Best Films Of 2014....There's A Lot Of Tilda Swinton On This List

Every year since I was 8-years-old my favorite part of the year was always watching Siskel & Ebert’s top 10 films of the year special. Granted they never did any movies I knew, and I had no idea at the time who David Lynch or Wim Wenders was, but I loved watching what they had to say. I think my favorite part of this job is making this list every year. So here it is my top  10 best films of 2014, you may have heard of some of these film...you might not know any of them. This is it, the best films of the year ... (in my opinion).

10. “Obvious Child”- Gene Siskel always said “a good list starts with a comedy”. Well my number 10 pick goes to the indie comedy “Obvious Child”. I saw this film back in April at the BIFF: Boston Independent Film Festival, and something about a love story during one woman’s struggle to have an abortion stuck with me. This film in no way is taboo, it never is pro or anti-agenda. The subject of abortion is never over analyzed, the film just is charming and smart, and Jenny Slate is so endearing.

9. “Snowpiercer”- The future is a horrible place in Joon-Ho Bong’s dystopian nightmare “Snowpiercer”, I loved this film set on a train where the poor live in the back in poverty and the rich live it up at the head of the train. The performances from Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer were phenomenal and this is the first of three Tilda Swinton films on this list (she had a huge year in 2014.) I know this film will be overlooked come award time but it’s just so clever and complex.

8. “Gone Girl”- Fincher, Fincher, Fincher you dark dirty little birdy what have you done? Ben Affleck and David Fincher together might sound like either a horrible idea or the greatest you ever heard. Lucky for us, it’s the later. Fincher and novelist Gillian Flynn bring her best selling novel to screen, and this film terrified me. The ideas and themes of marriage and manipulation, murder and scandal are way too much. But it’s so well shot, acted, and edited it’s a fantastic film.

7. “What If...”- You aren’t going to see this film on anyone else’s list, actually many people forgot about this gem from Canada. This is a film I loved, it’s a simple love story about a guy in love with a girl but he’s in the “friendzone”...trust me it’s a horrible place to be. I loved the chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, I loved everything about this movie. We haven’t had a good love story in almost twenty years and now “What If” brings back the 80’s style love story.

6. “Whiplash”- This film stuck with me, and also broke my heart. J.K. Simmons gave a chilling performance as a teacher who goes to extremes to push his musicians to their potential. I loved this story, the idea of that this type of thing in music is really haunting. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons have this raw connection which for me made the film so much better.

5. “Birdman”- Some people don’t like this film, some love it, and others call it pretentious. For me “Birdman” is a cinema verite look at a once great comic book actor thrown into obscurity trying to front a play. What I love about this film is all the rumors around it. Everyone is claiming this is Michael Keaton at his best playing himself, but if you know Keaton this character is nothing like him, it’s just good acting. I loved this film, the fantasy mixed into the reality. Never knowing what is real and what is fake. I just was entranced. 

4. “Only Lovers Left Alive”- Our second Swinton film. The love story of two vampires set against the music scene of Detroit would sound like a “Twilight” knock off in anyone else’s hands. Yet master director Jim Jarmusch has crafted one of the greatest films of the year and in my opinion one of the greatest films of all time. The performances of Tom Hiddleston, Swinton, and John Hurt are spellbinding. This is a well crafted film, with beautiful cinematography, and stellar performances. I could watch this everyday.

3. “The Imitation Game”- Alright Cumbers, this film will give you you fair share of Benedict Cumberbatch. What I really liked about this film was Cumberbatch as Alan Turing.  I’ll say it now, Cumberbatch is a lock for the Oscar this is the best male performance of the year. At times depressing and others hopeful “The Imitation Game” is one of the best biopics I’ve seen since “The King’s Speech.” Never dull or too slow this is one of the best paced and well executed films of 2014.

2.“The Grand Budapest Hotel” - Our final Tilda Swinton film. I saw this film four times in theaters, twelve times on Blu-ray DVD, I absolutely adore Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Ralph Fiennes is absolutely incredible as M. Gustave and this fantastical comedic side of him is absolutely delightful. What stuck with me was the production design. This film is so colorful and those colors add to the excellence of the story and zaniness of the characters. I watched this film religiously when it was in theaters in April and I watch all the time on DVD. Yet it’s not number one...it came really close though.
AND THE WINNER IS...

1.“Boyhood”- 12 years in the making, one of my favorite filmmakers of all time Richard Linklater undertook a great challenge. Cast a six year old boy (Ellar Coltrane) and have him act out scenes with Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette for twelve years. This film impressed me when I saw it at the BIFF in April, and I saw it again and again since it was widely released. This film captures the innocence of being a child, the burden of being a teen, and the pain of being an adult. In my opinion “Boyhood” is the best film of the last twelve years.
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