In many ways, you can tell just as much about what kind of year it’s been by the movies that aren’t on the many year-end Top 10s and critics’ awards lists. If the regulars in those lists represented all there was to see, well, that’d be one thing (and in the case of this year’s movies, a fine thing); but 2014 was such an embarrassment of riches that even a rundown of the performances and films that aren’t generating “buzz” is pretty impressive. So, in advance of our own roundup of the year’s best movies later this week, we offer you a few less-discussed titles still worthy of your consideration.
Hilary Swank’s leading turn is something of a dark horse Best Actress possibility, but frustratingly little attention has been paid to the picture that houses it, a dark, moody, admirably eccentric Western from co-writer/co-star/director Tommy Lee Jones. He’s not just doing the revisionist thing, which has become the primary frame for modern Western pictures; he gives his story (adapted from Glendon Swarthout’s novel) a dreamlike, almost supernatural tinge, full of death and disease and wailing women trucking across the prairie towards nothing in particular.