I was wrong. How about that? That's how I'm opening this celebration of an altogether mind-bogglingly great year at your multiplex, film festival or from the comfort of your arm chair. First and foremost, this is a difficult task. As I poured over a year of ratings in an effort to narrow down my selections, I realised that two films that had been dancing and dazzling my memory with sublime visuals or devastating (or devastatingly funny) lines hadn't risen to the top of the 'ratings.' So, I changed them. WAIT WTF?!? You might be saying; "but you're a critic you can't possibly change your rating?" You, as I was, are wrong. Roger Ebert once said, "when the film's done, I still have work to do," and it's sometimes in the hastiness of getting that work to you that I denied how strongly I felt about the not yet mentioned films. And in 2014 that's been extremely commonplace because the quality of cinema this year has been consistently elevated on any scale. Whether it's the sheer terrifying thrill of surfing a mountainous tidal wave in Interstellar (not in this abridged list) or the heartbreaking joy of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig lip-syncing Starship's 'Nothing's gonna stop us now," in The Skeleton Twins (also not included in this abridged list), watching and reviewing films this year has rarely felt like work; more like writing love letters to your sweetheart. Alright, enough waxing Howard, let's get to it. The selection of eleven films I both adored and felt haunted by in such a way that I've had to revisit them multiple times at the cinema, at home or flood my ears with their scores and soundtracks. These are films that I've seen in the 2014 calendar year. So it's without further ado that I bring you the crème de la crème of 2014.

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 11. What We Do In Shadows

What I said:

 In Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's ridiculously hilarious What We Do in the Shadows there's a moment that Mr. Clement's character Vladislav, a kind of sexy rock star 'Dracula' looking vampire, describes Vampires obsession with virgins. "I guess it's like a sandwich, it just tastes better if you know nobody else has fucked it.” After keeling over laughing at the divine straight-faced delivery and nonchalance of Vladislav an internal switch in my mind switched from a standard "this is really funny" setting to the much rarer "wait I am actually witnessing genius.

What I'll add: 

I'm desperate to revisit this one alone, to not miss a thing, and then again with as many friends as possible.

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10. Nebraska

What I said:

In those final transcendent moments Nebraska is undeniable; agonisingly hilarious, unyielding in its paternal love and devastatingly authentic to the ache of life closer to its end than the beginning.

What I'll add: 

Nebraska should be prescribed to all men with 'daddy issues.' Don't sleep on Will Forte, without his generous performance; Bruce Dern does not reach the stratosphere.

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9. Wolf Creek 2

What I said:

WOLF CREEK 2 is just the crazy ride one hopes for in this ever affective horror genre but it’s the pervasive satire that you absorb in this vulnerable state that leaves an indelible mark.

What I'll add: 

As the current Australian Prime Minister gets stupider this film's genius both multiplies and the satirical barbs catch more fiercely.

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8. The Wolf of Wall Street

What I said:

Scorsese and DiCaprio crash the tsunami of Belfort’s greed into the audience and the resulting fallout is hilariously abject.  Scorsese’s mastery is undeniable; The Wolf of Wall Street is yet another magnum opus. 

What I'll add: 

If you only watch for the Quaalude scene it would be worth your time.

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7. Birdman

What I said:

Some films wash over you like a tide; Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance descends upon you like a tornado.

What I'll add: 

Michael Keaton is as cool as it gets and he won't need an Oscar for this to be a performance that's going to be revisited over and again. Check out this great little interview with Mr. Keaton and Jimmy Kimmel about Jack Nicholson's reaction the film. It's priceless.

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6. Boyhood

What I said:

Linklater and Coltrane portray being a boy with both glorious and downright uncomfortable authenticity. Boyhood is a one of a kind experience.

What I'll add: 

I think discussing the different way people are going to interact with Boyhood as it becomes a home entertainment commodity is going to be fascinating.

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5. Only Lovers Left Alive

What I said:

Only Lovers Left Alive is the kind of film that continues to linger in my consciousness. Revisiting the score, over and again, images return again and again. There’s not a wasted second, no imperfectly conceived moments. Like the characters, it feels eternal.

What I'll add: 

Only Lovers Left Alive grows in stature with every viewing because throwaway lines like "we still don't know shit about fungus," no longer glance past, they hit like battering rams.

WesAndersonRalphFiennesGrandBudapestHotel_article_story_large 4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

What I said:

Indefinably rich and surely infinitely more rewarding on repeat viewings The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wonder.

What I'll add: 

I want an entire book of every word Ralph Fiennes' M. Gustave H. says in the film. As I predicted it is indeed better with every additional viewing.

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3. Mommy

What I said:

Mommy is unbridled brilliance; Dolan is one of the world’s most exciting filmmakers. What more can I say?

What I'll add: 

I've been late to the Xavier Dolan party and I had a double serving at the Sydney Film Festival 2014. Firstly Mommy, that irrevocably disorients you with a kind of cannibalistic maternity where nature and nurture are one and the same; and secondly, Tom at the Farm which mashes fearing for one's life and eroticism so that you feel like a mixture of an abused spouse and a kidnap victim with Stockholm syndrome.

calvaryart 2. Calvary

What I said:

Calvary will shake you up; it’s as audacious as it is beautiful.

What I'll add:

This is the first of two four and a half star films that stormed back into this top eleven, Calvary was a film that I rediscovered in southern Africa. Talking to a new (and now dear) friend Glen, a young man of faith, about its design and arresting poetics never left me. The kind of film that reinvigorates your faith in faith, faced with the ugliest depths of humanity.

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1. Guardians of the Galaxy What I said:

Guardians of the Galaxy is the unranked underdog that stepped in the arena with the best comic book films ever made, and walked out of the ring with the belt.

What I'll add:

This is the second four and a half star film that I amended the rating and placed atop the mountain. Guardians of the Galaxy is a joy. It's crammed with hilarious lines, it has the look of confectionary and it's got some kind of indefinable magic that just makes you want to dance and sing along.

Blake Howard - follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman and listen to legacy audio reviews on That Movie Show 2UE here or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.

BLAKE HOWARD IS A WRITER, A PODCASTER, AND THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & CO-FOUNDER OF AUSTRALIAN FILM BLOG GRAFFITI WITH PUNCTUATION . BLAKE IS A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS ONLINE FILM CRITIC SOCIETY (AND A MEMBER OF THE GOVERNING COMMITTEE), IS A CO-HOST OF GAGGLE OF GEEKS ON SYDNEY'S 2SER COMMUNITY RADIO, A COLUMNIST AT THE AUSTRALIAN ONLINE INSTITUTION DARK HORIZONS AND SWAYS THE TOMATO METER WITH ROTTEN TOMATOES APPROVED REVIEWS.