This is not a list of my favorite films from 2014 (that will be coming soon). Rather, it is a list of the top ten films that I watched for the first time in 2014.
In 2002, I started keeping a journal of every film I watched. I later compiled a long list of films that I know I saw prior to 2002. 2014 was a record low for me in terms of new films that I saw. While I revisited many films that I had seen before, I only watched thirty new films in 2014. Here is the list of films and the rating I assigned each out of four stars.
1] The Wolf of Wall Street  ****
2] Nebraska  ****
3] Her  ****
4] Dallas Buyers Club  ****
5] Moonrise Kingdom  ***1/2
6] Let the Right One In  ***1/2
7] The Grand Budapest Hotel  ****
8] Valhalla Rising  **1/2
9] Persona  ****
10] The Hills Have Eyes  **1/2
11] 3 Women  ****
12] The Lego Movie  ***
13] El Topo  **1/2
14] Dog Day Afternoon  ****
15] Guardians of the Galaxy  ***1/2
16] Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me  ****
17] My Neighbor Totoro  ***1/2
18] Gone Girl  ****
19] Princess Mononoke  ***1/2
20] Nightcrawler  ***1/2
21] Badlands  ****
22] A Fistful of Dollars  ***
23] For a Few Dollars More  ***1/2
24] Interstellar  ****
25] Underworld  ****
26] Big Hero 6  ***1/2
27] Reboot: Daemon Rising  ***1/2
28] Reboot: My Two Bobs  ***1/2
29] Birdman  ****
30] Under the Skin  ****
For 2015, my resolution is to watch more films and only great ones. There are too many great films to be seen to waste time on the mediocre ones.
From the list below, you can see that my taste is varied. I love all kinds of films ranging from contemplative cinema that requires patience and an open mind (i.e. Persona) to big budget Hollywood blockbusters (Interstellar). It amazes me how many of these films evaded description.
Ranking great films is like comparing apples to oranges. Preferences could very well depend on one’s mood. In other words, in order to avoid complicating matters, the films are presented in the order of the year in which they were released. So, without further adieu, here is a list of the top 10 films I saw in 2014
1) Underworld (1927)
Logline: A gangster kingpin rehabilitates an alcoholic lawyer living on the streets but matters are complicated when the man falls for the mafioso’s girl.
Comments: I love silent films. This gem from filmmaker Joseph von Sternberg is often credited with launching the gangster genre.
2) Persona (1966)
Logline: A nurse looks after an actress who refuses to speak and the pair form an unusual relationship and psychological dynamic.
Comments: Of all the Ingmar Bergman films that I’ve seen (Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Through a Glass Darkly, Fanny and Alexander), this may be my favorite. It is perhaps Bergman’s most peculiar and radical work; an avant garde masterpiece that lingers in the mind.
3) Badlands (1973)
Logline: A young teenage girl (Sissy Spacek) and her boyfriend (Martin Sheen) go on a cross country journey, killing those who get in their way.
Comments: Terrence Malick’s film debut is a beautiful and poetic masterpiece with the director’s signature attention to detail and the natural landscape.
4) 3 Women (1977)
Logline: A young girl (Sissy Spacek) becomes attached to a coworker (Shelley Duvall) and the two women undergo an emotional crisis together.
Comments: Persona must have been an influence on this masterpiece from Robert Altman. Like Persona, it is a peculiar film with an almost hypnotic power to it.
5) Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
Logline: An FBI agent mysteriously disappears while investigating the death of a young girl which may be related to the future murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, who lives in the small northwestern town of Twin Peaks.
Comments: I’ve already talked at length in a previous post about why I love this movie which never received the praise it deserves. Check out the link below!
6) Her (2013)
Logline: A lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) forms a relationship with his newly purchased operating system.
Comments: Spike Jonze’s latest film is a touching and beautiful film about relationships.
7) Under the Skin (2014)
Logline: A mysterious woman (Scarlett Johansson) lures lonely Scottish men.
Comments: I did not want to give too much away in the description. This film blew me away! It is a modern science fiction masterwork that is original, wonderfully strange, and visually astounding.
8) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Logline: A man recalls his adventures with the concierge of a legendary hotel.
Comments: This is the best Wes Anderson film I have seen: an unabashed entertainment with the director’s trademark quirky humor.
9) Gone Girl (2014)
Logline: A man (Ben Affleck) becomes the focus of a media circus and suspect after his wife mysteriously disappears.
Comments: David Fincher’s latest film disturbed me to my core! I went to see it with a couple friends and all three of us were floored by the end! It is a thoroughly engaging and masterfully directed film that is full of twists and turns.
10) Interstellar (2014)
Logline: A team of explorers travel through a wormhole on a mission to find a habitable planet in order to ensure humanity’s survival.
Comments: Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite modern filmmakers. His films never cease to captivate me. Memento, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises are all among my favorites. Interstellar is another fantastic film from Nolan that examines what makes us human.