Best Films Not Yet at a Theater Near You, 2014


‘Uncertain Terms’

The critics circles, the cities, your neighbors and friends have come to wide consensus on some of the best feature films and performances of the year. Now it’s time to take a second look: How about the best feature films and performances that didn’t (perhaps) get billboard treatment? Here are some of the lists of best films of the year that may not have played at a theater near you; they screened at festivals and/or weren’t widely distributed in 2014. (And if you do know of distribution plans for any of the films listed, please do share that in the comments below.)

[Note: Titles in bold on first mention only.]

Miriam Bale

Approaching the Elephant (Amanda Wilder)
Amour fou (Jessica Hausner)

Jordan Cronk

1. Episode of the Sea (Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Hann)
2. The Kindergarten Teacher (Nadav Lapid)
3. From What Is Before (Lav Diaz)
4. The Second Game (Corneliu Porumboiu)
5. Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo)
6. La Sapienza (Eugène Green)
7. Los ausentes (Nicolás Pereda)
8. The Iron Ministry (J.P. Sniadecki)
9. Black Coal, Thin Ice (Diao Yinan)
10. A Midsummer’s Fantasia (Jang Kun-jae)

Aaron Cutler

1. From What is Before (Lav Diaz)
2. Listening to the Space in My Room (Robert Beavers)

Brian Darr

Entr’Acte (Lawrence Jordan)
December (Nathaniel Dorsky)
Affect Theory (Jeannie Liotta)
Flow (LiChun Tseng)
Club Sandwich (Fernando Eimbcke)
Tip Top (Serge Bozon)
This Film Is Unclassified (Bryan Boyce)
We Had the Experience But We Missed the Meaning (Laida Lertxundi)
Our Sunhi (Hong Sang-soo)
Reel Video (Paul Clipson)


‘Our Sunhi’

David Ehrenstein

The David Whiting Story or The Cesar Romero Joke

Samuel Fragoso

Imperial Dreams (Malik Booth)

Pam Grady

1. Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad)
2. ’71 (Yann Demange)
3. Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed (David Trueba)
4. What We Do in the Shadows (Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement)
5. Last Season (Sara Dosa)

Jaime Grijalba

El escarabajo de oro (Alejo Moguillansky, Fia-Stina Sandlund)
Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)
Wild Tales (Damián Szifrón)
Tokyo Tribe (Sion Sono)
The Iron Ministry (J.P. Sniadecki)

Brandon Harris

Hawaiian Punch (Nandan Rao)



Adam Hartzell

1. Grigris (Mahamet-Saleh Haroun, Chad, 2013)
2. Harmony Lessons (Emir Balgazin, Kazakhstan, 2013)
3. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Shion Sono, Japan, 2013)
4. Our Sunhi (Hong Sangsoo, South Korea, 2013)
5. Transit (Hannah Espia, Philippines/Israel, 2013)
6. Karaoke Girl (Visra Vichit Vadakan, Thailand, 2013)
7. Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy (Nawapol Tharongrattanarit, Thailand, 2013)

Dennis Harvey

The Boy and the World (Ale Abreu)
Creep (Mark Brice)
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (Mark
Guidance (Pat Mills)
The Joe Show (Randy Murray)
The Notorious Mr. Bout (Tony Gerberg, Maxim Pozdorovkin)
Obra (Gregorio Graziosi)
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson)
Queens and Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo (Matt Livadary)

Eugene Hernandez

1. Le Meraviglie (Alice Rohrwacher)
2. August Winds (Gabriel Mascaro)
3. She’s Lost Control (Anja Marquardt)
4. The Iron Ministry (J.P. Sniadecki)

Steven Jenkins

1. Harmony Lessons (Emir Baigazin)
2. Stop The Pounding Heart (Roberto Minervini)
3. The Dune (Yossi Aviram)
4. Eastern Boys (Robin Campillo)



Tarah Judah

1. Mommy (Xavier Dolan)
2. Aleppo. Notes From the Dark (Michal Przedlacki, Wojciech Szumowski)
3. Ruin (Michael Cody, Amiel Courtin-Wilson)
4. The Dark Horse (James Napier Robertson)
5. Moebius (Kim Ki-duk)
6. Charlie’s Country (Rolf de Heer)
7. Ukraine is Not a Brothel (Kitty Green)
8. Miners Shot Down (Rehad Desai)
9. Fish & Cat (Shahram Mokri)

Jay Kuehner

1. Mille Soleils (Mati Diop)
2. Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo)
3. Knows What (Joshua Safdie and Benny Safdie)
4. Horse Money (Pedro Costa)*
5. The Wonders (Alice Rohrwacher)
6. The Iron Ministry (J.P. Sniadecki)
7. August Winds (Gabriel Mascaro)
8. The Kindergarten Teacher (Nadav Lapid)
9. The Princess of France (Matias Piñeiro)
10. Forma (Ayuma Sakamoto)
11. The Creation of Meaning (Simone Casanova)
12. The Tribe (Miroslav Slaboshpitsky)

Kevin B. Lee

The Chinese Mayor (Zhou Hao)
History of Fear (Benjamin Naishtat)
Fish & Cat (Shahram Mokri)
Next to Her (Asaf Korman)
Hotel Nueva Isla (Irene Gutierrez Torres)
The Iron Ministry (J.P. Sniadecki)
A Girl at My Door (July Jung)
Tom at the Farm (Xavier Dolan)
Sand Dollars (Laura Amelia Guzman, Israel Cardenas)
Praia do Futuro (Karim Ainouz)

The Tribe

‘The Tribe’

Michael Pattison

1. The Tribe (Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy)
2. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako)
3. Amour Fou (Jessica Hausner)
4. Goodnight Mommy (Veronika Franz / Severin Fiala)
5. Eat Your Bones (Jean-Charles Hue)
6. Casa Grande (Fellipe Barbosa)
7. In the Crosswind (Martti Helde)
8. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting On Existence (Roy Andersson)
9. Kalavryta: People and Shadows (Elias Yannakakis)
10. FAROCKI (James Benning)

Lauren Treihaft

Lake Los Angeles (Mike Ott)

Michael Tully

1. The Mend (John Magary)
2. She’s Lost Control (Anja Marquardt)
3. Young Bodies Heal Quickly (Andrew T. Betzer)
4. Man from Reno (Dave Boyle)
5. Wild Canaries (Lawrence Michael Levine)
6. Above All Else (John Fiege)
7. Uncertain Terms (Nathan Silver)

*Where no number was listed, no order preference was given. To the critics who participated in this survey, we apologize that we’ve revised your lists in places where a film listed already was released in the U.S.; to those who spot errors and omissions here, please correct us in the comments. We weren’t able to use all critics’ selections and lists. Overall contributors to this year’s survey as a whole are: Aaron Cutler, Adam Cook, Adam Hartzell, Adam Schartoff, Anna Tatarska, Brandon Harris, Brian Darr, Chuck Bowen, Cody Lang, David Ehrenstein, Dennis Harvey, Glenn Heath, Jr., Ehsan Khoshbakht, Ella Taylor, Eugene Hernandez, Jaime Grijalba, Jay Keuhner, Jonathan Kiefer, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jordan Cronk, Kevin B. Lee, Lauren Treihaft, Laya Maheshwari, Max Goldberg, Michael Atkinson, Michael Pattison, Michael Tully, Michael Sicinski, Miriam Bale, Nick Schager, Pam Grady, Samuel Fragoso, Sean Axmaker, Shade Rupe, Steve Erickson, Steven Jenkins, Tara Judah, Tomas Hachard.



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