(Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014) · Joaquin Phoenix stars as "Doc" Sportello, a private detective who navigates the hazy world of 1970s Los Angeles. When his former girlfriend, Shasta, shows up one night talking about a kidnapping plot in the making, Doc is forced to investigate the underground world of cops, surfers, tycoons, and stoners. Managing to be both sorrowful and silly, Paul Thomas Anderson directs this adaptation of notoriously dense author Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel.
runtime: 148 min format: DCP
(Ava DuVernay, 2014) · Led by a young Martin Luther King Jr., the marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma to Montgomery demonstrated a need for passing the Voting Rights Act. While history can often be clean and convenient, DuVernay presents a narrative that humanizes the civil rights struggle without dodging the thorny truths. Her deft hand makes King more than just a holiday or a dream, as she breathes fresh life to depict a painful (and not-so-distant) past.
runtime: 128 min format: DCP
(Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014) · Shot in California but set in Iran, Vice bills writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut as the “first Iranian Vampire Western ever made.” Its eponymous lead is simply known as “The Girl," but she is often out-of-sight or lurking in the distance. The protagonist, Arash, wants out of Bad City, but the cards are stacked against him. The black-and-white film tackles roamnce and gender politics in Iran, shot as an eerie dream-world that is not quite our own.
runtime: 107 min format: DCP
(Clint Eastwood, 2014) · Eastwood unsparingly depicts war in Iraq and its aftermath in civilian life. To echo PTSD is not enough. As in The Deer Hunter, a veteran longs to return to something in his terrible experience. Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle, a cowboy turned Navy SEAL. Improbably, this tale of the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history became the highest-grossing domestic release of 2014, the first R-rated film to do so since Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.
runtime: 132 min format: DCP
(Mike Leigh, 2014) · The latest film from director Mike Leigh explores the last 25 years in the life and career of J.M.W. Turner, the eccentric 19th century "painter of light" renowned for his Romanticist landscapes. Featuring stunning ciematography by Dick Pope and starring Timothy Spall in a performance that earned him Best Actor at Cannes in 2014, Mr. Turner is an intimate portait of the art and relationships of an all too human genius working at the brink of a new era.
runtime: 150 min format: DCP
(Damian Chazelle, 2014) · Trading a shank for a baton, J.K. Simmons’ turn as Terrence Fletcher recalls his role as Neo-Nazi inmate Vern Schillinger of Oz. The most terrifying screen villain of 2014, he still sells moments of tenderness between bouts of physical and emotional violence. Fletcher justifies the abuse as the only way to motivate young jazz musicians, in this case, a drummer played by Miles Teller. Simmons won the 2015 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
runtime: 108 min format:DCP
(Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement, 2014) · In 2013, a crew was granted exclusive access to a secret society of vampires living in New Zealand. But instead of chills, we get a hilarious mockumentary from collaborators Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), who star as two vampires among four sharing a flat. In the Real World-style arguments that ensue, the film spoofs every bit of vampire lore imaginable, driving a stake through the heart of the modern genre.
runtime: 95 min format: DCP
(Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014) · After losing a prolonged local zoning dispute, Marvin Heemeyer of Granby, Colorado went on a destructive bulldozer rampage that ended with his suicide in June of 2004. This inspired the story of Kolya, who must defend his family home on the shore of the Barents Sea from the local political machine. Channeling the Russian zeitgeist with the spirit of the Book of Job, things escalate when Kolya brings his friend into the mix, big-time Moscow lawyer Dmitri.
runtime: 140 min format: DCP
(Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne, 2014) · The new film from the Dardenne Brothers stays true to the brothers's usual exploration of lower-class life in Belgium, a theme that has earned them two Palmes D'Or. Marion Cotillard stars as a mother who must convince her co-workers over a weekend to reject their bonuses in order for her to keep her job. Come see the stunning performance that earned Cotillard a 15 minute standing ovation at Cannes and her second Academy Award nomination.
runtime: 95 min format: DCP
(Noah Baumbach, 2014) · In his follow-up to Frances Ha, writer-director Noah Baumbach explores the generational divide between a childless couple in their forties and the younger twentysomething couple they befriend. Hilarious and relatable, the film stars Naomi Watts and Ben Stiller as the older couple. Stiller plays a neurotic filmmaker reminiscent of a Woody Allen character, but Adam Driver almost steals the show as the charming and ambitious younger husband.
runtime: 97 min format: DCP