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Best of Hollywood 2014

Best of Hollywood 2014 (no foreign language films included in this list).

written by Souranath Banerjee.

2014 was one awesome year for film-lovers and thanks to Hollywood for such a balanced dose of entertainment; Thrillers, SciFis, Comedies, Love stories War Dramas, Horror flicks and lots of Biographies.

It’s the time to remember the best performances of this year, the awesome directorial ventures, those brilliant visuals and mesmerizing background scores – the films that touched your heart, amazed you and made you fall in love with Cinema (all over again).

But first a few honorable mentions (films that almost made the list) – WildInherent ViceThe Hundred-Foot JourneyPrideAmerican SniperCalvaryStill AliceCamp X-RayPredestinationKill the MessengerCake and Mr. Turner

And now the countdown begins.

10. Selma

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It was 1965 and Martin Luther King leaded the epic march from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama), a nonviolent protest demanding for the right-to-vote for all black men and women in the country.

(Click for the film review)

Such a powerful film evidently backed by some outstanding performances. A must watch.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6t7vVTxaic

9. Gone Girl

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Gone Girl is fast paced film that demands your full attention, a superbly crafted thriller that plunges into the depths of a psychologically twisted marital relationship.

(Click for the film review)

Brilliant performance by Ben Affleck but the real stunner is Rosamund Pike; she proves to be the perfect cast possible for the ‘gone girl’ character.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esGn-xKFZdU

nightcrawler-posterA dangerously realistic, gritty tale based on the concept of our unconscious satisfaction in watching other people’s loss and tragedy. Thanks to the news channels.

(Click for the film review)

Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) – is he a scavenger or a survivor, a psychopath or a potential businessman, a cold-hearted predator or an insane professional?

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1uP_8VJkDQ

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most stylish comedy I have seen in years.

(Click for the film review)

Wes Anderson’s obsession for perfect production design, bold color schemes, faultless framing and as always the cheeky humor brings out an unique creation. Simply wonderful to watch, probably his best work till date.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fg5iWmQjwk

6. Interstellar

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A Sci-Fi starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathway and Jessica Chastain, Interstellar is a film about space and black holes, about dimensions and relativity; and then again it’s also about love and betrayal.

(Click for the film review)

By the acclaimed director Christopher Nolan and undoubtedly one of his best films ever.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSWdZVtXT7E

5. The Theory of Everything

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The Theory of Everything tells the emotional story of Stephen Hawking and his then wife Jane Wilde.

(Click for the film review)

Eddie Redmayne this year won the Oscar (in the Best Actor category) playing Stephen Hawking’s character with extraordinary authenticity and brilliance. A must watch.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Salz7uGp72c

4. Foxcatcher

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Foxcatcher is a film that tells the tale of two troubled souls, a multimillionaire and a wrestler, both disturbed and consumed by their own ambition and distorted personal lives.

(Click for the film review)

The film doesn’t fit the mainstream, melodramatic sport-movie pattern but after watching i am sure you will be thankful it didn’t.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8361stZ8n0w

3. Whiplash

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The intense story of Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), a 19-year-old aspiring jazz drummer and Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), his brutal school music instructor.

(Click for the film review)

Whiplash is a gritty and uncompromising take on ambition and success – it stretches the boundaries of all previous student-mentor relationship based dramas.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d_jQycdQGo

2. Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

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Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and this year’s Oscar winner.

(Click for the film review)

Michael KeatonEdward NortonNaomi WattsZach GalifianakisEmma Stone and all others are magical in front of the camera.

The whole film is edited to look like one continuous shot, a tremendous effort and brilliantly executed.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJfLoE6hanc

1. Boyhood

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A film so real and shot through such an unreal time-span that it gives you the feel of being a part of the journey with this boy Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who was 7 years old when Richard Linklater started filming and 18 when he finally felt it’s time to wrap up.

(Click for the film review)

Boyhood is something very special, a daring experiment and totally worth it.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys-mbHXyWX4

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. The Imitation Game

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Based on the life of an unsung war-hero, a genius mathematician and a troubled soul who never got the recognition he deserved – Alan Turing.

(Click for the film review)

Brilliant performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley The imitation game is one of the best biographies made last year – a perfect combination of history and good cinema.

film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5CjKEFb-sM

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Boyhood (2014)

My Ratings: 4.5/5.

Boyhood is something very special.

Ok, what happens if you follow around a boy (and his family) with your camera for 12 years and then edit the best of your footage and make a film out of it?

What happens is Boyhood!

It’s a preplanned, well-scripted film shot over 45 days during a period of 12 years (2002 -2013). Wow!

A film so real and shot through such an unreal time-span that it gives you the feel of being a part of the journey with this boy Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who was 7 years old when Richard Linklater (director) started filming and 18 when he finally felt it’s time to wrap up.

A unique experiment on celluloid, though Linklater said himself that if the audience see this merely as an experiment then he has failed at his task.

And believe me Richard Linklater is probably more successful with Boyhood than in any of his previous works which includes some beautiful films like Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Bernie and of course not to forget his ‘before’ series – Before sunrise, Before sunset and the very recent Before Midnight.

And like most of his brilliant films Boyhood also doesn’t have a definite start-middle-end to it; it’s like inviting the audience to relish the voyeuristic pleasure of watching somebody’s life passing by.

Amazing natural performances and such realistic dialogues, an over-simplified storyline and that’s probably the magic of this film’s popularity.

A string of somewhat insignificant events that eventually makes an impression in our minds, the casual talks with friends and family; may be it’s bowling game with your dad or some heated conversation with your mom – after all these little memories are what we are left with in our lives.

And Boyhood is full of life.

Ellar Coltrane plays Mason (the boy), Lorelei Linklater (Richard Linklater’s daughter playing the sister), Patricia Arquette (the mom) and who else but Ethan Hawke (the dad).

Each one of these actors deserves applaud and honors for playing their parts with such conviction and for being in their characters for over such a long period of time.

It was also decided that if Richard Linklater would die during this period of 12 years, Ethan Hawke would take over the directorial duties; just a precautionary measure I guess!

Beautifully edited by Sandra Adair, Boyhood is a must watch for all you film lovers who patiently waited for it.

A wait too long but it’s worth it.

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