Here we go - the first of my end of 2014 lists. I have not seen all noteworthy movies - Wild and A Most Violent Year being the ones that I would probably enjoy the most - but I already completed the lists, seeing how I don't think there are any scenes better than those I chose here. The best shots of 2014 list is next in line, but for now I hope you enjoy my choices here:
10. The Interview, Foxcatcher
Bennett Millet's latest brings tour de force performances but the single best acted moment in the entire film is the interview sequence. Dave Schultz is forced to say a few words about John du Pont, the man that we sense Dave pities. But it is in this scene that we realize Dave is also repulsed by John. He is asked to call John a mentor and you see him struggle - it's a lie so great that Dave, a professional wrestler, strong, good man has such tremendous difficulty lying to such extent. While the best performance for me belongs to Carell, Ruffalo is out of this world amazing in this moment.
9. The ending, Interstellar
Interstellar is a movie I found to be ultimately very, very boring but it has the highest number of mentions on this list out of all films. Why? Because it's a mediocre movie with few absolutely mesmerizing sequences. Those scenes cannot save the film as a whole but they are like masterpieces hidden in this mess of a movie. One of those scenes is the film's powerful ending in which Murph tells Cooper that she knew he will be back because her dad promised her. Then she proceeds to tell him to find Amelia, who we see on her new planet and we witness Cooper getting on a ship and starting his new journey. The ending makes little sense, as most of things in this film, but it's truly beautiful - both when it comes to what is being said and what is being shown.
8. The murder, Gone Girl
There are many shocking things that happen in Gone Girl, but the explosion of blood that happens here is astonishing. Here we truly see how ruthless Amy is - murdering Desi in cold blood during sex, adjusting herself so that the blood pours all over her and then overpowering Desi and making sure he is dead. And then we have Amy break down, just for a second and quickly shrugging her emotions off. Even if you know it was coming your jaw still drops seeing this scene.
7. The machine works, The Imitation Game
The whole film is very moving and has a number of emotional scenes but the one that really stands out is the wonderful scene in which Christopher, Alan's machine, finally speaks up and they manage to break their first code. It's such a beautiful explosion of joy accompanied by Alexandre Desplat's gorgeous main theme of the movie.
6. The mountains, Interstellar
This is such a thrilling sequence - after the crew lands on the water planet the gigantic mountains of water start moving towards the ship and Amelia and Doyle, who are outside. Amelia persists on collecting the sample as the mountains of water move closer and closer and Cooper finally sends CASE after her to carry her just moments before the mountains crash on the ship. The whole scene has Zimmer's Mountains track in the background, which adds so much epic factor to it.
5. The docking of spinning Endurance, Interstellar
There was no moment more epic in 2014 than seeing Cooper heroically trying to dock the Endurance with petrified Amelia in the ship next to him and TARS helping him. Hell, this whole moment is so good I can almost - almost - forgive all the Matt Damon nonsense that led to it. The whole sequence - accompanied by Zimmer's No Time for Caution, which is 10x more epic in movie version than in album version - is just breathtaking. It ends with Hathaway crying and then starting to laugh and it's just cathartic to witness.
4. The flight, Birdman
There are many jaw dropping and mind blowing moments in Birdman but the most beautiful and awe inspiring one is Riggan...actually flying. We see him levitate in the very first scene of the movie but this is much different. It's the depiction of absolute freedom and Emmanuel Lubezki, the god among cinematographers, shot it in a way that makes you feel as if you were flying too.
3. Technically missing, Gone Girl
Gone Girl is filled with many brilliant montages but the one that is the most unforgettable is the moment that we find out the truth - with Amy taking us step by step of her plan to frame her husband and go into hiding, then proceeding with her cool girl tirade. Completed with the throwing of the pens out of the window and the quick guide how to fake the pregnancy, this sequence is already iconic.
2. The ending, Whiplash
Of all 2014 movies, Whiplash's ending is the best one. And we had so many fantastic endings, but this one is just too intense not to top the list. It's just a guy playing drums for several minutes and his teacher witnessing it, then helping him and in the end finally giving him his approval. But holy shit, is it absolutely thrilling to witness.
1. For once in my life, Begin Again
Over 10 years ago Keira Knightley starred in Love Actually. There, then unknown Andrew Lincoln knocked on her door on Christmas Eve and proclaimed he loved her with beautiful things written on cards, as Silent Night was playing. And now she starred in a movie, where her and Mark Ruffalo listen to her ipod, using two headphones. First we hear Luck be a lady and then we hear For once in my life. We see them walk down the street, go dance in a club (all the while they are the only ones hearing their song), share looks in the subway, sit on the bench. This is such a beautiful idea and such a wonderful moment, one where the looks of true connection and love are shared. This makes Begin Again's ending the one I hate the most in years and this scene here the most gorgeous one I've seen, since, well Love Actually. Just like the cards moment, I would give my life to experience something like this.