I wrote my first review and posted it on Love at the movies January 18, 2014. Since then I have reviewed 78 films (you will also find some by André St-Jacques). It was my first try at writing a blog. What a year! 2014 will be known as the year that reinvented the way films are made or the way we view them. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and Xavier Dolan’s Mommy are good examples of that. I should mention that all the films I reviewed were seen at the ByTowne Cinema a repertory cinema in Ottawa, and none from the commercial circuit like Cineplexes, for instance. I have enjoyed this new adventure and will continue to write in 2015. Happy new year!
1. Boyhood directed by Richard Linklater
An amazing experience. The film that took 12 years to make. Ellar Coltrane grows up on film, and Patricia Arquette breaks our heart as his loving mom. The best film of the year and the decade.
2. Mommy directed by Xavier Dolan
The troubled relationship between a mentally challenged teenager and his mother. Another great film by Quebec director Xavier Dolan. With Anne Dorval, Antoine Olivier Pilon and Suzanne Clément. With one gutsy choice, Dolan redefine the way we view films.
3. Under the skin directed by Jonathan Glazer
Unlike anything I have ever seen. Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who drives around Glasgow, Scotland, seducing men and luring them into a beautifully strange, dark and cruel trap. Johansson is fearless. A beautiful and scary masterpiece.
4. The face of love directed by Arie Posin
An homage to Hitchcock’s Vertigo? A widow sees her husband’s double and obsessively start to follow him. This is the closest thing you can get me from a romantic novel. But it is full of nostalgia, and is directed with an assured hand. Annette Bening is perfection.
5. Night moves directed by Kelly Reichardt
Minimalist director Kelly Reichardt’s story of what happened when three eco-terrorists’ plan to blow up a dam goes wrong. It’s about the slow ravage of guilt and paranoia. With a brilliant turn by Jesse Eisenberg.
6. Finding Vivian Maier directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Street photographer Vivian Maier was unknown until Maloof discovered her negatives at an auction. Maier worked as a nanny and walked the streets of Chicago with her Rolleiflex camera, compulsively snapping pictures. Unforgettable! The best documentary of 2014.
7. Begin again directed by John Carney
When singer Greta and producer Dan meet they start making music on the streets and rooftops of New York. A great cast headed by Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and singer Adam Levine. And hat beautiful music they create. Totally and unabashedly positive. I myself see nothing wrong with that.
8. Rosewater directed by Jon Stewart
Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari gets arrested, interrogated and tortured for covering the 2009 Iranian presidential election and it’s aftermath. With Gael García Bernal and Kim Bodnia. Stewart’s epic screenplay is spiced with a sence of the ridiculous and we surprise ourselves with sudden bursts of laughter.
9. A most wanted man directed by Anton Corbijn
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last great film. adapted from a John le Carré 2008 book. The head of a German secret anti-terrorism agency, Günther Bachmann, is trying to be strategically effective, while it is more important for others to score political points. Corbijn slowly and effectively builds the tensions and suspense.
10. Love is strange directed by Ira Sachs
After having been together 39 years, just married same-sex couple, George and Ben, are forced to sell their apartment and go stay separately with friends and family. Heartbreaking. With touching performances from John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei and Charlie Tahan.