(Screenshot of the film's most gut-wrenching scene.)
21. Selma (dir. Ava DuVernay)
"Selma" first reminded me of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which was so boring, I gave up on it after twenty minutes. But DuVernay has given us a masterpiece, a film that flows so smoothly, you see everything and feel everything. It puts the viewer in the place, in the time, in the heart of the horrors that sadly still persist in the racist Deep South. It also shows us Martin Luther King not as saint and revered icon, but as imperfect person imbued with all the telltale signs of greatness. There are many painful scenes in this movie, and a few that are simply gut-wrenching. I would have been absolutely fine with "Selma" winning Best Picture over "Boyhood." (Obviously, neither of them won, as is the usual fate of great films)
22. Whiplash (dir. Damien Chazelle)
"Madness! This is madness!" is what I felt like screaming while watching Miles Teller (one of our terrific, under-appreciated young actors) beat those drums with bleeding fingers, because really, those sticks have become extensions of his limbs. In a parallel universe, where life is a curse, everybody's parents are JK Simmons' character and Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly, and all the kids are harassed overachievers.
23. That Thing Called Tadhana (dir. Antoinette Jadaone)
I need to see this movie again. That it is in Filipino, too often achingly, heartbreakingly expressed by the divine Angelica Panganiban, makes this film quite the experience. Everyone who has loved and been loved, who has hurt and been hurt, will find something here. Not exactly beauty, nor pain, nor tears and sorrow, but perhaps, memories dusted and once more relived, because isn't that the greatest kind of hurt?