Now that the halfway mark has hit between the dawn of a hopeful 2014 and the inevitable exasperated gasp of relief that another year of harrowing grief is finally over, we’re inclined to look back on the past six months of cinematic glory. First, we set our sights to the best performances of the year, both leading and supporting. Next, we turned to movie scenes and moments. And finally, we take on the big guns: the best movies we’ve seen so far this year, listed below in alphabetical order. Check ’em out, and see which ones sound worth catching up on.
Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection
A mysterious vagabond makes himself at home on the property of a posh, rapidly fissuring Danish family. “All is not what it seems” to the nth degree.
As a bonus: The film’s proclivity to tease its viewers for their inevitable search for answers to its mysteries.
The life of a boy as he grows from age six to 18. More of a poem about the bounties of life and presence than a traditional narrative, and unlike any other film you’ll see.
As a bonus: The eventual realization that you’ve been looking at life all wrong, but that it’s not too late to find a new kind of existential harmony.
Crippled by his anxieties, Jesse Eisenberg is tossed into a dark and comical existential whirlwind when he meets a man who looks just like him (also Jesse Eisenberg, naturally) but acts the exact opposite.
As a bonus: The engaging debates following the movie about whether or not director Richard Ayoade is just ripping off Terry Gilliam.
*The Double made our Best Performances list for Jesse Eisenberg, but we’d also like to give special props to Wallace Shawn for his hilariously dimwitted boss.
At the dawn of the Third Reich in Eastern Europe, the consierge of an esteemed luxury hotel in sets off on a wild caper, his lobby boy in tow, when he is suspected of murder.
As a bonus: Finally getting a Wes Anderson movie that you think your non-Wes Anderson-fan friends might actually enjoy.
A simple and closed-mouthed but incredibly dense film about two young brothers dealing with the death of a close friend. Heartwrenching and accessible all the while.
As a bonus: The faith that debut director Daniel Patrick Carbone is definitely going places.
Music Box Films
On the dawn of her inception into a monastery, a teenage orphan finds out that she is Jewish and sets off to meet her alcoholic, free-wheelin’ aunt for the first time. Terribly sad, but incredibly funny at times.
As a bonus: The realization that this movie is kind of like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles set in post-WWII Eastern Europe.
An emotionally rattled Nicolas Cage rambles about his rural town, solving and causing problems for neighbors, friends, his dog, and a young boy who comes to him looking for a job (and a father figure).
As a bonus: You can’t help but delight in the fact that Cage actually gets to be in a good movie for the first time in years (and does a hell of a job in it, too).
A tribute to the omnipresent children’s toy, as well as to creativity, individuality, and spaceships. Funny as hell.
You might also like:
Hollywood Mini-Tour, Hollywood & Highland center The Italian Job, El Capitan Theater, Kodak Theater (Academy Awards, American Idol), Grauman s Chinese Theater Blazing Saddles, Mighty Joe Young, Roosev
Digital Music Track (Scott's L.A.)