Top films of 2014

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Although I not am sure that any of those strolling the red carpet in a few hours time will be checking to hear about my take on the best films of the year (even to break the tedium of a normal Academy Awards night), it is still good to take stock of a rather good year in film, not the least because it seems that European art house found its sense of humor to blend with the usual dose of tragedy.   

The best

Leviathan – Amazingly subtle yet powerful script full of slavic sense of humor and tragedy, stunningly filmed and superbly acted. It took my breath away, not the least for the fact that its events are not too implausible

Ida –  A gem of a film that gives a chiaroscuro to a well trodden story, much due to the amazing performance of Agata Trzebuchowska. Quite a few scenes come back to haunt me. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel – It is nice to see that the hype was well-worth it and that Wes Anderson is developing his style further, without making a parody of himself (which would be very easy). Shame to see that Ralph Fiennes was not nominated.

Nymphomaniac – Probably the most un-erotic film featuring real sex, no penetration in the film is gratuitous, but rather adds to its crazy swagger. Despite the more confused final act, the film always delivered the unexpected (much like the parallels drawn by the Seligman) and each of the vignettes is a masterpiece in its own right. And yes, it is technically a 2013 film, but still…

Gone Girl – A proper fun romp, Fincher brought back the wild-eyed fun of sex and outrage that blockbusters so sorely, need in the era of superhero franchises. Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck were a treat to watch.

The most notable of the rest

Duke of Burgundy – Another comparatively un-erotic film with a very erotic premise (one of the credits is for human toilet consultant), Duke of Burgundy it is very poetic and smart, albeit overlong and a bit too concerned about maintaining the 70s Euro sexploitation style.

Maps to the Stars  – Although it is a great big mess of a pretentious film, Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) is too memorable a character not to be mentioned.

The overrated

Boyhood – Although liked Linklater’s After/Before movies , if you want to watch an impressionistic film about growing up as a boy in Texas invest 3 hours of your life instead into the Tree of Life (it even has dinosaurs!). Boyhood is an overlong gimmick, a very shallow portrayal of growing up (where is the true angst? the pain? the joy?) and rather bad acting for the leads. The fact that it wears its politics on the sleeve makes it even worse.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Derivative drivel.

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