Life Itself

Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2014

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2014. Here is Carrie’s list, presented in alphabetical order. And you can see Chad’s list here.

1.) Boyhood

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane are outstanding as a mother and son who grow and change together.

Filmed intermittently over 12 years, Richard Linklater’s film chronicling a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from ages six to 18 in real time is both a technical marvel and a cinematic masterpiece. There has been nothing like it before on screen, and there will no doubt be nothing like it again. Utterly unique in scope and vision, the film lets us watch a life develop in front of our very eyes, with all of its attendant hopes, dreams, achievements, and disappointments. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play Mason’s parents, changing and growing right alongside him and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). An absolutely dazzling achievement that will leave you breathless and awed, Linklater’s picture is sure to be the one to beat for Best Picture come Oscar time. (You can also read Gordon’s full-length review here).

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Moving documentary explores life and death of film criticism icon


Roger Ebert became the youngest daily film critic in America when he was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times.

If you have even a passing interest in film history, you owe it to yourself to see director Steve James’s new documentary about renowned Pulitzer-prize winning Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert. While James makes a few questionable directorial choices, the film succeeds as both a compelling biopic about a truly fascinating man, and as a superb primer on the advent of modern day film criticism. Just be sure to bring some tissues, since the film also covers the weightier issues of life, disease, and death, but with exceptional candor and grace. [read the whole post]