And here are the other 5 movies in my list – with other films good enough to be mentioned.
“Edge of Tomorrow” is a loud, explosive SF action film which is also smart, witty, and exhilarating inside its metallic armor. Sure, most of its components are familiar stuffs which will take you back to many other films, but they are mixed well together into a clever SF story which keeps finding inventive or engaging ways to play with its repetitive premise throughout the film, and it is exciting and amusing to watch how it surprises and entertains us a lot more than expected. Not many blockbuster films can do such things in these days, you know.
With its stark rural background and the people who really look like its squalid inhabitants, David Gordon Green’s “Joe” feels real at every minute. As we are absorbed by how it takes its time to establish its mood and characters, the movie leisurely but thoughtfully moves around not only its distinctive characters but also their gloomy world where they do not see much hope of escape amid ever-present violence and poverty in their shabby daily life. This is a powerful human drama with excellent atmosphere and performances, and I was certainly very glad to be reminded that Nicholas Cage is still a talented actor to watch despite his many disastrous choices during recent years.
8. Gone Girl
Something does not feel good right from the beginning of “Gone Girl”, a top-notch thriller which gradually and chillingly reveals its nasty and insidious cards behind its back step by step with icy, merciless precision. Considering its dark, disturbing materials including deceit, betrayal, obsession, manipulation, and (possibly) murder, this can be a very unpleasant experience, but the movie is fiendishly spellbinding from its uneasy opening scene to its gut-chilling finale which will make you look back at its very beginning, and it is also viciously amusing in its wry social commentary on the rampage of sensationalism on the media. Gillian Flynn’s screenplay, which is based on her bestseller novel, is a tricky one due to its multiple storylines and unreliable viewpoints, but the director David Fincher and his usual technical collaborators skillfully handle Flynn’s devious screenplay, and his actors including Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pikes are convincing in their pitch-perfect performances.
9. The Babadook
“The Babadook” is a horror movie about something wicked lurking around somewhere, and it is quite an effective one. Slowly building up the sense of dread around its ominous background, the movie works as the harrowing drama of a strained human relationship, and then it terrifies us a lot as this relationship is being pushed to dark, sinister territories under its malevolent undertone. With her modest budget, the first-time director/writer Jennifer Kent made a really scary horror film which taps into human fears we can relate to and then unsettles us as amplifying them through its horror elements, and Essie Davis and her young co-star Noah Wiseman are believable as mother and son struggling with each own troubles as well as a claustrophobic horror unfolded inside their house. Be careful of what you read – you may get a lesson which will never go away from you.
While working as a thriller with its taut, suspenseful moments coming from its Palestinian hero’s unstable position in his dangerous world, Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar-nominated film “Omar” looks below an ongoing conflict through its fully-realized characters and their gloomy, desperate drama. As observing the characters stuck in an impossible situation full of gray morality and constant danger, the movie generates a number of powerful moments from its gripping plot, and we come to think more about the harsh political reality reflected through its story while understanding and caring about its characters. A sad thing is, as many of you know, the reality outside the movie has only been getting worse and worse lately, and, whatever will happen in the end, we can only hope that things may get better for them someday.
Special Mention (in alphabetical order)
“Blue Ruin”, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, “Clouds of Sils Maria”, “Gloria”, “Locke”, “Museum Hours”, “Only Lovers Left Alive”, “Starred Up”, “Stranger by the Lake”, “Two Days, One Night” and “Under the Skin”
I gave them my three-star love (in alphabetical order)
“Belle”, “Black Coal, Thin Ice”, “Chef”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “The Horseman”, “The Immigrant”, “Land Ho!”, “Lucy”, “The Lunchbox”, “The Missing Picture”, “Mommy”, “A Most Wanted Man”, “Nymphomaniac Vol. I” and “Nymphomaniac Vol. II” “Tom at the Farm”, “A Walk Among the Tombstones”, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?”
Sorry, I was late for these films while living in South Korea (in alphabetical order)
“American Hustle”, “Frozen”, “Her”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”, “Nebraska”, “No”, “The Selfish Giant”, “Short Term 12”, “12 Years a Slave”, “Wadjda”, and “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
Documentary (in alphabetical order)
“At Berkeley”, “Cutie and the Boxer”, “Dirty Wars”, “Manshin”, “Life Itself“, “Narco Cultura”, “Scenery“, “The Square”, “20 Feet from Stardom“, and “The Unknown Known”
Animation Film (in alphabetical order)
“Approved for Adoption”, “The Book of Life”, “The Boxtrolls”, “Ernest & Celestine”, “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, “The Lego Movie“, and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”