Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015


2/1- Mon Oncle (1958, Jacques Tati) (A)

2/2- The Grey (2011, Joe Carnahan) (A-)
        The Crossing Guard (1995, Sean Penn) (D)
        Killing of A Chinese Bookie (1976, John Cassavetes) (B)
        L'Age D'Or (1930, Luis Bunuel) (A-)

2/3- Grand Hotel (1932, Edmund Goulding) (B)
       Last Days In Vietnam (2014, Rory Kennedy) (B-)
       Pariah (2011, Dee Rees) (B+)

2/4- A Most Violent Year (2014, J.C. Chandor) (B)
       4 Little Girls (1996, Spike Lee) (B+)
       A Man Escaped (1956, Robert Bresson) (A+)

2/5- The Rain People (1969, Francis Ford Coppola) (B+)
       Black Sunday (1977, John Frankenheimer) (A-)
       I Remember Mama (1948, George Stevens) (B+)

2/6- Throne of Blood (1957, Akira Kurosawa) (A)
       You Can't Take It With You (1938, Frank Capra) (A-)
       Naqoyqatsi (2002, Godfrey Reggio) (C-)
       Meshes of the Afternoon (short) (1943, Maya Daren) (B+)

2/7- Possession (1981, Andrzej Zulawski) (A+)
       Louis CK: Live At the Comedy Store (2015) (B)
       Daisies (1966, Vera Chytilova) (A-)
       Coraline (2009, Henry Selick) (B)

2/8- The Ref (1994, Ted Demme) (B+)
        Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
        Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

2/9- Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic (2013, Marina Zenovich) (B-)
       Better Call Saul (2 episodes)
       Army of Shadows (1969, Jean-Pierre Melville) (A+)
       Husbands and Wives (1992, Woody Allen) (B)

2/10- The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, William Wyler) (A)
          The Mack (1973, Michael Campus) (B+)        

2/11- Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese) (A+)
         Petulia (1968, Richard Laster) (A+)

2/12- The Heiress (1949, William Wyler) (B+)
          The Fallen Idol (1948, Carol Reed) (B+)

2/13- Zodiac (2007, David Fincher) (A+)
         Beauty and the Beast (1946, Jean Cocteau) (A)
         Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz) (A+)

2/15- The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme) (A+)
          Foxy Brown (1974, Jack Hill) (B+)
          Boyhood (2014, Richard Linklater) (A+)
          Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

2/16- Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
         The Fall
         Burnt Offerings (1976, Dan Curtis) (C+)
         Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky) (B+)

2/17- Opening Night (1977, John Cassavetes) (A)
         Birdman (2014, Alejandro G. Innaritu) (A+)

2/18- The Great Silence (1968, Sergio Corbucci) (A-)
          The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943, Powell and Pressburger) (A+)

2/19- The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953, Roy Rowland) (B-)
         Judgment At Nuremberg (1961, Stanley Kramer) (A-)

2/20- Don't Look Now (1973, Nicolas Roeg) (A+)
         Mr. Death (1999, Errol Morris) (B)
         Life Itself (2014, Steve James) (A-)
         Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino) (A+)

2/21- Three Women (1977, Robert Altman) (B+)
         Saturday Night Live: 40th Anniversary Special

2/22- The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton) (A+)
          The 87th Annual Academy Awards

2/23- Malcolm X (1992, Spike Lee) (A)
         Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

2/24- Abby (1974, William Girdler) (C)
         Better Call Saul
         Citizenfour (2014, Laura Poitras) (A-)
         The Thief of Baghdad (1940, Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan) (B)

2/25- The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata) (B+)
         All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse) (A)

2/26- Killer of Sheep (1977, Charles Burnett) (B+)
         The Steel Helmet (1951, Sam Fuller) (A)
         The Searchers (1956, John Ford) (D+)

2/27- The Piano Teacher (2001, Michael Haneke) (B+)
          House of Cards (3 episodes)


2/8- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (A+)

2/13- Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt (B+)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Blind Spot Series: Malcolm X

A film Spike Lee was born to make. Malcolm X celebrates the scope of a man's life. I often thought of a subtitle for it- Malcolm X: A Life in 3 Movements. It is a film about transition and transformation. From thug to prisoner to Muslim. Unfolding gracefully and over before you know it. Remind you, this is a 202 minute film here. But every minute is crucial to developing this life.

