Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Favorite Movies, DVDs, TV Shows and Books of the Year 2014 (and some I hated)!

In the midst of the Holiday frenzy, I thought I would pause and reflect on some of my favorite movies, DVDs, TV shows and books of the year so that when YOU have a minute, you can relax and enjoy something new and good.  Likewise, I will steer you away from some that would ruin your Holiday. 

You can also bone up for the Golden Globes. It's gratifying to see that many of the films and actors I lauded in my earlier reviews have received Golden Globe nominations.  Stick with me.  I won't steer you wrong!

Here's my Holiday Gift to YOU!

***Because I know you are busy, busy, busy, I am just going to say a few sentences about each one.  However, if you are interested in my full review, I have linked each title back to my original review.  Enjoy!***

Rosy the Reviewer's Favorite Movies of 2014
(These are films I actually ventured out of the house and plunked down the cash to see but many are now out on DVD):


Grand Budapest Hotel

A Wes Anderson comedy in the style of French Farce and Ralph Fiennes as you have never seen him.  He actually smiles!  This film has already garnered a Golden Globe nomination for the film and for Fiennes and is a likely candidate for a Best Film Academy Award nomination.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Just a lotta, lotta fun and very, very charming.  It's that simple. 
If I had my way, this would also get an Academy Award nomination for Best Film, but these kinds of films are usually undervalued.

Jersey Boys

The film version of the Broadway stage hit of the same name that chronicles the rise and fall and rise again of the musical group, The Four Seasons.  Yes, it's a musical but a very cool one.  Directed by Clint Eastwood, could be an Oscar contender.

St. Vincent

Bill Murray plays a "get off my lawn" type of curmudgeon who seems to only care about himself until he is redeemed by the little boy who moves in next door. Yes, that's a plot line done scores of times before, but here, it's done better.  For one, the kid is not obnoxiously precocious and two, this is one of Bill Murray's best performances.  He has already gotten a Golden Globe nomination and this should get him an Oscar nod for Best Actor as well.  Also Melissa McCarthy sheds her over-the-top goofy character for once to play it straight.  If you saw "Tammy," this one should help you get that bad taste out of your mouth.


Nobody does creepy like Jake Gyllenhaal and this movie is all him as he plays a man looking for a job and finds his purpose as a crime scene photographer.  And let's just say he will do anything to get a good picture.  I would give him an Academy Award just for his buggy eyes.  He already has a Golden Globe nod.  Expect an Academy Award nod as well for him and the film.

The Theory of Everything

I predict Eddie Redmayne will win an Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking.  You heard it here first, folks!  He already has been rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor as has this film.  Expect to see this film as one of the ten Best Picture nominees for an Academy Award too.

Gone Girl

A good old fashioned suspense story based on the best-selling book. This film was snubbed for a Golden Globe, but I will think it will be one of the ten Oscar Nominations for Best Film.  Rosamund Pike deservedly has a Golden Globe nomination.  She is also in the new film "Hector and the Search for Happiness" and seems to have a lock on the strange girlfriend/wife role.

Michael Keaton was a revelation in this story of an actor unraveling as he rehearses a Broadway show while trying to shake his past superhero persona, "Birdman."  Outstanding cast (Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone), original story.  If my beloved Eddie Redmayne doesn't win the Oscar for Best Actor, it will be Keaton.  Keaton, Norton and Stone all are nominated for Golden Globes as is this film.


So happy to see that this little film has received a Golden Globe nod.  It's a charming feel good picture with a lot of heart about the unlikely alliance of UK gay activists and striking coal miners in 1984 with a great British cast of recognizable actors - Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy and Paddy Considine along with some newcomers.

Rosy the Reviewer's Favorite DVDS
(2014 releases and some classics)
Tom Hardy, as successful, happily married Ivan Locke, takes you on a lonely road trip from Wales to London in this 90-minute-real time ride that slowly unfolds the reason for the trip.  Hardy, probably best known for his performance in "Inception" and as Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises" pulls off a tour de force performance here.  It's just he, his cell phone and his BMW and it's a memorable 90 minutes.

Only Lovers Left Alive

What it might be like to be a modern day vampire living in Detroit and just trying to do the right thing.  It's a vampire movie like you have never seen.

Hateship Loveship

Kristen Wiig has finally made the dramatic leap.  I didn't think she had the acting chops needed for dramatic roles but she got me here.


A woman of a certain age tries to find love in Santiago, Chile. You will fall in love with Gloria, even with those dreaded subtitles.

Grave of the Fireflies

A masterpiece of anime that will mesmerize you, even if you are not an anime fan.

2014 TV that Rosy the Reviewer Says is Worth Seeing
(and probably available on DVD)

The Affair


Playing now on Showtime, this is just what the title says, the story of an affair.  But it's an affair with many tosses and turns, a mystery, wonderful acting (Dominic West and Ruth Wilson - both are up for Golden Globes) and a haunting Fiona Apple song over the opening credits.  An adult, intelligent piece of television.

