The following was originally published in Word and Film.
Let’s be honest: In the dog days of summer, most of us crave popcorn movies that won’t tax our wilted brains. Gross-out comedies and smash-’em-up action pictures are the order of the day, and really, there’s no shame in that. Some of them, like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, are pretty great. (Not so much Tammy or Transformers: Age of Extinction.) Some of them, like Snowpiercer, are even pretty smart.
But for those craving complicated, grown-up cinematic fare – the sort we can mull over for an afternoon while the rest of the world melts away – 2014 has already produced its fair share of memorable films. And it’s worth catching up on them before the autumn’s rush of “Oscar-consideration” movies begins. Distributors tend to release their most artistically adventurous films (that is, the ones likely to alienate the conservative Academy) earlier in the year.
Here are the five best movies of 2014 so far. Continue Reading →