There’s an abundance of lists of “Best Movies of 2014” on the Internet, going from film sites such as Rotten Tomatoes to cultural/literary magazines like The New Yorker. So, this is not ‘my best of’ but simply a short-list of a few titles that I liked (not in order of preference). With the reason for the ‘award.’
The Guardian of the Galaxy, for surprising me. I expected a ‘kids movie’, instead, I got an intelligent product, full of humor, witty dialogues, and cinematic references. Only Lovers Left Alive, for being able to provide fresh iconography of vampires, despite the overdose of ‘fang narratives’ in recent years. With an open ending, humor, fabulous soundtrack, and tons of literary references. Boyhood, because it confirms that Linklater, after the ‘love trilogy’ of Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013), has created a sort of ‘new wave’ of contemporary America, making me think of such French filmmakers as Eric Rohmer and François Truffaut. Under The Skin, because it created a surprising, idiosyncratic film from a novel I loved. For all those who think that books are ‘better’: they are not. My favorite film of the year (despite a slightly disappointing ending). Nightcrawler, because you won’t look at crime photo-journalism in the same way again. Suspenseful and with skillful camera work, it shows what docu-fiction could be. Prize to Jake Gyllenhaal for Best Actor (I’m not a fan of ‘physical’ performances, like Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. Performing not over the top is much more difficult). Last Summer by Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli, as my favorite Italian film of the year (seen at the Rome Film Festival) because it didn’t seem an ‘Italian film’ and made me think of Michelangelo Antonioni. Script in collaboration with Banana Yoshimoto. The version I saw at the Festival was in English and Japanese, with Italian subtitles; the official trailer has Italian and Japanese, with an Italian that sounds so fake. Once again, why Italians can’t read subtitles? Snowpiercer, because South Korean director Bong Joon-ho “tries to transcend the post-apocalyptic clichés” (read the rest of the review from The New Yorker) and for the reasons here. Last film I saw this year: The Imitation Game, and I really enjoyed it. You can skip The Theory of Everything. Alan Turing is a much more interesting character, and the film is infinitely better. I saw it here, which may have added some extra appeal. If you like films on science, also check the documentary Particle Fever (which I saw at True/False 2014).
Films I haven’t seen yet but I feel they might have had a space in this list: Gone Girl, Whiplash, The Babadook, Interstellar, Goodbye to Language. – Addendum on Jan. 9, 2015: saw Whiplash, I enjoyed it but I wouldn’t have placed it in this list.
Films from which I expected more: Inside Llewyn Davis (the cat was fabulous though), Birdman (but psyched for the soundtrack), Anime Nere (Black Souls), Il giovane favoloso (Leopardi – but excellent interpretation by Elio Germano).
Unfortunately, none of the films mentioned here, from what I recall of the dialogues in the film, would pass the Bechdel Test. If I’m wrong, please, send me a message with the dialogue.
May the magic of cinema never end….