Critic Roger Ebert has said of Michael Apted’s Up documentary series that it struck him as an, “inspired, even noble use of the film medium … To look at these films, as I have every seven years, is to meditate on the astonishing fact that man is the only animal that knows it lives in time.”
Director Richard Linklater achieves something similar with the film Boyhood (and he also does in his terrific Before series of movies). Before Midnight was one of my favorite films of 2013, and now Boyhood is my favorite film of 2014. Filmed over the course of twelve years, we watch the titular boy and his family age in real time. Most of the occasions the film focuses on seem like reletively minor life events, but they take on meaning and heft through the accumulation of time. In the end I was deeply touched by this film. Even though it is not particularly sad throughout, I felt like I’d gotten to know the characters so well that I would miss no longer getting to visit them on screen.
While Boyhood takes the #1 spot, I saw quite a few great films in 2014. There are a lot of new movies that I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet (tops on my to-watch list are Whiplash, Birdman, Inherent Vice, Mr. Turner, and CitizenFour.) Even so, I’ve attempted to come up with a list of some of my favorite new movies I saw this past year. Take a gander below, and tell me what I’ve missed in the comments section.
Another Wes Anderson gem with a touching (and very funny) performance by Ralph Fiennes. This film really grew on me after a second viewing.
One of the best times I had at the theater this year (along with directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller’s other great 2014 screwball comedy, 22 Jump Street). This movie is just as fun for adults as it is for kids, and I will continue to check out anything this pair chooses to pursue.