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DFS Programmers share their favorite films of 2014

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It’s that time of year when everyone begins to make their lists: big grocery and to-do lists, Christmas wish lists and, of course, the favorite “fill in the blank” of the year lists.

And so in the spirit of end-of-year lists—we give you our favorite films of 2014.

DFS programmers James Faust and Sarah Harris at DIFF 2014 Opening Night

DFS programmers James Faust and Sarah Harris at DIFF 2014 Opening Night

James Faust and I saw a lot of movies in 2014. Quite literally, thousands of movies. It is very hard to make a “best of 2014” list, but we do have a lot of new favorites films to share.

Typically, James watches narrative features—big and small—from all over the world, while I see many more documentaries. As you’ll see, our lists reflect that a little.

If you missed one of these movies this year (listed in no particular order below), try to see it on your holiday break. We think you'll enjoy them too.

What are your favorite films of the year?

Cheers to more great movies in 2015!


JAMES’S PICKS:

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL—No one does live-action animation like Wes Anderson. A near brilliant script, spectacular and innovative cinematography round out arguably the most fun I had in a theater in 2014.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

CHEF—I was never more motivated to eat good food in my life.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2—This series continues to be the jam-packed with life lessons and smart dialogue. The best all around family film of the year.

BOYHOOD—12 years in the making. Ambitious only scratches the litany of praise the film deserves.

CAKE—Jennifer Anniston turns in her first Oscar worthy performance. Just devastatingly amazing.

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

THE IMITATION GAME—Great performances and an unbelievable true story. Simply the best.

IDA—Beautifully photographed and haunting. The final scenes will have you talking for days.

I ORIGINS—I saw very few films as thought provoking as this one. Gut wrenching and beautiful. I've seen it twice.

Films I'm looking forward to seeing:
UNBROKEN—Go Jolie!
INTO THE WOODS—Big fan of the musical.
SELMA—MLK 'nuff said.
BIG EYES—Tim Burton more said.

SARAH'S PICKS:

THE OVERNIGHTERS—I am still thinking about this documentary. One of my favorite moments during DIFF this year was when various audience members found me hours after the screening, wanting to talk about what they had seen.

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT—Smart, beautiful, darkly funny, great music and so refreshingly different!

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

CITIZENFOUR—Laura Poitras is a masterful filmmaker. A chilling and powerfully historical documentary.

LIFE ITSELF—Always a fan of Steve James. His portrait of Roger Ebert is touching and humble. It celebrates Ebert’s life and the joy of movie watching.

EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL—Darius Clark Monroe boldly creates an intimate and personal journey of reflection and forgiveness. It’s a beautiful film asking questions our society often avoids.

HELLION—The Grand Jury Prize winner at 2014 DIFF. If you haven’t seen Kat Candler’s thoughtful story of a family in Southeast Texas, then... get on that.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME—Rest in Peace, Elaine. What a woman.


MUDBLOODS
—A documentary about real-life quidditch?! Yes please! (So this is a little biased, but it was really exciting to see the doc my boyfriend co-wrote and produced released this year!) Brooms up!

The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie


THE LEGO MOVIE
—Everything is awesome! I loved Legos as a kid. This was such a creative and clever film!

BOYHOOD—Did you know they made this movie over 12 years?!? (Joke.) Seriously though, it’s an interesting experiment and quite the feat. I loved the little Texas moments in the film.

A few others favs to note in 2014: THE CASE AGAINST 8, KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER, NIGHTCRAWLER, TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER, ART & CRAFT, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS, WHIPLASH. (And can TRUE DETECTIVE count?)

Look forward to watching: SELMA, BIRDMAN

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The 10th annual Dallas International Film Festival runs from April 14-24, 2016.

Visit #DIFF2016 here! »

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