5 Films You Missed (but that you absolutely need to see now) In 2014
2014 was an amazing year for independent film with certified blockbusters and game changers such as Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Joon-ho Bong’s directorial debut Snowpiercer, and Jennifer Kent’s “not a horror movie” The Bababdook making some real noise in the world of cinema. But like every year, I guarantee you there were more than a few films you missed in 2014 that are worth your time tracking down. So I’d like to take a couple of minutes today to turn you onto a few 2014 releases that you may have missed, but that I guarantee you will enjoy
Directed by Gabe Ibáñez
Staring Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, and Robert Forster
This science fiction film from Spanish director Gabe Ibáñez flew way under the radar in 2014 and honestly should have been one of the biggest SF films of 2014. Antonio Banderas plays Jacq Vaucan, an insurance agent for ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. Vaucan discovers that his company’s robots are gaining full consciousness and fights to protect the newly evolved robots. Automata is basically the film you wished I, Robot was.
The One I Love
Directed by Charlie McDowell
Staring Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss, and Ted Danson
A semi-science fiction/fantasy film about a couple struggling with their marriage goes away for a long weekend to a cabin recommended by their marriage counselor. When they arrive and settle into the cabin, they end up discovering near carbon copies of themselves when ever they walk into the guesthouse located on the property. The copies of themselves are the idealized versions of each other, and the couple struggles to separate the reality of each other and the fantasy of their copies. The One I Love is just a fun movie with stellar performances from Mark Duplass (who seems to be in every movie and television show in 2015) and the always excellent Elisabeth Moss.
Directed by E.L. Katz
Starring Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, and David Koechner
Okay, so I’m cheating on this one a bit because it was released in late 2013, but it didn’t receive a wide distribution until 2014, so we’ll just say it’s a 2014 release. If you haven’t seen Cheap Thrills yet, you are missing out on one of the best and blackest comedies in recent memory.
Failed novelist turned mechanic, Craig, has just lost his job and his family is about to be evicted from their apartment if he doesn’t come up with $4500. After losing his job, Craig stops at a local bar for a drink to brace himself before he drops the news to his wife that he’s been fired and he runs into an old friend. Craig and his friend start drinking, and then the pair meet husband and wife, Colin and Violet. The couple are out celebrating Violet’s birthday and are looking to blow some money by daring Craig and his friend to to increasingly violent stunts. Both Pat Healy and David Koechner (both of whom are far better known for their comedic work) provide chilling, unforgettable performances in this moral tale of what people are willing to do for money
Directed by Ti West
Staring Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg, Kate Lyn Sheil, AJ Bowen, and Gene Jones
Okay, this is another late 2013 cheat, and yes it’s a horror movie and a “found-footage” horror movie on top of that … But wait, before you run off, try keeping an open mind, because you know what, this one is actually pretty great because of one reason and one reason alone: Director Ti West. Over the last several years, Ti West has been ushering the horror genre away from the slasher porn made popular by Eli Roth and the Saw films. West’s true talent is being able to build consistent, hair raising suspense as opposed to splashing the audience with blood. Sacrament is basically a retelling of the Jonestown massacre and just about every second of this film is down right bone chilling.
Directed by Steven Knight
Staring Tom Hardy
It’s okay to admit you haven’t seen Locke yet. It’s one of those movies that was a real darling of the critics, but for the most part, audiences in the U.S. didn’t really embrace this extraordinary film. The film focuses on Ivan Locke, a successful construction manager and dedicated family. Locke had a brief affair while traveling for work and got the woman pregnant. The entire film takes place inside Locke’s SUV as he races to the birth of his new child and deals with his perfect life tumbling to pieces over the phone. Hardy’s performance is utterly brilliant as he shifts between phone conversations with his shocked wife, son, co-workers, and his ex-lover. It is truly one of the best performances of 2014.