Families have their traditions when it comes to the end of each calendar year, and so do we, here at The Cinephiliacs. Well, we do now anyway. Here, in one of our two articles in which a bunch of us writers on the site get together and pick out some movies, we will be looking at our favourite movies of 2014. Some have gone with a top 5 list, others a top 10, but here are those lists for each person who joined in with this article. The missing writers send their regards, but they just haven’t seen enough 2014 releases to be involved in this. So, here goes…
Chris’s Top 10
It’s been such a strong year for film, and so many movies have crossed my path in the past twelve months that it was no minor task to pick out ten that stood at the top of the list of my favourites. I have changed this list on numerous occasions, but I know now that I can’t possibly narrow it down fully, so instead I will pick ten of my favourites, with a load of others hovering around the list, interchangeable with the ten picks. Still, the ten on this list were put here for a reason, because I loved each of them, and felt like my enjoyment was so vast that I couldn’t possibly leave them out. There have been some films that I thought were 2014 titles but turned out to be 2013 ones, so I didn’t include those, otherwise titles like We Are the Best, The Double, Joe, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet and Only Lovers Left Alive may very well be on this list. It’s also worth noting that I sadly didn’t see all the titles I wanted to in 2014 and still need to see some movies that would likely have made my list, such as Gone Girl, Nightcrawler and others. Still, here are my ten choices, along with a little information on what I liked about them. So, in no real order…
1 – Guardians of the Galaxy
James Gunn’s galactic comic opus was one of those action blasts of entertainment that I got a gigantic kick out of when I saw it in IMAX 3D in the cinema on its release. With fresh and fantastic new characters to the comic-book movie sphere, like Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Starlord and Drax the Destroyer, among others, it was my favourite of the Marvel films in 2014, and one of the most enjoyable experiences watching a movie all year. So grooting cool.
2 – Boyhood
Shot over 10 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been labelled as a “masterpiece” by many since its release this year, and I can’t really argue with that. The cast are brilliant, the writing is earthy and realistic, and the whole film is charming and downright different, watching a cast age as we watch them change over the course of a decade. It isn’t just a gimmick either, the film is excellent as a drama and as a coming of age story. Brilliant.
3 – Under the Skin
Scarlett Johannsson is one of those actresses who continues to impress, and in 2014 alone she has impressed more than ever. For me, one film in 2014 stuck with me for days after I watched it, and that was Under the Skin. Call is science fiction, call it horror, call it just downright bizarre, this is a film that should be seen to be believed and it may take you a while to decide whether you liked it or not, or if it even matters. An experience as much as it is a movie, this is one I have revisited and continue to be intrigued by.
4 – Faults
The entry on the list that many people may not be familiar with, Faults was a film I watched when reviewing titles for 2014’s “Frightfest” season. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead putting out a performance that blew my socks off, this film injects both humour and intrigue into a setting of a girl who has fallen in with a cult and so her parents pay for an “expert” to “re-program” her mind and get her out of the strange world she has found herself in. Original, fresh and fantastic, this is one of those films that I haven’t heard many people speak about, but I absolutely adored. Brilliant.
5 – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The final entry into Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit Trilogy” and likely his final adventure in his Middle Earth, I was excited about this film, and I wasn’t disappointed. If you’ve read my lengthy review of the film on this site, you’ll know how I feel about it, and it will be no surprise to see it on this list. Brilliant, detailed and completely immersive. Awesome.
6 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The follow-up to 2011’s “Rise of…” was a mind-blowing experience in story, action and performance, especially when it came to the motion capture work. Beyond the technical aspects though was a film that I had a really good time with and immediately wanted to re-watch. It looked fantastic, and the locations and characters made for an interesting tale. I’m a big fan of the re-launch of this franchise and look forward to the next entry.
7 – St. Vincent
Bill Murray upped the sarcasm again as the drunken, gambling Vietnam vet who forms a bond with the kid who moves in next door to him. It’s heart-warming but had enough verve and edge to feel different to other titles in the same genre. I enjoyed the whole cast but Murray and Melissa McCarthy stood out for me. It’s likely to receive mixed responses like most films do these days, but I thought this was truly special.
