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Top 10: Julia Bembenek

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Top to tails, here’s the best of the year for ol’ JB.

1/ Nightcrawler

Far and away my favorite of the year. Network if it was directed by DePalma, cutting straight to the creep, no bull. Great LA trawl too – always good to see the donut shop landscape displayed to its full potential.

2/ Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson’s best epic since Boogie Nights. Joaquin Phoenix learns that he doesn’t need to gimp around to be great. And proves my long-held opinion that Pynchon’s work is made for the movies. Bring on V.

3/ A Field in England

Ben Wheatley strikes gold with musketeers tripping balls in a field. Funny, dark, and incoherent in moments – psychedelia done intelligently is a beautiful thing.

4/ Foxcatcher

The story can’t be beat – John Eleuthère du Pont is a new favorite creep. The best moments of the film are those that trend camp – a bunch of wrestlers dancing to “Fame”, weird haircuts on the porch. Kudos to Steve Carrell for committing to that fake schnoz too. Bennett Miller does a nice job injecting the colonial dreaminess of the Valley Forge setting with misty, frosty forboding.

5/ Birdman

Michael Keaton is great, New York looks good, there’s some good human stuff that’s wrestled with. The technical gimmickry takes away from the whole, as does Emma Stone’s terrible cliche of a character, but at least Antonio Sanchez’s score pulls through.

6/ The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson gets his groove back. The twee meticulousness is still there, but there’s a little loosening of the aesthetic that belies an evolution of style. Willem Dafoe throws a cat out the window.

7/ Under the Skin

Mood movies are making a comeback. Scarlett Johansson is a hungry alien, but also a great excuse to drive around wild and windy Scotland and get gray before walking into black puddles of doom.

8/ Locke

A good driving movie, so a shoo-in for any top 10 of mine.

9/ The Dance of Reality

Jodorowsky does Fellini in South America. Swooning, sprawling, full of unexpected moments.

10/ Transcendance

This is actually the worst movie I saw this year, so bad that it circled back on itself. I couldn’t stop thinking about its terribleness. Johnny Depp as the singularity is inspired casting, since he’s got no reality-based identity