Reel Reactions’ Best Of 2014: Movie Moments

INTERSTELLARWith only a couple of days left in 2014, Reel Reactions is winding back the clock to reflect on the best performances and moments of the year. Fortunately for us, there was plenty of greatness spread throughout the last 12 months, with newcomers and old favorites in front of and behind the camera offering up some truly stunning work. In fact, 2014 was a reminder that classics-in-the-making no longer need the fall awards season to thrive. Starting with the razor-sharp wit of “The LEGO Movie” in February and extending through endearing summer romances such as “Love is Strange” and character-centric fall dazzlers like “Foxcatcher,”  top quality was everywhere this year as long as you were willing to seek it out. As we continue our year end coverage, we look to the unforgettable movie moments that left us breathless. Although we’ve done our best to not spoil certain plot points, be advised that many of these moments make up some of the emotional peaks of their respective movies, so you may want to tread lightly while reading each blurb if you haven’t seen the film yet. Now without further ado, here’s our 20 favorite movie moments from 2014:

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Reel Reactions’ Best of 2014: Mike Murphy’s Top 10 Films

foxcatcher 1

Back so soon.

Compared to previous years, 2014 proved to have more films than ever in contest to make my final Top 10 tally. Both 2012 and 2013 were packed to the brim with marvelous films, but for me 2014 felt like it was overflowing. My initial whittle, that discarded all of the duds and middle-of-the-road films that I had no problem leaving behind, numbered just under fifty films! Chopping that list in half was no easy feat, but I’m sure that films I let go will pop up on my co-critics’ lists so they’ll thankfully get their due. However, I know I can’t include everything and even with that being the conclusion I come to terms with each year, accepting that was harder than ever this year.

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Reel Reactions’ Best Of 2014: Actress Performances

UTS1With only a couple of days left in 2014, Reel Reactions is winding back the clock to reflect on the best performances and moments of the year. Fortunately for us, there was plenty of greatness spread throughout the last 12 months, with newcomers and old favorites in front of and behind the camera offering up some truly stunning work. In fact, 2014 was a reminder that classics-in-the-making no longer need the fall awards season to thrive. Starting with the razor-sharp wit of “The LEGO Movie” in February and extending through endearing summer romances such as “Love is Strange” and character-centric fall dazzlers like “Foxcatcher,”  top quality was everywhere this year as long as you were willing to seek it out. As our year end coverage continues, we look to the actresses that gave it their all with these memorably powerful performances. Here are our 20 Best Actresses of 2014:

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Reel Reactions’ Best Of 2014: Actor Performances

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????With only a couple of days left in 2014, Reel Reactions is winding back the clock to reflect on the best performances and moments of the year. Fortunately for us, there was plenty of greatness spread throughout the last 12 months, with newcomers and old favorites in front of and behind the camera offering up some truly stunning work. In fact, 2014 was a reminder that classics-in-the-making no longer need the fall awards season to thrive. Starting with the razor-sharp wit of “The LEGO Movie” in February and extending through endearing summer romances such as “Love is Strange” and character-centric fall dazzlers like “Foxcatcher,”  top quality was everywhere this year as long as you were willing to seek it out. As we kick off our year end coverage, we look to the actors that gave it their all with these memorably diverse performances. Here are our 20 Best Actors of 2014:

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Looking Back: Paul Thomas Anderson

At the end of “Magnolia,” Donny Smith, a disgraced former game show contestant in his youth, tearfully laments to a friend, “I have so much love to give.” Throughout his career, Paul Thomas Anderson has examined loneliness, the unfulfilled love, the yearning of so many isolated lives. To consider Anderson’s several protagonists—porn star Dirk Diggler, plunger peddler Barry Egan, oil tycoon Daniel Plainview, WWII veteran Freddie Quell—is to create a collage of anger, fear, the gamut of human emotion. Despite setting his movies in a variety of eras, from the 1890s to the 70s and 80s to present day, Anderson populates his movies with Angelenos stricken with fear and rage. He is one of the best directors working today, but he might also be the best screenwriter as well.

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Retrospective Review: Scrooged (1988)

Well it’s the month of December, and that can only mean one thing: the holiday season has begun. In honor of this magical time of year, every week this month, I’m going to take a look at some holiday-themed movies that I have never had the pleasure of seeing. So, fresh off my review of “Dumb and Dumber To,” which featured a cameo by Bill Murray, let’s take a look at his 1988 film “Scrooged,” which serves as a yet another interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” And what do I think? In some ways, it’s pretty good; Bill Murray has some funny moments, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are fairly enjoyable. But in other ways, it’s just kind of unpleasant, which is to be expected, seeing as it’s an adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” but not to this extent of unpleasantness. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a look at this film one step at a time.

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Retrospective Follow-Up: Dumb and Dumber To

The moment I saw my review for “Dumb and Dumber” posted on this website, I knew I’d wind up seeing its recent sequel, “Dumb and Dumber To,” sooner or later. Part of me was dreading it, because I had heard bits and pieces about what worked and what didn’t work in the movie; “it’s just the first movie again, the jokes are tired, it’s not as good as the original,” and so on ad infinitum. But another part of me was looking forward to it, because one of the things that I had heard and one of the things I had gathered from the trailer was that the dynamic between Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels is still there; they are still the same numbskulls that we fell in love with 20 years ago. And I am here to confirm that: Jim Carrey is still Lloyd and Jeff Daniels is still Harry, and they work wonderfully together onscreen. As for the rest of the movie, while it’s not as good as “Dumb and Dumber,” it’s still had me laughing quite a bit, and when the film harkened back to the time of the original, I enjoyed it even more.

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