‘Boyhood’ tops the best films of 2014

By Bob Bloom

It may have sounded like a gimmick, shooting a movie over 12 years to capture the pains and joys of growing up, but Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” was so much more.
It featured characters who seemed so real, so ordinary, that you’d think you were watching a documentary.
The film featured strong performances all around, and that is among the reasons I chose it as the best movie of 2014.

Here are the rest of my top 10 films:

  1. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”: The most delightful movie of the year. Director Wes Anderson mixes 1930s political turmoil, murder and an art heist into a charming stew, all stirred by the sly performance by Ralph Fiennes.
  2. “The Imitation Game”: A look at how wars are won not on the battlefield, but in backrooms and secret places. The film, featuring an eccentric performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, looks at the breaking of the German enigma code during World War II.
  3. “Gone Girl”: A dynamite performance by Rosamund Pike was the highlight of this thriller about a supposed model marriage and the inner tensions that nearly destroyed two people.
  4. “Wild”: Reese Witherspoon takes a physical and emotional journey in an attempt to right her life after the death of her mother.
  5. “Life Itself”: An emotional and inspirational documentary that looks at the life and career of film critic Roger Ebert.
  6. “Guardians of the Galaxy”: A science fiction space opera with attitude that was filled with action and infectious humor.
  7. “Obvious Child”: Jenny Slate’s performance drove this little dramedy about a comedian and the choices she must make in her life.
  8. “The LEGO Movie”: This animated feature was not just a kids’ movie. Filled with sly humor, the film touched on obsession and the joy of just playing.
  9. “Into the Woods”: This adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine Broadway musical may have been softened for the screen, but still contained enough dark and subversive elements to make it an entertaining experience.

    Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.