Flick Chicks 5 Top Picks for 2014

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Flick Chick’s 5 Top Picks for 2014

5.  It’s a tie:  The Theory of Everything & Chef!

There’s no question that the bio-pic of Stephen Hawking and his dedicated wife is Oscar worthy.   I have yet to see a Best Of list that doesn’t include the touching and illuminating “The Theory of Everything”.   But I simply could not leave one of my very favorite movies of the year off my list.  Jon Faverau’s “Chef” is funny, yummy to look at and a refreshing and honest look at our contemporary, social media obsessed life.   I have recommended this movie to everyone I know and regardless of age or taste, everyone has made a point of telling me how much they appreciated the movie and my recommendation.  This is a feel good movie that will leave you happy, happy, happy!

4.  Into the Woods

I love musicals and this is one that charmed me, even when I saw it on a community theatre stage.  Now seeing it brought to life with a stellar cast is sheer perfection.  If you are a fan of the TV show “Once Upon a Time” or more appropriately, “Galavant” then you will love “Into the Woods” as much as me!   This is the story that inspired the mashups of all things fairytale.   I was leery at first when I saw big names attached, especially Meryl Streep, thinking “Oh great, here we go again with big names that can’t sing a lick.”  The burns from “Mama Mia” and “Les Miserables” are still fresh.  But lo and behold everyone is fantastic.   I don’t know how much Ms. Streep paid her voice teacher but she was worth every stinkin’ penny!  Ms. Streep is fantastic and Emily Blunt should get the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.  But alas she won’t as she wasn’t even nominated.  Ms. Streep can probably count on taking another trophy home!

3.  The Imitation Game

I foolishly turned down an opportunity to screen this film when first offered to me because quite frankly the synopsis just didn’t do it justice.  The true story about the team that broke Hitler’s Enigma code and the man who led them to victory is sheer perfection.  From the beautifully nuanced performance of Benedict Cumberbatch as the closeted computer genius to the elegantly crafted script and Kiera Knightly’s feisty, beautiful heroine, this is a movie not to be dismissed or missed!

2.  The Grand Budapest Hotel

Every award season film voters, whether they are like yours truly or members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, are inundated with copies of movies or invitations to view a screening.  I have never understood the rush to overwhelm voters with more movies than are possible to view or remember.  I think the reasoning is that we won’t remember a movie unless it was the last one we saw.   “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a perfect example of why this thought process is so wrong.  Yes, I saw “American Sniper”, “Foxcatcher” and a ton of other last minute entries that simply did not make my short list.  Why?  Because in my opinion, in spite of some terrific performances, they simply were not the best movies.  But when I saw “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in March, I declared it a runner for many Academy Awards.  It is now nominated for a total of 9 awards and is worthy of every single one.  This movie is off the wall creative in look, story and performances.  And funny?  Boy you betcha!

1.  Birdman

The only movie rivaling “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in Academy Award nominations is “Birdman”.  It, too has 9 nominations.  In a field crowded with bio-pics, these two stand out as creative free for alls.  The story about an actor trying to make a comeback by staging a play boasts an amazing cast, helmed by Michael Keaton in a tour de force performance.  It is funny, it is dramatic and you will leave the movie scratching your head in awe.   Whatever you see this season don’t miss this phenominal film featuring an actor you know and love, at the top of his game.

 

 

Previews of these movies were provided to me by the studios but it in no way affects my unbiased review.