The Year in Film, Part 2: 2014 Movies You Should Seek Out, If You Haven’t Already (And Let’s Face It, You Probably Haven’t).

Keanu Reeves in "John Wick." (Summit / Lionsgate)

Keanu Reeves in “John Wick.” (Summit / Lionsgate)

Last week we covered my picks for the Ten Best Films of 2014, but the most interesting films of last year is a different list altogether. Here’s a rundown of films that, for various reasons, didn’t get the audiences — let alone the love — they so richly deserved:

The Age of LoveThis locally produced doc is centered around a speed-dating event for seniors. First-time director Steven Loring brings to the screen an honest, intimate and occasionally hilarious film.

Coherence and The One I LoveThese two indies never made it to our region’s screens, but deserve to be seen as a spiritual double-feature. In Coherence, a group of friends experience a Twilight Zone-style night to remember when their dinner party coincides with a once-a-century passing of a comet through the sky. The One I Love is quirkier still: A couple (Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass) get away for a weekend of couples therapy, only to find they’re not the only couple on the scene. To explain too much would be criminal — you’ll have to see these for yourself.

Edge of Tomorrow. It feels a little silly to suggest that a big-budget Tom Cruise movie could be considered “under-seen.” But Doug Liman’s smart, well-made action/sci-fi extravaganza was an unsung hero in last year’s summer movie cavalcade. Cruise is strangely unpopular in real life, but this film is the best recent proof of how he usually delivers on screen.

Jodorowsky’s DuneA must-see for sci-fi fans, this doc explores the coulda-woulda-shoulda plans for a film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune that was in the works for years from offbeat Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky. Much of his artistic vision was eventually co-opted for Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), but when Dune finally made it to the big screen, all we got was a bloated disaster from David Lynch.

JoeNicolas Cage’s well-publicized money troubles keep forcing the actor to take any role he’s offered, which means he’s making a lot of junk. But Joe, a backwoods thriller that’s a masterpiece of mood, is worth seeking out for a glimpse of Cage the way he used to be – intense and at the top of his game. 

John Wick. Keanu Reeves hasn’t wowed anybody since The Matrix, but he connects sharply with this lean action film. The movie works as well for its plot – a gun-fu extravaganza in which Reeves’ former hit man comes out of retirement to wreak vengeance on the men who killed his dog – as for its moody underworld ambience.

LiltingA tender, affectionate drama about love and loss, this premiered locally at the ImageOUT Film Festival last fall. It stars Ben Whishaw (the voice of Paddington, in theaters this week) as a man trying to connect with the mother of his dead lover. It’s coming to iTunes and DVD next month – check it out.

LockeA construction foreman hits the road and ties up a bunch of loose ends over the phone while he’s driving. That’s the whole plot of Steven Knight’s film, but this one-man-show has a few tricks up its sleeve – and a remarkable, nuanced performance from Tom Hardy (Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) to knit it all together.

The RoverThis one was released for about a week in area theaters last summer, but didn’t make a ripple. A bleak near-future drama, it stars Guy Pearce as a loner whose car is stolen, and he’d like it back, please. Robert Pattinson co-stars in a performance almost good enough to make you forgive him for all those Twilight films. (Almost.)