By Nick Anstett
Elm Staff Writer
With the Oscar Awards coming soon, here are my top 10 films of 2014.
10. The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are standouts in this film. It plays as part romance, part scientific chronicle, and part fable making for one of the most unique films of the year.
9. Gone Girl
David Fincher and Gillian Flynn have created a stirring and disturbing crime thriller that doubles as a satire of modern relationships and gender politics. Rosamund Pike in particular shines as the mysterious Amy Dunne and has rightfully received Oscar attention.
8. The Babadook
Writer and director Jennifer Kent has done the impossible in making a modern horror film devoid of gore and jump scares and instead fuels it with frightening imagery, tense and haunting atmosphere, and a story that surprises with its immediacy and tenderness. It’s something that horror buffs, or film lovers in general, will not want to miss out on.
Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern shine in this memoir adaptation that spans the genre of real life survival adventure and soul searching discovery. Woefully overlooked at the Oscar’s this year, “Wild” is a journey worth taking.
6. The Lego Movie
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s charming, visually astounding, and endlessly funny celebration of childhood, play, creation, and popular culture is a both surprise and a wonder in and of itself.
Unfortunately more socially relevant than one would hope, Selma arrives with a message of hope, tolerance, and change fueled energy. David Oyelowo takes on the monumental task of portraying one of history’s most recognizable Civil Rights heroes with grace, sophistication, and unrecognized talent.
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson’s latest is part meditation on history, part comedy, and part crime thriller, but it’s entirely entertaining and visually unique. It’s funny and thoughtful in all the right ways and may rest as one of the best of his career.
3. The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch surprises in this adaptation of war hero Alan Turying. With a beautiful musical score by Alexander Desplat and a script that touches uponrelevant issues, “The Imitation Game” outpaces its peers in the crowded WWII sub-genre.
Impressive in terms of creative feat alone, “Boyhood” is one of the most astounding achievements in film of the year. Richard Linklater’s labor of love is sure to see Oscar attention, and deservedly so, for telling an encompassing chronicle of the human experience.
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s “Birdman” is a technically and creatively astounding experience that rockets its star, Michael Keaton, back into relevancy and recognition. However, in the process, it tells a visually dynamic and endlessly entertaining satire of fame, aging, artistic criticism, the bridging of arts, and modern day popular culture. It’s a film quite unlike anything else seen this year.