Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Best of 2014: The Best New Movies I Saw

I watched 144 movies in 2014.

47 of them are what I consider new releases.

For Academy Award purposes, a few films I've included in--or considered eligible for--my rankings below are officially 2013 releases, but did not play at Chicago area theaters until 2014.

So I am essentially counting any movies I watched over the past 12 months that I didn't have a reasonable chance to see previously.

Of the 47 such films, 25 were viewed over the past 20 days, whether in theaters or at home.

Given my erosive memory, there is certainly a possibility that more acute recollect can benefit films seen more recently. But it's also true that several good films might suffer for immediate comparison with ones I found even better.

And, of course, there are several undoubtedly substantive, even stellar or outstanding 2014 films I did not see, whether because they have yet to hit local screens--as in the case of Selma, Inherent Vice, A Most Violent Year, Still Alice and others--or just because I didn't get to them or even know about them. Besides my picks, I indicate below what else I saw, and some notable films I didn't.

So, take my rankings with a proverbial grain of salt--or, if you happen to presently be in Chicago, millions of them.

To augment my rankings, I also provide the Top 10 choices of my friends Dave and Brad, both--like me--members of the Chicago Film Discussion Meetup Group. Some may also enjoy this list of 10 superb under-the-radar films of 2014 that another friend, film professor and historian, Susan Doll, wrote for the Movie Morlocks blog.

And though it is hard to be online for more than 6 seconds without seeing somebody's similar list, I particularly enjoyed Paste Magazine's list of The 50 Best New Movies of 2014.

With 20 main choices and some Honorable Mentions, here are:

The Best New Movies I Saw in 2014
(F = Foreign Film; D = Documentary; 13 = Officially a 2013 release)

1. Ida (F)

2. Boyhood

3. The Past (F, 13)

4. The Imitation Game 

5. Life Itself (D)

6. Finding Vivian Maier (D)

7. Nightcrawler

8. The Immigrant

9. The Theory of Everything

10. Enemy

11. Into the Woods

12. The Babadook (F) 

13. A Most Wanted Man

14. Joe

15. Birdman

16. Interstellar

17. Belle

18. Gone Girl

19. Mr. Turner

20. The LEGO Movie

Honorable Mention (in preference order)

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lone Survivor
Only Lovers Left Alive
Get On Up
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The Great Beauty (F, 13)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Night Moves
Big Eyes
Starred Up
The One I Love
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Invisible Woman
Top Five
Edge of Tomorrow 
The Monuments Men

Other Films Seen (in preference order)

On My Way (F) 
Begin Again

Veronica Mars 

Notable Films Not Seen
Inherent Vice, Selma, A Most Violent Year, Love is Strange, American Sniper, Citizenfour (D), Two Days One Night (F), Still Alice, Jodorowsky's Dune (D), Lucy, Locke, National Gallery (D), Force Majeure (F), The Drop, Cheap Thrills

Dave's Top 10

1. Boyhood
2. Ida (F) 
3. Birdman
4. Grand Budapest Hotel
5. Gone Girl
6. Force Majeure (F)
7. Nightcrawler
8. Night Moves
9. Love is Strange
10. Cheap Thrills

Honorable Mention: The Drop, The Imitation Game, The Immigrant

Brad's Top 10

1. Boyhood
2. The Babadook (F)
3. Locke 
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 
5. Gone Girl 
6. Inherent Vice 
7. National Gallery (D)
8. Snowpiercer 
9. Only Lovers Left Alive 
10. Mr. Turner

No comments: