My 10 Best Films of 2014 include several Best Actor contenders, an animated blockbuster, an underrated action gem, a powerhouse music drama, and an inspirational look at a “Two Thumbs Up” life at the movies.
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu masterfully directs using, essentially, a handful of continuous shoits. A daring story about a former movie superhero attempting a comeback on the Broadway stage, is accompanied by an incredible score, and features top-notch performances by Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone. Had a smile on my face the entire time. It’s a funny, unpredictable and soaring cinematic experience.
2. “AMERICAN SNIPER”
Bradley Cooper gives the performance of his career as Navy SEAL and war hero Chris Kyle, in Clint Eastwood’s heart-pounding and heart-breaking telling of Kyle’s life. Sienna Miller is also excellent as Kyle’s wife. This is Eastwood’s best film since “Million Dollar Baby”.
Tom Hardy plays the title character, who drives and talks on his car phone for 90 minutes. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen…and it’s brilliant!
4. “LIFE ITSELF”
Iconic film critic Roger Ebert is beautifully and powerfully honored in 2014’s best documentary, filled with touching stories and tributes.
Jake Gyllenhaal is outstanding as my favorite movie character of the year, unstable LA TV news stringer Lou Bloom. Rene Russo, as the news director, also delievers. This thriller blew me away.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., David Oyelowo shines in director Ava DuVernay’s brave and important film about the 60’s Civil Rights Movement.
7. “THE IMITATION GAME”
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in this emotional true story about the attempt to break the Nazis’ Enigma Code and end WWII.
8. “EDGE OF TOMORROW”
Smartest script of the year, based on the sci-fi novel All You Need Is Kill. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are fantastic.
9. “THE LEGO MOVIE”
Everything is Awesome in the year’s funniest and finest animated film. Deserves an Original Screenplay Oscar nod as well.
A spellbinding, often shocking look at the relationship between a ruthless music instructor (an incredible J.K. Simmons) and his new percussion student (showcase work from Miles Teller).
“THE FAULT IN OUR STARS” – Shailene Woodley deserves to be in the Best Actress conversation.
“GET ON UP” – Chadwick Boseman is excellent as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
“GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” – Hooked on it from minute one. B. Cooper as Rocket Raccoon – genius!
“THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY” – Simple and sweet, with a terrific Helen Mirren and strong love story.
“STILL ALICE” – Julianne Moore is riveting as a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.