The film awards season—that inflated,over-congratulatory period—is upon us, during which Oscar bait movies, of which there appear to be an inordinate number this year, are shoved down our throats until tears are driven from our eyes and the cockles of our hearts are forcibly warmed. I've already watched a number of these cinematic emoticons ( Birdman, Interstellar, The Theory of Everything), and I will likely see a few more, especially The Imitation Game, if only to assess how not gay enough it is. It's hard to believe that, once upon a time, off-the-wall, psychosexual masterpieces like A Clockwork Orange, Deliverance, and Cries and Whispers were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Now you have overwrought period pieces like Unbroken, Selma, and Big Eyes to "look forward" to.
Not that great movies haven't come out in 2014—here is a list, in no particular order, of films I saw at festivals this year (some of which haven't yet been commercially released) which deserve your attention, even if not all of them were 100 percent successful.