Nicolas Rapold’s Top 10 Films of 2014

12/17/2014 4:49 PM |



In a historic feat of moviemaking, Richard Linklater and his devoted cast fashion a journal of experience out of a decade-plus of chronicles, and ultimately, in its subtly filtered perspectives and ruminations, convey something more than this boy’s life.



An instant paranoia classic, Laura Poitras’s drama of secrets within secrets and of rebellion against government overreach is recognizably linear in the manner of cinema verité yet possessed of a terrific sense of outward expansion and then self-extinguishing tension.

Goodbye to Language

A chain reaction: Jean-Luc Godard plus 3-D equals something genuinely surprising for jaded eyes, and with it, a rejuvenation of what had threatened to become a mere modus operandi of gnomic philosophizing and pulsatingly beautiful imagery.


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nested in frames of memorial and storytelling, Wes Anderson’s imaginary history centers on a one-of-a-kind individual losing his sense of self and style, and yields an unmistakable reckoning with the collision between culture and brutality.


Inherent Vice

Endearingly reproducing flourishes and flaws of his source, Paul Thomas Anderson makes lovely work out of Pynchon’s lazing games of paranoia, drawling counterculture nostalgia, and California goofballing, in a richly illustrated world, cartoonish but still careworn at the edges.


Listen Up Philip

Alex Ross Perry’s scabrous, hyper-self-conscious writing, boosted by differently deft leads in Jason Schwarzmann and Elisabeth Moss, is a tonic at a time when so much screenwriting seems to be treated as an afterthought between the drama.


Mr. Turner

See review in this issue. Also, see the movie, on a big screen.


National Gallery

Frederick Wiseman’s collage-like documentary explores art’s fragility and its beauty, and how the two are inextricably bound, and even more than many of his encyclopedic features, it’s constantly presenting and demonstrating new ways of seeing and understanding.


Stranger by the Lake

In Alain Guiraudie’s poisoned idyll of fear and desire the casually and frankly detailed portrayal of its lakeside cruising milieu becomes an extraordinarily subtle, and suspenseful, essay on trust and vulnerability.


Repertory Pick

In a city blessed with New York’s retrospective riches, it seems almost selfish of the present to hog all the attention. Anybody missing out on the seemingly daily offerings of the rare and beautiful is using this town wrong. A personal highlight: King Hu’s Touch of Zen at BAMcinématek.