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

9 June 2014-06-09

Casey Affleck in Out of the Furnace

Out in the UK This Week The Past (Artificial Eye, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD) After Fireworks Wednesday and A Separation, something more muted from Asghar Farhadi, a drama set in France rather than Iran as the previous two were, about Marie (Bérénice Bejo) a beautiful but flighty woman finally giving the kiss-off to ex-husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) while lining up a new man, Samir (Tahar Rahim, the lead in A Prophet). It sounds like a soap and it’s undeniable that Farhadi’s genius knack for naturalism seems to have slightly abandoned him this time. What makes The Past still unmissable is the devious plotting – the ex seems like such a nice guy, the new man … Read more