Another year flew by, which means another group of great films came out. Here is my annual top ten list:
1. Nightcrawler- It has enough humor and wit to be considered a black satire and definitely enough thrills to be seen as one of the best suspense films of the year. Nightcrawler offers a thought-provoking look at the media’s exploitation of violence and lack of morals; while, showcasing a scathing look at one man’s navigation through his amoral and ruthless ambition.
2. Inherent Vice- Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is full of oddities. There are plenty of offbeat characters, oddball moments, and all around absurdity. It doesn’t concern itself with a coherent plot or story, but it does offer Anderson a chance to break genre conventions. By playing with the detective noir, Anderson has created a vivid atmosphere that explores the culture, characters, and environment of his 1970s California. It’s a unique experience that honors film’s past, but also admirably tries to expand beyond its genre.
3. The Imitation Game- What is undoubtedly the best biopic of the year; The Imitation Game is a beautifully crafted portrait of a genius that has never gotten the recognition he rightfully deserved. With common themes about fitting in and fighting against the mold, it is a smart film that also has one of the finest performances of the year thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch excellent portrayal of an extraordinary human being.
4. Foxcatcher- Foxcatcher is a brilliant picture that is transfixed in the horrors of two disturbed individuals. Bennett Miller beautifully captures the self-implosion of these individuals by coldly depicting their desires and loneliness. It is a slow burning psychological thriller that is full of intensity, emotion, and controlled chaos. It grapples with you and ends up staying with you long after you leave the theater.
5. Whiplash- From director, Damien Chazelle, Whiplash is a brilliantly intense, brutally physical, and inspiring film that never ceases to stop. With two excellent performances by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, Whiplash shows that with hard work and dedication comes great rewards, and with the talent involved they prove they might be on the same level as a Charlie Parker.
6. Birdman- AlejandroGonzález Iñárritu has crafted an insanely ambitious film that is a technical masterpiece and also provides an remarkable performance by Michael Keaton. It provides an intimate look into an actor’s mind and showcases all of his absurdity, self-importance, and insecurity. Birdman is a must see for all cinephiles.
7. Gone Girl- David Fincher is a “cerebral assassin” that continues to make gripping films that keep you on the edge of you seat. Gone Girl is a smart, cunning, dark, and pulse pounding experience. With great style and an excellent performance by Rosamund Pike, it is one that promises to keep you talking about it.
8. Noah- Darren Aronofsky has breathed new life into the Biblical genre by making a fascinating epic that is grand in its scope and purpose. Noahis boldly ambitious, and is an experience that is as personal as it is cinematic. Aronofsky has made this film for believers and nonbelievers, and has truly made an insightful blockbuster that never fails to bore its audience.
9. Boyhood- Richard Linklater has created a masterfully fluid film that beautifully captures life’s everyday moments. It is an ambitious and sometimes profound coming-of-age story that takes you through the stages of growing up.
10. Top Five- Chris Rock fans rejoice! We finally have a Chris Rock film that is as funny, smart, edgy, and meaningful as his great stand-up shows. Written and directed by Rock, Top Five is a semi-autobiographical film that is sincere in its approach and contains hilarious observations about Rock’s culture and fame.