Spike and his team were firing on all cylinders here. Barry Alexander Brown's editing, Terence Blanchard's score, Ernest Dickerson's lush cinematography that captures the period detail in an authentic way. After working on five films in a row together, everything they had been working on and building up to has been realized in this film.

The style that Lee employs is as evolving as the character of Malcolm himself. As the film moves towards its third act, archival footage is edited into the film to show the perception the media gleamed from the man. Malcolm X's death, as purported from the reactions of people at the time was not as mournful as the assassination of King. Yet, he still stands as a crucial figure in black history.
Lee's gifted ability to generate empathy for his characters perfectly suits the man at the center of the picture.

Given the task of portraying such a figure, it would have to take an extraordinarily skilled actor to showcase the multiple facets of his persona. Denzel Washington has previously worked with Lee on Mo Better Blues and that acted as a warm up round for their collaboration here. Denzel has graced the screen with several great performances from Pvt. Trip in Glory to the corrupt cop Alonzo Harris in Training Day. But if I were to show a person the power of a performance from him, or any other actor for that matter, I would show them Malcolm X. It is played effortlessly.

A great scene that can be found in The Autobiography of Malcolm X is when a white college girl approaches him and is enamored with his leadership and wishes to do something that would further his cause. His response: Nothing. As the autobiography states, this was the one thing he regretted and gives us pause to consider the growth he would undergo later on in the film. 

His final transformation would turn his own people against him. In going against the message of separation, he would invite his greatest fears into his thoughts, into his phone lines, and his doorstep. To stay in one's ways throughout one's lives could be construed as either stubborn or prideful. The gracefulness and open mindedness of a mind like Malcolm X to take what he believed in and . It didn't seem reactionary. It felt like watching a man evolve in his way of thinking and in his faith. 

It makes one think Malcolm X may not have been finished with his transformations in life and allows to wonder if people are capable of undergoing the same change Malcolm went through. Ossie Davis asks us the questions at the end of the film "Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him?" Whether we differed from his beliefs or not, the journey that he traveled on that was his life was one of continual change.

Monday, February 23, 2015


Oscar thoughts

The 87th Annual Hollywood Circle Jerk...Erm, I mean Award Ceremony is over. Now for the hangover.

Before I get to it though, there was an article posted that shed some light on the people who vote for these awards. Telling, as this voter votes for reasons that have nothing to do with artistic merit.

Even this show had its ups and downs. So instead of going over every little moment, I will just post general highlights.


Best Picture: Birdman
It's in my top 5 of 2014 for sure. My heart said Boyhood but my brain was saying Birdman. I'm happy for Innaritu and he gave the last of many great speeches throughout the night.

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Birdman
One of my favorite directors. His Border trilogy could give Von Trier's Depression trilogy a run for its money. This is going to be a massive boost for The Revenant which comes out toward the end of the year. "From the Oscar winning director of Birdman"

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Not surprised. Everything lined up for this actor.

Best Actor: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Moore is in my top 5 actresses. But she should have won for Magnolia back in 1999. This Oscar belonged to Rosamund. Also, out of the half a dozen tour de force scenes in Gone Girl, you choose to show that clip?

Best Supporting Actor, JK Simmons, Whiplash
So happy for him.

Best Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Yeah. I liked her performance. Wanna fight?

Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
One of the best and most moving speeches I've heard given at the Oscars.

Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro G. Innaritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and Armando Bo
I was expecting Budapest to take this one home. The more I think about it though, I am happy Birdman got it.

Happy surprises:

Best Documentary Feature: Citizenfour
Yes. Yes. Yes. In a category notorious for fucking up constantly, they got it right this year.

Best Film Editing: Whiplash
A film edited over 12 years vs. a film edited in 19 days. Both great feats of editing. Both tackling it from opposite ends of the spectrum. I was hoping for Whiplash but thought Boyhood would be rewarded.

Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash
I was not expecting Whiplash to take home Sound Mixing. Was I hoping it would? Hell yes. But judging from the Academy, war films tend to become a favorite in this category. The sound design of Whiplash is stunning and is what makes it one of the best films, not just to look at, but to listen to.

