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TOH! Writers Pick the 10 Best Films of 2014 So Far

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by TOH!
June 18, 2014 4:46 PM
5 Comments
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'Only Lovers Left Alive'

As July looms, the movie year is reaching its halfway point, and in the spirit of Indiewire's new Criticwire poll of 122 critics' favorite films of 2014 so far, we at TOH! offer up our own ten best lists. Favorites that keep popping up include "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Ida," "Only Lovers Left Alive" and "Under the Skin."

Scarlett Johansson in 'Under the Skin'

Ryan Lattanzio:

2014 already looks like an even more interesting movie year than the bar-raising 2013. I'd be perfectly content if this were my year-end top 10, though I had to wrest several films from this list as it is -- including Richard Ayoade's "The Double," which makes for a mind-shifting double bill with Denis Villeneuve's "Enemy," and there was much to love about Lars von Trier's wildly flawed "Nymphomaniac." And with guilt I leave off Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive," maybe his best film in over a decade.

1. "Under the Skin" (Dir. Jonathan Glazer) A terrfyingly nebulous thing of beauty, this is perfect sci-fi from a bygone era. Or a foretold future.

Cotillard and Phoenix in 'The Immigrant'

2. "The Immigrant" (Dir. James Gray) Gorgeously wrought, overflowingly emotional melodrama with rich substance to match its ravishing stylistic textures. Marion Cotillard should win everything for this, and it's a shame Harvey Weinstein has left the film for dead.

3. "Stranger by the Lake" (Dir. Alain Guiraudie) Disturbingly opaque, maybe-murder mystery as erotic as it is alienating -- in the best way.

4. "Borgman" (Dir. Alex van Warmerdam) Beneath the quiet surface of a seemingly perfect nuclear family roars a darkness waiting to get out, and oh boy does it ever, in this mischievous, arty domestic thriller. 

5. "Coherence" (Dir. James Ward Byrkit) A metaphysically terrifying, very low budget and utterly disorienting science fiction film that rearranges your brain as much as it does the genre.

6. "Ida" (Dir. Pawel Pawlikowski) Black-and-white drama at its most elegantly chiseled, with one gorgeous image after the next.

Ben Wheatley's 'A Field in England'

7. "Night Moves" (Dir. Kelly Reichardt) Reichardt uses her intensely focused eye for naturalism to build a tight old-school thriller featuring Jesse Eisenberg at his creepy best.

8. "A Field in England" (Dir. Ben Wheatley) Is this the first psychotropic historical horror ever made? Yet another brain-boggler, and in black-and-white, that rewards as much as it punishes.

9. "The Sacrament" (Dir. Ti West) Can Ti West save the horror genre? It looks to be so in this unforgiving recreation of the Jonestown massacre that boasts one of the great sequences of mounting terror in recent memory.

10. "Test" (Dir. Chris Mason Johnson) And if Ti West can save horror, Chris Mason Johnson can save queer cinema -- this subtly modulated AIDS panic drama deftly avoids the cliches of its predecessors.

What were your favorite films so far this year? Click through for more.

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More: Reviews, Critics, Thompson on Hollywood

5 Comments

  • Anne Thompson | June 23, 2014 1:11 AMReply

    There are a bunch of festival titles we did not include because they have not opened yet, from Boyhood to Whiplash!

  • tyler | June 22, 2014 2:26 AMReply

    10 - Joe

    9 - The Babadook

    8 - Infinitley Polar Bear

    7- Whiplash

    6 - The Double

    5- Borgman

    4- Blue ruin

    3 - Enemy

    2- Under The Skin

    1- Boyhood

  • Max | June 19, 2014 3:04 PMReply

    (I'm glad someone said Godzilla)

  • Min | June 18, 2014 5:45 PMReply

    I've only seen a handful of the ones mentioned so I couldn't make a list yet. But do have to put in a vote for "Only Lovers Left Alive at the End of the World" -- loved, loved, loved that movie.
    The rare movie that I never wanted to end, just wanted to stay put in that languorous atmosphere forever and watch what happens.

  • Fiffi | June 18, 2014 11:51 PM

    I have read many ppl said that, I felt exactly the same way. Only Lovers Left Alive is hypnotic and addictive. I don't ever want it end.

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