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Under the Skin

‘Under the Skin’

Even as we carry on updating the list of the “Most Anticipated Films of 2015,” we’re still looking back at the best of 2014. First up, let’s note that Jonathan Marlow has wrapped our our own “50 Lists in 50 Days” series and Susan Gerhard has followed up by collecting several Keyframe contributors’ notes on some of their favorite cinematic moments of the year.

More group efforts. For the Notebook‘s seventh annual poll, writers “were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2014—in theaters or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2014 to create a unique double feature.” And the contributors include the venerable Ferroni Brigade, filmmaker Christoph Hochhäusler, Notebook editors Daniel Kasman and Adam Cook—the list rolls on. And FWIW, I’ve got an entry in there, too.

40 filmmakers and friends of the Talkhouse Film have cast individual ballots (some of them with comments), all of which have been posted along with the results of the poll. The top five:

  1. Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin.
  2. Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood.
  3. Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best!
  4. Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler.
  5. Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure.

Under the Skin tops the list of 20 at In Review Online as well, with nearly as many contributors writing a good solid paragraph on each title to make the cut. Andy Crump on Glazer’s marvel: “Is the film a powerful subversion of the male gaze? An examination of the relationship between predator and prey? A treatise on what it means to actually be human? Or is it just a willfully weird movie that wants to toy with our expectations based on what looks like a case of marvelous stunt casting? In truth, Under the Skin is all of these things and much, much more; at moments, it comes closer to pure cinema than anything else released in 2014, elliptically presenting its ideas and themes in one mesmeric, ineffable, cohesive package.”

Contributors to the Nashville Scene have taken on questions such as “What was your biggest surprise?,” “What movie do you wish more people had seen?,” “What’s the best old movie you saw in 2014?” and “The most obnoxious thing about movies in 2014 was _______.”

The Austin Chronicle‘s critics have polled themselves and come up with a top ten. The first five:

  1. Boyhood.
  2. Force Majeure.
  3. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman.
  4. Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  5. A tie: Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive.

You can also see the individual lists from Marjorie Baumgarten, Steve Davis, William Goss, Kimberley Jones, Josh Kopecki and Marc Savlov.

Eight contributors to Film International write up their favorites and blow down the overrated.

The Film Stage‘s annotated collective list runs to 50. #1: Boyhood.

At the Toronto Film Review, David Davidson has collected well over 50 lists from Canadian critics. Ten lists from Seattle are gathered at the Parallax View. The Film Society of Lincoln Center has posted top tens from its staff.

The eleven lists at new filmkritik don’t require fluency in German, but Perlentaucher‘s collection of write-ups on films that haven’t yet opened in Germany sort of does.

French speakers will want to explore the lists at

The Warner Archive’s release of Nicholas Ray‘s The Lusty Men wins best DVD and the BFI’s edition of The Werner Herzog Collection is named Blu-ray of the year in DVD Beaver‘s annual poll. Scroll up and down that page for the full lists and individual ballots—which include Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s, by the way.


James Kang, who’s been doing a bang-up job all year at Critics Round Up, has put Lav Diaz‘s Norte, the End of History at the top of his list of 16. It’s David Liu‘s #1 as well.

Frieze has been asking its contributors to look back on their highlights of the year. Ela Bittencourt‘s are all about the movies.

For Michael J. Anderson, “the film of the year… was Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain… ‘Best director,’ however, would go to Tsai Ming-liang for Stray Dogs.”

Blake Williams has rated every film he’s seen in 2014 and then drawn up two separate top tens (real favorites plus a poll-eligible list; #1 on both: Jean-Luc Godard‘s Goodbye to Language) and added another: “My Top 10 Discoveries During 2014.” Here the #1 is Eric Rohmer‘s The Marquise of O (1976).

Four lists from Darren Hughes: Favorite theatrical releases (#1: James Gray’s The Immigrant), as-yet undistributed features (#1: Pedro Costa‘s Horse Money), new experimental shorts and discoveries.

Michael Lieberman lists his best repertory films (Vincente Minnelli’s The Band Wagon, 1953), world premieres (Horse Money) and cinematic non-films (Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”).

In the San Diego CityBeat, Glenn Heath, Jr. has “decided to present my list as a series of couples, thematically linked by a single defining trait and perfectly tailored for a double feature.” For example: “Both Closed Curtain, Jafar Panahi’s masterpiece about a filmmaker avoiding detection from the Iranian government in his own house, and Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s documentary about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, are essential documents about the power of surveillance, both as an all-encompassing entity manipulated by the government and a form of protest to be used by film artists pushing the boundaries of social reform.”

Oliver Farry‘s #1 is Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent, “the best biopic since Milos Forman’s Man on the Moon.”

Over at the Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy‘s #1 is Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Leviathan, “the film that should have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes,” and Scott Feinberg‘s is John Carney’s Begin Again.

#1 narrative feature for Michael Hawley: Boyhood. #1 doc: Joaquim Pinto’s What Now? Remind Me. And then there are many honorable mentions and special citations.

Michael Guillén‘s list is alphabetical and he’s got quite a bit to say about each of his choices.

#1 for Jesse Hawthorne Ficks at Eat Drink Films is Tim Sutton‘s Memphis: “I’ve never needed to watch a film three times at Sundance before… I cannot prepare you for the intense experience you might have when watching this visionary film.”

Topping Nicholas Bell‘s list at Ioncinema: Under the Skin.

It’s The Grand Budapest Hotel for Bob Turnbull. “And Ralph Fiennes should get recognized for a brilliant comedic turn.”

For Danny Miller, “while I might switch and move around every other film on this list depending on my feelings at any given moment, nothing could budge Boyhood from my top spot.” Also at Cinephiled, Sean Axmaker writes up the “Best of 2014 on Blu-ray and DVD.”

Writing for Forbes, Sam Fragoso puts in a few good words for the “Most Underrated Films of 2014.”

Nick Davis has been thinking about “how little we salute collaborations. Outside of acceptance speeches or unbreakable ties on Ten Best lists, it’s hard to pay tribute to the aspect of movielove that isn’t about beholding solo artists’ achievements but about relishing teamwork among filmmakers, or bonds between characters, or resonances across films…. So here are 52 occasions, one per week of the year, when the currents running between characters or the collaboration nourished among creative artists filled me with joy, admiration, humility, or insight.”

Fresh lists at Twitch: “Top 15 Filipino Films” (Oggs Cruz), “13 Favorite Indian & Pakistani Films” (J Hurtado) and “Favorite Asian Movies, Part 2” (James Marsh).

Viewing (88’13”). Robert Horton, whose own #1 is The Grand Budapest Hotel, hosts a discussion of the year in movies with Jim Emerson, Richard T. Jameson and Kathleen Murphy.


Via Sarah Salovaara at Filmmaker: “The NoBudge Awards may not be as hotly anticipated as other statuettes doled out at this time of year, but Kentucker Audley’s annual selections are still well worth paying attention to, if not solely for the fact that you won’t find their winners anywhere else on the circuit. A quasi year in review of his own programming, the NoBudge Awards spotlight films that screened on the site for a minimum of thirty days.”

The 2014 Lists and Awards Index. For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @KeyframeDaily. Get Keyframe Daily in your inbox by signing in at

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