The Best Films of 2014

Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin

Of the 350+ films I saw this year, these are the best ones. Some of them were released last year and I’ve been a bit slow getting round to them. Some of them were released even longer ago. The criteria are – I watched them in 2014 and I liked them. That’s it. The Best Computer Chess (2013, dir: Andrew Bujalski) Andrew Bujalski, inventor of mumblecore, proved there’s life in the old beast yet with this retro-verité drama about geeks meeting in the 1980s to pit their programs against a chess-playing computer. Shooting on original video cameras in fuzzy-edged boxellated black and white, Bujalski catches the moment when the let-it-all-hang-out era died and our … Read more

1 September 2014-09-01

Ilias Stothart as the young Benigno in Painless

Out in the UK This Week The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD/digital) Marc Webb’s reboot of Spider-Man in 2012 was artistically unnecessary but Webb did at least inject a welcome note of young love into it – he directed indie weepie 500 Days of Summer, let’s not forget. This even more unnecessary sequel sees Andrew Garfield’s Catcher in the Rye webslinger taking on an unnecessary plurality of villains – Electro and Green Goblin. Electro is a nice bit of racist stereotyping for Jamie Foxx, who starts off as a mild mannered janitor and winds up as “angry nigger” Electro, all exaggerated features and steroidal rage, capable of bringing a city to its knees … Read more