Let’s start with one I’ve already mentioned but really needs highlighting again. Kristin Thompson, on behalf of herself and David Bordwell: “For a seventh year running, we skip ranking the current year’s films and instead hark back 90 years.” What follows, of course, is a wonderfully annotated list of the “ten best films of … 1924.” And you can watch a good handful of them right here, right now: Lev Kuleshov’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks, Mauritz Stiller‘s The Saga of Gosta Berling, Buster Keaton‘s Sherlock Jr., F.W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh and Fritz Lang’s two-part epic, Die Nibelungen: Siegfried and Kriemhild’s Revenge. And by the way: “Our entries for past years are here: 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, and 1923.”
- Lisandro Alonso‘s Jauja.
- Jean-Luc Godard‘s Goodbye to Language.
- Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood.
- Bruno Dumont‘s Li’l Quinquin.
- Lav Diaz‘s From What Is Before.
- David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars.
- Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s Winter Sleep.
- Pedro Costa‘s Horse Money.
- Sergei Loznitsa‘s Maidan.
- A tie: Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York and Raúl Perrone’s Favula.
And there are four honorable mentions plus a list of the best experimental shorts of the year.
Topping Andrew O’Hehir‘s list at Salon is Boyhood, which “has the breadth of a Russian novel, along with a structural integrity learned from François Truffaut and Jacques Rivette, and a fascination with time (and with Texas) that is all Linklater.”
“Out of sheer contrarian perversity, I did everything I could to avoid picking Boyhood as the year’s best film,” confesses the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips. “It has been lauded so much already; its hype, the increasingly heavy burden of awards-generated expectation, has turned into this gentle masterwork’s worst enemy.” But there it is, in the top slot. His #2: Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel. “What is it this year with Houston-born filmmakers?”
Boyhood doesn’t appear at all on the list at A Type of Distraction, but it tops both Will Leitch’s and Tim Grierson’s lists at the Concourse, and it’s #1 for Michael Smith, too. His #2 is Lav Diaz’s “masterpiece,” Norte, the End of History.
#1 for Carson Lund is Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs: “Idiosyncratic, filled with mystery, and auteurist to the core, the film feels like a fusion of so many different threads running through Tsai’s career, even as it points in some new directions that may sadly go unexplored if the director’s self-declared retirement is really on the horizon.”
Philippe Garrel’s Jealousy tops Peter Labuza‘s list: “An autobiographical tale across three generations, compressed like a visit in the desert, only lasting so long before one must leave. Devastating in its subtle lightness, images and sounds like a vision of the remembered past, flashing through memory before turning off the light.” And see more of the best of 2014 at the Film Stage.
“While the past 12 months has been a particularly rich one for new films, many of the best films I saw for the first time in 2014 were actually made many years ago.” Philip Concannon tells us about his “Cinema Discoveries of 2014.” #1: Alain Resnais‘s Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968).
Bruce Reid and Sean Axmaker highlight their favorite film-related reading this year. Also at Parallax View, you can now read around 30 marvelous “Moments Out of Time” columns that Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy have been writing at the end of so many years now.
Listening (139’28”). The Boston Online Film Critics Association discusses 2014.