While box office numbers may have been down compared to 2013, the truth is that 2014 was a pretty phenomenal year for film. We saw incredible new titles from amazing veteran and newcomer directors hitting just about every single month –regardless of season – and they introduced whole new worlds and kinds of creativity to the cinematic landscape. Needless to say, it made my work as a film critic a whole lot more fun… but it also made my Top 10 of the year incredibly challenging to put together.

After much agonizing, rank swapping, and last-minute screening squeeze-ins, I am ready to reveal my Top 10 for 2014 - and it’s a list of movies that made me feel hundreds of kinds of emotions throughout the year and that I plan to watch many times again in the future. So where should we start? #10 seems like the proper place…

10. Frank
As a movie fan, I think it’s rather important to have an appreciation for the weird. Studios have proven themselves excellent at making the same movies over and over again, so it’s endlessly refreshing when a title comes along that not only breaks from conventions, but also starts pumping out ideas straight outta left field. It’s all the more impressive when the film can do this as well as maintain a smart narrative with something to say. This is how why my Top 10 is kicking off with director Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank - a film that has Michael Fassbender wearing a giant paper mache head over his own for just about his entire performance.

The story of a young man named Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) who falls in with a group of somewhat-psychotic, experimental musicians led by a sweet odd-ball named Frank (Fassbender), the movie has a beautiful tonal blend of comedy and drama that mixes together an eccentric group of characters with wonderful themes about creative energy and personal outlook on the world. Surely there will be some members of the audience who find themselves a bit thrown by the weirdness of it all, but it’s an experimental and musical adventure well worth taking.

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