The new year looks like one for the record books with a veritable smorgasbord of boffo box office contenders like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Fifty Shades of Grey.
But before we tear the wrapping off another year, let's take one last look back at some of 2014's unjustly overlooked cinematic treasures that are perfect for watching as you ring in the new year.
Chadwick Boseman in Get on Up- On mobile? Watch the trailer here.
Chadwick Boseman made news a few months ago when Marvel tapped him to play Black Panther, the studio's first black superhero. Boseman paid his dues fleshing out heroes like Jackie Robinson in 42 and The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, in Get On Up. Describing Boseman’s performance in the biopic as heroic doesn’t do justice to the multi-layered, all-too-human depiction. Boseman captured Brown’s electric stage presence, but more importantly he shows us the sweat and spark behind the so-called hardest working man in show business.
Tom Hardy in Locke- On mobile? Watch the trailer here.
Tom Hardy will be making waves in 2015 as he gets in the driver's seat for the next Mad Max movie. I can think of no better way to prepare than spending 85 minutes in a car with Ivan Locke on the worst night of of his life. What could have worked easily as a theatrical one-man show makes for a fascinating piece of filmmaking as we race to London while studying the shifting faces and moods of this oh-so-watchable actor.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
- On mobile? Watch the trailer here.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest grand confection from Moonrise Kingdom director Wes Anderson. And it is one of the prettiest movies of 2014. Constructed like a series of Russian nesting dolls, each of these stories within stories have their own aspect ratio and a picture-perfect colour scheme. You may have overlooked this movie because it was released in February, but the film's recent nomination for four Golden Globes has thrust it back onto the spotlight, and it is still one of Anderson's best-realized movies.
Song of the Sea- On mobile? Watch the trailer here
Song of the Sea is quite possibly the best animated film you've never heard of. Not since Princess Mononoke has there been a cartoon this breathtaking. Inspired by Celtic folk tales, Tomm Moore’s film about a missing mother and a boy’s journey is complemented by beautiful simple hand-drawn animation of fairies, witches and more. It could be your new favourite, too.
Jenny Slate in Obvious Child
The world is slowing waking up to the joys of Jenny Slate, the star of Obvious Child. You may have seen her online film series where she voices Marcel the Shell but Obvious Child is an excellent example of her awkward pleasures. Slate plays a woman suffering from confidence issues, which manifest themselves in horrible stand up comedy sets and an unplanned pregnancy with a guy she just met. Slate is destined to replace Kristin Wiig as Hollywood’s new favourite quirky girl.
Tessa Thompson in Dear White People- On mobile? Watch the trailer here.
This Do the Right Thing meets Animal House cautionary college tale would never have worked without the blazing, brash and ultimately real performance of Tessa Thompson as host of the eponymous college radio show. As the character Sam White, Thompson adds a much-needed sense of conflict to this satire about race in the age of Obama, which is both timely and poignant.
Uvanga- On mobile? Watch the trailer here.
Uvanga is likely the best Canadian film you never heard of. An urban teen meets the Land of the Midnight Sun in this family drama as a Montreal mother and son travel to a remote Inuit village to answer long buried questions. The old and new world collide in this film filled with natural performers and expansive moments.
Watch more of Eli Glasner's list of 2014's hidden gems in a video here.