James’ Top Films of 2014

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1. Metalhead – A touching portrait of grief and loss, this Icelandic gem perfectly encapsulates the power of heavy metal as a cathartic and life affirming force. A beautiful story beautifully told. Two devil horns way up. \m/

2. Snowpiercer – A high concept dystopian parable with tons of action and violence, but most importantly heart. One hell of a ride.

3. Blue Ruin – A grim revenge thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.

4. Whiplash – One of the greatest movies about the ambition it takes to be an elite musician. Look out for J.K. Simmons in a tour de force performance.

5. Enemy – A tense psychological puzzle that demands multiple viewings. Oh, and that ending!

6. Gone Girl – David Fincher proves again that he can do no wrong.

7. We Are the Best! – Heartwarming story about three adolescents discovering their inner punks. Have your tissues handy.

8. Venus in Fur – Despite your thoughts on the man, this is Polanski in high form. Brilliantly acted. Provocative.

9. Interstellar – Grand, epic, visually striking.

10. Coherence – A trippy, Twilight Zone-esque mind bender that uses its low budget to its advantage.

11. Obvious Child – One of the best romantic comedies in recent memory, Obvious Child approaches a serious issue with empathy and sincerity.

12. Cheap Thrills – This pitch black comedy works as a twisted satire, but also can also be enjoyed solely for its visceral game of one-upmanship.

13. Locke – A case study in less-is-more filmmaking. Tom Hardy gives a great performance in this taut thriller that elevates a simple premise of a man in his car (on the worst day of his life) to operatic heights.

14. Journey to the West – No other movie this year made me smile as much as this one. Healthy doses of ridiculous slapstick with elaborate set pieces. This is must-see viewing for fans of Kung Fu Hustle.

15. The Babadook – A psychological horror film with heart and plenty of genuine scares. Best horror film of 2014.

HM. The Grand Budapest Hotel & Under the Skin – Honorable mention to two films that may not have cracked my top 15 but their strong images are still embedded in my memory (especially a remarkable scene in Under The Skin involving a disfigured man).

-James Cohn

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3 thoughts on “James’ Top Films of 2014

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