My best films of 2014

boyhoodVery predictable but here they are: 

Boyhood, everybody's darling, but it is a different kind of movie and one that confirms Richard Linklater as a major contemporary director, if confirmation was needed after the Before trilogy, and one who, like Hitchcock or Hawks, makes films that are both personal and with a wide appeal.

Birdman, because Iñárritu manages to reinvent himself while remaining perfectly recognizable, and he gives us a film which is like nothing else we've seen before, with a complex and funny point of view on Hollywood blockbusters.

Her, also a "different" movie that illustrates very well the current boom of science fiction and how out of quantity often comes quality. A very good displaced representation of L.A.

Inside Llewyn Davis: the Coens at their best, mixing a more or less historical subject with their very personal "intensification" of reality.

Fruitvale Station, because it puts trendy filmmaking of the docudrama variety to good use, with flashy camera work managing to construct interesting characters and both touching and suspenseful melodrama.

Ida, an example of transnational cinema, directed by Polish-born but UK-based Pawel Pawlokowski, in Poland and in Polish, but with transnational funding. Visually stunning black and white (perhaps even more than Alexander Payne's Nebraska, another very good black-and-white photograph movie of last year), with every framing looking like a painting but contributing meaning and sense to the drama, and a great central relationship between the young nun and her judge aunt in 1962 very grim Communist Poland.

I've cheated a bit because these are movies I saw in 2014, some of them released in 2013, and two of them I didn't really see until this month. Not many (just one) that are not U.S. movies but this is what we get in the provinces.

What are everybody else's favorites of the year? And which of these do you agree and disagree with?

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#1 Julia Echeverría 2015-01-16 12:19
I agree with most of them (I haven't seen Ida nor Fruitvale yet). I’d add Mommy to my list, there was a raw sensibility to it that really caught me, and also the Spanish Magical Girl, which kept me thinking about it for days.

Films that I didn’t like this year: Mr. Turner: beautiful photography but it bored me immensely, and Interstellar, entertaining but too far-fetched for me.
#2 Pablo Gómez Muñoz 2015-01-16 12:19
Boyhood and Her also make it into my list. Both movies feature carefully-selec ted soundtracks that enhance the tone of their already powerful narratives. Apart from standing out because of its vision of L.A., Her also comes up with an original, unusual design (particularly in clothing) which is a somewhat rare but welcome exception in contemporary science fiction cinema.

Dallas Buyers Club offers us an unusual perspective on borders, as Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) works his way around legal boundaries and security controls to get the medication that he and other HIV-positive people need from Japan and Mexico at a time when it was not approved in the USA.

Big Hero 6: Even though the story of this animation movie is slightly weak, the idea of combining San Francisco and Tokyo into one city (San Fransokyo) and its effective rendering (although more American than Japanese) deserve to be in this list.

SF: San Francisco and science fiction, a coupling that we have seen quite often this year. Apart from Big Hero 6, San Francisco has also appeared in Gareth Edward's Godzilla, a disaster blockbuster with meaningful spectacle and eco-conscious tones. Another movie set in SF is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (SF already appeared in Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011). Both remakes put the premises of the originals to good use, slightly twisting them to explore new themes and contemporary concerns. Have you seen any other sf movies set in SF?

Another film that should not go unmentioned is I Origins: a story about scientists doing research on the eye with a speculative ending that slowly twists humanity's world view.

Relatos Salvajes (Wild Tales): Six different stories that have little to do with one another except for the very different and yet similar reactions of the characters to their circumstances. A very apt title for a movie full of hilarious, but also shocking, excesses.

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