Sad upsets: 

Best Animated Feature: Big Hero 6

From what I hear, DreamWorks spent a ton of money and time animated How to Train Your Dragon 2. The Tale of Princess Kaguya seemed to have gained a lot of critical attention too. I was not expecting Big Hero 6 to win. Sigh

Best Original Score: Grand Budapest Hotel
OK. I knew Interstellar was not going to win. But I was pulling for it anyway. I thought Theory of Everything was going to be rewarded instead because Desplat's two nominations would cancel each other out. I was wrong.

Best Makeup: Grand Budapest Hotel
I was sure Grand Budapest would win Production Design and Costumes. Little did I know, it would beat out Foxcatcher for Makeup. It was on fire that night. I'm honestly surprised Foxcatcher got nominated. It's an unconventional movie for the Academy to recognize. Seeing them nominate it for four awards gives me a glimmer of hope.

Performance of the night: Lady Gaga singing a medley from The Sound of Music
Runner up: Common & John Legend sing Glory from Selma

This moment:


Look. I understand if you don't like Boyhood. That's fine. Everyone has an opinion.

Is it really necessary to gloat about it losing the Oscar though? Even the producers of the show thought it would be funny to see if Linklater was sad for losing when they cut to him, rather than any of the other directors. Linklater will probably never be nominated in the category of director again. Are you seriously going to just sit there, point the finger and laugh at someone who worked on a film for 12 years? I love Innaritu too, but if he lost I wouldn't gloat over him because I preferred Linklater winning Director over him. They're both great directors.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Films You May Have Missed: Petulia

Richard Lester is a name that is not nearly mentioned enough in the annals of cinema. From 1964 to 1968, he completed three masterworks. A Hard Day's Night, The Knack and Petulia. Today, we are going to dive head first into the third one. But before that, a quick leap forward in time to 1999.

When I first set my curious eyes on a film called The Limey, I knew I was in the presence of someone who was able to take a film as simple as a revenge thriller and scramble its brains into a film about memory, or rather, fractured memory. Most films that play around with that do it in a linear way. Hell, even Memento used reverse chronological narrative. Now it's not that I'm dogging Memento. I consider it one of Nolan's best films. But when the subject of memory pops up, The Limey always comes to my mind first. I felt like I was watching Terence Stamp's character cycle through his memory bank.

Editing in the 1960s was entering a fresh, exciting new stage. Godard hit with Breathless and British directors fired back with "Oh yeah? Watch this shit!" Those directors being Richard Lester and Nicolas Roeg. The former coming off a Palme d'Or win for The Knack, a John Lennon vehicle named How I Won the War, and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum. The latter soon to create seminal cult classics Performance, Walkabout, Don't Look Now, and The Man Who Fell to Earth (Starring David Bowie and his penis). What happens when you take those two minds and bring them together? Well, you get Pet...ah fuck. You get it. At this point I'm just as bad as the trailer for this thing.

Rest assured, watching this film not only did I recall The Limey, but John Boorman's Point Blank and John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy. There was something in the psychadelic, pot heavy air in the late 60's. Not only did it catch on to the music of four British lads in Liverpool, it infected narrative structure.

It's not that it is just a film with great style. It also happens to be one of the saddest films to come out of the late 60's. It's fractured structure mimics the emotional turmoil its two characters played by George C. Scott and Julie Christie go through. The world of Petulia is soaked in materialistic excess. With characters clinging to each other lives like driftwood from a wrecked ship. It's a bold, stylistic experiment. More than that, it's just a great film.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Top 100 Albums

So I like music. Here are my 100 favorite albums. Starting at 100 and ending at 1.

