Jack’s Favorite Films of 2014

The Oscars are out, and you know what that means: Non-stop discussions and film blog posts from this writer – and a whole bunch of other hacks. But before we get too deep into that, I wanted to do a quick wrap-up of my favorite films from 2014.

These aren’t necessarily award winners or even really popular films – but the five most enjoyable cinema experiences I had in 2014, complete with previews. Couldn’t recommend these films more – hope you enjoy them as much as I did. There’s some comedy, some drama and a lot of inspiration here. Three are readily available on demand at home, and you’ll see the last two pretty soon.

Begin Again

First of all – Keira Knightly can sing! This is one of those films where you can tell that everyone involved is having a great time and really enjoying their work. That brings a vibrant, sunny energy to the film, and it’s impossible to not feel good coming out of it. Watch it for the performances and for the music.

Chef

Jon Faverau directed the first two Iron Man films, then had a relative high-budget studio bomb in Cowboys and Aliens. The writer of Swingers, he returned to his indie film roots with Chef, an allegory for Faverau’s journey back to himself. And it works!

Fruitvale Station

The darkest of the films on this list, and also the only “based on a true story”. It makes the list not just because a friend of mine produced and starred in it, but because it’s taut, emotional and truly has something to say. Michael B. Jordan has it in him to be a star.

Interstellar

I defy you to watch the trailer above (the 1st of 3 for this film) and not be inspired, let alone want to watch the film. The Brothers Nolan (Jonathan and Christopher) penned a masterpiece. When I worked in football, we had a saying: “When you start playing not to lose, you won’t win”, or something like that. That’s what this trailer tells us – when you stop innovating, what’s left?

Whiplash

The most kinetic film of 2014, and possibly the second decade of the 21st century. Moves like jazz improvisation and is fueled by terrific performances from J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. The climatic scene had my jaw on the floor and left me breathless.

Bonus: Patriots and Tyrants

How could I write a favorite films of 2014 list without including my OWN flick: Patriots and Tyrants?? Though the festival circuit hasn’t seen fit to show my film yet, we’re full steam ahead on Served Cold, a follow-up featuring (for those who saw the original) some familiar faces (and some who might surprise you). Look for a web release in the second quarter of 2015!