Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sean Kelly

Top Ten Films of 2014

topten2014

It is time once again for me to go through the films I watched over the year and pick the ten films that I liked the best.  If you ask most people, 2014 wasn’t the best year for movies and indeed I definitely had a smaller pool of films this year to choose my favourites from.  It wouldn’t be too much of a spoiler to say that my favourite film of the year entered my list early and there wasn’t really any other films that came close to topping it.  As always, I put together a very eclectic list, which features everything from serious dramas to documentaries to even a few genre films. 

So, without further ado, here are my top ten films of 2014!

nightcrawler

10. Nightcrawler

Continuing the very interesting career progression of Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler is a fascinating piece of media satire and it shows that Gyllenhaal is quite good at playing someone, who is practically a sociopath.

Mommy

9. Mommy

Mommy continues to prove that Xavier Dolan is one of Canada’s highest rising filmmakers.  It’s almost a crime that the film didn’t make the Oscar shortlist for Best Foreign Language film, since Mommy is an often devastating look at the relationship between a young man and his mother.

alive_inside

8. Alive Inside

This is the only film on this list that I did not get around to writing a full review for.  However, I cannot ignore the fact that Alive Inside is a very heartwarming documentary about the healing power of music.

TheLEGOMovie

7. The LEGO Movie

A very early addition to this list, The LEGO Movie is one of the most fun and unique animated films that I have ever seen.  While there did turn out to be another animated film this year that I liked better, The LEGO Movie still has a very well-deserved place on this list.

HowtoTrainYourDragon2

6. How to Train Your Dragon 2

There is no ifs, and, or buts: How to Train Your Dragon 2 is without a doubt the best animated film to come out this year.  The film is a major game-changer when it comes to animation and the film wasn’t afraid to go in some very dark places.  I would be very surprised if this film does not get the Best Animated Film Oscar.

the-editor

5. The Editor

The fact that a Canadian horror-comedy has made my top five shows how much of a fan I have become of the Winnipeg-based film collective Astron-6.  This homage/parody of Italian giallo films features over-the-top violence, gratuitous nudity, and is a whole lot of fun to watch.

locke

4. Locke

Consisting of nothing but driving and phone calls, Locke turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the year for me.  Tom Hardy is great in the film’s lead role and his expressions really help to sell the fact that this drive is the worst night of his life.

Birdman

3. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Featuring a standout performance by Michael Keaton and a very unique single-take format, Birdman turned out to be a pretty great satire about the perception of celebrity and the perceived different between the high art of live theatre and the low art of Hollywood blockbusters.

the_look_of_silence

2. The Look of Silence

The Act of Killing was already quite good at showing the banality of evil in its portrayal of the perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide.  However, by moving the focus to the family of one of the victims, The Look of Silence heavily eclipses the previous film by focusing on the human element of the story.  While there are some incredibly disturbing and sadistic acts described in the film, The Look of Silence is still quite excellent and the best documentary I saw in 2014.

boyhood

1. Boyhood

What else could it be?  There will probably never again be a film like Boyhood, which depicts the aging of a boy over a twelve year period.  While it can easy to shrug this off as being merely a gimmick, Boyhood really comes together as an excellent and enjoyable story about growing up.  In fact, Boyhood was one of the rare films that I ended up seeing twice in theatres and I look forward to watching it for a third time when it is released on blu-ray in the new year.

Honourable Mentions: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Overnighters, Kung Fu Elliot, Whiplash

2014 Films I Haven’t Been Able to See in Time: Citizenfour, Selma

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).