TOP 100
Sunn O)))- Monoliths and Dimensions
Sigur Ros- ( )
Cat Stevens- Tea For the Tillerman
Secret Chiefs 3- Book of Horizons
Ulver- Bergtatt
Anthrax- Among the Living
Anglagard- Hybris
Tom Waits- Mule Variations
Metallica- And Justice For All
Megadeth- Rust In Peace
Can- Tago Mago
Portishead- Dummy
George Harrison- All Things Must Pass
The Beatles- Rubber Soul
Marillion- Marbles
Toy Matinee- Toy Matinee
Rush- Hemispheres
Simon and Garfunkel- Bridge Over Troubled Water
A Tribe Called Quest- Low End Theory
Fantomas- Director's Cut
Pink Floyd- Animals
White Zombie- Astro Creep 2000
Black Sabbath- Master of Reality
King Crimson- Absent Lovers
Iron Maiden- Powerslave
Tori Amos- Little Earthquakes
Nas- Illmatic
The Kinks- We Are the Village Green Preservation Society
Dream Theater- Awake
Genesis- Wind and Wuthering
Death- The Sound of Perseverance
Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures
Yes- Close to the Edge
Peter Gabriel- IV: Security
Ulver- Perdition City
Porcupine Tree- In Absentia
Fiona Apple- When the Pawn...
Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Brian Eno- Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks
Electric Light Orchestra- Out of the Blue
Rush- Grace Under Pressure
David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
Mastodon- Crack the Skye
Bjork- Homogenic
Radiohead- The Bends
Frank Zappa- Joe's Garage Acts I, II and III
DJ Shadow- Endtroducing...
Sixteen Horsepower- Sackcloth N' Ashes
Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Swans- The Seer
Metallica- Ride the Lightning

TOP 50
The Beatles- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Tom Waits- Bone Machine
John Coltrane- A Love Supreme
Scott Walker- The Drift
Kate Bush- Hounds of Love
Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp A Butterfly
Mr. Bungle- Mr. Bungle
Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral
Talking Heads- The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads
Agalloch- Ashes Against the Grain
Godspeed You Black Emperor- Lift Your Skinny Fists
Boards of Canada- Music Has the Right to Children
Neil Young- After the Gold Rush
Public Enemy- It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Tool- Aenima
The Cure- Disintegration
Marillion- Clutching At Straws
GZA- Liquid Swords
Van Der Graaf Generator- Still Life
The Flaming Lips- The Soft Bulletin
The Beastie Boys- Paul's Boutique
The Who- Tommy
Queen- A Night At the Opera
Cocteau Twins- Heaven Or Las Vegas
Slayer- Reign In Blood

Leonard Cohen- Songs of Leonard Cohen
The Beatles- Revolver
Alice In Chains- Dirt
Mr. Bungle- California
Opeth- Blackwater Park
Pink Floyd- Wish You Were Here
Frank Zappa- Roxy and Elsewhere
King Crimson- Red
Pixies- Doolittle
Rush- Permanent Waves
The Zombies- The Odyssey and the Oracle
Jellyfish- Spilt Milk
My Bloody Valentine- Loveless
Death- Symbolic
Elton John- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road


10. Tool- Lateralus

9. The Beach Boys- Pet Sounds

8. Wu Tang Clan- Enter the 36 Chambers

7. Metallica- Master of Puppets

6. Tom Waits- Rain Dogs

5. Faith No More- Angel Dust

4. Radiohead- OK Computer

3. Genesis- The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

2. Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon

1. The Beatles- Abbey Road

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nasty Black Orchids: Favorite Female Villains

"I've grown quite weart of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains- good, potent female villains. Not ill-tempered women who scheme about landing good men and better shoes (as if we had nothing more interesting to war over), not chilly WASP mothers (emotionally distant isn't necessarily evil), not soapy vixens (merely bitchy doesn't qualify either). I'm talking violent, wicked women. Scary women. Don't tell me you don't know some. The point is, women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves- to the point of almost parodic encouragement- we've left no room to acknowledge our dark side, Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids" Gillian Flynn

Some of my favorite villains in film.

Malkina (played by Cameron Diaz)
"Truth has no temperature."

Baby Jane Hudson (played by Bette Davis)
"I didn't bring your breakfast because you didn't eat your din-din!"

Catherine Tramell (played by Sharon Stone)
"Killing isn't like smoking. You can stop."

Annie Wilkes (played by Kathy Bates)

"I'm your number one fan"

O-Ren Ishii (played by Lucy Liu)

"As your leader, I encourage you from time to time, and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you're unconvinced that a particular plan of action I've decided is the wisest, tell me so, but allow me to convince you and I promise you right here now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is...I collect your fucking head. Just like this fucker here. Now if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say. NOW'S THE FUCKING TIME!"

Amy Elliot Dunne (played by Rosamund Pike)
"You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby. I'm it!"

Asami (played by Eihi Shiina) Audition
"Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri."

The Wicked Witch of the West (played by Margaret Hamilton)
"Just try and stay out of my way. Just try! I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!"

