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Added by the giraffe on 12 Nov 2014 08:38
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Best movies of 2014

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An absolute treasure of a film that will be discussed long after so many other 2014 titles have disappeared into obscurity. Director Alejandro Inarritu has given us an instant classic, a film that is as exuberant, energetic and playful as it is contemplative, intelligent, and thematically ambitious. The insanely accomplished visual technique only adds to the sheer magic, and I can't praise the film enough for its ability to exist as both an intensely personal exploration and a broad statement about the nature of filmmaking, theatrical arts, and criticism. Birdman is at once a highly literary and multi-layered virtuoso and a sharply funny, purely engaging whirlwind of ingenious movie-making. It's easy among the most noteworthy cinematic achievements of the decade.--My 2014 Favorites - Xanadon't

See also: PvtCaboose91's review
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 1070 Average listal rating (686 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9

"Boyhood" is an audacious experiment of a film that chronicles the everyday life experiences of a young boy named Mason, played by newcomer Ellar Coltrane, as he lives out his childhood hitting on universal moments that each person can relate to no matter what the age is. Mason is the kind of young boy you get to know over the course of the film who bears strong similarities to a friend you might have had in school, or perhaps even one's own self at certain points. I saw both in my experience. He lives a very ordinary life with his mother, played wonderfully by Patricia Arquette who merits an Oscar nomination. She shines brighter on screen than she ever has before, including "True Romance". Along for the ride as well is the divorced dad played very well by Linklater regular Ethan Hawke, whose character's goofy charm is always endearing and fun to watch as he brings a lot of humour to many of his scenes. Every performance is stellar because the story is so intimately told which brings out the level of authenticity and realism that most films lack. So real it has a sort of documentary feeling to it.

This is a truly groundbreaking movie literally spanning 12 years of of a story that flows at its own pace, free from contrivances in the plot or cliche characters. It feels closer to real life than most movies on the subject of growing up. Nowadays, I feel like audience attention span is so limited that filmmakers feel that have to play to that ineptitude by removing any time to take it all in and experience the atmosphere, world, and circumstances our characters inhabit. In this movie, not a whole lot really "happens", if that makes sense. There's no villain's evil scheme, there's no ticking-clock scenario, no pointless shenanigans, no three-act structure, and especially no dumbing down of the material. This isn't that kind of movie. It's truly about those little moments no one talks about to much between the big moments that build up the human experience and how they all amount to what life is like in a way. By shooting little chunks of movie with the same cast and crew over a 12-year period Richard Linklater and company were able to take the quiet normality and blandness of everyday life and turn out an extraordinary cinematic achievement.
--from The Movie Geek's review
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 83 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5

20,000 Days on Earth is a brilliant hybrid of fact & fiction, a documentary with an unreliable narrator. More to the point it's a document of a day in the life of Nick Cave as he might tell it rather than how he would actually live it. That opens the film up to all sorts of possibilities & with Cave in control of the story you know you're going to get something engaging & worthwhile. The film never disappoints, and yet it fell just short of perfection for me. I have no doubt, however, that it'll be just as entertaining on repeat viewings as it was the first time.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 485 Average listal rating (336 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Chef (2014)

Chef is one of those smaller, personal films that I loved on every single level. The characters are great, the story is well-told all around, the music is perfect, and it's got equal amounts of humor and heart. If I wanted to be picky I could call out the ending for being predictable, but it's so well-earned that I'm willing to let that slide. Oh yeah, and a warning to all who want to check this one out...do NOT go into it hungry. Either eat a meal right before you watch it or catch it in a place where good food is easily accessible. Those who fail to heed my warning will find themselves ravenous by the film's end.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 420 Average listal rating (275 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8

The animation is stellar, the whole look & feel of the film is just amazing, there's some excellent humor throughout, and the story is one that hasn't been done to death told in a way that feels fresh. Best of all, it's populated with characters that are mostly unattractive in any conventional sense which you can't get away with in your typical Hollywood film. Fortunately there's nothing typical here.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 64 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.3
Rigor Mortis (2013)

Not enough can be said about Rigor Mortis' unique style. Visually this is an extremely cool and accomplished piece of work. The film oozes with style and gritty charisma. There is definitely some heavy filtering going on as the movie presents itself in primarily cold, muted colors that gives the entire film an eerie feel. Pools of blood somehow become even more ominous. Shadows somehow become even less friendly. The stark blonde hair on a young boy might suggest hope. Innocence. But here the child feels like a bright and shining angel-headed target. Surely, dark and wicked claws will come screaming through the night, charging down black corridors to snuff out this unwelcome light.

A frenzied and manic marvel fuels the film's many action sequences and the film finds inventive ways to splash its bloody carnage and unearthly haunts across the screen. But to say that Rigor Mortis is strictly an exercise in style over substance would be doing the film a disservice. The primary characters of the movie are well-developed and give a very real and human backbone around which to stage the supernatural action horror elements at play. Meanwhile, the narrative framework of the film is not only clever, but lends the movie a twist in meaning and more to consider than I might have guessed. All of this adds up to a fresh and exciting piece of cinema, the kind of film that comes along and gets me excited about horror films and the prospect of discovery within the genre.--from My 2013 Toronto Film Festival List! - Xanadon't
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 154 Average listal rating (98 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.7

More comedies should be this brave and well-made.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 148 Average listal rating (97 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.7

This little New Zealand horror flick does a stellar job at playing around with genre conventions, with a solid cast & some actual surprises along the way. It's best to go into this one knowing as little as possible, that way it's sure to have its full effect on you.
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 348 Average listal rating (206 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1

I was pleasantly surprised by Song of the Sea. I love the art throughout the film, which ties in visually with The Secret of Kells while also being its own thing. The duality of some of the characters was really interesting, and overall the story is engaging and moving. I'll gladly watch it again.
the giraffe's rating:
the giraffe's rating:
People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 4.1 IMDB Rating 4.2
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I realize there are a lot of films in this section, but 2014 was a really damn good year for movies overall.

2014 really helped boost my enthusiasm for film as a whole going forward. If you disagree, then I encourage you to check out my runners-up section and dig into those. New entries in horror helped boost the numbers here, as the list currently holds 12 titles in the genre. And going into 2014, the last time I'd rated a new release 10/10 was 2011 so the fact that this year spawned a film that rated that level was a very pleasant surprise.

Apologies, by the way, for the big delay in getting this one out there. I'd hoped to get Boyhood watched before I posted this list, but as more time passes without my doing so & this list keeps growing I figure it's got enough going for it to finally let it loose.

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