Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a metafictional biography
of Michael Keaton, modern art and commerce.
Whiplash (2014) is a J.K. Simmons/Miles Teller duel of talent, ambition
and hate, ratchets dramatic tension like crazy.
Rosewater is Jon Stewart's smart feature directorial debut about freedom
and captivity in Iran, beautiful and worthwhile.
The Theory of Everything is a wise drama of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne
in a knockout performance), light on physics.
Nightcrawler is a nighttime L.A. romp starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a Dale Carnegie
or John Wooden of media ghouliganism.
Foxcatcher is Bennett Miller's brilliant jutted-jaw true crime/sports/wealth drama
with great Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell.
Interstellar is Christopher Nolan's absorbing and thought-provoking, slightly
corny and derivative deep space adventure.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1. It's striking how each new
installment is less cheesy, like an anti-Twilight.
The Book of Life (2014) is a fun, winning 3-D-animated Day of the Dead
musical love story produced by Guillermo del Toro.
The Better Angels is a spare, bucolic Tree of Life-style boyhood of Lincoln
which aims at a strange power but is normal.
Fury (2014) is a U.S. Army WWII tank crew smashing up the final remaining
Nazi military resistance in Germany, effective.
Big Hero 6 is an entertaining animated Marvel robot comic book adaptation
with some deftly handled big ideas, from Disney.
St. Vincent is a funny Bill Murray Grumpy Old Man, avoids traps
of sentimentality until the ending, which drags a bit.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a non-adaptation
of the children's classic, with chuckles.
Dracula Untold is a fairly original History Channel-infused, still supernatural
take on the classic tale, good, not great.
The Judge (2014) is a very good but too corny family/legal drama with
strong acting from most, but mostly Robert Duvall.
Ouija (2014) is a pretty boring and standard Ouija board non-thriller
sadly saved neither by Olivia Cooke nor Lin Shaye.
The Maze Runner is one of the longest book trailers in history, suspenseful
yet ultimately unsatisfying even as prologue.
John Wick is a clumsy, sodden, simple revenger with little rhythm and
a heightened realism which mostly plays as silly.
Gone Girl is a well-acted misogynistic parody? essay or some kind of
horses---. Look at me! I'm Gone Girl! I'm so clever!
The Fault in Our Stars is a fairly effective love story between teenagers
with cancer, a bit overwrought at times.
Palo Alto (2014) is a naturalistic movie about high friends in the titular city
and suburbs, with great acting, good writing.
Draft Day (2014) is a Kevin Costner NFL draft movie/personal drama with
hardly any football but lots of great anecdotes.
Words and Pictures is a seemingly heartfelt but naggingly didactic, simplistic
romantic story of simple didacts, not bad.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an okay Captain America story which
nevertheless falls somewhat short of rousing.
Godzilla (2014): Godzilla as a character is well designed and utilized,
but the rest of the picture doesn't hold up.
Brick Mansions (2014) is a total waste except for the action fighting work
of David Belle, which is electric. The RZA can't act.
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