best of 2014, comment, Movies

My favourite movies of 2014

Can we draw any conclusions about the state of film in 2014? More to the point can I? As I noted in my ‘most annoying films of 2014’ list, I am not a professional film critic and while I am privileged enough to see a lot of films at press screenings, as an enthusiastic semi-amateur I still see a lot on my own dollar. Like everyone else in these penny pinching times, that means I’m choosy. Even the pro-critics cannot hope to see the full range of movies released in the UK in each year, let alone all the movies that play festivals, or go direct to video (or whatever is your streaming option of choice). So I’m reticent to draw firm conclusions.

[But I’m obviously going to anyway.] Continue reading

best of 2014, Favourite films, Movies, Reviews

Favourite films – Stranger by the Lake

Stranger by the Lake won Alain Guiraudie the best director award in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section, in the same year as Blue is the Warmest Colour collected the Palm D’or. Of the two gay themed films in many ways Guiraudie’s is a more challenging proposition for general audiences than Abdellatif Kechiche’s three hour lesbian romance. However beyond the presence of gay characters and explicit scenes there is no real comparison; Blue is the Warmest Colour sought to explore the universality of first love, whereas Stranger by the Lake is a film confrontational in its presentation of a sub-set of gay life defiantly outside the hetero-normative mainstream (and most likely niche even within the wider spectrum of LGBT lifestyles). Continue reading