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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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Selma (2014)

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

The Imitation GameWild, American Sniper, Mr.TurnerBig EyesFoxcatcherUnbrokenThe Theory Of Every ThingFuryKill The Messenger – and among these never-ending list of biographies produced in 2014, Selma turns out to be the one with the most impact.

selma-poster1The film Selma vividly depicts the unfortunate times when equality and respect in the society depended on one’s race and color.

Presently with a Black President behind the desk it is hard for us to imagine the amount of sacrifice and torment the Black community of United States went through in the past, the sacrifice they had to make just to claim their basic rights as a citizen.

But then again, it was the time to change the course of history forever.

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.

While under the orders of George Wallace (the then Governor of Alabama) countless innocent men and women (of all ages) were harassed, brutally beaten and even murdered but that didn’t stop Martin Luther King from keep demanding his rights (peacefully though).   

selma-posterPresident Lyndon Johnson finally had to give in and it was victory – a victory of both equality and humanity. 

The film Selma directed by Ava DuVernay brilliantly manages to portray the emotions and sentiments of the people who fought  for what they believed was right.

And such a powerful film is evidently backed by some outstanding performances – David Oyelowo (as King, he is simply brilliant), Carmen EjogoOprah WinfreyTom WilkinsonGiovanni RibisiTim Roth and others.

Selma with four Golden Globe Award nominations (won for Best Original Song) was also nominated for Best Picture and won Best Original Song at the Oscars this year.

A film that will undoubtedly touch your heart. Watch it.

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Mr.Turner (2014)

My Ratings: 4/5.

The film Mr.Turner, is a biography based on the life and career of the prominent British painter J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851). 

Nominated for this year’s Oscars and BAFTA in four categories each, the film also competed for the Palme d’Or in the Cannes Film Festival. 

mr-turner-poster2Writer/director Mike Leigh famous for his earlier films like NakedSecrets & LiesVera DrakeHappy-Go-Lucky this time portrayed the life of the eccentric but extremely talented artist, Mr.Turner.

According to Mike Leigh Turner was “a great artist: a radical, revolutionary painter” and he said “I felt there was scope for a film examining the tension between this very mortal, flawed individual, and the epic work, the spiritual way he had of distilling the world”

Actually the film Mr.Turner doesn’t revolve on any particular story of Turner’s life but it’s overall view based on his later life (middle aged) till his death.

The film deals with Turner’s passions and brilliance, his obsessions and madness, his pleasures and insecurities, his family ties and his love lives.

And of course a masterful insight into his paintings.

mr-turner-poster3Timothy Spall gave the best performance of his life and played the character of Mr.Turner to perfection. No wonder he won the best actor at Cannes Film Festival.

All the other actors, especially Paul JessonDorothy Atkinson and Marion Bailey did their very best.

But according to me the real protagonists of this film are the outstanding cinematography by Dick Pope and also Gary Yershon‘s music. A marvelous combination of beautiful visuals perfectly synced with such melody!

A slow paced period film with beautiful costumes and production design; Mr.Turner is a great biography, true to it’s nature and also to the historic painter on whom it’s based on. 

One should attempt to watch films like Mr.Turner with adequate amount of patience and if you are familiar with Turner’s paintings – it helps.

Overall a great accomplishment indeed.

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