11-esque threats for violence issued by the hackers (believed … Continue reading

Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods is eighty minutes of energy and joy followed by forty more of tiresome, by-the-numbers visual effects. The drop-off in quality is notable. It’s a shame, as the first two-thirds are filled with crowd-pleasing tunes, beautiful set designs, and a playfulness that jumps off the screen. All of … Continue reading

Two Days, One Night (2014)

Two Days, One Night (2014)

Two Days, One Night is a refreshingly compassionate look at a moral dilemma that no one wants to be at the center of. As written and directed by the Dardenne brothers, the film is a focused, frankly heartbreaking take on personal morals, selfishness, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for … Continue reading

Unbroken (2014)

Unbroken (2014)

“If you can take it, you can make it.” Those were the words spoken by Louis Zamperini’s brother as he prepared to train as an Olympic runner in Unbroken. Little did he know that over the next few years those words would take on more meaning than ever. The film … Continue reading

Foxcatcher (2014)

Foxcatcher (2014)

Foxcatcher, director Bennett Miller’s latest blend of sport and human drama, is an actor’s movie. That’s not so much an insult as an observation. Understated and very casually-paced, the film features three pristine performances in service to a story that builds tension leading to inevitable tragedy. The ending will be a … Continue reading

Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash (2014)

There is a moment during Whiplash‘s final fifteen minutes that not only propels the film to unmitigated greatness, but also one of the most accomplished, intense character-driven dramas in years. Writer/director Damien Chazelle, who first made this story into an acclaimed short before getting funding for this feature-length production, has crafted … Continue reading

Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler (2014)

“I’d like to think if you’re seeing me you’re having the worst day of your life.” So says Louis Bloom, the anti-hero of writer/director Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler. The film is a pitch-black, often satirically so, look at the bloodlust that engulfs local news. Its parallels with reality are only slightly blurred, … Continue reading

Citizenfour (2014)

Citizenfour (2014)

Citizenfour, director Laura Poitras’s immensely detailed and not-so-accessible account of the Edward Snowden data leak, is most important in the context of a historical document. Sometimes mind-numbingly tech-y, but always thrilling in an understated way, the film takes place over eight days during June of 2013. Poitras’s unprecedented access and detailed interviews … Continue reading