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Added by robertstackvoice on 17 Aug 2014 11:39
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side B 2014

My SIDE B lists are basically cheats. Its 10 films that are equally important as whatever goes on my BEST list, but because I refuse to go further than a top 20 they go here. Some films are flawed or maybe didn't quite hit me as I would've preferred. Others are simply cool genre films that the mass populous might have missed. Nevertheless ALL are worthy of your time.

So here ya go.
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Under the Skin hit me strangely upon first viewing. In fact I wasn't quite fond of it. Months passed and every now and then I'd be struck with memories of the imagery and tone. Its so thick with suspense and artistry that I couldn't drop it. Upon second viewing things fell firmly into place. Under the Skin is as slow as slow burn gets, but it pays off excellently. I'm still not sure it all makes sense (logically or emotionally) but its completely unique science fiction for 2014. There's nothing that quite compares.
OK, this comes with a HUGE warning. This is absolutely not for the faint of heart. Nothing Bad Can Happen is based on the true story of a devote Christian punk, who's beliefs are tested to the extreme. The film is actually a lot tamer than the real story... that said it's extremely rough. Its a drama, a horror film and a real life essay on the psychology of the religious. As well as the limits of human evil.
Last year French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villneuve and Jake Gyllenhaal made Prisoners (one of my favorites). At the same time Enemy was running on the festival circuit. If Prisoners harkened to the bigger Hollywood crime epic ala Mystic River or Seven, then Enemy falls in line with something from Lynch or Cronenberg. Enemy is designed to remain an enigma once its completed. So do not feel bad if you've got more questions at the end than answers. Its a film meant to wash over you, rather than explain itself with a twist or exposition.
Possibly had Frank not ended as it did I'm not sure I'd have been as satisfied with it. But as it stands its a great band picture that leaps between the real and the absurd. Giving honest looks at absurd people. Frank is truly funny throughout and excellently written. It may be my favorite Fassbender role yet. However its Maggie Gyllenhaal who steals many scenes as Frank's protective and thoroughly unhinged band mate.
Without a doubt Boyhood will be the film to beat next spring. Shot over the course of 12 years Linklater again displays his passion for a different kind of storytelling. Much like Before Midnight its not my favorite Linklater picture, but its maturity, emotion and honesty are impossible to miss. He's an American autuer at his best when experimenting and Boyhood is another in a long career of interesting cinematic experiments.
The second feature by Richard Ayoade (Submarine and 'Moss' from the BBC series The IT Crowd) is absolutely one of my favorites to watch. The Double is a clever and creative sci-fi infused paranoid comedy. The world is filled with interesting gadgetry, cool music and bizarre characters. This is hands down Eisenberg's best work since The Social Network and maybe the best thing I've seen Waskowska in at all. Though her performance in Stoker was good, the rest of that film well... wasn't.
The writing/directing team of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard have made my list two years running. Last year You're Next was actually my #1 Side B pick. The Guest is a worthy follow up to that film. This time they use their love of 80s action movies to craft a cool 90 minute character thriller. Its somewhere between Halloween and The Terminator with Dan Stevens controlling the screen as the charming but menacing as all hell 'Guest'.
Michel Gondry can be hit or miss in my book. Be Kind Rewind is a fun but forgettable film. As is The Green Hornet (although I still think its a way better rich, asshole, superhero movie than Iron Man). Human Nature and The Science of Sleep were very much major letdowns. Happily Mood Indigo falls along side his top tier work like Eternal Sunshine. Mood Indigo is endlessly creative and a surprisingly huge film. Gondry uses about every creative cinematic trick in the book to tell his warm but doomed love story.
Absolutely batshit insane. Sort of a film you have to see to believe. Why Don't You Play in Hell? is a love letter to 35mm filmmaking. Much of which has gone due to digital. As well as a love letter to the big bloody action pictures of yesteryears. The finale is a little like Kill Bill and John Woo on meth. It all may be too much for some to handle, but in my opinion its insanity worth basking in.
Without spoiling what's at work in Christopher Nolan's science fiction opus I'll say its complex. Not simply for its science but also in its emotions. Sometimes too warm for some and sometimes too cold, but all with a reasoning. He is if anything a pragmatic filmmaker. Visually it was great seeing a huge film like this that was done practically and with very limited CGI. Using miniatures, projection and lights to create a good deal of imagery.

What people walk away from the film with is where it gets tricky. I don't think it was accidental on anyone's part that there are various layers to some of the grander points. However I can say I walked away seeing a film that ultimately was very hopeful about humanity's ability to carry on. Its not without its moral and logical gray areas, but the bigger picture (not the per se main story of the film) offers something much more interesting than expected.

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