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The Top 10 Movies of 2014

The Top 10 Movies of 2014
Sony Pictures Classics | Fox Searchlight | The Weinstein Company

Another strong year for film has come to a close. We've seen two Bible movies, three musicals, lots of superheroes, lots of huge franchises, and a comedy about North Korea, a country without a sense of humor. Yes, 2014 was filled with fun and controversy at the movies. These are the best I witnessed:

  • 1

    The Grand Budapest Hotel

    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Wes Anderson: His timing is so sharply honed now, it's easy to take for granted the immensity of The Grand Budapest Hotel. And I don't just mean the sets, which are breathtaking. The actors, art direction, costumes, music, and dialogue all work in perfect harmony—like an orchestra. The speed is overwhelming. And Ralph Fiennes: simply perfect. I never wanted it to end.

  • 2

    Under the Skin

    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Jonathan Glazer and Scarlett Johansson: the best collaboration between director and actor this year. They've made a monster of a film. Under the Skin has images you won't believe and will never see again anywhere else. It's a rare film about an alien told by the alien. Scene 14, the beach, haunts my dreams. 

  • 3

    The Immigrant

    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For James Gray: the master of shadows. Shot in candlelit sepia tones with pure elegance, The Immigrant takes you to 1921 New York City as surely as The Godfather Part II does. But the beauty of each shot belies a immense tale of struggle and sacrifice. Gray's film is a story of survival, and the long forgotten buried by the steamroller of a burgeoning empire. 

  • 4


    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Jake Gyllenhaal: who fearlessly creates evil with an earnestness that makes you question human nature itself. His Lou Bloom is the villain of the year and Gyllenhaal disappears inside him. Plus, Nightcrawler is 2014's best satire, destroying the parasitic world of the paparazzi and the culture it creates.

  • 5

    Inherent Vice

    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Joaquin Phoenix: a picture of versatility. He doesn't just smoke weed in Inherent Vice; he makes love to it. Paul Thomas Anderson's rollicking stoner noir is the closest we've come to The Big Lebowski since The Big Lebowski and it's hugely funny, disorienting, surprising, frustrating, lovable, and hugely funny, or did I say that already? 

  • 6


    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Richard Linklater: Boyhood is his Annie Hall, a pure culmination of the writer/director's career. It's epic in the original definition of the word and, more than that, it's true. There were no other movies in 2015 that critically compared. Boyhood's an all-timer, a one-of-a-kind film.

  • 7

    Starred Up

    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Jack O'Connell: the newcomer of the year blisters like a caged animal in Starred Up. There hasn't been a prison movie like this since Bronson, and O'Connell is just as furious a screen presence as Tom Hardy is in that film. But the movie has smarts too, and a father/son dynamic that will move you.      

  • 8


    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Bennett Miller: the cinematic tactician. What people don't talk about is Foxcatcher's place as a great sports film, which it is. It has a wrestling scene of such intensity and beauty it should be framed and hung on a wall in the Louvre. Distinctly American, Foxcatcher's full of the sports, drugs, money, and guns that define and deny the Dream.

  • 9


    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For J.K. Simmons: the personification of intimidation. The ending of the year belongs to Whiplash writer/director Damien Chazelle, who musters deep satisfaction from his frequently disheartening story. But the film belongs to Simmons. The veteran supporting actor breathes intensity into this story of a music student at a Juilliard-type school.

  • 10

    The Drop

    The Top 10 Movies of 2014

    For Tom Hardy: The best there is. He gives a throwback neighborhood performance in this movie that ranks up there with the work of Dean and Brando. But the film is distinctly New York—a modern day Mean Streets where danger comes in all forms, even friends.


Jodorowsky's Dune, Citizenfour, Enemy, Snowpiercer, Borgman, Calvary, Blue Ruin, Listen Up Philip, Night Moves, Mr. Turner

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