KANSAS CITY, Mo -- The controversy over "The Interview" and the hack of Sony Pictures was the big movie news story of they year, overshadowing the cinematic product. The box office take was 5.6% below last year's all-time record. While there were few movies to get really excited about, there were a lot of commendable films. Here are my top five of the year. These are not necessarily my favorites, but they're the ones of highest artistic quality.
(R) IFC Films
Yes, it’s a gimmick, but one that works. Filmed over a 12-year period, "Boyhood" allows us to see a young man grow up before our eyes. Writer-director Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age story highlights family life in all its dysfunctional glory.
(R) Sony Pictures Classics
Miles Teller and JK Simmons give snappy performances in the story of a jazz drum student and his abusive professor. It’s beautifully acted and the brilliant editing deserves an Oscar.
- DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (PG-13) 20th Century Fox
Yes, I’m surprised it made my list, too. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" works as both an intelligent and thoughtful sci-fi social commentary as well as a thrilling popcorn movie.
- GONE GIRL
(R) 20th Century Fox
Salacious? Yes. Lurid? You bet. Far fetched? Absolutely. "Gone Girl" is all of those things. And this adaptation of Kansas City native Gillian Flynn's novel is also one of the best and most entertaining movies of the year.
(R) Fox Searchlight
This fantastical story of a washed up actor, a former movie superhero attempting a comeback on Broadway, is easy to dislike. Still, it’s a tour-de-force of acting, writing and directing. It’s funny, profane and arty to a fault, but there’s no denying its cinematic virtuosity. In that respect, “Birdman” soars.
Here's Russ' full Top Ten list:
FOX 4 film critics Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons offer their popcorn bag review of the
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