Friday, December 26, 2014

What happened to 2014?

To think that anyone has missed my blogging over the last 6 months is probably no reason to begin writing again. There are always numerous blogs and sites to get opinions from. Mine is no more valid than anyone else's. However, I have missed writing about films. Perhaps the reason is that I have not had the urge to write about any of the films I've seen lately. I literally haven't been inspired to write about anything because I seemingly have seen very little that has been worth writing about. To date, I have not seen one film released in 2014 that is worthy of being deemed a masterpiece. By this time last year, I'd already seen Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Before Midnight, To the Wonder, Wolf of Wall Street etc. In looking back at my 2013 list, I'm amazed at the number of magnificent films...

11. Fill the Void
10. Short Term 12
9. To the Wonder
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
7. Blue Jasmine
6. Prisoners
5. Laurence Anyways
4. The Act of Killing
3. Gravity
2. Before Midnight
1. 12 Years a Slave.

But getting back to the films released in 2014, I've been continually let-down. I’m a huge Wes Anderson fan, and there is a buddy of mine who I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel with who is also a huge fan, and neither of us found it to be as emotionally resonant as his 3 best works (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom). Or there is Ida, which is being so highly praised in many places. It was very good, but didn't blow me away. Under the Skin was highly repetitive throughout its runtime. It had some inspired spots, but it didn't shine throughout. Interstellar was solid, as was Mr. Turner. I also really liked Enemy, and The Fault in Our Stars. But I still haven't seen a masterpiece. This is not a complete list, but a sampling of what I saw and what I thought.

Out of 4 stars....

Interstellar ***
The Fault in Our Stars ***
Mr. Turner (UK) ***
The Grand Budapest Hotel ***
Hateship, Loveship ***
Ida ***
Calvary (UK) ***
Belle ***
Under the Skin (UK) ** 1/2
Snowpiercer * 1/2
Frank *
The Lego Movie **
The Theory of Everything **
Still Alice ***
The Double * 1/2
Enemy *** 1/2
Gloria ** 1/2
Blue Ruin ***
The Lunchbox *** 1/2
A Most Wanted Man ***
Chef ***
Tim's Vermeer ***
Joe ***

So I suppose at this point, the closest ones to being truly great were Enemy and The Lunchbox. But Enemy had a few spots that felt un-fleshed out, and The Lunchbox, though borderline a masterpiece, was a 2013 film in some circles. 

Maybe I am losing touch with the cinematic medium this year. I just don’t see how I could have 11 films I adored last year, and none from this year. It’s so strange. This is probably having more to say about me than anything else I suppose. Part of this disappointment with finding great films has caused my blogging to dissipate, as I mentioned. I just haven’t been inspired to write about anything. This isn’t to say I didn’t like Budapest and Mr. Turner or Interstellar. I liked them all. But they weren’t full-on masterpieces to me. There are still many films to see....Boyhood, Birdman, Foxcatcher, etc. I'm hoping for a great film soon. 


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen too many brilliant 2014 releases either, but am looking forward to catching Mr Turner, Boyhood, Two days,One night and Leviathan at some point in the future.

Of the lot I did see, I thoroughly enjoyed Under the Skin, Calvary and Gone Girl.

Merry Christmas,
T, Mumbai

Jon said...

I haven't seen Gone Girl and will have to see that one. I'm thinking I will like Boyhood and Two Days One Night. I will revisit this blog with additional thoughts on those if I have something to share. Thanks for the thoughts. I've been wondering whether others think 2014 was a bit light on great films.

Anonymous said...

I did like Mr. Turner and I did like The Theory of Everything; the 2014 movie that I'm gasping to see is The Imitation Game (oh, and The Lunchbox). There are quite a few others that I want to see one day, but at the moment work pressure is such that the day seems a long way off! Besides, I have a stack of elderly movies to be watched too . . .

All best to you for 2015!

Jon said...

Thanks and same to you! Yes there are still others to see. I'm hoping I will like Boyhood and somehow missed that one when it came through. Just too busy of a year for me. I think I will also like Force Majeure but we'll see. I like what you call elderly movies. Ha.

Catherine Short said...

I don't think it is just you....I remember I couldn't get away from hearing about movies last year from the media circle. This year I had no idea what anyone was talking about.

Though need to see it!

Jon said...

Thanks Catherine. I agree. Buzz has been really low this year, for even the most popular and critically relevant films. There just isn't anything like what was going on with Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle last year. I have Boyhood now and we will start it tomorrow!

StephenM said...

I've felt somewhat the same. Last year had a number of genuine masterpieces and several other stellar films, but I've only seen one or two I would call masterpieces this year: The Grand Budapest Hotel (though I agree it's not as good as Moonrise Kingdom) and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. I liked Interstellar and Gone GIrl and Boyhood and Birdman all a lot, but they all fell short of masterpiece status for me.

On the other hand, I thought this year's crop of blockbusters was very fine, and well above-average. None of them were generation-defining, but there were at least 7 or 8 good ones, and that hardly ever happens.

Jon said...

Thanks Stephen. I did end up really impressed with Boyhood which actually was quite amazing, and probably the only true masterpiece from 2014 if there is one. I've still got a few to track down, but there's still a major let-down going on. Blockbusters haven't interested me of late, but I can understand where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

Jesus... what are you doing? Under The Skin rated so low? Tim's Vermeer got a higher rating in your eyes. Some of us can spot the real art.

Sam Juliano said...

Just wanted to add that FILL THE VOID, THE WOLF ON WALL STREET, BLUE JASMINE, PRISONERS, GRAVITY and BEFORE MIDNIGHT are nothing special remotely.

I do love you Jon, and have always, but the last two years we are mega miles apart on film. Even the normally difficult-to-please Maurizio Roca and Duane Porter have conceded 2014 is a great year!!!