It's time. We've packed our winter jackets, long underwear, a pair of boots and gloves/hats galore. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is about to kick off in the mountains up in chilly Park City, Utah and we're back, ready to fire up the festival and watch films. This is FirstShowing's ninth year in a row covering Sundance. It all started back in 2007, when I made the trek to Park City by driving from Colorado, seeing an impressive 31 films by the end of my first year. I've returned here ever since; I can't help it, I love this festival with all my heart and have grown to appreciate films of all kinds by coming back every year. And I'm ready for more.
Nothing like seeing movies in the mountains. Kicking off this week in snowy Park City, Utah is the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where both Ethan and I are headed for 10 days to see fresh new indie films non-stop. To help get everyone up to speed on some of the films we're interested in, here are 10 Sundance 2015 films that we're excited for, a small look at some of the films we're keeping an eye on and will be seeing at any earliest opportunity. Alex has chosen five he's interested in, and Ethan has also chosen another five he's ready to enjoy from the diverse and hopefully impressive 123-film line-up this year. Whether it's horror or drama or comedy or a documentary or something else entirely, we seek great movies to fall in love with.
The best of the best - that you didn't see last year. We have returned with another set of worth watching, underseen films from 2014. Back by popular demand is our eighth annual list of the 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2014 (past lists: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007). Featured below is a hand-picked line-up of the best independent and/or mainstream films that were either quietly dumped, ignored by audiences, or just not marketed well enough. So to give them extra attention in the spotlight, and to support some of the finest filmmakers out there, here is our best of 2014 recap. Read on for the full list!
"It's not where you take things from—it's where you take them to." (-Jean-Luc Godard) There is a moment in Xavier Dolan's film Mommy, officially my #1 film of 2014, that took my breath away. It's the kind of moment all cinema enthusiasts live for, the kind of visceral surprise that leaves you in such awe that you end up holding your breath until that moment – the scene – ends. The more I think about it, the more it grows in my mind, and upon further reflection I believe it is one of the defining moments in cinema in 2014. That no one is talking about… yet. I can't get it out of my mind, and out of everything I saw in 2014, it's one of the most brilliant cinematic decisions any filmmaker made. Xavier Dolan showing the rest how it's done.
"Our motivation was simple: revenge. We loved womping fuzzy-cheeked college-bonus-babies owned by the Dodgers, or Phillies." We're well into the New Year which means it's time for another Monthly Must See feature highlighting a great film to watch this month (or instead of/while waiting for the Golden Globes on Sunday). It's the perfect time of year for documentaries, so this month's pick is The Battered Bastards of Baseball from directors Chapman Way & Maclain Way, a Netflix documentary that runs a brisk 79 minutes telling the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team started in the 1970s. This light-hearted, highly entertaining film is easily available on Netflix for your enjoyment anytime. It's good.
Just earlier today, we ran out last retrospective video looking back at the films of 2014, and today I'm chiming in with my final year-end list with my Top 10 Films of 2014. This year I had a hard time narrowing down my list, and I almost broke down and decided to do a Top 15, but I promised myself to be a little more disciplined to pick my absolute favorite films of the year. You can see how hard it was just by taking a glimpse at all the honorable mentions that could have made the list, and the ones that made the cut are a hodgepodge of indies, blockbusters, comedies, dramas and a couple more. So let's get to the actual list.
The end of 2014 is upon us, and tomorrow begins a whole near year of cinema to soak in. We've been posting some of our favorite movies from this past year, with FS.net chief Alex Billington listing his Top 10 Documentaries and also his Top 10 Movies of the year, and our Golden Briefcase boys chimed in as well with Jeremy Kirk listing his Top 10 Movies of 2014 and Tim Buel getting a little more specific with his Top 8 Horror Movies of the year. My final year-end list is coming before the week is out, but for now, I wanted to focus on the big laughs with my Top 7 Favorite Comedies of 2014. So what made me laugh this year?
