Five movies of 2014 I really enjoyed

With quite some interesting releases, I think 2014 was a good year for film. Noteworthy is the two-week binge watching during the International Film Festival Rotterdam, of which one made it to the top five.

In no particular order, here are my top five movies of 2014:

Upstream Color

When I watched the trailer for this movie a few years ago, I desperately wanted to see it on a real theatre screen. The opportunity never came until a few months ago when an art house theatre in Amsterdam had a few screenings.

It was one of the most beautiful yet weirdest cinematic experiences I ever had. The beauty of the story lies in its depiction of the urge to find each other as human beings, as it shows our ability to survive. The weird part is why we do so according to this movie. The baseline of the movie tends to be love, but survival is the actual theme.

I like the way this curious movie shines a new light on human life. This movie seems to be almost uniquely the work of Shane Carruth. He produced it, wrote it, directed it, composed the score and was one of the main actors.

Gone Girl

Gone Girl was a gripping experience. During the whole movie the audience and the main character are oblivious as to what will happen next. It is a thriller that stays puzzling until the very end.

Not only the story and characters are ace, the music and cinematography are stunning and support the story well. I hope Rosamund Pike will receive an Oscar nomination for her role.

The best part about this movie is the discussions it provokes. We all had different ideas about the meaning of various scenes discussing and reviewing the movie over and over after watching it.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Before watching The Grand Budapest Hotel I had only seen two movies by Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox. I knew of his witty humour and visual style, but The Grand Budapest Hotel outperforms the previous two.

Many things are going on in this cinematic adventure with Wes Anderson. There are many, fast-paced jokes and everything looks gorgeous. Don't think too much about this movie just roll with it. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the adventure ended too soon. I wanted to stay in this world a while longer.

This movie inspired me to see more of Wes Anderson's work, like Rushmore, which I can also recommend.

Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy

I saw this movie at the International Film Festival Rotterdam earlier this year. The abstract mentioned the way Twitter was used in this movie, and as a semi-early-adapter-Twitter-addict, I just had to watch it.

The film is narrated by showing tweets of the main character following a few minutes of explanation of the meaning of the tweet. It is the story of a young girl at a boarding school talking about her reality and her surreal experiences.

The slightly more than two hours long movie had some very entertaining absurd humour. I laughed a lot during the screening.

Enemy

One of my favourite movies of last year, Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners", I saw near the end of it. Early this year I saw his newest film "Enemy" and wondered how this one would turn out. This batshit insane movie about Jake Gyllenhaal starring in a double role as someone with a double identity makes me desperately wanting more thrillers from Mr. Villeneuve.

There is no point in telling about the story, it gives away too much. Supported by the well crafted images and music, you'll struggle exactly like the the main character experiences all troubles. Altogether the movie feels a bit like walking through Salvador Dalí his brain.

My favourite part about this movie is the overlap and interaction of the real world and the surreal one. If possible, I want to use a similar concept in one of my own film productions one day.

Noteworthy contenders for the top five are:

Thanks Christian Heilmann, Hadassa Deijs, Xavier Bertels and Paul van Buuren for proofreading this blogpost.

Published on