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The 10 Most Over/Underrated Films of 2014

And behind every piece of Oscar bait is a better film trying to get out. (Source)

And behind every piece of Oscar bait is a better film trying to get out. (Source)

Some years have a lot of overrated films, some have a lot of underrated ones (2012 springs to mind for both categories). This year was comparatively thin for both–there were a few notably overrated films, and a few underappreciated (if not truly underrated) ones, but I think the critics got it a little more right than usual this year–when Snowpiercer has 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, you can’t complain too much.

Still, there were some definite cases where the consensus was, to my eyes, off the mark. And that is what we’ll dig into today, starting with the overrated. Because I am that guy.

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National Board of Review 2014 Top 10 and Award Winners

The best film of the year? NBR says so. ()

The best film of the year? NBR says so. (Source)

It’s here! The NBR has spoken!

It’s not one of their great lists–there’s no crazy left-field pick like Walter Mitty here–but there are some pleasant surprises. And certainly A Most Violent Year was an unexpected choice, but from what I’ve heard about it, a reasonable one.

I’ll do the top 10 first (always), then the awards, and once I’ve seen all the films, I’ll do a full report for the NBR Project.

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"Family is a cruel joke"--but sometimes, family is precisely what you need. ()

“Family is a cruel joke”–but sometimes, family is precisely what you need. (Source)

The Skeleton Twins is the kind of film which suffers because I cannot totally judge it in a vacuum. On its own, it would still be a flawed film, but in the greater context of modern cinema, it stands as yet another indie comedy-drama about dysfunctional middle-class characters, played by hitherto largely comedic actors, who go through their quotidian crises before something like a happy ending. Here, though, the dysfunctions are poorly explored, the crises seem contrived, and the sort-of-happy ending leaves more than a few story threads dangling. The acting (and, to my surprise, the direction) is good enough to make it a *** film, but the script lets it down.

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2014: Most Anticipated Films (REVISED)

It’s time to update the list. First, I’ve removed all the films I’ve seen, purchased, or which have been released already (I’ll be seeing Snowpiercer next week, for example, so I pre-emptively removed it). Films that have been pushed back to 2015 will also come off. And I’ll be re-evaluating each film already on here, taking off those that really aren’t of much interest to me.

And I’ve scoured the Internet for films I might have overlooked, and factored in films I didn’t yet know about (especially festival releases), to create something more like a definitive list for the rest of the year.

The list is not precisely ordered, but by and large the higher up the list, the higher the priority it is for me to see it. (UPDATE 12/8: films with an asterisk (*) are films I’ve now seen.)

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