Ten Best Films I Have Seen in 2014 (So Far)
10.) Children of Sorrow
An excellent performance by Bill Oberst Jr. and a well thought out script anchor this tale of a an evil cult leader, I think more a story of a killer who gets off on killing masquerading as a cult leader. Good thought out and a very creepy, building mood.
9.) Let the Fire Burn
This documentary works because the filmmaker allows the story to tell itself rather than imposing himself on the narrative. The story here is about the Philadelphia police’s disastrous raid on the back to nature group MOVE’s headquarters. It’s a riveting story that practically tells itself.
8.) The Borderlands
Found footage films have flooded the marketplace in recent years and most of them are awful. However this year I have seen several good ones including this tale of two Vatican investigators plus a technical (sound and video) guy investigating a supposed miracle in a Welsh church in the middle of nowhere. They find something far different. A ”slow burn” type of horror that works because it establishes a real sense of dread and has a truly wicked, twisted, satisfying ending.
7.) Veronica Mars
As a fan of the TV series, I view this movie as a complete success totally in keeping with the spirit and mood of the show. As a movie, it also works as it contains a good mystery and interesting characters. You do need to know about the show however to grasp the relationships between the characters. A lot of fun and I hope a miniseries comes out this. Pay attention, Netflix!
6.) Blue Ruin
Macon Blair’s performance as an unlikely revenge hero drives this exciting, tense thriller full of creatively staged violence and a crazy cameo by Eve Plumb. One is tempted to compare this to FARGO but this film is much more serious. The money quote that ties the story together “I could forgive you if you were crazy but you’re not crazy you’re just weak”.
5.) Mr Jones
Another excellent found footage film. A well-laid out plot with lots to discuss afterwards. Relatively big in theme and in scope, not just reality but time is at play here. It doesn’t skimp on the scary parts either, very creepy.
Deep, thought provoking, and also very disturbing (The scene in the first five minutes is the most shocking I’ve seen this year). Quite good truths in this film – about the neediness of people for public attention, for revenge as sick obsession. The four main charcters are well written and the performances are excellent as well.
3.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
One of the better comic book movies I have seen because it a.) Stays true to the sprit of Captain America b.)Does an excellent job of tying in Bucky’s story despite the character not being so important in the first Captain America film 3.) Has tremendous action scenes 4.) Has a batty performance from Robert Redford(!?) as a murderous villain 5.) Has a great anti-surveillance state message.
2.) How We Got Away With It
It’s hard to describe this film without giving away plot details – the plot is amazingly intricate and you don’t understand what actually happened until the very end. One of those films you let sink in. Powerful and subtle at the same time, a movie that will stay with you for some time.
It is hard to do justice to this film in a short review as so much is going on in it. Bong-Joon Ho has crafted a class warfare study as futuristic action film and filled it full of great actors (especially Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans) and astonishing visuals. The revealing of different sections of the train as the heroes move through it is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in a movie in recent years.