You read that right: top 15. I’m departing from my established pattern of doing an annual top 10. Part of me sees this as a failure of will, a refusal to make the hard choices. Maybe so. However, the prevailing thought in my mind is that although I am attempting to name my absolute favorite films of the year, the goal is less about canonization of well-respected movies than it is about the hope that the list might encourage someone to take a chance on a film they otherwise might not.

It was a good year for movies by my account. Godzilla returned to US multiplexes. Keanu Reeves got back into the action game with John Wick. We saw new films from auteurs such as David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, and Woody Allen. We saw exciting work from new and up-and-coming directors like Jennifer Kent, Damien Chazelle, Justin Simien, Dan Gilroy, Jeremy Saulnier, and Ana Lily Amirpour. We got two movies from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, both of which were anarchic fun. Reese Witherspoon was also in two movies and wasn’t awful in either of them. Even some of the usual superhero/blockbuster mish-mash was of an unusually high caliber (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy). Oh, and I think there was a movie by some guy named Christopher Nolan…

So in a year this crowded I feel a top 15 is the way to go. Let’s get at it, then, and may the hottest flicks rise to the top. Here are my picks for the best movies of 2014:

READ FULL ARTICLE

Exposition and Emotion in Interstellar

Interstellar1

by Daniel Stidham

My first impressions upon leaving Interstellar were not gushingly positive. I almost tweeted about how full I felt from being spoon-fed by Chris Nolan for 3 hours, though I held off my quipping in order to give myself time to think about the film. Without giving anything away, I found a major third-act revelation in his new science fiction opus to be frustratingly over-explained. Something that ought to feel like a major discovery, a heavy realization about the very nature of time and space, quickly spills forth from two characters ill-equipped to diagnose or apply it. Before we have a chance to let it sink in, they are already using it to tie plot threads together and push the story forward to its resolution. The result is, ahem, a lack of gravity (I’m sorry). A feeling of weightlessness, if you will (I wouldn’t if I were you). It’s a sense that Nolan is interested in big ideas, but only as long as they provide “whoa” moments to audiences. READ FULL ARTICLE