This article has evolved the most out of any I have wrote this year. Originally it was going to be the worst films. Then it was going to be most overrated films. Then it turned into this piece of $#!+. Speaking of $#!+ (yeah, that is my transition) we have plenty of films that weren't that good last year, but were applauded by audience and critics. There was also the ones that were heinously overlooked and didn't nearly receive the recognition they deserved. Let's talk about 'em! Enjoy. Overrated:
The critics mostly got it right with this one. It is the audience that confound me. Why, oh, why anyone can truly love this train wreck is beyond me. I guess you just have to be blind to or choose to ignore poor editing, tonal issue, complete and utter logic problems with the plot, over the top dialogue and overacting. I know film is all subjective, but there is such a thing as well made films with elegant structure and story. This isn't it. What it is, is a disgrace to what used to be my favorite superhero.
Maybe Gone Girl is better than what I think of it. Maybe I am overanalyzing what appears to be pretentiousness. I also could be overlooking into pacing. Maybe the slow burn pace which they are going for actually works instead of crawling around like an annoying snail. That being said, maybe it's not. Maybe this film is not nearly as good as people say it is. Maybe the “creative, stylish” cinematography actually is completely uncreative. Don't get me wrong. This is quite a good film. Rosamund Pike is outstanding including other great acting from Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, and Ben Affleck. The lighting is also quite extraordinary; but Gone Girl, in my flawed estimation, is not nearly as good as its cracked out to be.
There is many things to like about Dawn of the Planet of Apes. For one, there is Andy Serkis. He shows master class in his work every time he is thrown into performance capture. There is also the action. It is gritty, well shot, and beautiful. There is also the glimmer of pure brilliance between the interactions in the characters and the CGI is mind-boggling. That being said. . . gosh darnit, it is overrated. The supporting characters are complete one note, lacking any form of depth. The exposition is laid on way too thick, the story is formulaic and the fusion of action and drama never quite meshes to provide any emotional gravitas. I can feel the hatred from many of the lovers/fanatics of the film already. That's alright. There is many “overrated films” I love as well.
Let's get this out of the way. Boyhood is a great piece of art. Critics and audience alike can see this. What they can't see is that it doesn't make a very good movie. Probably the biggest flaw any movie can have is not having a story. Movies are, after all, visual narratives. Somehow Boyhood gets away with not having a story? I don't know about you, but that is poor film-making. I know Boyhood is supposed to just deliver life in a very real way. They still could have had a minimalist story to go along with it, to make the nearly three hours passable, and watchable. They could have also created a more compelling main character, because Boyhood doesn't have one. We are supposed to care about someone who really doesn't give a shit for people outside of his family and his love interests. I don't blame Ellar Coltrane for being so dark, annoyingly moody with rarely showcasing any compelling or redeemable attributes. He was just following the direction he was given. There is also a few clichés in Boyhood I won't get into as to not spoil the film, but needless to say it isn't a perfect film. What it is, is something that has an enormously captivating premise. It is a miracle this film was even made. Kudos to Richard Linklater for making it. It could have been a whole lot better though.
Don't get me started. I hate this film. Very few movies in the history of movies I've ever said that about. It must have been a case of The Emperor's New Clothes with critics rating Gloria. Let's be perfectly honest. There is no real substance to Gloria! There is no story! There is sub-plots of no meaning or interest everywhere! Take the main character in Gloria (Gloria) and make her a 20 year old and this would be said to be a a piece of shit. Somehow because a middle age women is acting this way, it is a piece of art?! This might have worked if Pauline Garcia, the main actor playing Gloria, is really interesting. Her acting is decent, but not nearly enough to carry a film This film drowns in its own pretentiousness and no pacing. There is nothing great about the story! I am being objective as I can, but my disgust is already etching itself on my face. I quit watching the film three times before forcing myself to finish it. Maybe the ending could have made it worth it, but it doesn't. The point of Gloria could have been summed up in a short film, but somehow they dragged it nonsensically over the course of two draining hours – two hours I'll never get back. . .
Critics pretty much got this right (although few of them were willing to admit that this was a perfect film). It is the audience that got it wrong. Locke should have been heralded as one of the greatest film of last year. Instead, the audience were only ho-hum about it and it never received much hype. Everything about this special film was sadly unnoticed. The unique style and execution went unnoticed. How it was only filmed on a couple days on less than a two millon dollar budget went unnoticed. Though, most sad of all, Tom Hardy's performance went unnoticed. This might have been the best of his career, and it without a doubt was on caliber with all the oscar nominated performances of the year. No one talked about that though, which is really quite disappointing.
This actually was probably the best romantic comedy of 2014. Yes, there is some clichés, and a few moments that don't click, but beyond that this is a terrific film. The chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and what's her face (Zoe Kazan) is more than just quite good. It is nearly extraordinary. The dialogue between the two should have been nominated for some type award for it's clever, and quirky style while still remaining believable and shedding light on deeper, unspeakable issues. It reminded me of classics along the line of When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail. Again, What If is nothing too terribly perfect, but it definitely deserved more love than it got.
Here is another one of those films that deserved more recognition than it got, but was instead thrown under the bus by the audience and only received mildly great reception from the critics. The Guest is a movie that screams great directing. Everything about the style - from the delightfully eerie symphonic music, to the elegant lighting and clever cinematography, to the deliberate pacing, showcase that someone knows what they're doing. It is only made better by the undeniably charismatic lead from Sam Stevens. More than that, this simply is a fun film. The action and cool, dark style give it the tone needed to carry it's bonkers premise. I can only hope action horror films of this caliber are made more often.
It is a little upsetting how much audience hate Grand Piano got. It shows a lack of depth in today's audience. Does anyone appreciate great cinematography among casual filmgoers? Um, apparently very few. Does anyone appreciate cleverly constructed music? Do they appreciate a nuanced lead performance, to back up a killer thriller premise? Maybe? Nope, not really. Where has the appreciation for great cinema gone? Even an aggregate critic score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes doesn't do Grand Piano justice. It is not everybody's cup of tea, I'll give it that; but it deserved more. Grand Piano is more than just a decent film. It is a great one.
Enemy is a masterpiece. Not only did the audience miss this, but the critics as well. Yes, the moody, pervasively dark tone could be labeled as pretentious. This however, is not recognizing the darker subject area Enemy is addressing, which I won't spoil. If you can't see the underlying meaning of the film, do you deserve to be able to rate it? I don't know. All I do know, is that Enemy is one of the best films of last year. Few people were able to look past the dark tone to see the brilliance. What they saw was what they wanted to see. That meant not seeing the layered performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, and the brilliantly nuanced acting from Sarah Gadon. Above that, they missed the phenomenally intricate under-workings and clockwork of the architecture of Enemy. That is just sad. I don't mean to sound like a pretentious crybaby. I just want to see recognition where it is deserved; and if I can't get that, I'm going to at least write an article about it.