2014 Top 20 Picks

December 9, 2014 8:20 PM

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1. All is Lost Directed by J.C. Chandor who also wrote the story. It stars the aging Robert Redford as a lone yachtsman out on the Sea of India -- perhaps for a last big adventure crowning a super active life. We are never told and can only surmise the backstory. This is a slow moving, intense, and moving tale whose last 30 seconds of breathtaking (literally!) ambiguity I am still thinking about. Within a few minutes of the opening, which shows an idyllic day and a smooth-as-a-mirror sea, everything goes wrong that can possibly go wrong, in a slow incremental descent into utter hopelessness. I believe the movie is a retelling of the "Book of Job" and indeed Redford's only conversation is with God.

2. Diplomacy Directed by Volker Schlöndorff and based on the play Diplomatie by Cyril Gely. The film is, as they say, inspired by a true story, but what a story. It is August 24, 1944, Paris, and the General in charge of the city, Dietrich von Choltitz, has been ordered to destroy the city before th...

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