2014 Year End Movie Cramming

As we approach the end of our current orbital period, many publications are releasing various best-of-the-year lists. Being a movie fan, this means that a bunch of movies come into theaters for an Oscar qualifying run. It also means that a lot of interesting, weird, small movies get some love thrown their way, and become available on streaming services, etc… Here at Kaedrin, we watch a lot of movies, but usually not as much as your typical critic. As of right now, I’ve seen 55 movies that could be considered a 2014 release (are you on Letterboxd? You should totally friend me there.) This is actually much higher than I was at this time last year, and I’ve felt this year went a little better in general. I’ve still fallen back on watching a lot of television shows, but less this year than last year. My gut reaction is that this is a “good year for movies”, though of course that’s a completely arbitrary designation (and pretty much every year is a good year for movies!). All that being said, there are plenty of movies I want to catch up with before Kaedrin awards season kicks into gear (we’re not very timely here, so that usually starts off in January). For the most part, these are not theatrical releases, just stuff I want to catch up with on streaming/BD, etc… I will, of course, be seeing Inherent Vice and a bunch of the other high-profile releases. In no particular order:

  • The Unknown Known – An Errol Morris documentary covering Donald Rumsfeld, it’s a pretty obvious must-see for any film fan… (on Netflix Instant)
  • Blue Ruin – This indie thriller generated a lot of buzz earlier in the year, but I never managed to catch up with it. It’s on Netflix Instant, so I’ll definitely be checking this out.
  • Journey to the West – I heard about this when someone was talking about Fantastic Fest, and from what I’ve seen (about the first 15 minutes), it seems to fit that film festival’s general tone (i.e. profoundly weird and a little disturbing, but also kinda fun). It’s the latest film from Stephen Chow, the guy who made Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer (both very fun, energetic movies). Also on Netflix Instant.
  • The One I Love – So I’m not sure what to make of this one. A couple who is having marital problems goes to some cabin in the woods… where they meet idealized versions of themselves. Seems like it will be very talky, but whatever, I’ve heard good things and it’s on Netflix Instant, so I’ll probably check it out…
  • Happy Christmas – I don’t know about this one. I’ve never been too into Joe Swanberg’s mumblecore stuff, but hey, I’m down for some Christmas cheer. I don’t expect it to be great, but it could be fun and again, Netflix Instant means its easily accessible.
  • Ida – This is one of those movies that seems to come out of nowhere and appear on every critic’s top 10 list or something. I’m usually pretty suspicious of such movies, and they don’t always work out, but then, this is how I discovered Short Term 12 last year (which was one of my favorite movies of last year), so there’s that. Again, Netflix Instant, so it’s at least easily accessible.
  • Stretch – Director Joe Carnahan’s latest movie had a pretty quiet release, but it seems to be a relatively approachable comedy, so I’m happy to give that a shot.
  • Moebius – From what I understand, this movie will significantly increase the year’s batshit insanity quotient. I’m a little scared to watch this, actually, but it’s another Netflix Instant film so…
  • Knights of Badassdom – Silly comedy about LARPers summoning an actual demon? It sounds like it could be a lot of fun, but it’s reputation is not that great. It’s a borderline pick, but hey, Netflix Instant.
  • Cold in July – Don’t know how this movie, an adaptation of a Joe R. Lansdale novel, slipped past me earlier in the year (apparently it didn’t get much of a release). This is the part of the list that stuff stops being on Netflix Instant though, so it might take a little more time to catch up with this crime/thriller.
  • I Origins – Another movie with Britt Marling’s particular brand of SF, this time working with the director from Another Earth. This movie seems to be about, um, eyes and evolution or something like that. I don’t know, but I’m always down with checking out Marling’s latest, even if I don’t seem to love her stuff as much as critics.
  • Boyhood – I’m almost positive that I’m not going to like this movie. But I’ve thought that about other movies before, and there are plenty of times when I’m proven wrong (again, Short Term 12 last year being the latest example). This movie seems more remarkable for its meta elements (i.e. made over 10 years as the actor grows up) than anything that would show up on screen.
  • A Field in England – Don’t remember where I heard of this one, but it sounds interesting enough. I don’t have high hopes, but hey, those movies often surprise me.
  • Tusk – Kevin Smith’s latest, it seems more like a straight up horror movie than comedy, but I’ll give it a shot.
  • Coherence – One of those indie-SF movies, like the above I Origins, that I heard a lot about this year, but never managed to catch up with. Something about a dinner party going weird as a comet passes overhead. Perhaps not my type of SF, but still seems worth checking out.
  • The Guest – All I know about this is that it’s from the team that brought us You’re Next, which means that I’m going to see this when it comes out on steaming (which is, I believe, in early January)
  • Citizenfour – The Edward Snowden documentary. It’s in limited release, so I’m not entirely sure when I’ll be able to catch up with this one…
  • What We Do in the Shadows – As I understand it, this is a movie about vampires struggling with mundane tasks, like making themselves look nice without the use of mirrors, or having trouble paying bills. Sounds right up my alley, but it looks like it wasn’t released inthe US yet. Perhaps an early contender for the best of 2015 list!

There are plenty of others and like I said, I’m not including the stuff that’s entering theaters in the next few weeks. In any case, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble hitting that 70-80 mark that I usually manage.

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