Favorite Movies 2014
Incredible feminist fairy tale that I was glad to watch with my daughter and tell her “never give your power to a man – see what happens!”.
I grew up on science fiction as political metaphor movies like PLANET OF THE APES, SOYLENT GREEN and A BOY AND HIS DOG. The train, separated by class, that travels the world in a frozen future, is a welcome return to that kind of storytelling. Great production design throughout, and Tilda Swinton’s performance, costume and make up is stand out.
8. Into The Woods
I saw this show on Broadway decades ago and hated it. I can’t believe how much I liked the film. I don’t understand how my reaction is so different – have I changed that much? Is the storytelling so much better in the film? Or both. Either way, even with so many people reworking fairy tales, I thought it was fresh, and thought its staging as a musical was very well done, and great costume, production design and performances throughout.
7. Dear White People
This movie is on the short list I call “black movies I don’t have to pretend to like”. It’s smart, modern, well made and actually gave me hope.
6. Top Five
Between the movie itself and the amazing series of interviews he’s done in support of it, the Chris Rock I know is now known to the general public. It’s more than funny, it’s real and honest. The scene in the projects…awesome. The trip to Houston…incredible. DMX…showstopper. And Rosario Dawson is incredible throughout.
This movie and courage and ambition and beauty and emotion. But of all the scenes that moved me, the moment in the principal’s office was the most affecting to me. Because that’s the real life horror of our world today, the horror that will lead to the doomsday scenario of the film.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Rewatching Phase One of the Marvel movies with my kids, I was surprised how the first Captain America film held up…maybe even rose in my estimation. But after seeing the sequel, I feel the first film only exists to set up part two, which is a fantastical version of 3 DAYS OF THE CONDOR.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s almost impossible to capture the combination of swashbuckling adventure, comedy and melodrama that makes the magic of STAR WARS. And most who try and fail look like a pathetic clone of the original. This is a completely successful version that tells its own story, and that’s a huge achievement.
2. American Sniper
When I was a kid, I saw SGT YORK starring Gary Cooper on TV and loved it. This film is a worthy successor. I don’t know what’s true, or what’s not said, but this film was powerful and engaging.
After the excellent BOYCOTT, I thought this movie would not cover new ground. But it’s a extremely well made film that people with great moments that only a black filmmaker will add. And the animal brutality of the white citizens of Selma is put on screen with great power. But the most chilling scene is an exchange between MLK and Coretta – nuff said.