The Roosevelts

Ken Burns has done it again.  He has produced an absolutely riveting piece of history as he tells the story of Teddy, FDR and Eleanor.  Also up for a Golden Globe.  This would make a great holiday present for anyone who loves history.


This is a British mini-series about the search for a boy's murderer.  It played this year on BBC America.  As American television frequently does, it steals really good British stuff and passes it off as its own.  Thus we had this year's "Gracepoint."  However, if you watched the American version instead of this one, you missed out. David Tennant is good, which is why he also starred in the American version, but I can't imagine this mini-series without Olivia Coleman.  There will be a second "Broadchurch" series.  Not so for "Gracepoint."

The Missing

The Brits have the production of excellent dramatic mini-series down.  No one does it like they do.  Here is another not-to-be missed drama now playing on STARZ and it has been nominated for a Golden Globe.  Eerily like the famous unsolved Madeleine McCann case (and perhaps not by accident) where a little British girl was abducted from her bed in Portugal while on vacation there with her family, here James Nesbitt is in a similar situation when his son is abducted in France while on vacation there.  The series moves back and forth from 2006, when the boy was abducted, to the present, and shows the toll such a tragedy takes on everyone involved. Frances O'Connor plays his wife and is a Golden Globe nominee for her excellent work.

Appropriate Adult

This is the true story of the Gloucester, England, serial killers, Fred and Rose West who over a 20 year period tortured and murdered at least 11 young women, some of whom were family members.  This two-part series once again stars Dominic West as Fred (a far cry from his role in "The Affair" and almost unrecognizable with false teeth to make him look like West), who seems to be everywhere these days ("The Affair," "Pride" - see above) and Monica Dolan as Rose.  Emily Watson is the appropriate adult of the title, a UK position provided by the courts for adults who might be "at risk" or who might not understand the ramifications of the charges.  Fred West was barely literate so qualified. All three actors won BAFTAs for their work.

Books Rosy the Reviewer discovered in 2014

Thirteen-year-old Theodore Decker is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother when a terrorist bomb goes off. He rescues a small painting - "The Goldfinch" - which takes him on an odyssey to adulthood across country and to Europe and introduces him to many unlikely people.  A 700+ page-turner with gorgeous prose and suspenseful story.  This is Donna Tartt's third novel and one for which she won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and one of Ten Best books cited by the New York Times for 2013

An elegantly told memoir of actress Huston's early years and a profile of the acting dynasty she came from -- father/director John Huston and actor Grandfather Walter.  The second installment "Watch Me" is calling me.  Can't wait to read about Jack Nicholson and her and the crazy 70's.

Inspiration in 288 pages.  Oprah DOES know.
A boozy tour of Hollywood watering holes, restaurants and hotels that are famous for the drinks they produced and the drunks who visited.  Mini-biographies of Hollywood drinkers and the recipes they inspired make up this delightful compendium. Want to know who invented "The Moscow Mule" or why Bing Crosby was called "Binge Crosby?"  It's all here and more.  A great book for reading on the toilet if you are into that sort of thing.

You know I now have that "project," inspired by this book.  I have a bit less than 300 films to go to hit 1001.  Want to join me? Follow me every Friday to see how I am doing and hear about some movies YOU need to see before you die.

Kitchn Cookbook

From the blog Kitchn which began in 2005 comes this wonderful kitchen resource that foodies and novices alike will enjoy. Food writers Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand share their expertise about cooking with advice on setting up the kitchen, tools to have on hand, stocking the pantry, planning meals, cooking technique and recipes.  This is the kind of book you will want to own -- and I do!

Rosy the Reviewer says...


And to think that Melissa McCarthy and her husband wrote this execrable thing as a starring vehicle for Melissa.  She needs to retire this character and move on.


Sandler is just phoning it in these days.  I never thought he was funny then and he isn't funny now.

Mom's Night Out

An anti-abortion film masquerading as a comedy.  And it's not even funny.  Anything with Patricia Heaton in it, beware.

Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson is some kind of vampire trolling around Scotland seducing men and then reducing them to some kind of goop.  Or I think that is what is happening here.  If you can figure out what is going on in this film, let me know.  But remember, I warned you.

Nymphomanic I and II

The most unsexy film about sex I have ever seen.  And it's boring too.

Love Punch

Don't be fooled by the presence of Pierce and Emma.  This thing is awful.


There you have it. 

***Note that this list only includes films released before Christmas Day.  As the Oscar race heats up, I am sure I will have some additional favorites.  I will give you my early Oscar picks in a January post.

Now you know what I have been doing all year.  But, hey, it's my new job!

Thanks for reading!
See you Friday
for my review of

Chris Rock's new movie

"Top Five,"

"The Week in Reviews"
and the latest on my
"1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project."

Check your local library for books and DVDS. 

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