(in no particular order)
The Skeleton Twins (2014) dir. Craig Johnson
SNL cast mates Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig bring their outstanding television chemistry to the silver screen as two psychologically ill siblings coping with their mediocre lives. Undeniably melancholic, the film holds its own on the shoulders of its two caustic stars and insightful nature of family bonds.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu
In a clever take on the Hollywood film industry and those it abandons, Michael Keaton delivers his best work in years as a washed up movie star seeking artistic recognition through the personal production of a Broadway play, naturally starring himself. Enhanced by inventive cinematography and equally inventive direction, Birdman soars to the sun and doesn’t come crashing down.
Gone Girl (2014) dir. David Fincher
Another deeply misanthropic work that fits in well with the rest of director David Fincher’s already impressive canon. The sordidly complex story line, superb acting, engaging industrial score, and almost surgical visual flair all come together brilliantly. Newlyweds, be warned.
The Double (2013) dir. Richard Ayoade
Adapted from a novel written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Double is suitably gloomy, yet rife with energy. Psychologically heavy, but also so comically witty, it’ll leave a smile on your face throughout. A bipolar masterstroke if there ever was one.
Locke (2013) dir. Steven Knight
Tom Hardy continues to be on his A-game, giving a tour de force performance as a man driving to London because of one bad mistake that’ll change his whole world by the time he gets there. Did I mention it takes place entirely in a car and is completely riveting?
Boyhood (2014) dir. Richard Linklater
Indie wunderkind Richard Linklater’s impressive technical feat of of filming the same movie over a decade with the same actors may come across as gimmicky, at first. Watching the finished product, however, removes those presumptions through truthful characters that only come across as more genuine due to their literal aging.
The Great Beauty (2013) dir. Paolo Sorrentino
A haunting movie about an aging man with more success than he could ever wish for, but not without feeling alienated and unfulfilled, is beautiful to behold thanks to iconic Roman photography and an overall sincerity on the passing of time.
Interstellar (2014) dir. Christopher Nolan
Borderline corny while conceptually dense, filmmaker Christopher Nolan deserves big credit for his ambitious cinematic vision on space travel that few modern movies even attempt to accomplish, the end result eventually outweighing its flaws.
Whiplash (2014) dir. Damien Chazelle
A sadistic achievement because of the onscreen intensity of the actors and themes of extreme tenacity explored. No other movie this year dishes out such a wonderfully visceral experience which’ll potentially leave you exhausted.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) dir. Wes Anderson
Vivid coloring and faultless framing come alive in Wes Anderson’s latest about the misadventures of a hotel bellboy and the concierge manager’s geriatric trysts. Kind of gross, right? Don’t worry, masterful comedic pacing keeps everything moving at such a breathtaking rate you’ll barely even notice.
Pablo has been a writer with Boston Hassle since day one of the Film Flam!