Nurse Mildred Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher)
"Your hand is staining my window."

Favorite female villain in literature: Cathy Ames in East of Eden

She is cunning. Manipulative. Evil incarnate. From her early years as a child right on through her adulthood, Cathy Ames manages to truly send a chill down my spine whenever I ready Steinbeck's book. 

Jo Van Fleet played the part in the 1955 adaptation. Jane Seymour took a turn in 1981. I still think there is an actress who can truly knock it out of the park with this character. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Top Films of 2014

2014 was a year that brought me much joy in my personal life and provided a stark contrast to last year. 

One thing I noticed was just how many debut features or directors I was not even aware of, burst onto theater screens this year. Jennifer Kent's Babadook, Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler, Damien Chazelle's Whiplash, Justin Simien's Dear White People and Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin were movies I was not anticipating in January 2014. The more I think about it though, that was why they had such an advantage. I wasn't expecting the intensity of Chazelle's direction or Saulnier's suspenseful scenes or Simien's sharp edged commentary or Kent's unsettling atmosphere. These are all directors I look forward to seeing more from. 

Two of my favorite directors released their masterpieces this year. A director that made a major impression on me in 2013 with Prisoners continued his streak of excellence with Enemy. 

The top 3 movies for me are easily some of my favorite films of the decade so far. 

Also, Selma and A Most Violent Year were two films I saw late in the game. Selma being a A-/B+ and A Most Violent Year being around a B+. 

So without further ado, here are my top 15 films of 2014:

This movie was beyond creepy. Great performances from Carrell, Tatum and Ruffalo. I mean seriously, look at the comparisons to see what Carrell is doing here. It's also a movie that I feel demands me to see it again. I still am not entirely sure what grade to give it.

15. Force Majeure
A  story about a family unit in which the decisions of one person can help undermine them. Wickedly funny and darkly observant.

14. Selma
Raw, historical filmmaking. Ava DuVernay has crafted a period piece that is painfully relevant to our times with striking honesty.

13. Blue Ruin
Jeremy Saulnier's film subverts the conventions of the family revenge picture. This was made $500,000 via Kickstarter and is a testament to true independent filmmaking.

12.  Snowpiercer
Bong Jon Ho hasn't made a bad film yet and his transition into Hollywood proves fruitful with this effort. The label says American but this is a Korean film thru and thru. A striking commentary on classism without going a traditional route.

11a. The Guest
Adam Wingand's You're Next was one of my favorite horror films of last year. So it comes as sheer delight that he is able to top himself with this one. Plus, if that wasn't enough, there is an awesome nod to Halloween: Season of the Witch and the always badass Lance Reddick makes an appearance. This will become a staple of the Halloween season for me.

11b. Tusk
What can I actually say about this movie. Well, for one: it contains some of the funniest scenes of the year. Two: The always on his game Michael Parks. and three: the walrus suit, for better or worse, is forever burned into my brain. "It is one fuck of a bummer to look at I can tell you that." These are the types of movies that I can see no one else even attempting to make. It also became a new go to movie that I show to people just to see their reaction.

10. Under the Skin
Mica Levi's Penderecki meets synth score and Scarlett Johannson's performance are both seducing enough. This is former music video director Jonathan Glazer's foray into science fiction and he does it with tremendous restraint.

9. Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes' latest efforts have left a dire aftertaste. It just felt like he put on autopilot and let the style get ahead of the actual story. That was until Grand Budapest. Not only is this Wes Anderson's best looking film, it is also one of his most endearing. The best thing Wes has done since Eli Cash crashed a car into the Tenenbaum house.

8. Gone Girl
The best female performance of the year belongs to Rosamund Pike's eerie portrayal of Amy Elliot Dunne. This film also gets a special award for giving me a panic attack in the theater.

7. Inherent Vice
A psychedelic, chemical fueled drive through Pynchon's world of paranoia with PT at the wheel. Katherine Waterston is a great find. Benicio is sorely under used. But it's Josh Brolin's Bigfoot Bjornsen who steals every scene he is in. The 35mm cinematography is truly something to be in awe of.

