A Top 50 Films of 2014, More or Less

As I did last year, I’m making a Best of the Year list following the conventional system for what counts as a 2014 film, mainly the nonsensical and ahistorical system that decrees that critics may only  consider movies to have existed once they have played for a week in a commercial venue in New York City. (This is the system that claims my favorite film of 2013 (La última película), which played for a week in Seattle in 2014, can only be considered a 2015 film because that is when it will finally get a New York release, probably). But alas, we all must bow to convention, however silly, every once in awhile.

My official 2014 list will come in a few months, right around Oscar-time, along with the 2014 Endy Awards and a special episode of The George Sanders Show. By that time I will have been able to see a number of my most-anticipated 2014 movies that haven’t yet been released here, including Inherent Vice, Selma and The Taking of Tiger Mountain Into the Woods (Tiger Mountain, which opens on December 24th in China, doesn’t open until January 2nd in New York, which means it’s a 2015 film by the New York standard. Thanks to Jaime Grijalba for the correction). Coming this week are our annual year-in-review episode of They Shot Pictures, as well as a look at the best films of 1984 on The George Sanders Show.

1. The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh)

2. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata)

3. National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman)

4. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 (Johnnie To)

5. The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)

6. Actress (Robert Greene)

7. The Immigrant (James Gray)

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)

9. Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (Stephen Chow & Derek Kwok)

10. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch)

11. Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang)

12. Adieu au langage (Jean-Luc Godard)

13. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (Ben Rivers & Ben Russell)

14. Gone Girl (David Fincher)

15. Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre)

16. Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry)

17. Pompeii (Paul WS Anderson)

18. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer)

19. Lucy (Luc Besson)

20. Highway (Imtiaz Ali)

21. Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

22. Happy Christmas (Joe Swanberg)

23. Jersey Boys (Clint Eastwood)

24. The Golden Era (Ann Hui)

25. Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)

26. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (Mami Sunada)

27. Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)

28. Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)

29. Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

30. The Raid 2 (Gareth Evans)

31. Aberdeen (Pang Ho-cheung)

32. The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)

33. Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman)

34. They Came Together (David Wain)

35. Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt)

And here are my favorite films of the year that aren’t eligible by this reckoning. The Best 2014 Films of 2015 (Hopefully):

1. Hill of Freedom (Hong Sangsoo)

2. The Midnight After (Fruit Chan)

3. Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)

4. Horse Money (Pedro Costa)

5. Uncertain Relationships Society (Heiward Mak)

6. Hit 2 Pass (Kurt Walker)

7. Journey to the West (Tsai Ming-liang)

8. La Sapienza (Eugène Green)

9. Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara)

10. The Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas)

11. Heaven Knows What (Ben & Joshua Safdie)

12. Ballet 422 (Jody Lee Lipes)

13. Black Coal, Thin Ice (Diao Yinan)

14. One Upon a Time in Shanghai (Wong Ching-po)

15. The Monkey King (Soi Cheang)

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