1. Interstellar – The volume & variety of complaints surrounding this wonderful film has got to be the most hilarious joke of 2014. The score was beautiful, the recorded messages scene was a soul crusher, and the goofy back end felt like trashy, old-school sci-fi serials in the best way.
2. Snowpiercer – Deliciously excessive, hilariously absurd, cartoonishly violent. The half-baked political philosophy is mostly inconsequential, placing the movie in a long line of vague haves-vs-have-nots dystopian sci-fi whose world-building is entirely purposed for a badassery delivery system. It delivers. Just don’t take it too seriously.
3. The Guest – A John Carpenter throwback where the villain’s mask is a handsome smile. It’s packed with enough humor, cruelty, synths, blood, smoke machines & genre-bending to entertain/seduce/corrupt the whole family.
4. Wetlands – Most likely the cutest movie about an anal fissure you’ll ever see. It was a good year for weird rom-coms and this one gets huge bonus points for managing to stick to the format while plunging into de Sade levels of depravity.
5. Under The Skin – Haunting. Sparse yet loaded with unforgettable images & sounds. Glazer is a genius.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson seems to be testing just how much Wes Anderson people can take with his last couple of features. I can take a lot, especially with performances as hilarious as Ralph Fiennes is here.
7. We Are The Best! – Those kids are the best.
8. The Babadook – Approaching this horror flick as a traditional creature feature is a huge mistake. The real threat is psychological and way more disturbing for it.
9. Blue Ruin – A realistic thriller that hits familiar beats carved out by people like Jeff Nichols & The Coen Bros without feeling at all redundant.
10. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears – The kaleidoscopic imagery & sound design are as intense as anything you’d expect from a Lynch, Jodorowsky, Argento, Glazer or Carruth. It was like if Under The Skin didn’t let every striking image bleed out, but instead threw a new one at you every few seconds.
HM. The One I Love, Frank, Obvious Child, Venus In Fir, Life After Beth – All five of these titles turned the most delicate of premises that could have turned into cutesy, winking indie trifles into refreshingly earnest/honest discourse. They’re all really good & totally worthwhile even if they aren’t The Best Thing EVER.