Not my tempo. It all began at Sundance 2014, with the opening night film, a little breakout indie called Whiplash starring Miles Teller & J.K. Simmons. Now, 12 months later, we're at the end of the year and I'm ready to reveal my Top 10 list for 2014 - which includes Whiplash. It was the first film I saw the festival and I was floored, I kept thinking, there's no way but maybe this is one film that might remain my favorite all year long. The little film that could, and indeed, it lasted the whole year because it's a perfect example of what I love in cinema - exhilarating films that leave you in a total state of awe at the end, impressed by the potential of cinema. The rest of these 10 films on my list also had that same kind of effect, the experience being a key component in my connection to the films I genuinely love. Take a look at my 2014 picks below.
All I want is to be free… Without a doubt, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is going to leave a long-lasting impression on cinematic history, primarily as a film beautifully crafted out of 12 years of footage but also as a story that captures the actual feel of growing up in America. Not only in the way certain fleeting moments mean more in the end than big events, but also in the way our upbringing shapes us. How the way we're raised, and the experiences that we're involved in, influence the person we become and the attitudes we maintain. Within Boyhood, there was one strong feeling that I picked up on the very first time I saw it at Sundance in January (and it has been on my mind ever since) – the nagging desire to be free from control. After another rewatch, I've confirmed that control is omnipresent throughout Boyhood. Let me explain.
"This has been such a bad year for movies." That odd statement inevitably rears its head throughout social media pretty much every year. The easy response, the right response, to such a statement is, "You haven't seen enough movies." There are always great films out there just waiting to be found, incredible pieces of cinema mixed in with all the weekly, standard garbage lovers of film have to sift through. It's always worth sifting through to find the diamonds in the rough, those quality treasures of exceptional filmmaking and storytelling. So now I present to you my own Top 10 Films of 2014 that I am thankful to have discovered.
"One dream can change the world." Happy Holidays folks! Continuing our annual tradition of providing new release Thanksgiving and Christmas Week Movie Guides every holiday season, our San Francisco-based contributor, Marco Cerritos, has once again put together another comprehensive guide for Christmas 2014, providing a recap and rundown of what's playing and what's worth seeing. Marco has seen almost everything out there, and while you may not always agree with him, he provides the best reviews he can to make it a bit easier for everyone to choose. There's an interesting selection of movies playing this holiday.
Another year of great movies, another year of great music within those movies. I love soundtracks and always have. At one point in college my shelves were lined with dozens of CDs, soundtracks whose music allowed me to relive those movies. Music can bring so much power to a scene, and after seeing the film, you put that music on anywhere and let it fill your mind with best moments that movie had to offer. There were great collections of movie music in this year, so many that it was difficult coming up with my Top 10 Best Soundtracks/Scores of 2014. But here are the tunes that I will be enjoying for years to come. Read on!
Even though we're already looking forward to the films coming in 2015, we've only just begun looking back at all the films that piqued our interest in 2014. We've been looking back at the year in cinema with plenty of retrospective videos, but now we want to add a personal touch by revealing what we really loved about the movies this year. As 2014 gets closer to the end, we'll count down our favorite films of the year, but I want to kick things off by revealing my picks for the 15 Best Official Movie Posters of 2014. Like our movie picks, this is purely subjective, but I'm confident that I've picked some of the most beautiful posters. Look!
Beginning this week, we will be taking a look back at the year in cinema that was 2014, from our favorite posters to our favorite movies and more. We've already been featuring some retrospectives of all the movies that came out this year with videos like Sleepy Skunk's 2014 Movie Trailer Mash-Up and Nick Bosworth's Final Cut 2014 (and we have more of those coming soon, too). But today, we're ready to look forward to all the new movies coming up next year with a list of our 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015. There's a couple Marvel movies, a new Quentin Tarantino flick and of course the long-awaited return to a galaxy far, far away. Together we chose 20 movies that we just can't wait to see, with explanation for each. Look!