Saturday, January 24, 2015

Memorable Movie Images of 2014


What exactly defines a "weak year" for movies? It's a question I've been thinking about a lot since most seem to believe 2014 qualifies. Does it mean the selection was thin? That there were fewer great movies? Or that the great movies just weren't as great as they usually are? Not on my end. I refuse to call any year that gave me Boyhood, Birdman, Gone Girl, Foxcatcher and Whiplash all within a span of only a few months a weak one. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find five films that fit more firmly in my wheelhouse or I had more of a blast reviewing, with Whiplash literally sending me in a full sprint to spill my thoughts minutes after seeing it. It also helps that I somehow managed to avoid most of the lesser efforts that came out, realizing there just isn't nearly enough time to see or review EVERYTHING so I'd better choose wisely. It took a while to figure that out, but doing so allowed me to jam more quality films in, to the point that I'm not only in excellent viewing shape heading into the Oscars, but could almost provide a legitimate Top 10 without any filler. Almost. You already just got the Top 5 (in no particular order mind you).

So, here's the part of the movie year where I submit the visual evidence. The images and screenshots posted below had to be chosen from films released (in theaters or in demand) during the 2014 calendar year and be either a visually impressive or interesting shot and/or capture a memorable moment. As usual, I went digging everywhere in attempting to find the highest quality captures that weren't the obvious stills or promotional images, unless such an image proved to be the best choice. While I didn't include every single film of the year, it's pretty close, covering big studio and indie, untitled and arranged in chronological order of U.S. release. That last part was complicated and tricky since the parameters defining an actual "release" have drastically shifted over the past few years. The most enjoyable part of this is always selecting the shots from films I missed and realizing how badly that needs to be rectified. For cheating, this Wiki 2014 in Film page is helpful as a broad outline, but it's missing a lot of titles and the release dates are off. And most obviously, there are SPOILERS. Here we go....