Top Ten Movies of 2014

A few must-sees still on my list (most notably WhiplashThe Imitation Game, Selma, Inherent Vice, The Homesman, Winter Sleep, The Skeleton Twins, Unbroken, Wild, Big Eyes, Mr. Turner, Nightcrawler, The Drop, The One I Love, The Double) but from what I’ve seen thus far, I wouldn’t consider 2014 a particularly strong year.

(Look for updates to this list as I fit in more viewings)

Honorable Mentions: Captain America: The Winter SoldierGuardians of the Galaxy, Edge of Tomorrow, FuryGodzilla, Mitt, The Interview


10. Foxcatcher


“Foxcatcher is not your conventional narrative film. The plot is thin. The action is sparse. But the character subtext is off the charts.” Read More…


10. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


“Yes, this movie is mostly about computer generated apes who speak like cavemen. But it’s also about core human emotions: fear, love, respect. It’s about how fear of the unknown has the ability to bring out the worst in us.” Read More…


9. Noah


“Many will walk away thinking this film was weird. It is. The story of Noah is unusual. Aronofsky takes a primal, natural story and gives it depth and complexity that most people can find meaning and wonder in.” Read More…


8. Gone Girl


“…under the guidance of a master director (David Fincher) and a capable cast, Gone Girl becomes a methodical epic with effective commentary on marriage, image, power, and tabloid media.” Read More…


7. The Grand Budapest Hotel


“It moves fast. Lighting fast. Right from the beginning we get four different time periods, three flashbacks, three different aspect ratios, and two different narrators. Once we land on the meat of the story, the story of M. Gustave, the cunning concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel, and Zero, his new lobby boy, the words fly off the screen with grace and force.”  Read More…


6. Ida


Ida has a crazy gravitational pull. Every image is so poetic, so breathtaking, that I continually got lost while trying to soak it in with my eyes. If a coffee table book containing each shot from this film existed, I would buy it in a heartbeat.”  Read More…


5. American Sniper


“American Sniper is a simple film. There’s a hero. There are bad guys. You could say AS is a modern day Western. But Eastwood continues his streak of films that build complex heroes.”  Read More…


4. The Lego Movie


“On its surface, the story is about a normal guy, Emmet, who is destined for greatness. We’ve seen that message of “everyone is special” a million times. But The LEGO Movie takes a surprisingly unexpected and mature route. Instead of the story being about the normal guy finding something extraordinary about himself, it’s about how “normal” IS extraordinary.” Read More…


3. Boyhood


“I believe most people (male and female, young and old) can identify with Boyhood because of its unifying core and underlying message: We grow up too fast.” Read More…


2. Interstellar


“There’s a ticking clock on the world and no time to sit and marvel at the universe. The marvel is back home, sealed in the most powerful dimension at display in Interstellar, love.” Read More…


1. Birdman


Birdman is no gimmick movie. It’s an experience unlike any other brought to us by craftsmen at their very best. It may very well be the best movie of the year.” Read More…

The importance of composition and silence: ‘Ida’




(2014 – Director: Pawel Pawlikowski   Cast: Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza)

Ida has a crazy gravitational pull. Every image is so poetic, so breathtaking, that I continually got lost while trying to soak it in with my eyes. If a coffee table book containing each shot from this film existed, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Read More…

Performances and ambition lift ‘Birdman’




(2014 – Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu   Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone)

What impresses me most about Birdman is its fluidity amongst the never-ending on-screen brokenness. Every character is fragile and fighting perceptions of self-worth, confidence, validation, reality, and truth. So what better way to underlay the present than to give the illusion that the entire film is done in one two-hour take. In a film that is all about risk and truth, the single take approach brings clarity to a film in the riskiest way possible. We glide from one character to the next with no break, no cut, and no chance to catch one’s breath. Read More…

Pod, James Pod Podcast: Episode 0016 – ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’


Carlin and I get into the meat of the Pierce Brosnan Sandwich as we discuss Tomorrow Never Dies on the newest episode of the Pod, James Pod Podcast. Renard takes note of Elliott Carver, Ricky Jay tries to be the new cameraman, the stealth boat makes a special appearance, and Jack Wade keeps on annoying Bond.

Click below to listen or visit us on iTunes or Stitcher.


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