Best of 2014

While we were slackers in terms of writing reviews, we were not slackers in terms of seeing lots of movies.  Here’s our picks for the best of 2014.

 Bill IBill C
Best Movies1 Boyhood 4.5
2 American Sniper 4.5
3 Whiplash 4
4 Calvary 4
5 Top Five 4
6 Beyond the Lights 4
7 The Grand Budapest Hotel 4
8 Wild 4
9 The Imitation Game 4
10 Ida 4
11 St. Vincent 4
1 Boyhood 4.5
2 Guardians of the Galaxy 4
3 The Grand Budapest Hotel 4
4 SnowPiercer 4
5 Whiplash 4
6 The Tribe 4
7 Foxcatcher 4
8 St Vincent 3.5
9 Top Five 3.5
10 Birfman 3.5
11 Goodnight Mommy 3.5
12 NightCrawler 3.5
13 Master Pancake Theater
Best Documentaries1 Life Itself 4
2 Citizen Four 4
3 Kung Fu Elliott 4
4 The Dog 3.5
5 12 O'Clovck Boys 3.5
6 No No: A Dockumentary 3.5

Bill C’s Best of 2014 Comments (Not in order)

Narrative Films

Boyhood – This was my favorite movie of the year.  Not really any plot – just a boy growing up.  For someone with kids who grew up over the past 12-14 years, it was very moving.
Guardians of the Galaxy – A totally different action movie based on a Marvel comic.  Upbeat and fun with great music.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Another excellent, quirky movie from Wes Anderson.
Master Pancake Theater (anything) – This isn’t really a movie.  This is the group in Austin that mocks movies.  Like Mystery Science Theater 3000 only with less  no inhibitions.  All their shows are hysterical and they never disappoint.  I go to as many shows as I can.
St Vincent – Funny and moving.  This was much better than I expected.  Both Bill Murray and a reined-in Melissa McCarthy were very good.
Top Five – Very funny, but with serious themes, starring and directed by Chris Rock.
SnowPiercer – Very good sci-fi movie with the last survivors in a post-apocalyptic world living on a train dealing with serious class issues.
Goodnight Mommy – Best Austrian horror movie on my list with the worst title.  If M. Night Shamalyan could still make good movies, this is the movie he would make.
The Tribe – Best Ukrainian movie on my list about a gang of deaf students. This movie has no dialogue—just Ukrainian sign language and no subtitles—but I was able to follow the plot with no problems.  Very intense.  Brutal ending.
Birdman – This is just great  movie-making on display.  I love the way they make it seem like one take (like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope).
NightCrawler – Jake Gyllenhaal gives a masterful performance as a total sleeze-ball roaming L.A. at night trying to get good footage of bad things to sell to the highest bidder.
Foxcatcher – Great performances all around in this drama based on a real story.
Whiplash – Sort of An Officer and a Gentleman set in the world of jazz music.  J. K. Simmons is amazing.

Documentaries

Life Itself – A life-affirming bio of Roger Ebert.  Much of this is shot during his final days, but his whole life was interesting.  Very moving, although parts are tough to watch.
Kung Fu Elliott – A very funny documentary about a guy who wants to be the greatest action star of Canadian films.  It gets dark towards the end, with several surprises.
12 O’Clock Boys – A fascinating  documentary about lower income gangs in Baltimore and their dirt bikes.
The Dog – A documentary about the real life character Al Pacino played in Dog Day Afternoon and his life both before and after the robbery.
No No: A Documentary – Doc Ellis and his no-hitter while high on LSD (and the rest of his life).
CitizenFour – A documentary about Edward Snowden just before, during and just after he leaks classified info from the NSA. Really good.

Worst Movie

Mood Indigo – I really like some quirky stuff (see The Grand Budapest Hotel above).  Unfortunately quirky along with boring doesn’t work for me.