MovieBuff’s Top 10 Films of 2014

Posted: February 23, 2015 by moviebuff801 in Lists

By: Michael “MovieBuff801″ Dennos

Another year, gone.  So that means that it’s time once again to recount the films from the past year that had the most impact on me, and when I look over this line-up, I realize just how strong 2014 was overall for movies.  Without further ado, here is that line-up:

10. Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal has sure had some interesting roles in the past few years, and Nightcrawler keeps that ball rolling with Lou Bloom, a dark, unsettling individual at the center of an equally dark and unsettling, but ultimately fascinating film. Gyllenhaal is at the top of his game as Bloom, a disturbingly driven man who finds work as a “nightcrawler,” i.e. someone who prowls the night with a police radio looking for accidents and crimes horrific enough to document to then sell that footage to any local news station. Bloom is creepily good at getting such footage, and most of the time, all it takes on Gyllenhaal’s part is just a widening of his eyes to communicate the fact that we should be sort of scared at his calm, calculating detachment in these kinds of circumstances. But that’s only a small facet of what’s overall a towering performance. The rest of what Nightcrawler has to offer is a sharply-written screenplay by Dan Gilroy, who also directs, and it’s a script that examines the various questions of moral and ethical issues that come with showing such graphic footage on television, and it really says a lot about how such questions can twist the people involved and it also shines a light on just how macabre the idea of “good news” has become. First-time director Dan Gilroy captures the nightlife of L.A. extremely well, along with the grittiness of the violence, culminating in a gripping car chase towards the end of the film. Dan Gilroy is of course related to Tony Gilroy, notable for Michael Clayton and his work on the Bourne franchise, and it would seem storytelling talent runs in their family. Read the rest of this entry »

15 Times the Academy Got it Wrong (and Right) in the Last 15 Years

Posted: February 22, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

The Academy receives a lot of flak, much of it for good reasons. They’ve certainly made some head scratching decisions in the past, and will likely continue to do so for as long as there is an Academy. Still, for all their mistakes, they usually get a few things right each year. With that in mind, I present the last fifteen years at the Academy, with presenting an egregious mistake, but also a smart choice which holds up well. I’m strictly looking at the winners here. You wouldn’t see any list entries specifically focusing on what was and wasn’t nominated. Read the rest of this entry »

PG Cooper’s Top Ten Films of 2014

Posted: February 15, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists, PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

There are two signs of a good year when might notice when compiling a top ten; reshuffling of the top choices, and having to make some tough cuts. There were lots of movies worthy of making this list and while it hurt to cut some, I’m really satisfied with the list assembled. Additionally, the top choices are all excellent and I put a lot of thought into where everything goes. So, to conclude my awards series, as always, my top ten films of the year, with my top five acting as my nominees for Best Director and Best Picture, with the number one film being the winner of the aforementioned awards. Thanks to everyone who read through my awards and without further ado, I present my choices for the top ten films of 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Cast (2014)

Posted: February 14, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2014*The above image represent’s 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Actress

Marion Cotilard, The Immigrant: Despite playing a character that’s a little too saint-like, this really is a strong performance from Marion Cotilard. She depicts Ewa as a caring woman gradually beaten down by an unjust world and she really nails some big emotional moments.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nymphomaniac: It must have been tempting to play the sex-addicted Joe in some over the top, maybe even depraved way, but that’s not at all what Charlotte Gainsbourg does. Instead, she plays Joe as essentially a normal person. She bears some regret for the pain she’s caused, but there’s also a sense of pride and self-confidence to her work. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay (2014)

Posted: February 13, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Original Screenplay

Damien Chazelle, Whiplash: This is a very straight-forward movie that doesn’t have any major twists. Instead, the script for Whiplash finds its strength in deep characterization and a thorough understanding of the environment the film depicts. Chazelle has said the film is based on his own experiences in a jazz band and this certainly feels legit. More importantly, the two main characters feel very fleshed out.

Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler: Part of what makes Nightcrawler so special is the novelty of exploring a career never shown on film. I never thought about where news stations get their footage, but this shows it’s actually an interesting world. The characters are also strong with the dynamic between Lou and Nina being particularly rewarding. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Foreign Film, Biggest Surprise, and Most Underrated (2014)

Posted: February 12, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winning film; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Foreign Language Film

I should probably note that there are a handful of films I wanted to see but was not able to for this award, like Winter Sleep and Force Majeure. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, but it did allow for some smaller films to get in.

Gloria: This is a character study of a middle-aged woman trying to find some level of love and happiness in the later years of her life. Occasionally dramatic and occasionally funny, this is an entertaining little movie and while I’m unsure of how much attention this may have got had it been in English, but it’s a decent watch.

Ida: A black and white film about a Polish nun’s identity crisis in the wake of World War Two is about as art house as foreign cinema gets. Despite what could be an intimidating pedigree, this is actually a pretty accessible film with beautiful cinematography and a very engaging exploration of guilt and identity. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Comedy, Horror Film, and Action Film (2014)

Posted: February 10, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Comedy

Birdman: Birdman may not be quite as comedic as the trailer would suggest, but the film certainly walks the fine line between comedy and drama. Much of the humour comes from Keaton’s performance, but the script is also full of witty lines and Alejandro González Iñárritu proves to be surprisingly playful with the material.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: This has got all of the classic Wes Anderson humour. The visual style, the child-like innocence, quirky characters, and clever dialogue. However the film adds a new element for Anderson; profanity. There’s a surprising amount of cursing and Anderson weaves it into the rest of his dialogue seamlessly. It makes for an often hilarious mix. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Cameo and Best Villain (2014)

Posted: February 9, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” SimpsonPGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Cameo

Most people define cameos as a famous actor or character making a very brief appearance, which is usually only one scene at the most. My definition is a bit more flexible. The described appearances still count, but I’m mostly looking at any actor or actress who provides a memorable turn in a role which is not quite substantial enough to be a supporting role.

Lindsay Duncan, Birdman: Critic Tabatha Dickinson is barely in Birdman, but in two short scenes Lindsay Duncan turns her into a very hateable villain. She’s out to destroy Riggan Thomson, and is able to pry on his insecurities with just a few words.

Anna Paquin, X-Men: Days of Future Past: I put Paquin’s name down, but really, this represents all of the cameos during a certain section of the film and what they mean, Paquin’s name was just the least-spoilery. Without giving away too much, I’ll only say this was a very powerful moment for fans. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor (2014)

Posted: February 8, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood: Patricia Arquette hasn’t really done anything substantial in a long time, but god damn did she re-establish herself with Boyhood. Arquette’s performance as the struggling single mother is very honest and she delivers some of the film’s most heart breaking moments. It’s also very satisfying to see her go from a struggling young woman to a seasoned professional, albeit still with doubts.

Carmen Ejogo, Selma: This is actually Carmen Ejogo’s second time playing Coretta Scott King as she previously tacked the role in the TV film Boycott. I can’t speak for her performance in that film, but she is fantastic in Selma as a wife who needs to be supporting and loving, but also concerned over what her husband’s work is doing to the family. Read the rest of this entry »

PGCMAs: Best Poster and Best Trailer (2014)

Posted: February 8, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014*The above image represents 2013’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Best Poster

Godzilla: Godzilla had a lot of great posters, but my personal favourite is this one which shows Godzilla’s shape formed in the smoke coming from the back of the city. It’s an awesome image which speaks to the destructive force that Godzilla is.

Inherent Vice: Inherent Vice also had tons of great posters and if this one didn’t exist I’m sure I would have nominated another one. The psychedelic colours are great, the image of all the characters spilling out of Doc’s head captures the film well. Read the rest of this entry »