Now that I have my list out for the top 10 worst films of 2014, lets end of the year on a positive note! Here I present my list for my top ten best films of 2014! It sure was a hard list to make with such an amazing year in film. Of course I feel the need to highlight a few hinges with my list.
This list is an odd combination of favorite versus best ( there is a difference) movies of 2014. Some of the films here that I ranked higher than others aren’t (always) because I think they are better overall films but instead sometimes just films I enjoyed more. I was not able to view several films this year I wanted too. “Mr. Turner” isn’t playing anywhere near me nor did I get to see “Imitation Game”, or “Selma”. So yes there are some films that are omitted simply because I was not able to view them. I will continue to see and review some of these 2014 films during the beginning of the new year (for instance a “Nightcrawler” and “Whiplash” reviews are coming).
-The Drop (Big Honorable Mention for that, please go out and see it)
-How to Train Your Dragon 2
10- The Lego Movie
I really wrestled with myself over what animated film I liked more, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” or “The Lego Movie”? It was a tough question that after days of deliberating, I chose “The Lego Movie”. ‘Dragon 2’ I think was a better written movie, with a far stronger story and narrative but “Lego Movie” is just an absolute blast to watch. The movie will always keep you laughing, has great characters, and is just so damn creative. To me, “Lego Movie” is what film should be (animated or not), something you can tell the filmmakers put passion into and something where the filmmakers creativity really shines. It’s memorable, has great twists, and pitch perfect voice acting. “The Lego Movie” came out in the beginning of the year but it still shines as one of the best.
9-The Grand Budapest Hotel
When I try to describe this film to people whom haven’t seen it, I’m honestly at a loss for words. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” does borrow from so many eras of film history but comes out as such a unique package. Director Wes Anderson creates an extraordinary breath taking adventure while Ralph Fiennes gives his best performance in years (along with the 100 other actors that appear in the film). The short version is, go see and experience this film for yourself , you’ll be glad you did.
8-X-Men: Days of Future Past
The “X-Men” franchise is one of the biggest and key pieces in comic book film history. I contend that the original 2000 release from Fox Studios is the primary cause of the explosion of the genre. Obviously there are other reasons for it but I believe it stems from that release. The franchise for a while though looked like it was on the down and out. “X-Men: The Last Stand” was dreadful and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was no better. Then began a shift. “X-Men: First Class” was released to huge critical acclaim and was followed up by a pretty solid “Wolverine” film to boot. This year’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is the crowning jewel in the series. With a sharp and smart script from Simon Kinberg and brilliant blend of old and new elements from returning director Bryan Singer. “Days of Future Past” is further demonstration of just how brilliant the genre can be.
7-Captain America: The Winter Solider
Some of the best Superhero movies of all time (I.E. Watchmen, Dark Knight Trilogy), don’t feel like superhero movies. Not to say films that do “feel like” superhero movies can’t match the former (I.E. “Spider-Man 2” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past) but what always impresses me is when a superhero film can elevate past it’s genre. “Captain America: Winter Solider” feels like a political/spy thriller and plays like one too. The story is so well written, with so many twists and turns, but never forgets it’s characters. I was on the edge of my seat the entire way through with all the amazing hand to hand action sequences that blow away nearly every other superhero film in the genre. “Winter Solider” is the best Marvel has ever offered and yes even better than the “Avengers”.
Birdman (like “Grand Budapest) is such a unique picture. Not only is the entire film is filmed to look like it was one of continues shot throughout but director Alejandro González Iñárritu brings such an eye pleasing look to the film. Inarritu proves himself once again as an incredible director, bringing so many Oscar worthy performances out of his cast. Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and even Zach Galifianakis are all mesmerizing to watch on screen. Inarritu helps pen a multi-layered script that draws you into this world of theater, drama and intrigue. Birdman is an experience that was so unexpected; bringing in humor, emotion and depth to help create a memorable piece of art.
5-Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
I was, and still am, a big “Planet of the Apes” fan. The original is one of the best sci-fi classics of its time, and it’s sequels were highly entertaining as well. I, like so many, hated the 2001 “Planet of the Apes” remake, directed by Tim Burton, and wanted something better. I got my wish in 2011 with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” A respectful and well done prequel/reboot of the original series. Now we arrive to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” which one ups it’s predecessor. “Dawn” turns its focus to the apes as the main characters and manages to create intricate character identities. This features the best special effects of the year featuring an unforgettable return of Andy Serkis as Caesar the ape. The human cast is spot on, the story goes beyond blockbuster conventions, evaluating itself past it’s contemporaries of the summer, while still the action is exciting and emotionally gut wrenching. When people talk about the best type of sequels, this will be in the conversations as an example of how to craft a proper sequel.
Here we go, getting into the top 4 films of the year. I flip flopped my top 3 and 4 spot at the last minute and this film almost made my top 3 (and that film would be), “Foxcatcher”. “Foxcatcher” is a slow moving picture, one that not everyone will enjoy. But, if you take the time to watch it and analyze the characters and Bennett Miller’s stellar directing, I think this is nearly impossible not to be amazed by. Steve Carrel gives the performance that will define his early career, Channing Tatum takes a star making turn, and Ruffalo continues to impress. What “Foxcatcher” does so brilliantly is build up all the tension and the story, so when the tragic ending finally hits, it’s leaves a gaping hole in your stomach. This perhaps isn’t a movie you will watch over and over again, but that doesn’t detract from the master work it is.
3- Gone Girl
When I left the theater for this movie, I left in such silence. “Gone Girl” shocked me, provoked me, and all around thrilled me. What seems like a simple “person gone missing” tale, David Fincher and Screenwriter (and author of the novel) Gillian Flynn turns around on its heels. The narrative has so many twists and turns that builds upon the plot; which gives the narrative a new layer, and then a new layer and again a new layer. The acting is top notch, the directing by David Fincher is meticulous, and the music is methodical. “Gone Girl” may be too disturbing for some but everything fits within the context of this movie, this is Fincher at his best.
I don’t even have my review written yet, but I didn’t want to keep waiting to put this list up. I just barely saw “Whiplash” and this film blew me away. The acting is engrossing, and story had my eyes locked on the screen (I’m pretty sure I stopped blinking after a while). A lot of action movies don’t get as intense as this film does. The emotions run high, the tension is real, and the direction is beyond apt. It’s inspiring as it is disturbing, “Whiplash” almost nailed my number one spot of the year, and I can’t wait to watch it again.
I thought about my number one pick hard. “Whiplash” blew me away and rocked me to my emotional core, but I still have to give my number one to “Boyhood”. “Boyhood” is something we’ve never seen before. 12 years of filmmaking all culminating into one giant epic. “Boyhood” is heartfelt, sincere and the greatest example of a modern film, that I can remember of capturing real life and what it means to grow up. The acting fits this realm to a tea, the directing couldn’t be better. The movie is about time, something we’ve all experienced . Something about this makes us realize something about ourselves and where our time has gone. This movie has a profound effect to make you reflect on your own life and that is great art in my eyes.
So that’s my list, what’s yours? Please leave your thoughts and comments in the comment section below and let everyone know!