Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ian's Must See Ten from 2014 (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Ten films Not to Miss in 2014

This was a year for existential character studies. The films this year took us diverse trips, from the outer reaches of space in "Interstellar" to the confines of a luxury car seen in "Locke." The best word to describe the year in cinema would be diversity. Here is my somewhat unorthodox "ten not to miss" list for 2014.

10. Selma- tense, thoughtful and episodic, here is Martin Luther King Jr. as a human person with all of his muscle and compassionate melody. David Oyeleyo's voice alone will bring shivers. Not to be missed.

9. Citizenfour---an arresting portrait of Edward Snowden. He remains this generation's romantic revolutionary, upsetting the status quo and highlighting our errors and our overreaches as a political species.

8. Lucy- a popcorn film in the best sense of the word and unapologetically light, this film doesn't make much sense but the direction of Luc Besson gives the action a speed and a color that makes it all potent and intoxicating. Think of it as a cinematic highball, or a sourball candy that dances and hovers on the eyes. Yes, this is a guilty pop art pleasure, and Scarlett Johansson helps create an all too watchable narcotic that you just might feel awkward about the next morning.

7. Only Lovers Left Alive--- fiercely unique, quirky and imaginative. Jim Jarmusch's vampire film captures the lonely essence of a   nightwalker more vividly than any other film I have seen while still paying homage to Hammer Films kitsch. Stay up all night if you must, but see this film.

6. St. Vincent--- One of Bill Murray's best films to date. Heartfelt poignant and feel good to a fault, this story will have you cheering.

5. Boyhood--- deeply conceptual and moving. A genuine one of a kind experimental film, richly detailing not only the life of a boy into adulthood but an entire space in time.

4. Whiplash---gutsy, melancholy and poetic this film captures the artistic struggle with its intimate portrait of a young drummer. Miles Teller is terrific.

3. Big Eyes: I am a sucker for Tim Burton's films and this story makes a wonderful 60s period piece for him. Fittingly affectionate and Gothic with Burton's Tell Tale Hearts in all the right places, the film also gives Margaret Keane her deserved place of Pop honor.

2. Force Majuere---acidic, bleak and funny. This film plays like a film version of Albert Camus with random jarring events happening when you least expect it. Uncompromising with an abundance of shocks.

1. Locke-- a one man experience that flies in the face of conventional film. A thoughtful and darkly comic example of a modern existence that is anoxic and without patience. A must see!

Call me an award season outlier if you wish, but character studies ruled the day. See you at The Tropic!

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