My 2014 favorite films list, with honorable mentions, is here. I saw about forty-five 2014 releases.
Both honorable mentions were difficult to leave off, The Guest especially so. Blue Ruin, Gone Girl, Locke, and The One I Love were the only others I considered.
Films I didn’t see that would have had a good chance: American Sniper, Citizenfour, The Gambler, God’s Pocket, The Immigrant, Maps to the Stars, A Most Violent Year, Selma.
Amazing individual stretches: the first 45 minutes of The Babadook, everything past the first 45 minutes of The Equalizer; twenty scattered minutes in Snowpiercer (overall a complete mess).
“We’ll agree to disagree”: Housebound, The Rover
Probably good, though I couldn’t stand it: The Grand Budapest Hotel. I suspect whatever it’s doing with film history, on a level I can never comprehend, drove a lot of the appreciation. Yet what I can comprehend, its relation to early 20th century European history, felt morally abhorrent and a disservice to the man it’s dedicated to. I hope I come around on this someday, but for now, yikes.
Actually bad: A Walk Among the Tombstones, Foxcatcher, Top Five, X-Men: Days of Future Past
Most insane devotion to color contrast: The Drop
Finally: Birdman might be unlikely to hold up artistically, yet it’ll have an enduring shelf life as a time-capsule chronicle of how 2014 felt. Also an emphatically great movie if you read it as being about the experience of spending time in New York after living in California.