2014 ended with a bang, a crash,and a hell of a lot of great film. This is my countdown for the best 20 films of 2014. This is a list of film I saw, I can;t include stuff I didn’t see, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below.
Who cares that it’s February? 2014 was a year I was initially not looking forward to with only a few blockbusters, lackluster (original) titles and sequels that by trailers looked pretty bad, 2015 seemed more promising with an array of interesting new, original titles and sequels to nostalgic films including all time favorites Jurassic Park and Star Wars. However, the surprise, all of the films that I thought would not impress me, did. Here’s a few honorable mentions: The Raid 2, Frank, Neighbors, Muppets Most Wanted, The Interview, Chef, The Maze Runner, Big Hero 6 and This is Where I Leave You.
20. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes- Planet of the Apes did everything it needed to be a great sequel. It had great visuals, a darker story, a familiar world and great performances. Although the sequel didn’t fully live up to the hype, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a stunner, visually and in it’s writing providing the audience with a very thought provoking story. The motion capture is excellent and deserves more credit because of Toby Kebbell and Andy Serkis tour de force apes performance. However after the film was over I walked out a little underwhelmed and was left wanting a little bit more from this Apes’ installment.
19. Selma- A story that has a great historical backing is the one of Civil Rights’ activist Martin Luther King Jr. The film is great no doubt about that. The standout is Oyelowo as King,and because of this the supporting cast fails to be as compelling as King. The direction is well thought out and the film although overrated by critics has an excellent message that should carry on through the generations.
18. The Theory of Everything- A romance, period piece, drama following the lives of the Hawking family. Slow paced and eventually hard to relate, Hawking’s family drama is well done and overwhelmingly well acted providing a very true look at the real life of Steven Hawking. However the second half of the film stumbles and isn’t as intriguing as Hawking right before and right after the accident/diagnosis.
17. 22 Jump Street- The funniest comedy I’ve seen all year, 22 Jump Street excels at making you laugh out loud a lot. It’s satirical message about Hollywood and the sequel system are unforgettable as well as one of the funniest things ever put to screen. Great chemistry, directing and a sense of relatability, it is a great comedy. What more could you ask for?
16. Godzilla- The human story is for shit. But the film is still great and cheesy as it should be. The thing about Godzilla is that it doesn’t need to be a super serious film, but even when it is, it is still entertaining. Godzilla has tension and excellent direction leading up to a memorable fight between Godzilla and a few other monsters.
15. Nightcrawler- Creepy as all hell. Jake Gyllenhaal hardly ever blinks in this depiction on broadcast news all around the United States. The crazy lengths people will go to get big stories and how close or in trouble people is amazing in perspective of the insane character played by Gyllenhaal. Although slow paced, the film doesn’t disapoint with an excellent script, techy score and surprising supporting cast.
14. X-Men Days of Future Past- An entertaining return to form for the X-Men franchise, after two lackluster Wolverine films and a very good, but not quite there reboot, Past succeeds at blending the old and new cast, fixing the universe for the better. Well acted and nostalgic for long time fans it provides many nods to the original trilogy as well as (SPOILER!) resurrecting the old cast. Also Quicksilver for the win!
13. Edge of Tomorrow- An unexpected sci-fy romp that has everything. It is a modern day Groundhog Day! Comedy and action galore, Edge of Tomorrow never fails to entertain the audience providing yet another great performance for Tom Cruise and a breakthrough performance by Emily Blunt. Well crafted and excellently written it is not to be missed!
12. Hunger Games Mockingjay-Part 1- A financial gag, but still a very good one, Mockingjay relies heavily on the drama created by the characters during wartime Panem instead of action every single second like it’s previous installments. A memorable score and great script show this young adult franchise still has a little gas left in it for one final trip to the Capitol.
11. The Grand Budapest Hotel- Witty, Clever, Funny, Emotionally resonant, it excels at being a comedy and more. Grand Budapest is an ensemble piece that shows an excellent balance and direction filled with quirky one liners and excellent performances especially one from the lead Ralph Fiennes. Wes Anderson has made another delight technically and on the dramatic side as well.
10. Boyhood- Ambitious, well acted and unexpectedly brilliant at showing life at it’s most honest, Richard Linklater shows greatness in Boyhood’s confident screenplay and direction. Not the best film, but definitely one of the most important, Boyhood is here to influence the aspiring filmmaker’s to come as well as children born in the 1990’s.
9. Interstellar- Space opera! A mix between 2001 and Inception is confusing, thought provoking and visually dazzling. Nolan’s script has emotion and excellent cast members to back it up, and is a real theater going experience. It is not perfect and is sometimes very painfully slow, but it’s payoff will come. Just you wait.
8. How To Train Your Dragon 2- Even better then the original, providing a more adult look at the characters and a more mature look at the story. How to Train Your Dragon 2 caters to adults and teens relying on them more then children for an audience. Dreamworks’ is almost assured Best Animated Feature this year, especially since The LEGO Movie has been dropped from the competition.
7. The LEGO Movie- Another 2014 surprise. A film with great pop culture understanding and references, The LEGO Movie is a film for all ages, not catering to any audience. Great in many ways, the standout thing here is the script providing both laughs and unexpected emotional moments coming from a film about building block toys. My Best Animated Feature is right here.
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier- A step up in the comic book genre, Captain America greatly improves upon the original’s flawed but awesome origin story while also tying in excellent action and back story to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Leading into the story on earth for Avengers: Age of Ultron, this story sets new height for the comic book film to reach in aesthetic, ambition and atmosphere. Just one thing, stop killing off and bringing back major characters!
5.Guardians of the Galaxy- Even as space operas go,this is impressive. Comedic and even more nostalgic then previous movies on my list, Guardians of the Galaxy is an excellent mash of pretty much every genre coming off as a great film instead of a silly one. An original blockbuster, that had nothing to loose, thank you Marvel.
4. Birdman- Even a film echoing Michael Keaton in real life can be great. This is a film that looks like it is made in one shot. Similar to a play and scripted to talk about all about what’s wrong with the entertainment business today, Birdman is another important film for anyone who wants to be the least bit involved in entertainment.
3. Snowpiercer- A Sci-fy epic! Not only is it perfectly scored, and written, it is paced well and a greatly acted film showing off all stars in this confined, intelligent drama about the last of humanity surviving on a train. Standing out as one of the best films ever, it has thought provoking moments, a message and even a crazy character study about human nature, Snowpiercer is soon to be deemed a new age classic.
2. Gone Girl- Even better then previously expected, Gone Girl hinges on it’s story that twist after twist gets better. Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck give us reasons to hope for modern cinema as the screenplay unfolds. New and previously thought to be awful actors all had a part in making this film great. David Fincher has done it yet again!
1. Whiplash- Drums. Jazz. JK SIMMONS! No words. Speechless, just go watch it right now. Best film of the year.
Dishonorable mentions: Non-Stop, Need for Speed, Robocop,and Ride Along, Top 5 worst:
5. A Million Ways to Die in the West- More of a disappointing film then bad, the Seth Macfarlane comedy is unfunny and sad to watch especially after 2012’s Ted.
4. The Expendables 3- Bad CGI, bad action and bad screenplay make Jack a dull boy.
3. Let’s Be Cops- Unfunny. Just hurts to watch the cliches unfold. Especially with the funny actors.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- Awful. Sexist. Not original. Not fun. A want to be film. F**ck you Michael Bay!
1. Transformers: Age of Extinction- F**K YOU MICHAEL BAY!