Focus, simplicity and control. As I look back over the films of 2014, the ones that most stay with me are not the sprawling epics or the movies that tried to cram a surplus of ideas or technique into one story. (Sorry, Birdman and Interstellar.) They’re the movies, not even necessarily the “small” ones, that exhibit something specific in filmmaking technique, or unusually refined in their approach to story. 2014 was packed with movies I loved, and this list could easily be three times as long as it is. Below, you’ll find the ten films that have stuck with me most intensely, along with a page of extra picks that all offer something special, too. Read More »
Time and time again, you’ve heard that 2014 was a great year for movies. And it was. But as I looked back at the about 150 films I saw released in 2014, I saw a pattern. There were, in fact, lots of great movies in 2014, and in the next few pages you’ll read about a bunch of them. But I honestly feel like when I picked my favorites, the films I felt were the best released this year, they all were on an even playing field. In a way, I could’ve just given you the ten best movies I’ve seen this year in alphabetical order and called it a day. But where’s the fun in that? The fun part is sitting down and making the hard decisions about what is truly the best. So, below, read my top ten movies of 2014.
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Two movies. That’s all it took for every single Paul Thomas Anderson movie to become an event. His first film, Hard Eight, opened with relatively little fanfare. His second, Boogie Nights, announced to the world that Anderson would be a filmmaker to celebrate. One whose work we would anticipate, possibly revere. With each subsequent film, film fans everywhere have salivated to find out what Anderson has in store for us next.
The latest event, Inherent Vice, opens in limited release this weekend. It’s both a huge departure for the director in that it’s the first film of his directly based on someone else’s work (the inspiration for There Will Be Blood was very different from the final film), but somehow it also perfectly fits into his career. Like most of his movies, it’s a film set in and around California and tells a story about its history. Anderson loves California, and that interest shows in almost every one of his movies. And while exploring that running theme, each of his seven movies gets more confident and daring. There has yet to be a single misstep.
Still, there has to be some kind of hierarchy, right? Some kind of almost impossible deathmatch in which these seven glorious works are pitted against one another, to see which triumphs.
Below, read our ranking of the best Paul Thomas Anderson movies. Read More »
Inherent Vice begins its limited rollout tomorrow, and the excellent and unusual film should be on your must-see list for the end of the year. (Or for early January, if you’re in a market that doesn’t get it this month.) As prep for that release there has been a new trailer, a handful of clips, and now writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson has taken a minute to talk the New York Times through one scene in the film. The upshot of that is, you can listen in. Check out a brief Inherent Vice scene commentary from the director below. Read More »
Paul Thomas Anderson‘s newest film, Inherent Vice, opens limited on December 12, but for the markets that don’t get the film until January Warner Bros. is offering sneak preview screenings this coming Saturday, December 13. You can get theater info here, and there’s a great new Inherent Vice trailer that tells of the upcoming screenings. It also has some footage you haven’t seen before, a digitally-altered version of a shot from the film (above, with extra details added to the painting) and a little bit of the awesome Can song ‘Vitamin C’ that is used to good effect in the film’s opening.
This is a really good representation of the film condensed down into two minutes. Check it out below. Read More »
Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2014 by Angie Han
Creating a truly great character is no easy task. Everything has to come together, from the script to the costuming to the acting. But when they do, the result feels like more than the sum of its parts. In a matter of hours or even minutes, great characters manage to feel as real and vivid as anyone we’ve met in real life.
In 2014 we met quite a few such characters in arthouse oddities and studio blockbusters alike, ranging from heroes to villains, comic relief sidekicks to horrifying bogeymen. The only thing all of our favorite characters of 2014 have in common is that days or weeks or months after we first saw them, we haven’t been able to get them out of our minds.
Read our list of the best movie characters of 2014, ordered by release date, after the jump. Read More »
Inherent Vice, the new film from Paul Thomas Anderson, isn’t just an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon. It is part of a specific tradition of movies that pry into the gaps between visions of American culture, especially as seen on the streets of Los Angeles locations. Paul Thomas Anderson has talked about one or two specifically as Inherent Vice influences, and beyond those few titles is an expansive set of movies in which characters who are all but lost as mainstream culture and power swirl around them.
These are films that line up with the spirit of Inherent Vice. Sometimes it’s just in the case of one sequence, or one shade of the movie. But put all these films together and you have a weekend worth of movies that will prepare you for the desultory, city-spanning story of Doc Sportello. No spoilers for PTA’s movie are here as we talk about the films that link up with it in this particular cinematic tradition, but when you do see Inherent Vice after seeing these you’ll immediately see how they all fit together.
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Paul Thomas Anderson never ceases to amaze. He makes a rain of frogs look plausible, turns Adam Sandler into an actor, and makes an iconic image out of drinking milkshakes. He’s always doing something surprising and wonderful. Anderson’s latest film, Inherent Vice, is two hours of those moments loosely strung together with a detective narrative.
Based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice stars Joaquin Phoenix as Doc, a ratty detective whose mysterious ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterston) asks for help with a supposed plot against her new squeeze. Doc obliges, as Doc does with many people in the film, but the movie never really cares about solving this mystery. It’s more interested in Doc’s pot-infused, Choose Your Own Adventure lifestyle where he says “yes” to everything and takes the ride that follows.
That ride introduces some absolutely insane, memorable characters played by the likes of Josh Brolin, Martin Short, Reese Withersooon, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph and Jena Malone, all of whom pop in and out of Doc’s life on a whim. Some play significant roles, others do not, but Inherent Vice isn’t a movie about connecting these points. It’s pretty much just about the trip.
Inherent Vice had its Los Angeles Premiere at the AFI Fest presented by Audi and you can continue reading our Inherent Vice movie review below.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Paul Thomas Anderson has given us an unexpected gift this morning, and if you live in London there are actually two gifts. For everyone, there’s a new Inherent Vice UK trailer, cut by Anderson himself. For those actually in the UK — and specifically, those in London or close to the city — the special gift is that this trailer heralds surprise screenings of the film which will take place this coming Wednesday. Check out the new trailer below, and get the screening info, too.
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Paul Thomas Anderson‘s new film Inherent Vice premiered at the New York Film Festival over the weekend, and along with the first reviews and reactions to the film, we’ve got a lot more information about the Thomas Pynchon adaptation. The Inherent Vice soundtrack has been revealed, and that’s great. And then there’s a lot of other info that came out of the festival.
For one, you can now watch the 30-minute press conference for the film featuring Anderson and many members of the film’s crowded cast. That’s a good treat, but also contains a lot of talk about a film that most of us haven’t yet seen.
More friendly to those who want to preserve the experience of watching the film is the rundown of the film’s soundtrack, and an accompanying playlist featuring all the tracks. There are a couple great tracks from Can, and an unreleased Radiohead song called ‘Spooks.’ (The Radiohead song is represented in the playlist by a live version.) Read More »