As I have been looking at my top films for a given year, I needed a method for looking at a large number of films for the year so that I could compare them. In my search, I came across Letterboxd. I tried Letterboxd a few years back before it had the number of users that it does today. They have made significant improvements and the user community is phenomenal. I would encourage any movie lover to keep their film diary at Letterboxd.
The site has also let me look at a number of films from any given year and sort them in a multitude of ways. Letterboxd has 12,585 films listed with a release date of 2014. This is also where the featured image comes from and where I will pull the featured image from all of my annual entries. This is to give you a chance to see some of the other films that I had to pass over to get my favorites. According to the site, I have seen 63 of those films. So with that, let’s look at my top 3 films of 2014.
3rd – Whiplash
The ending of Whiplash offers one of the most electrifying movie moments this year. Centered on a rousing musical performance given by the film’s protagonist Andrew (Miles Teller), the scene is filmed and presented as a triumph, if a costly one. That’s a daring choice from young director and writer Damien Chazelle, because Andrew, a student drummer, has been subjected to elite jazz-training hell by tyrannical instructor Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) over the previous 100 minutes. – The Atlantic
2nd – Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
The vast majority of Iñárritu’s hilarious, beautiful, film-defying film plays out in an apparently continuous, cut-free sequence that prowls through the St. James Theatre in New York City, where Riggan [Michael Keaton] hopes to resuscitate his flagging career… Working with the great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, Iñárritu turns the film into a high-wire act – live, unpredictable, light as air, yet also fatalistically locked on course. While it’s going on, you’re glued to the impossibility of what you’re seeing. Once it’s over, you can’t believe what you saw. Yet Birdman isn’t a piece of empty showmanship. It’s a piece about empty showmanship, and its unhinged premise – a fairground-mirror image of the career of its leading man, who starred in Tim Burton’s two mega-grossing Batman films then quit the franchise on principle – couldn’t have been told in a smarter way. – Telegraph
1st – Boyhood
Shot in 39 days and covering 12 years, Boyhood flows seamlessly over two hours and 40 minutes as we watch characters age, argue, reconcile, mature or not. [Ethan] Hawke excels as a mostly absentee dad, while [Patricia] Arquette brings a poignant urgency to a mother hobbled by her knack for bringing home the wrong men. But the film belongs to [Ellar] Coltrane, especially as he shows us Mason coping with the perils of pursuing a career in photography and his school’s hottest girl (Zoe Graham). [Richard] Linklater never overplays his hand with tear-jerking or dramatic excess. He knows the boy’s heart, and in the process he captures ours. – Rolling Stone