Monday, January 27, 2014

Sundance 2014: Ranking the Best and Worst of the Festival

The more I go to Sundance, the more frustrated I get that I can't see everything I want to catch during the festival. Assignments and scheduling can be blamed up to a point, but still I'm sad I didn't have the opportunity to see The Overnighters, Rich Hill, Love Is Strange and several others. (As a side note, because I have an editor who is a producer on Life Itself, I declined to review the Roger Ebert documentary. I look forward to seeing the film soon and am gladdened by the number of glowing reviews it got at the festival.)

Below is my ranking of Sundance 2014, including films I saw prior to the festival. Links lead to individual reviews. You'll notice there are no documentaries on the list. Thank goodness I'll be attending True/False next month to do some catch-up.

28. Hits
27. God's Pocket
26. Infinitely Polar Bear   
25. Frank
24. Laggies
23. Ernest & Celestine
22. Wish I Was Here
21. Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead    
20. Ping Pong Summer
19. Land Ho!
18. Young Ones
17. Song One
16. The Voices
15. Happy Christmas
14. Ida
13. The One I Love
12. Whiplash
11. Only Lovers Left Alive
10. Blind
9. The Trip to Italy
8. Blue Ruin
7. I Origins
6. Stranger by the Lake
5. Listen Up Philip
4. Calvary
3. A Most Wanted Man
2. Boyhood
1. The Raid 2

And one final note. My head tells me that Boyhood is going to eventually overtake The Raid 2 on my end-of-the-year list. Linklater's film feels like one for the ages, while Gareth Evans's achievement may diminish with multiple viewings. They couldn't be more different films: Boyhood caresses the heart, while The Raid 2 pummels the senses and rearranges your nervous system -- and for this moment in time, it's the grander achievement. But ask me again in about 11 months.