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Top 20 Discoveries of 2014

Posted by martinteller on December 31, 2014

1. Remember the Night

“A beautifully rendered, expertly executed, and often exceptionally touching picture.”

 

2. Big Night

“A very engaging, often hilarious film that sidesteps cliché and puts something special on your plate”

 

3. Death By Hanging

“I really loved the film’s novel premise, increasingly absurd plotting, palpable anger and thoughtful approach.”

 

4. Mukhsin

“A sweet ending to a very dear trilogy.”

 

5. Out 1: noli me tangere

“I was astonished at how engrossing it turned out to be.”

 

6. Snow Flurry

“Kinoshita again shows a bitter streak, railing against outmoded notions of status, glory and shame.”

 

7. Shura

“As you watch the carnage and despair, the cruel irony of it only makes it more upsetting.”

 

8. Vendredi Soir

“Denis uses traffic as a space that opens up new freedoms, where the frustration seems to give way to transformation and possibility.”

 

9. Girl With Hyacinths

“The multiple-flashback structure is pulled off really nicely, with the fractured chronology skillfully managed so as not to become too confusing, and also beautifully tying events together.”

 

10. Ballad of Orin

“It’s a beautiful film both visually and emotionally, with excellent performances by Iwashita and Harada.”

 

11. Black River

“Corruption and degradation overruns everything, and the winner is always the one who’s willing to take the most drastic action.”

 

12. The Inheritance

“Everyone wants a bigger piece of the pie, as greed inspires deception, impersonation, manipulation, double-crosses and even murder.”

 

13. Gubra

“It’s a rich and rewarding work that manages to juggle two completely disconnected plot threads without disorienting the viewer.”

 

14. I Wish

“It’s a gentle hug of a movie, with a lot of sweetness and just enough melancholy reality to make it hit home.”

 

15. The Ballad of Narayama

“The cinematography of this movie is stunning, especially because of the vibrant color palette and beautiful sets.”

 

16. Lady in White

“The movie has such a strange atmosphere and unexpected surprises and striking visuals that I was carried away by it.”

 

17. Peggy Sue Got Married

“It’s a weird film but in such an easy-going way, like the movie is totally content to do its own thing, willing to be a bit messy and unfocused the way life often is.”

 

18. Boy (Shonen)

“The movie eschews not only standard narrative development but also the sentimentality that could be exploited for such a tragic situation.”

 

19. Tommy Boy

“I haven’t had laughs this good — and this honestly earned — in a while.”

 

20. Little Man, What Now?

“It shines a spotlight on the troubles that we face, and also the goodness in us that helps us cope with them.”

 

Honorable mentions: The Visitor, My Father’s Glory/My Mother’s Castle, Himizu, Muriel’s Wedding, The Thick-Walled Room, Split Second, Miracle on 34th Street, Shotgun Stories, Crashout, Deprisa Deprisa, Dirty Dancing, The Loneliest Planet, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Fugitive, The Glass Web, All My Sons

I also want to highlight my top 10 RE-discoveries of the year (actually 12, because I cheated and grouped the John Waters movies together).  In a year where I spent a lot of time revisiting old favorites — and sharing them with my fiancée — I also found new appreciation for many that I had mild to outright negative reactions to before.  In no particular order:

The Black Stallion
Opening Night
Land of Silence and Darkness
Midnight
Hairspray/Female Trouble/Desperate Living
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Out of Sight
Persona
Lancelot du Lac
The Stranger
(Satyajit Ray)

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4 Responses to “Top 20 Discoveries of 2014”

  1. Dan Heaton said

    It makes me a little sad that all I’ve seen from this list are Big Night, Tommy Boy, and Peggy Sue Got Married. I have a lot more watching to do! I haven’t seen Big Night recently, but I had a great time when I watched it originally. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

  2. Wendell said

    Discoveries is certainly the right word to use. I haven’t even heard of quite a few of these. Love this post.

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