Monday, December 29, 2014

Favorite Movies of 2014

My favorite movies seen in 2014 with descriptions in 10 words or less. In the approximate order in which I saw them. Links are to reviews.

  • Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon, director)
    If all Shakespeare movies were like this, I'd love Shakespeare.

  • Gravity
    Gravity. Not mentioned once in the movie. But integral.

  • Captain Phillips
    Intense. Just remember to breathe.

  • I Confess
    We should all have a priest as good as this.

  • Mud
    Where I learned to not hate Matthew McConaughey.

  • The Guard
    Directed by a McDonagh. Which means clever, humorous, and nuanced.

  • Calvary
    Not for the faint-of-heart. But simply astounding.

  • Spinning Plates
    It's not what you cook. It's why.

  • That Guy ... Who Was in That Thing
    16 faces you recognize but can't name. 16 fascinating stories of Hollywood.

  • Halloween
    It defined a genre. And deservedly so.

  • Mama
    A supernatural thriller I didn't want to love, but couldn't resist.


  1. I like most 'traditional' Shakespeare film adaptations, but loved Whedon's Much Ado as well. Especially his musical rendition of "Sigh No More." There's just something so floaty and captivating about it - I think it's my new favorite lullaby. It instantly brought me back to that feeling of long summer afternoons lost in a book on a blanket in the backyard grass and drifting on my back in the lake looking up at the sky. A very dreamy tune.

    It's a bit more of an investment, but the BBC's 2012 Hollow Crown series (which I am probably guilty of mentioning before) was actually somewhat similar to Whedon's Much Ado in that the actors did an absolutely stellar job of maintaining the dialogue's 'conversational' quality, rather than the affected reverential proclamation that we typically think of in a lot of performed Shakespeare. I tried HC out 1) because I'm a BBC nut, but also 2) because virtually my entire experience of Shakespeare in school (including college) was tragedies and comedies (plus the sonnets), and I was looking for a good way to engage with some of his histories without completely ruining them for myself (which I'd likely do just reading them on my own). I was somewhat bracing for the mini series to be a viewing marathon of hard fought educational endurance, but Richard II and Henry IV-V turned out to be utterly captivating and full of life (and funny, too!). I think the histories tend to get a bad rep for being hard to teach (which there is some truth to), but I couldn't believe what I'd been missing. Plus, one can never have too much Tom Hiddleston in their life! :]

    I saw the Japanese film 'Departures' for the first time this year and was touched by it. I loved how it showed the beauty of honoring the dead, as well as confronting the societal norm of death being kept as a dirty, distant thing.

    1. I have to thank you for putting Hollow Crown back on my radar. I recall being interested when it came out and then it got lost in the shuffle. And, you are absolutely correct .... you cannot ever have too much Tom Hiddleston on your screen. :-D

      Chop Bard has been working through the historical plays. You might enjoy it if you listen to podcasts. You can't have a better guide than Ehren.

      Departures is on my "to see" list. Must move it up closer to the top!