The 10 Best
1) Inside Llewyn Davis. The Coen brothers' funky, funny, touching recreation at the folk scene in Greenwich Village in the 1961 through the eyes of a sadsack, bearded, couch-surfing, singer (velvet-voiced Oscar Isaac).
2) Laurence Anyways. Xavier Dolan's messy masterpiece about a transsexual (Melvil Poupaud) and the woman in his life (Suzanne Clement) was edgy, transcendent and sublime.
3) You're Next! It took long enough to get director Adam Wingard's wonderfully subversive home invasion chiller out in theaters (two years) but it was so worth it. A new horror classic.
4) Blue Jasmine. Yes, it's Ruth Madoff's A Streetcar Named Desire, but Woody Allen's film was also heartbreakingly good with an astonishing performance by Cate Blanchett.
5) Stoker. This English-language film debut for South Korean director Park Chan-wook (Old Boy) is a dark, twisted, modern fairy tale starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska as a dysfunctional mother/daughter dealing with the arrival of their mysterious Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). Wonderfully creepy.
6) Paradise Faith. No one on earth makes movies as deadpan and perverse as Ulrich Seidl, and this one about a religious loon married to an Islamic man in a wheelchair left me slack-jawed.
7) Sightseers. Another truly original and bizarre film by director Ben Wheatley (Kill List) about a nerdy couple traveling in a RV through England, cheerily murdering people along the way.
8) Frances Ha. Noah Baumbach's funny, affectionate, black and white, portrait of loveable oddball Frances, played by the movie's writer Greta Gerwig, who is supernaturally good.
9) Spring Breakers. Harmony Korine's wildly stylized and hallucinatory vision of girls in string bikinis and blazing machine guns on spring break with a hilarious cornrowed James Franco as a drug-dealing low-life. Harmony Korine's film was fabulously appalling.
10) 20 Feet From Stardom. Director Morgan Neville's enthralling documentary about the glorious back-up singers of pop and rock, including the divine Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer and many other unheralded vocal powerhouses.
The 10 Worst
1) 12 Years A Slave. This movie is well-acted, well-made, and virtually critic-proof. It's also torture to sit through. Slavery was horrendous. You think?
2) Oz: The Great And Powerful. I say this with a heavy heart because I really love Sam Raimi, but this was a joyless affair. The L. Frank Baum books are so wonderful, too, and now no one will ever adapt the rest.
3) A Good Day To Die Hard. How the hell could they fuck up a perfectly enjoyable action franchise? Nothing more than running, explosions, driving, explosions and a few wisecracks. A lazy, stupid, excuse of a film.
4) Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Come now, it's the equivalent of Rapunzel: Ghostbuster or Cinderella: Kung Fu Dentist.
5) Texas Chainsaw 3D. Head cheese. And lousy 3D.
6) Oblivion. That's what I prayed for watching this lame Tom Cruise futuristic sci-fi bore.
7) Mama. This actually should have worked -- a good cast, kind of a cool idea -- but, oh, brother.
8) Man Of Steel. Granted, Henry Cavill is super to look at but bring on the kryptonite.
9) R.I.P.D. Rest in peace indeed.
10) After Earth. I had to see this because of my dislike for Will Smith and his talent-free son. Watching a whole audience flee to slip into another theater was liberating.
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