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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 4 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 27
2014 Mid-Year Film Recap
Arts & Entertainment
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2014 Mid-Year Film Recap

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

As far as 2014 is concerned, by the end of June I've already watched just over a 100 films that have either been released or are scheduled-to-be-released this year, which actually is down a little for 2013, if I'm being perfectly honest. But in terms of quality? Quality-wise, this year has been borderline exceptional, a number of noteworthy films seeing a release, a large handful of which are without question worthy of top ten status come the end of December.

Not too surprisingly, it's been independent and foreign releases that have led the way. Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel might just be the idiosyncratic filmmaker's best effort yet, while veterans Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive), David Gordon Green (Joe), Hirokazu Koreeda (Like Father, Like Son) and Alain Guiraudie (Stranger by the Lake) returned to action with delectable, multifaceted relish. The big news, though, might just be the emergence of relatively new distributor A24 into the multiplex, the upstart company bringing forth Gillian Robespierre's Obvious Child, Steven Knight's Locke, Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, Denis Villeneuve's Enemy and David Michôd's The Rover all within the past sixth months, a fairly glorious selection of releases for an entire year let alone half of one.

As far as the major studios are concerned, there's plenty to talk about on that front as well. Warner Bros. hit it out of the park with both the animated gem The LEGO Movie as well as director Gareth Edwards's reimagining of Godzilla, the Toho icon regaining his status as the King of Monsters with ferocious tenacity. Paramount rolled the dice on Darren Aronofsky's audacious and wildly eccentric Biblical epic Noah and had to come away pleased with the results on such a risky cinematic experiment. Fox brought John Greene's best-selling teenagers with cancer novel The Fault in Our Stars to life under the direction of Josh Boone, the resulting motion picture without question one of the summer's most emotionally dexterous surprises.

Then there are the comic book adaptations, now a yearlong staple no longer limited to just the summer schedule. Of those, two are worthy of being talked about in gushing terms (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past) while the less said about the third (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) the better, as it proved to be not just a disappointment, but also in the running to be one of 2014's absolute worst big budget releases.

As for the films from the first half of the year that I watched, here are the ones I feel are worth talking a little bit more about - who knows if I'll still be doing so by the time the calendar moves into its final days come December?

2014 TOP TEN CONTENDERS (alphabetic order)
o Blue Ruin
o Captain America: The Winter Soldier
o Cheap Thrills
o The Grand Budapest Hotel
o The LEGO Movie
o Like Father, Like Son
o Locke
o Noah
o Obvious Child
o Only Lovers Left Alive
o Proxy
o The Rover
o Stranger by the Lake
o Under the Skin

GETTING BETTER (the more I think about them)
o The Den
o Edge of Tomorrow
o Enemy
o Godzilla
o Joe
o Lucky Them
o The Raid 2
o Rigor Mortis

JUST PLAIN GOOD
o About Last Night
o Almost Human
o Anita
o The Art of the Steal
o Bad Words
o Blood Glacier
o Child's Pose
o The Fault in Our Stars
o Hellion
o How to Train Your Dragon 2
o Mr. Peabody & Sherman
o Muppets Most Wanted
o Neighbors
o Oculus
o Raze
o The Sacrament
o Veronica Mars
o X-Men: Days of Future Past

JUST PLAIN BAD
o The Amazing Spider-Man 2
o Better Living Through Chemistry
o Children of Sorrow
o Draft Day
o I, Frankenstein
o Mr. Jones
o Ride Along
o Rio 2
o That Awkward Moment
o Vampire Academy
o Winter's Tale

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