Jerry’s faves of 2014

Jerry’s faves of 2014
Jerry’s faves of 2014
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Here are my favorite films of 2014 (you can read the full reviews by clicking on the movie title).

 

Best of the year

 

BOYHOOD

This modest masterpiece blends real time and fiction as it looks in on the maturation of a boy and his family for 12 years, as he literally grows on camera. Even at 2:45, every minute captivates as only true life can.

 

Other top contenders

 

CALVARY

In the opening scene, a priest (Brendan Gleeson) hears a threatening confession. He spends the rest of the film interacting with members of his community and preparing for his fate. The powerful outcome left the audience stunned.

 

GONE GIRL

The novel hits the screen with strong performances and constant pressure. David Fincher has crafted a smart & slyly suspenseful investigation into love and deception on any number of levels.

 

BIRDMAN or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Michael Keaton plays a former superhero actor who’s struggling to mount his Broadway debut. A slightly surreal, constantly compelling and richly realized combination of personal drama and theatrical send-up.

 

 NIGHCRAWLER

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a fast-talking, self-confident man who videotapes accidents and other dark crimes. The film is disturbing and ultimately suspenseful.

 

THE IMITATION GAME

Benedict Cumberbatch turns in a nuanced and touching performance as Alan Turing, who solved the secret codes from Nazi Germany’s Enigma machine. What could have been a dry lesson in code-breaking turns into a touching look at a fascinating personality.

 

FOXCATCHER

Channing Tatum plays an solemn Olympic wrestler, who’s solicited to train with eccentric, rich John du Pont (Steve Carell). The story moves at a deliberate pace and could get tedious if it weren’t for the riveting performances and astounding story.

 

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

This bio of Stephen Hawking stars Eddie Redmayne, who transforms himself into an Oscar-worthy performance. The film tells Hawking’s story with warmth and honor.

 

Favorite Foreign

 

NYMPH()MANIAC: Volume 1 & 2

Lars Von Trier again pushes cinematic boundries with the interplay between a man (Stellan Skarsgård) who discovers a woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) lying in an alley. A compelling, audacious, stimulating experience.

 

Underappreciated indie

 

BLUE RUIN

A seemingly homeless man sets out for a revenge that grows out of control. This is a promising debut from NOVA natives. Every frame is quietly gripping and intelligent fun.

 

Guilty pleasures

 

LONE SURVIVOR

Four Navy SEALs set out to kill a Taliban leader in Afghanistan, but the mission goes horribly wrong. A gripping ordeal with some of the best battles in recent filmmaking.

 

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

Four grown siblings (Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll) come home for their father’s funeral and spend a week dealing with each other and their unhappy lives. A dysfunctional family comedy with nimble intelligence and sweet charm.

 

Worst of the year

 

THE IDENTICAL

A peculiar twist on the separated-at-birth scenario, featuring Blake Rayne in his awful acting debut. The script feels like the worst TV movie ever, the pacing is torture and the original songs are banal and obvious. A true disaster flick.

 

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