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Top ten indie movies of 2014... so far

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People often tell me how they don't make good films anymore. I tend to disagree. Why you ask? My answer is that you just have to look for them.

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I often see good movies, sometimes even great ones. They don't have large marketing campaigns, brand name tie-ins or prime time commercials to make you as a viewer more aware of them.

Independent movies are certainly made outside of the mainstream. Well, no worries because this Pittsburgh Indie Movie Examiner has watched a lot of films this year and I've have now compiled my top 10 of 2014... so far.

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1. "Blue Ruin"- A desperate revenge film about a mysterious outsider (Macon Blair), now living a life of solitude, who returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance against the recently released prisoner that murdered his mother and father. Polished direction from Jeremy Saulnier, excellent lead acting from Blair and a tight script adds up to an astonishing Indie that surpasses the genre formed by past classics like "Death Wish"or "Walking Tall". Available July 22nd on DVD and Blu Ray.

2. "Borgman"- Read a review or watch a clip of its Cannes 2013 film fest showing. Available soon on iTunes, DVD and Blu Ray from Drafthouse Films.

3. "Coherence"- A posh dinner party for old friends is crashed, first by grievances and then by a comet that wreaks havoc below when it passes overhead. An existential sci-fi saga. Heavy on dialogue, light on special effects. Ratchets up the tension until the clever mystery is exposed in the second half of the picture. Plays exclusively for one night, July 15th, at the South Side Works Cinema, courtesy of Gathr Films.

4. "Ernest & Celestine"- A wondrous children's film concerning a mouse that makes friends with a bear. Problems arise with each animal's society being unaccepting of both. Teaches tolerance in equal measure. From the makers of "A Town Called Panic" and "The Triplets of Belleville". Available now on DVD and Blu Ray to rent from Netflix.

5. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"- Read a review or watch the trailer to this year's best comedy.

6. "Ida"- A black and white study of an orphan raised in a 1960's Polish nunnery, who weeks before she takes her vows to become a nun, discovers her true identity and the dark family secret behind her being abandoned. Impeccably composed, the film bears a haunting quality that goes well with its forlorn style. This drama is sure to be the front runner for next year's Oscars in the Foreign Language field. Now playing locally at the Manor Theatre. Presented by Music Box Films (click there for the trailer).

7. "Life Itself"- An endearing documentary involving the life and subsequent death of the World's most famous and influential critic, Roger Ebert. Ebert, a champion of cinema, helped in raising mass awareness through words and text. His greatest achievement, relating that the best experiences happen in film when it reminds the audience of their lives, making them participants and not just witnesses to the silver screen. Available now on VOD and iTunes.

8. "Moebius"- Kim Ki-duk's searing psycho-drama (dialogue free) tells the tale of a dysfunctional family and the circle of grief that surrounds them. Says so much without anything uttered. Raw, vitriol-fueled, this cyclical Korean movie pushes the boundaries. Making arty purveyors like Tarantino or Haneke seem tame in comparison. Available July 22nd on VOD and DVD from RAM Releasing (click there for the trailer).

9. "Nothing Bad Can Happen"- Read a review, see a slideshow or watch the trailer.

10. "Omar"- The Israeli-occupied West Bank is cordoned off with giant walls to keep the Israelis inside. It isolates Omar, a young man longing for freedom, it holds him from the girl he loves and a crime he committed to impress her. A devastating fictional story made all the more meaningful with bursts of romantic yearning and then exciting political intrigue. Easy to see why it was nominated as one of the best Foreign language films at this year's Academy awards. Available now on DVD and Blu Ray to rent at Netflix.

Honorable Mention: "Ilo Ilo", "Le Week-End", "Nebraska", "Tim's Vermeer"

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