The Best Movie Animal Performances of 2014

Best Animal Performances of 2014

I was watching Gone Girl for the fourth time and admiring how David Fincher (and his cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth) majestically shot Ben Affleck‘s character Nick Dunne’s cat and I began to wonder about the cat’s true role in the story. The cat is featured too prominently to be just a background prop. What did the cat mean?

As I thought about this I began to realize that there had been a lot of big screen kitties this year. The New York Times notes in their review that “cats are the new dogs,” and judging from the list of animals in this article, they might be right. But as I started to think about it more, it wasn’t just cats but dogs and some actually amazing performances by other animals in this past year of film. So the list of best animal performances of 2014 grew and grew. After the jump you will find my examination of why 2014 was the year of animal movie performances and what it all means. Read More »


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st. vincent trailer

Bill Murray makes a return of sorts to the sort of character he played decades ago, in St. Vincent. The film casts Murray as a grouchy old dude whose life is invaded by new neighbors: Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her young son Oliver. Murray ends up babysitting for the kid, and teaches him the rules of life. Or his character’s own version of the rules of life, anyway. He dispenses pearls of wisdom such as ” You work, you get paid, and you drink.” And then there’s his association with a Russian “lady of the night” played by Naomi Watts. Check out the St. Vincent trailer below.

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It’s been quite a while since Walter Hill directed a film that could be called a total success, but I never stop pulling for the guy who directed The Warriors, 48 Hrs. and Streets of Fire. (Even if he also directed Another 48 Hrs. — nasty stuff.) So I’ll take any shred of positive news about his upcoming work, and this news is seriously positive. Hill is working on a film called St. Vincent that will reunite him with his Johnny Handsome star Mickey Rourke. Now he’s added another Johnny Handsome alum, Forest Whitaker, and some other great cast members that should push the film up  on my watch list. Read More »

With the right material, Walter Hill can play a blinder. Very often, however, the scripts he choses just aren’t up to the job – and I suppose the same can be said of Mickey Rourke. I’m definitely rooting for him in the Oscars and, before that, tonight’s BAFTAs.

They worked together in the late 80s, before each suffered a sad commercial and artistic struggle in the 90s. That time around they gave us the undervalued Johnny Handsome, a gangster fable about redemption, revenge and plastic surgery – somewhat prophetic, I feel. This time around they’ll bring us St. Vincent – another gangster fable about redemption and revenge, though apparently not this time tackling cosmetic operations.

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