7. Nightcrawler
Jake Gyllenhaal has proven himself here to be a major force in the realm of acting. His Lou Bloom is a prowler of the night that feeds off humanity. Sure, we've seen plenty of depictions of sociopaths before. But none were as realistically depicted. Dan Gilroy's script delivers a dark, seedy view of Los Angeles. Where the vulture comes to pick the carcass clean.

5. Birdman
Innaritu's stories prior to this were intensely bleak and were trademarked with the gritty cinematography of Rodrigo Prieto. By employing Emmanuelle Lubezki and showing just how good of an actor Michael Keaton can be, he turns a corner in a career. Antonio Sanchez's pulsing drums only score and stellar performances from Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts. I am convinced Emmanuelle Lubezki is an alien. No human being possesses that much talent.

4. Enemy
A film in which the mysteries of identity and infidelity expound even wider after the final frame. With last year's Prisoners, 2010's Incendies, and now this, Denis Villeneuve has become one of my favorite directors. Bring on Sicario.

3. Whiplash
The most intense ending of any movie this year goes to Damien Chazelle's expertly told tale of striving to achieve perfection and the desire to be remembered as one of the great jazz drummers. The editing in this film is top notch with no shoe leather. A ferocious beast of a film that makes you scared to shed a single tear after it's brilliant culmination.

2. Interstellar
Science fiction films, serious science fiction films, often tend to be sterile. The incredible thing about Interstellar was the profound emotional depth at the core of the story. Though it caused division among critics, this is going to be a film that people are going to look back on as one of the great pieces of cinema.

1. Boyhood

If you think about 2014, transformation and transition are the themes that continue to pop up. Riggan Thompson goes through a transition of his career. Amy ends up transforming Nick. Terence Fletcher transforms Andrew Neyman. The alien seductress in Under the Skin changes from apathy to empathy. Howard Howe literally transforms Wallace into a Walrus. So it is fitting that my favorite film of the year deals with the growth of a boy. As Linklater would say, the paint used to tell the story would be time itself.

Movies and just art in general that focus on the passage of time have always intrigued me. With Boyhood, Linklater managed to create an incredibly organic story that is free of all the contrivances of staged drama.

There are no character arcs to be concerned about. Storylines are not neatly wrapped up. We simply observe 12 years in a life. No major milestones. It is about transience. Linklater allows us to focus on the moments in one's life that may not be conventionally compelling to a viewer conditioned to believe that there must be some big revelation or big event in order for there to be drama.

A revalatory experience and the best film of the decade so far.

Special Recognition Award

Man Getting Hit In the Groin With Football

Self explanatory.

Honorable Mention: Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Lego Movie, 22 Jump Street

Favorite Scenes of 2014:

The ending of Whiplash
Interstellar bookcase scene
All of the spider scenes in Enemy
The dissolving man scene in Under the Skin
Amy Dunne + Desi + Box cutter in Gone Girl
The Babadook shows up in a silent film
Hotel shootout in Grand Budapest Hotel
"The man with the gun gets to tell the truth" in Blue Ruin
Night vision scene in Snowpiercer
Bigfoot and Doc's last scene together in Inherent Vice
Ending credits in 22 Jump Street

6. Howard Howe in Tusk
5. David in The Guest
4. John Du Pont in Foxcatcher
3. Terence Fletcher in Whiplash
2. Amy Elliot Dunne in Gone Girl
1. Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler

Favorite Score: Hans Zimmer, Interstellar (Runner up: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girl)
Favorite Soundtrack: Inherent Vice (Runner up: The Guest)

Films seen in theaters: 

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Boyhood, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Tusk, Gone Girl, Birdman, Whiplash, Dear White People, Nightcrawler, Interstellar, Foxcatcher, Inherent Vice, Selma, A Most Violent Year

Films seen by other means (OnDemand, NetFlix): 

The Immigrant, Stranger By the Lake, The Sacrament, Enemy, Blue Ruin, Ida, Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 and 2, Whitey: The United States V. James Bulger, The Lego Movie, Frank, The Rover, Neighbors, Maps to the Stars, The Babadook, A Most Wanted Man, Altman, Force Majeure, The Guest, Wetlands, The Double, Fury, Why Don't You Play In Hell?, Last Days In Vietnam

Films I still need to see: 

The Disappearence of Eleanor Rigby: Him, The Disappearence of Eleanor Rigby: Her, Citizenfour, Life Itself, Two Days One Night, Mommy, The Drop