8 – Chef
The film that single-handedly made me crave a grilled cheese sandwich for days, Chef, wasn’t a film I had any real interest in seeing in 2014, but when I did I really liked what I found. Charming, spirited and subtle, I felt like this was a nice change of pace, and Jon Favreau, writer, director and star here, was on top form as the Chef spoken of in the title. A story of family and bonding on the road in a food-truck, it offers humour, drama and some drool-inducing cooking scenes. Pretty damn good.
9 – The Grand Budapest Hotel
I’m not the biggest fan of Wes Anderson. I like some of his work (Moonrise Kingdom) but am a tad indifferent to some of his others, but here, in a hotel named “The Grand Budapest” I was won over by Anderson’s style. Visually beautiful, hilarious and with a bloody brilliant lead performance from Ralph Fiennes, this truly shocked me with how much I loved it. The colour palette and the bright and interesting characters create a film that immediately feels timeless and one I know I will revisit through the years ahead.
10 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
The second superhero film on the list. I could have easily included “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on here too, but X-Men and Guardians impressed me more, and I will watch them more often. I love X-Men in general, and film-wise I’ve enjoyed all of them (yeah, even Last Stand, strangely), with X-2 and First Class being my favourites… until this. With Days of Future Past, X-Men shot me in the head with a barrage of entertaining and exciting moments amidst a storyline involving characters from the original X-Men films, and First Class. I loved it. What a year it was for Marvel.
Honourable Mentions:- Captain America: The Winter Soldier, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Horns, Let’s Be Cops, 22 Jump Street, Edge of Tomorrow, The Babadook, Frank, Begin Again, What If, Godzilla, The Lego Movie, Magic in the Moonlight, Honeymoon.
Victoria’s Top 10
2014 has been a good year at the cinema but I haven’t managed to attend as often as I would have liked, causing me, sadly, to have missed quite a few films that very well may have made my list. This top ten, however, does feature ten movies that I saw on the big-screen, and loved, over the past year, and will likely revisit regularly. (My picks are in no particular order…)
1 – 22 Jump Street
After having such a good time with the first movie in this series, I had high hopes for the sequel that takes our main characters and plunges them into college life. The film didn’t disappoint with the action amped up and the self-aware writing improving on the first film. This was one of my favourite comedy movies of 2014.
2 – Chef
Writer/director/actor, Jon Favreau, has managed to produce a heart-warming road trip film in which a father and son travel the United States together in a food truck, making you hungry along the way. I defy anyone to watch this movie and not crave a grilled cheese sandwich. My favourite porn film of 2014. Well, food porn, anyway.
3 – Guardians of the Galaxy
Already a fan of various Marvel franchises, I was excited to see what they would do with the lesser-known Guardians of the Galaxy. How could a film with a talking tree, a weapon-wielding lunatic racoon, a professional wrestler and the dumb guy from Parks & Recreation work? Guardians of the Galaxy manages to bring all the elements together in a highly enjoyable and entertaining film that combines huge action sequences with quirky humour. A great Summer blockbuster.
4 – The Fault in our Stars
As an avid reader, I had already picked up the novel by John Green, which this movie is based on, and was delighted to see that the film-makers had stuck closely to the source material and managed to create a funny and heart-wrenching tale with great performances from its young cast, especially Shailene Woodley. Don’t forget to bring some tissues.
5 – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
It’s hard to know what to say about this movie. I am a massive Middle Earth nerd, with The Lord of the Rings trilogy being my favourite film/film series of all time, and The Hobbit not lagging too far behind. The final chapter in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trio of films, this ended the series perfectly and still managed to tie it to the following film, The Fellowship of the Ring. The huge battle sequences inter-studied with emotional character moments made this my favourite movie of 2014. What a way to end the year.
6 – How to Train Your Dragon 2
This sequel from Dreamworks builds on the first film while still managing to keep the charm intact. Hiccup and Toothless continue their adventures in an expanded universe that has grown up along with them since the original movie. Beautiful animation and grown-up storytelling make this sequel better than the first and my favourite animated film of the year.
