BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR:
NIGHTCRAWLER (DIR: DAN GILROY): “Nightcrawler” is the one film that puts its thumb on where we are in American society. It not only makes a statement about mainstream television media, but the character of Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) is in many ways a representation of the amorality that exists in the world. If you think people like Lou Bloom do not exist, just take a look at comment sections, Twitter, and Facebook. Everyone is trying to get ahead of the next person, and like Lou, they will do whatever it takes to succeed.
GONE GIRL (DIR: DAVID FINCHER): David Fincher reminded the world as to why he is one of the best directors in American cinema today. With the excellent script from writer Gillian Flynn, Fincher was able to depict a scary tale of how sometimes it is the people who we are closest to, that we know the least about. With a superb ensemble cast, “Gone Girl” is not just a great film, but a movie worth watching over and over again.
UNDER THE SKIN (DIR: JONATHAN GLAZER): A film that divided viewers, but did not divide movie critics. “Under the Skin” is a creepy, independent film that continues actress Scarlett Johansson's career as a big risk taker. It is an awesome sci-fi film of an alien stalking, hunting, and discarding of men. Director Jonathan Glazer made a film that opens with “2001: A Space Odyssey”-like visuals. Even if viewers do not like it, it is the kind of movie you can't stop talking about.
AND THE WINNER IS…NIGHTCRAWLER
2014 has come to an end, in what I would call a very strange, impressive, not exactly perfect, and overall, good year of film. I had many doubts if I would be able to find a clear #1 film for the title of “best of the year”. You could go all the way to the honorable mentions on my best of the year list and make an argument that it should be #1. I am not sure if that means many films had issues or if overall, a lot of movies were that good? Some lived up to the anticipation, such as Christopher Nolan's Interstellar or David Fincher's Gone Girl, they filled their roles as great directors, but also raised the bar. There were also impressive films from newcomers, such as Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler and Damien Chazelle's intense jazz drama Whiplash. Much like last year's Top 10, these are not just movies that were the best of the year, but they also made an impact on me as a viewer. At AMovieGuy.com we ask, “What movies were truly memorable?” Without further ado, these are the awards for the best movies of 2014:
JAKE GYLLENHAAL (NIGHTCRAWLER): In Nightcrawler there is a strong, defined, cadence in every word that Jake Gyllenhaal speaks in Nightcrawler. It. is. Almost. if. Every. Word. Matters. This is why Gyllenhaal gave the best performance of his career and the year, playing the sociopathic, determined, and cold- Lou Bloom. It is acting at its best.
TOM HARDY (LOCKE): It is great when actors challenge audiences and themselves in film. That is what Tom Hardy did in the film Locke. Hardy gives his entire performance from the drivers seat of a car. We see a man go from having everything in the world to making a decision that could change everything. Through phone conversations, facial expressions, and dramatic intensity Hardy drives home a winning performance.
DAVID OYELOWO (SELMA): I would recommend viewers watch an interview with David Oyelowo after seeing his brilliant performance as Martin Luther King in Selma. You would never know he was from Oxford, England when you hear him speak with the strength and power of Dr. King. Oyelowo's performance will cause audiences to rise and cheer for his inspirational words. Playing MLK is hard to do, yet Oyelowo makes it look like we are in the room with the Nobel Peace Prize winner himself.
AND THE WINNER IS...JAKE GYLLENHAAL- NIGHTCRAWLER
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
EMMA STONE (BIRDMAN): Emma Stone proved in 2014 that her pursuit to be taken seriously as an actress was real. Stone put a cap on her great year playing Sam- the daughter of Michael Keaton's character in “Birdman”. She tells her father “how life really is” in the films most memorable interaction of a drug addicted daughter and a famous father attempting to shed his super hero persona.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY (THE IMITATION GAME): Knightley is a steady support system as Joan Clarke, a brilliant woman who helped Alan Turing in his efforts to break Nazi codes during WWII. Knightley's performance is filled with genuine care and inspiration for the love that Clarke and Turing had for each other as friends.
PATRICIA ARQUETTE (BOYHOOD): Richard Linklater's film Boyhood needed the comfort of a mother, and he found it in the superb performance from Arquette. She is so good with her subtleties and performance touch that one could think she truly was actor Ellar Coltrane's actual mother. Its quite memorable.
AND THE WINNER IS...EMMA STONE- BIRDMAN
AMOVIEGUY.COM'S TOP 10- BEST MOVIES OF THE YEAR!
2) Gone Girl
3) Under the Skin
5) The Grand Budapest Hotel
8) How to Train Your Dragon 2
10) The Drop
HONERABLE MENTION: Foxcatcher; Life Itself; Enemy; The Rover; Nymphomaniac (Vol. 1 & 2); Fury; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Locke; Frank; Two Days, One Night; Interstellar; Edge of Tomorrow; The Lego Movie; Obvious Child; The Raid 2; Only Lovers Left Alive; Godzilla; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Snowpiercer; Joe; Selma; The Imitation Game; Into the Woods; 22 Jump Street
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
J.K. SIMMONS (WHIPLASH): “Follow my tempo”. You better do what Simmons says, because his command in Whiplash is one of authority and strength. Simmons is commonly known for smaller roles, but in the Jazz teacher vs. student drummer, he is one of the best of the year, and could earn himself an Oscar.
EDWARD NORTON (BIRDMAN): Norton is one of the best actors around and he plays a tornado lit on fire, throwing debris in Birdman. His most memorable moments in the film may be a bare knuckle scuffle with Michael Keaton in his tighty whities, making an erection extend on call, and seducing Emma Stone on a roof. All together it makes one hell of a movie.
ROBERT PATTINSON (THE ROVER): Pattinson is not being mentioned by any press outlets for his performance in The Rover. So I feel it is my duty to acknowledge his excellent performance as Rey, a simple minded, mildly retarded man, whose brother has left him on the side of the road for dead. It is how Pattinson uses facial ticks, delivers dialogue, and it all should be brought to light.
AND THE WINNER IS...J.K. SIMMONS- WHIPLASH
ROSAMUND PIKE (GONE GIRL): It took a lot of guts for Director David Fincher to make Rosamund Pike play the “Gone Girl”. It was the best move of the year because Pike is too good to not be praised. Her take as Amy Dunne is a combination of all-American girl, a woman fed up, and a mask that hides the human soul. Pike's performance is one of the most memorable of the year.
JULIANNE MOORE (STILL ALICE): If you look at Moore's filmography there could be an argument that she should be here every year. In “Still Alice”, Moore has a certain reserved excellence that allows her to become Alice, a woman who battles early onset Alzheimer. Her performance may seem subtle, but that is why it is so good because Moore is so good, it looks eerily effortless.
MARION COTILLARD (TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT): Cotillard earns the nomination for her work as an Oscar winner turned middle class fighter for her job in “Two Days, One Night”. You could also argue that her work in James Gray's “The Immigrant” deserves nominations. Either way, Cotillard is excellent in both, and her ability to show real human emotions of a woman fighting for her life and her job.
AND THE WINNER IS…JULIANNE MOORE- STILL ALICE