I found this to be a diffuse year in movies, one where old-style mainline releases lost their grip on a lot of multiplexes and opened up the market for more quality and diversity than we have seen for a long time. My cinematic self came away from the year quite happy, yet without a clear favorite or a definite sense of which movies will last the ages. Here are the ones I very much enjoyed or otherwise found stimulating:
The Invisible Woman, the secret love life of Charles Dickens.
Particle Fever, reviewed by me here.
Le Weekend, brutal tale of a vacation and a marriage collapsing.
Under the Skin, Scarlet Johansson in Scotland, to say more would be spoilers.
The Lunchbox, resembles an old-style Hollywood movie about a correspondence romance, yet set among the Indian middle to lower middle class.
Viola, an Argentinean take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, condensed into 65 minutes.
A Touch of Sin, Chinese, brutal, it did not see mainstream release in most cities, I saw it in London.
Godzilla, Straussian review by me here.
Transformers 4, reviewed by me here.
Obvious Child (under the Straussian reading only)
Ilo, Ilo, a movie from Singapore about a Filipina immigrant. And I had the best dark chocolate gelato I’ve had in America, right after watching it at the Angelika pop-up.
The One I Love, an excellent movie about mind games, love, and commitment. This was perhaps the most clever movie of the year and also the most underrated.
Lucy, the energy and style overcame the absurdity. That gives Scarlett Johansson two for the year.
Fury, an old-style WWII movie with Brad Pitt, there is a good David Denby review here.
Interstellar, my review is here, here is one Straussian reading.
Of that whole list, for favorites I would pick Fury as #1, along with Touch of Sin. Both of them need to be seen on a large screen.
For TV, the Modern Orthodox Jewish dating show Srugim was a clear first, this year I didn’t watch many movies on video but thought Terence Malick’s 2012 To the Wonder had been underrated.