I’m not going to mince words, flaws and all, even with segments that offend, Top Five is incredible, and in many ways is the best comedy released by a major studio in 2014.
Wild remains entrancing, always offering up moments of subtle, delicately simple intimacy that struck me right in the heart.
Unsettling, thought-provoking, filled with startling visuals coming from a place of pure, uncompromising emotional truth, The Babadook is an oftentimes devastating look at loss, death and regret coupled with the responsibilities of parenthood that hits extremely close to the bone. It doesn’t let up, keeping Amelia’s wavering psychological state at the center of things throughout, delivering up a powerfully honest conclusion to this small family’s travails and woes that is instantly unforgettable.
Terry is a fascinating figure, oozing intelligence and charm even as he heads into his 90s, while Kauflin’s got charisma to burn, his talents as a musician apparent right from the start. As for Hicks, he’s managed to assemble as solid a debut as anything he could have hoped for, Keep and Keepin’ On a rousing documentary undertaking whose rhythmic underpinnings are so self-assured they’re positively euphonious.
However, as good as the production values might be, as strong as the overall cast is, the same cannot be said for The Pyramid (2014) as a whole. Levasseur shows potential as a director, just not enough of it to overcome his debut’s deficiencies, making this one horrific descent into the subterranean unknown unworthy of discovery.
Penguins of Madagascar
Somehow, someway Horrible Bosses 2 finds a way to meander towards success. There are signature bits sprinkled throughout, including a glorious gag with a car, a gate and surprisingly resilient chain-link fence, while the cast continually enliven things to a point I can’t help but smile recollecting on them now.
A dour, hardscrabble elegiac Western filled with grit, grime and grotesquerie, [The Homesman] embraces the contradictions inherent to both the tale and to the characters inhabiting it, achieving a level of shattering intimacy that refuses to provide easy answers and leaves the viewer in a state of uncomforting uncertainty that fits the narrative perfectly.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I is still skillfully made and Jennifer Lawrence is as good as ever as the young woman who must transform herself into a hero whether she wants to or not. Unlike the first two, though, this one feels far more engineered by a corporate committee than either of its predecessors did, diluting the emotional impact of all that’s transpiring for Katniss and her followers in the process.