Timbuktu [Le chagrin des oiseaux] is a gorgeous dramatic portrait/satire/critique
of violent Sharia takeover of territory.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a metafictional biography
of Michael Keaton, modern art and commerce.
Ida (2014) is Pawel Pawlikowski's formally perfect Polish post-Holocaust
reckoning with great Agatas Trzebuchowska and Kulesza.
Boyhood is Richard Linklater's real-time growing up of Ellar Coltrane's
character and family, subtle, remarkable and powerful.
A Most Violent Year is a great, tense, surprising fictional drama of a
heating oil business under attack from all sides.
Whiplash (2014) is a J.K. Simmons/Miles Teller duel of talent, ambition
and hate, ratchets dramatic tension like crazy.
Unbroken is the great true story of Olympic runner and WWII airman
Louis Zamperini lost at sea and as a POW in Japan.
Selma is a very well-acted drama of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1965
voting rights demonstrations in Selma, Alabama.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson's handmade tribute to peculiar
people and peculiar times, starring Ralph Fiennes.
American Sniper is Clint Eastwood's apologia for Jersey Boys as a
straightforward portrait of a Navy SEAL warrior.
Leviathan (2014) is the story of an independent Russian man battling
malevolent forces of politics and bureaucracy.
Song of the Sea (2014) is Tomm Moore's involving, lovely family quest movie
rooted in Irish language, story and song.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a fun, gripping, fantastical, multimetaphorical
Iranian vampire tale (shot in U.S.).
The Theory of Everything is a wise drama of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne
in a knockout performance), light on physics.
Still Alice is a moving story of a linguistics professor with early-onset
Alzheimer's Disease (Julianne Moore) and family.
The Imitation Game is a well-acted, well-intentioned, pretty good, simplistic,
didactic drama of Alan Turing and Enigma.
Foxcatcher is Bennett Miller's brilliant jutted-jaw true crime/sports/wealth drama
with great Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell.
Project Almanac is a fun "found footage" exercise about teens who build
a time machine and travel back to cure pimples.
Mr. Turner is a biopic of painter J.M.W. Turner and the gruntiest movie
since Foxcatcher, just not near as interesting.
Paddington (2014) is a gently funny, quite faithful update to the beloved
British children's classics, not great, good.
Into the Woods is an okay Steven Sondheim fairy tale musical adapted to
the screen without lots of magic or great singing.
Big Hero 6 is an entertaining animated Marvel robot comic book adaptation
with some deftly handled big ideas, from Disney.
Jupiter Ascending is a silly space drama with ancient alien lore, looks great,
not too boring, okay Kunis/Tatum chemistry.
Wild (2014) is Reese Witherspoon going so in a movie (mostly for non-hikers)
about the transformative power of hiking.
Black or White (2014) is an overly complicated movie of a custody fight
between two sides of the family of a young girl.
The Lazarus Effect is the very sort of awful horror movie which stigmatizes
needed research into jumper-cabling dead s---.
Taken 3 is set mostly in L.A. this time instead of Ultra-Dank Europe,
lots of crawling through sewers, including actually. NO STARS
Black Sea (2015) is a truly cheap and lazy genre misfire, really horrible
to watch; The Full Monty on a rusty death sub. NO STARS
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (see above).
The Homesman is a Tommy Lee Jones-directed bloody genius Western novel
adaptation with indelible Hilary Swank and Jones roles.
Whiplash (see above).
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya [Kaguyahime no monogatari] is an artful,
magical animated folk tale about youth and more.
Life Itself is a moving, informative and well-made documentary biography
of the great Roger Ebert, necessarily limiting.
The Theory of Everything (see above).
The Interview is a very brave, funny execution of Kim Jong-un by Seth Rogen
and James Franco as shallow media goofballs.
Big Hero 6 (see above).
St. Vincent is a funny Bill Murray Grumpy Old Man, avoids traps
of sentimentality until the ending, which drags a bit.
Searchable index of movie reviews with links
Alex's Politics and Movies Blog