Top 10 best movies 2014
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Notes: I already heard about this movie 6 or 8 years ago and, of course, I was really intrigued but I didn’t expect it to be so amazing. I mean, sure, it is a very nice gimmick (shooting a movie over a period of 12 years starting with a boy at 6 years old until he reaches 18 years old) but a gimmick remains a gimmick unless you manage to do something great with it and Richard Linklater certainly did something quite amazing here. Indeed, a traditional movie would give you a nice story, a great story if you’re lucky, but here they gave us a genuine slice of life. Of course, you could argue that they could have shot a documentary and you would have ended up with the same results but I highly doubt it. Indeed, for almost 3 hours, you spend more than a decade with these characters and even though nothing hugely dramatic happens, the whole thing was just spellbinding to behold.
Through the years, the Academy has made some poor choices but, lately, I have to admit that they finally got it right and this movie was definitely a worthy winner. Eventually, I still think that 'Boyhood' was in fact a better choice but this flick was really not far behind and I liked it a lot. To be honest, I thought that the actual play was in fact about Birdman so I was expecting something slightly different but that wasn't a big deal, in the contrary. What we got here was a very smart, very well directed movie with some really impressive performances. Indeed, it was filled with some very long takes and you can imagine that it must have been rather daunting for the actors involved. For Inarritu, it is the crowning of an already impressive and pretty much flawless career and I will definitely check his next movie starring this time Leonardo DiCaprio.
Ex Machina (2014)
Notes: I wasn't disappointed and it turned out to be easily the smartest movie released in 2015. Indeed, even though it was visually quite appealing, it was above the fascinating ideas developed in this picture that really appealed to me. As a matter of fact, just a few weeks ago, I saw a talk show on TV where they were saying that, indeed, the big companies like Google are currently investigating on AI and we should expect some major breakthrough in this area in the near future. In this movie, you can see already the issues if we would come up with a very intelligent AI. For example, how could we know what an AI is actually exactly thinking? What would be its purpose in life, a concept we humans are constantly struggling with? And most important, what would be then our purpose?
Notes: In my opinion, it is basically some kind of dark version of 'Fame' mixed with a nail-biting thriller. Still, even though J.K. Simmons was really amazing, giving the best performance of his career, they went really far with this character. I mean, the guy was just downright awful and, at some point, I started to have a hard time believing that someone would accept to be treated like that. But, basically, that's the whole point of this movie, is it all really worth it? For most of the duration of this movie, the answer would be resounding 'NO' and, then, they brought up this amazing ending with a music piece lasting almost 10 minutes with a solo drum of about 5 minutes. At that moment, you basically don't know anymore as the main character, also very played by Miles Teller, seemed to have reached another level of musical awesomeness, and then again, you start to think, maybe it was worth it after all.
Notes: It was basically a fascinating character study about a massive sociopath living in a dark and nihilistic world. Eventually, the scariest thing was not Louis Bloom himself but the fact that the whole thing was just so damned realistic. Indeed, I was worried that, at some point, the main character would go even further and would kill someone just to get a good story but, fortunately, they never made this mistake. The interesting thing is that many people thought that Bloom was despicable but, to be honest, the guy didn't really bother me so much. Basically, he just did his job and nobody forced the TV station to buy his videos and nobody forced the audience to watch them afterwards. His job was however despicable, that's for sure, and our world, apparently craving for these kind of images, is pretty sick.
Notes: It seems that Nolan's ambition is pretty much limitless as he decided to tackle this time an epic science-fiction feature reaching out for a seminal masterpiece like '2001: A Space Odyssey' and the guy almost pulled it off. I say almost because even though the whole thing was really entertaining, emotional and gorgeous to look at, the story was actually rather shaky and half of it didn't make much sense whatsoever. Above all, with this movie, you finally got a glimpse of Nolan's actual limitations. By now, we all pretty much agree that he is one of the most talented directors at work today but if you want to go all the way and make a really awesome masterpiece like his example Stanley Kubrick, he has to stop to please the average movie watcher by throwing some random action scenes here and there. It didn’t bother me with 'Inception' but, here, it was really obvious and rather annoying. Still, you get here some rather deep thoughts about life, death, love, the relativity of time and space and it was just exhilariting to see a blockbuster at least trying to tackle such ideas.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Notes: Personally, I always had a hard time with Wes Anderson. I mean, I always admired his work and his movies have always been visually impressive but I was missing something in his stories and I usually didn’t connect with them very well. Anyway, at last, with this movie, he finally nailed it. Indeed, he finally managed to mix his whimsical visual style and his hilarious characters with a very entertaining plot. To be honest, I still think I prefer ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ but this movie is definitely not far behind.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Notes: Wow! That’s what you can call a fun movie. I have to be honest, when I heard that Marvel was planning to release 2 or 3 super-hero flicks every year for the coming decade, I was pretty sure that they would saturate the market and end up with some major flops but if they keep reinventing themselves like that, it might take longer then I thought before they mess up, in fact, it might never happen at all after all. Indeed, this movie actually had basically the same usual ingredients but they managed to give it just the right flavour to make it really tasty. First of all, it is a gorgeous SF feature, one of the most interesting futuristic world I have seen for a while, full of interesting details. Then, you had those awesome hilarious characters far more entertaining than your usual powerful and righteous super beings. So, I really enjoyed it, it is one of the best super-hero flicks out there and the best movie produced by Marvel so far.
Gone Girl (2014)
Notes: Well, once again, Fincher came with a really original work and I'm actually surprised that it is actually so popular since it is far from being a maintream feature. Indeed, it is probably his weirdest movie since 'Fight Club' with so many layers that I will probably keep thinking about it for many days. The first layer is obviously a thriller about a man who might have killed his wife. Than, the second layer is a really pitch black comedy about an average guy who gets involved in this very weird media circus. This combination was already pure genius and like 'The Wolf of Wall Street', it was rather unexpected but very much welcome. Obviously, it goes even further and it becomes this really weird study about how married life can make you think and or do the weirdest thing, even if in this case, it becomes pretty extreme but it was obviously all on purpose. To be honest, I'm not sure that everything really did work but it was still a really good flick.
Notes: At last, Darron Aronofsky was allowed to make a big blockbuster and, of course, I was really eager to check the end-result. Eventually, he didn’t go for the easy path and decided to go all the way and direct a massive biblical epic. To be honest, even though I was quite impressed, I’m still not quite sure what to make of the whole thing and I will probably re-watch it at some point in the future to make up my mind for good. First of all, it was visuallly impressive but it wasn't the biggest appeal of this feature. I have to admit it, I’m not a religious person, in the contrary, and I'm not sure I actually really cared about this ancient tale but I have always been fascinated by the concept of religion and this movie definitely gave some food for thought. Indeed, even though the scale was huge, the whole thing is basically about Noah himself and the struggles he has to face and it was quite intriguing to behold.
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