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TOH! Writers Pick the 10 Best Films of 2014 So Far

TOH! Writers Pick the 10 Best Films of 2014 So Far

As July looms, the movie year is reaching its halfway point, and in the spirit of Indiewire’s new Criticwire poll of 122 critics’ favorite films of 2014 so far, we at TOH! offer up our own ten best lists. Favorites that keep popping up include “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Ida,” “Only Lovers Left Alive” and “Under the Skin.”

Ryan Lattanzio:

2014 already looks like an even more interesting movie year than the bar-raising 2013. I’d be perfectly content if this were my year-end top 10, though I had to wrest several films from this list as it is — including Richard Ayoade’s “The Double,” which makes for a mind-shifting double bill with Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy,” and there was much to love about Lars von Trier’s wildly flawed “Nymphomaniac.” And with guilt I leave off Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” maybe his best film in over a decade.

1. “Under the Skin” (Dir. Jonathan Glazer) A terrfyingly nebulous thing of beauty, this is perfect sci-fi from a bygone era. Or a foretold future.

2. “The Immigrant” (Dir. James Gray) Gorgeously wrought, overflowingly emotional melodrama with rich substance to match its ravishing stylistic textures. Marion Cotillard should win everything for this, and it’s a shame Harvey Weinstein has left the film for dead.

3. “Stranger by the Lake” (Dir. Alain Guiraudie) Disturbingly opaque, maybe-murder mystery as erotic as it is alienating — in the best way.

4. “Borgman” (Dir. Alex van Warmerdam) Beneath the quiet surface of a seemingly perfect nuclear family roars a darkness waiting to get out, and oh boy does it ever, in this mischievous, arty domestic thriller. 

5. “Coherence” (Dir. James Ward Byrkit) A metaphysically terrifying, very low budget and utterly disorienting science fiction film that rearranges your brain as much as it does the genre.

6. “Ida” (Dir. Pawel Pawlikowski) Black-and-white drama at its most elegantly chiseled, with one gorgeous image after the next.

7. “Night Moves” (Dir. Kelly Reichardt) Reichardt uses her intensely focused eye for naturalism to build a tight old-school thriller featuring Jesse Eisenberg at his creepy best.

8. “A Field in England” (Dir. Ben Wheatley) Is this the first psychotropic historical horror ever made? Yet another brain-boggler, and in black-and-white, that rewards as much as it punishes.

9. “The Sacrament” (Dir. Ti West) Can Ti West save the horror genre? It looks to be so in this unforgiving recreation of the Jonestown massacre that boasts one of the great sequences of mounting terror in recent memory.

10. “Test” (Dir. Chris Mason Johnson) And if Ti West can save horror, Chris Mason Johnson can save queer cinema — this subtly modulated AIDS panic drama deftly avoids the cliches of its predecessors.

What were your favorite films so far this year? Click through for more.

Anne Thompson:

1. “Locke” (Dir. Steven Knight)

2. “Only Lovers Left Alive” (Dir. Jim Jarmusch)

3. “Nymphomaniac: Volume I” (Dir. Lars von Trier)

4. “Nymphomaniac: Volume II” (Dir. Lars von Trier)

5. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Dir. Wes Anderson)

6. “Edge of Tomorrow” (Dir. Doug Liman)

7. “Obvious Child” (Dir. Gillian Robespierre)

8. “The Lunchbox” (Dir. Ritesh Batra)

9. “Under the Skin” (Dir. Jonathan Glazer)

10. “Le Week-End” (Dir. Roger Michell)

Beth Hanna:

1. “Ida” (Dir. Pawel Pawlikowski)  

2. “Stranger By The Lake” (Dir. Alain Guiraudie)

3. “Locke” (Dir. Steven Knight)

4. “Only Lovers Left Alive” (Dir. Jim Jarmusch) 

5. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Dir. Wes Anderson)

6. “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden” (Dirs. Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine)

7. “We Are The Best!” (Dir. Lukas Moodysson)

8. “Noah” (Dir. Darren Aronofsky)

9. “Godzilla” (Dir. Gareth Edwards)

10. “Under the Skin” (Dir. Jonathan Glazer)

Tom Brueggemann:

The saddest thing is that though there a lot of fine films here, all but one came out of 2013 festivals — hopefully not a portend for the rest of the year

1. “Ida” (Pawel Pawlikowski)

2. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Dir. Wes Anderson)

3. “Snowpiercer” (Dir. Bong Joon-ho)

4. “Joe” (Dir. David Gordon Green)

5. “Venus in Fur” (Dir. Roman Polanski)

6. “Stranger By The Lake” (Dir. Alain Guiraudie)

7. “Locke” (Dir. Steven Knight)

8. “Night Moves” (Dir. Kelly Reichardt)

9. “Nymphomaniac” (Dir. Lars von Trier)

10. “Only Lovers Left Alive” (Dir. Jim Jarmusch)

Matt Mueller

1. “Under The Skin” (Dir. Jonathan Glazer)

2. “Stranger By The Lake” (Dir. Alain Guiraudie)

3. “Blue Ruin” (Dir. Jeremy Saulnier)

4. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Dir. Wes Anderson)

5. “A Field in England” (Dir. Ben Wheatley)

6. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (Dirs. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo)

7. “Omar” (Dir. Hany Abu-Assad)

8. “We Are The Best!” (Dir. Lukas Moodysson)

9. “Le Week-End” (Dir. Roger Michell)

10. “Enemy” (Dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Susan Wloszczyna

1.  “The Lego Movie”

2.  “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
3.  “Only Lovers Left Alive”
4.  “Under the Skin”
5.  “Ida”
6.  “Le Week-End”
7.  “Blue Ruin”
8.  “The Lunchbox”
9.  “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
10.  “Chef”

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