Swampflix’s Top Films of 2014

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1. Snowpiercer – A high-concept dystopian sci-fi parable, our choice for Movie of the Year is likely to leave you with more questions than answers. However, if you avoid getting wrapped up in the literal mechanics of how its world functions or in its generic political philosophy, there’s an excess of violence, absurdity, and genuine heart bending over backwards to entertain you. It’s a wildly exciting ride for those who stop questioning its methods and instead submit to its charms.

2. The Babadook – The best horror film of 2014 is flooded with genuine scares essential to the genre, but its true threat is more intimate & psychological than what you’d find in a traditional monster movie. The Babadook will linger in your mind for days, months. Maybe forever.

3. Gone Girl – The Lifetime movie this film pretends to be in its first half is merely a cover-up of the excessive, sociopathic spectacle lurking under the surface. Fincher proves again that he can do no wrong.

4. Interstellar – Grand, epic, visually striking. The volume & variety of complaints surrounding this wonderful film has got to be the most hilarious joke of 2014.

5. Blue Ruin – A grim, realistic, edge-of-your-seat revenge thriller that hits familiar beats carved out by directors like Jeff Nichols & The Coen brothers without ever feeling redundant.

6. We Are the Best! – A heartwarming story about three adolescents discovering their inner punks. These kids are the best.

7. Under The Skin – Haunting. Sparse yet loaded with unforgettable images & sounds. Glazer is a genius.

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson seems to be testing just how much Wes Anderson people can take with his last couple of features. When he’s working with images this strong & performances as hilarious as Ralph Fiennes’ is here, we can take a lot.

9 The One I Love – A romantic trip into The Twilight Zone that’s both hilarious & thought-provoking. We’re not sure if Romantic Horror is a genre, but this film might qualify if it were.

10. Venus in Fur – Disregarding Polanski’s personal life, you have to give him credit here for turning a delicate premise into such a humorous, sensual, and metatextual success. Venus is brilliantly acted, masterfully escalated, and wonderfully critical of both sex politics & theater as an art form.

HM. Obvious Child – Approaching a sensitive subject from a sincere & deeply empathetic place, this film deserves to be recognized as one of the all-time great romantic comedies. Or at least one of the best in recent memory.

-The Swampflix Crew

Read Britnee’s picks here.
Read James’ picks here.
Read Brandon’s picks here.

Britnee’s Top Films of 2014

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1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – A magnificent ending to the king of all trilogies (in my opinion). Peter Jackson spends no time pussyfooting around with intricate storylines. Instead, the film jumps right into the action that fans have been anxiously waiting for.

2. Gone Girl – What starts out as a film that would most likely end up on the Lifetime channel turns into a sociopathic extravaganza. The film becomes so extreme that it’s very easy to miss the 5 seconds of fame granted to Ben Affleck’s penis.

3. Veronica Mars – What happened to V. Mars after the much-loved television series came to an end? So many questions that have been sitting in the minds of Marshmallows for years are finally answered with this Kickstarter-funded flick.

4. Into the Woods – This is a film that you will love or despise with every bone in your body. It’s literally a Broadway musical with CGI graphics coming out the wazoo.

5. Maleficent – More like Magnificent! Angelina Jolie was born for this role.

6. August: Osage County – “I really shouldn’t be laughing at this” will be going through your head the entire time. Black comedy at its finest!

7. The Babadook – An intimate, heartfelt horror film that lingers in your mind for days, months, maybe even forever?

8. The One I Love – A romantic episode of The Twilight Zone that offers lots of laughs and food for thought.

9. Snowpiercer – So many questions surround this unsettling dystopian flick, but the answers aren’t served on a silver platter, making this film an engaging experience for all viewers.

10. No Good Deed – Honestly, it’s pretty bad, but at the same time it’s tons of fun!

– Britnee Lombas

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

Brandon’s Top Films of 2014

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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.

-Brandon Ledet