Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Film Finds

Third one down is my quote about one of the Film Finds of the the year
Every year there are some films, performances and moments that may not belong on the best of the year list but which are too good or too memorable to forget. These are my film finds. These are films which, in a more than a couple of cases almost made the best of the year list but had me hesitate at the last minute. In other cases they just made me go "oh wow".

LEAVING GRACEFULLY-when a woman is diagnosed with a rare brain disease she and her husband decide to walk around Taiwan with him pushing her in a wheelchair. Its a true story that is truly magical.

FAT SHAKER-really really weird WTF film that is an experience. It drove the audience from the theater but is ultimately a unique experience.

BLOOD GLACIER- weird glacier mutates animals in an environmental version of THE  THING. Its old school popcorn horror film and a blast.

STALINGRAD-soapy 3D Russian war film about the title battle is pure spectacle. What the bookends are doing in the film is beyond me, but I loved it.

STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODIES TEARS-form over substance gaillo update is way too much and implodes toward the end but god damn its a cinema treat until then

HOUSE OF MAGIC- Wonderful 3D thrill ride that got dumped by a US distributor who didn't release it in 3D despite it being one of the best films in the process I've seen.

SLIGHT OF HAND- a trippy film about an animator....

NEW SPECIES- fantastic short about kids who find a bone and imagine....

INTRAMURALS- genuinely funny film about an intramural football team that plays with every convention. I didn't expect to like it and threw off my Tribeca schedule seeing it to the end. I don't know anyone who saw it who didn't love it. This is a film that shows why you must let go of your expectations before seeing any film-the filmmakers have told me that the film is to get a release in 2015 so get ready to laugh your ass off.

BORROWED LIGHT- beautiful gem of a film about needing to see things differently

LIVE BAIT- a fish talks his way out of being eaten

RABBIT AND DEER- two friends cross the dimensional barrier. Its okay until one glorious moment where it all springs to life

SUPERMAN WITH A GOPRO- A review (with a link to the short) is coming in a day or so as part of our month of shorts but all I can say is  this is wickedly cool.

CARPARK-a man messes with a dog in the car next to him

WIND-on a plain where the wind forever blows some cool things happen

WOMAN IN GRAY-I've wanted to see this silent serial for decades and itwas a blast.

WINTER IN THE BLOOD-damn close to making the best of the year list- it's still one of the finest adaptions of a novel ever made.

WE ARE MARI PEPI-the life of some kids is more cinema verite than fiction and we are better for it

SMORTLY BACKS- wild heard of animals run across a weird landscape. You will smile.

KUNG FU ELLIOT- another near best of the year film is a WTF look at a film director which will have you talking to no one in particular (This may end up a favorite down the road)

DEALER-cinematic calling card runs at full speed for 75 minutes. Holy shit its way cool and almost one of the all time greats

MAN IN THE ORANGE JACKET-I hate slasher movies unless they are something great- this is great and trippy and WOW.

DANCING KARATE KID- Shitty title for a truly truly wonderful heart warming film. This is why I do Unseen Films so you know stuff like this exists

PATCH TOWN-Christmas musical fantasy is sheer genius. Think Rocky Horror and Phantom of the Paradise but its own creation.

APOLITICAL ROMANCE- my faith in director Chun-Yi Hsieh is fulfilled and he makes a wonderful feature debut. 

ETERNAL ZERO- I know many people hated this but I was moved by it's look at the waste of human life that were the Kamikaze and a damn good explanation of why they did what they did. I was moved to tears.

BLIND MASSAGE-off beat look at blind masseuse.

THE AGE OF REASON-small gem of a movie that seems by brief synopsis like every other two kids on the cusp of adulthood film, but its in reality way more. This is one of those films that is the reason Unseen exists. You have to keep this on your list of films to find.

SEAHORSES- Two great performances in a film that impressed the hell out of me, The intrusion of one character into the mix keeps it off the best of the year list.

QUIET IN ODESSA- on the scene reporting about a city and the people there is a gem. Lets hope there is a sequel

RIGOR MORTIS- one of the great horror movies of the year is 99% great, only the final seconds wreck it- or almost wreck it.

WHISPERS BEHIND THE WALLS-thriller about obsession and a warning not to find out whats going on on the other side of the wall

CAPTAIN AMERICA-WINTER SOLDIER- They got it right again. Rarely has any comic film felt so right.

DIOR AND I-Wait I liked a film about a designer? No I loved a film about a designer

TRAITOR- off beat film about a girl who does something she shouldn't to get money to make a record

SUPER DUPER ALICE COOPER-I debated where to put this-I loved it both times I saw it at Tribeca but when it came time to slot it I hesitated.

DEMON WITHIN- Killer crime film that gets better the more I see it.

IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE- The title says it all. Fantastic thriller.

MISUNDERSTOOD- the most audacious film at NYFF. Asia Argento is a treasure.

MIPSO IN JAPAN- great look at a bluegrass band in Japan is much too short

QUEEN AND COUNTRY- John Boorman's sequel to his HOPE AND GLORY is everything why I love movies one film 

IRON MINISTRY- a great look at trains in China filmed as one long train ride.

Kristen Stewart shines in CAMP X RAY and CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA. 

St├ęphane Blanquet's nightmare CORNEA freaked the New York International Children's Film Festival audience out. I mean the kids were noticeably disturbed. I know there are warnings and it's supposed to be for older kids but the crowd still wasn't prepared for it. And talk about how they would be getting nightmares as a result of the images continued well into the next film. Way to go NYICFF, you've made the HEEBIE JEEBIE collection a must see for me from here on out.

NOAH belongs on some sort of year end list but I don’t know where. Darren Aronofsky’s ballsy rethink of the Noah legend pissed off many who were looking for a conventional retelling . It enthralled others (like me) who loved the way it grabbed you by the throat and gave you something to think about. Where it belongs- best of or finds list – is ultimately irrelevant simply because it’s a film you’ll be thinking about and discussing when other "better" films have faded

X is a film that shouldn’t work. Its 11 directors writing and directing short films that link up to for the story of a film director. Its bumpy and uneven and a glorious achievement in filmmaking-it's too many cooks so in theory it simply shouldn’t work but does. This just missed my end of year list -it’s a tad too uneven even if it has one segment that is one of the greatest romances I’ve ever seen. I very well may revise my opinion on a second viewing but for now it’s a film that must be seen by anyone who loves the movies .

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