Formally innovative art-house hit documentary about musician/writer Nick Cave.
Documentary about music therapy and dementia that was a big hit at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Film Festival.
Leading the pack with 9 nominations, if you only have time for one movie before the Oscars, it might as well be this one. A terrific cast, a witty script, remarkable cinematography and a pretty great score. You could do worse.
The Criterion Collection is pleased (I presume) to present the winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes. Unconventionally, the award was given not just to the director (first-timer Abdel Kechiche), but also to the two main actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos, who are now (wikipedia tells me) the only women other than Jane Campion to have won the award. The film is a love story about those two actresses and has aroused some controversy for the explicitness of its sex scenes, notching an NC-17 from the MPAA (having watching Kirby Dick's tremendous This Film Is Not Yet Rated, we know how the MPAA feels about non-heterosexual sex scenes...). So, you know, watch at your own peril.
If you read anything about Richard Linklater's latest, Boyhood, it probably started with the words, "Filmed over the course of twelve years...." If you read further, it probably mentioned that this extraordinary production schedule allowed for an unparalleled level of verisimilitude; that numerous awards are surely in its future; that Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are tremendous; and that it was one of the best movies 2014.
The influential French film journal Cahiers du Cinema called director Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake the best movie of 2013. A psychosexual thriller about two gay men suspected of murder, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers said, "Like his characters, Guiraudie is walking a tightrope, finding the point where sex and death exude a similar allure. You won't be able to look away."
Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons turn in career-defining performances as a jazz drum student and his manaical teacher in one of 2014's most acclaimed movies.