7 – Begin Again
Begin Again follows the story of people rediscovering their passion for music while making an album on the streets of New York City. Charming and funny, this witty indie-drama turns the traditional “musical” formula on its head. Enjoyable and sincere, it’s easy to watch and good for the soul.
8 – Boyhood
I’m sure by now everyone has heard about what a masterpiece this film, from Richard Linklater, is. Seeing this film is an experience that I have not had before. Watching characters in short bursts over the ten years that the film was being made is something completely different and helps us connect with and feel like we know each of them in their own way. Mesmerizing.
9 – The Skeleton Twins
I wasn’t sure how a drama with Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig would work, but The Skeleton Twins does. The performances from both are exceptional and show that they can be serious when the role calls for it. Following the two, who play siblings, as they reconnect with each other and deal with their emotional burdens, results in an emotional journey that I was grateful to watch unfold.
10 – Magic in the Moonlight
Woody Allen’s latest, Magic in the Moonlight, follows the traditions of Midnight in Paris for combining idyllic settings, quirky characters and great storytelling into a hugely enjoyable film. Emma Stone is captivating and Allen’s dialogue is excellent. A movie filled with charm and bursting with flavour.
Peter (Mondo Squallido)’s Top 10
This time last year, I would have struggled to have even picked my top 5 films. This year however, I made more of an effort to watch current cinema. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those types who completely disregards modern cinema. No, my reasons for not really investing too much time in modern cinema is because I have been making my way through cinema of the 1970’s and 1980’s. My flavours of the month (or should I say year?) have been Italian crime cinema, known as “poliziotteschi” or Euro-crime and ‘Golden Age’ classic adult cinema. This year however, there have been countless films that have taken my interest and delivered on the goods. There are however, so many more films I wish I would have watched that may have made it on this list. Below are 10 films in no particular order apart from number 1.
1. NYMPHOMANIAC PARTS 1 & 2
Directed by Lars Von Trier
I was lucky enough to watch parts 1 & 2 (which I consider one film) back to back earlier this year at the Picturehouse Cinema in Liverpool’s FACT Exhibition Centre. What a fantastic experience. A genuinely intelligent and witty film that looks fantastic and has a great cast. Of course, being a Von Trier film, we are being laughed at and are constantly prodded. Very excited to watch the full uncut version.
2. EUROCRIME! THE ITALIAN COP AND GANGSTER FILMS THAT RULED THE 70’S
Directed by Mike Malloy
OK, this is technically a 2012 documentary. That being said, it was officially released this year so it counts, capiche? A wonderfully crafted and realised documentary that is just as stylish as the genre it’s showcasing. Not only that, but it also focuses on those actually involved with the films, which is rather refreshing. If there is one film related documentary you need to see, this is it.
3. ANDROID COP
Directed by Mark Atkins
Yep, an Asylum film. I haven’t gone mad, I just genuinely enjoyed this piece of cheese. Of course it’s cashing in on the likes of the Robocop reboot, but I don’t care. Take off your film snob turtleneck, get some beers and order a pizza. Your brain deserves it.
4. WRONG COPS
Directed by Quentin Dupieux
I love Quentin Dupieux for his musical output under the Mr. Oizo alias. His films perfectly compliment the style of his music. This was a silly film that essentially worked as a feature length music video to promote his music, but it worked and I loved every absurd minute of it.
5. UNDER THE SKIN
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
Did I really love it? I don’t know. Did I understand it? I don’t know. What I do know however, was that this was an EXPERIENCE. We don’t get films like this often. I found myself thinking about the film long after watching. Would I go out and watch it again anytime soon? Probably not. What I wills say is I wish Scarlett Johansson would do more leftield films like this.
Directed by Gabe Ibáñez
Now this was a surprise! I had no idea what to expect going in to this. I find a lot of modern sci-fi to be quite dull and too polished. What I got from this film was a plot that may not be too original, but it works. The imagery throughout was spectacular also. It did kinda throw me off seeing a lot of British BBC 4 styled sitcom actors amongst the cast, but that added to charm. A must for fans of films like Blade Runner.
Directed by John Michael McDonagh
I knew right from the first time I watched the trailer I would enjoy this. This seriously beat my high expectations. I love dark humour, especially when it’s as skilfully executed and balanced like this. Brendan Gleeson is fantastic as his portrayal as a priest who is told he will be killed in a weeks time. A very powerful, brave and intelligent film. This is essential viewing.
8. ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS
Directed by Mark Hartley
As if one film related documentary was enough! Those of you who love your VHS action or late night TV skin flicks will love this. An important period of cinema that is showcased brilliantly using clips of films and talking once again to those involved. Thanks to this and Eurocrime, I have a big list of must see flicks!
9. DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
We are at a point in modern horror cinema, where the market is saturated with zombie flicks. It seems every week a new uninspired low budget zombie film is released. You know it’s bad when Hollywood’s World War Z is a notable effort. Thank the high heavens for Dead Snow 2. Just as funny, absurd and gruesome as the first. I very rarely laugh at horror comedy!
Directed by Ryan Haysom
I was conflicted about including this one. You see, Yellow is a short film. I know some people separate shorts from feature films in their lists, but I couldn’t because this is hands down one of the best shorts I have seen. Fans of gialli will absolutely adore this. It pays homage to the genre, but at no point feels like a throwback film. A perfect blend of style AND substance.
R.T Ewell (Richard)’s Top 5
- Edge Of Tomorrow – Terrible title to what truly is a great science fiction movie which is surprisingly funny as well. My pick for best movie of 2014.
- The Lego Movie – What could have been a childish movie, turned into something they made kids of all ages think about.
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – A movie that is smart and moves the story forward with a performance by Andy Serkis that is just incredible to watch.
- Expendables 3 – Not as good as the second one but brings old school action to the screen with some great characters.
- X-men: Days of Future Past – Quicksilver steals the movie for the short time he is in it.
Dingbat Dollface (Mark)’s Top 5
- Guardians of the Galaxy
I am not one for Marvel movies, when it comes to comics I prefer the independent creative properties, so when GOTG came along I was intrigued by the massive departure from the usual Marvel movie stock. It proved me wrong and with the enjoyment I got from this stellar film I will be making sure to check out all of Marvel’s future output.
- X-men: Days of Future Past
First Class was awesome, I really did love it, so I came into Days of Future Past hoping for at least something that matched up to it. I was given something that blew it out of the water. Again proving that 2014 was the year that comic book movies became recognised as serious film making.
- How to Train Dragon 2
Basically if you loved the first one, you will love the second, it isn’t better than the first but honestly it is just as good. Funny, cute, exciting and graphically stellar. A near perfect sequel.
- Sin City 2
It has been a long while since Sin City arrived and changed the landscape of graphic novel movie adaptations and Sin City 2 proves that there is a very bright future ahead. Edgy fun characters, a style all of its own that has yet to be beaten and an ensemble cast back and better than ever!
Feel good movies are relative and ones that can make me smile might make others yawn. Chef however, I believe could make anyone smile and feel happy. A story about a high level chef who has a breakdown and travels the country with his son running a food truck. Just watch it!
Jillann27’s Top 5
2014 was a great year for horror. Many independent films came out of nowhere to surprise, delight and disgust. A few were complete dreck but there were some that I just loved. The whole of the year, the film I most looked forward to was Eli Roth’s’ The Green Inferno. When the news broke early in the Fall that it was being shelved, possibly permanently, I was beyond disappointed. Luckily there were several gems in the horror genre to fill the cannibal sized hole in my heart. Here are my picks, in no particular order, as I loved them all.
Serial Killer Culture (Documentary)
This documentary directed by John Borowski is very thought provoking. It examines several facets of the public’s obsession with serial killers. Murderabilia , (the collection and sale of letters, artwork and personal effects from convicted killers, and artefacts from crime scenes) had lots of press in 2014. Borowski interviews several people who correspond with serial killers and sell the letters or buy items in online auctions. The ethics of buying such items are discussed and some time is given to victims’ families to discuss the impact of what they perceive to be people who are profiting from their loss. The documentary also focus on the influence that the fascination with serial killers and murder has on music. A folk band is profiled whose every song is about a famous serial killer. Some of the songs are quite funny. Borowski talks with ethicists and delves into why the public has been and probably always will be fascinated with their deeds. The documentary is available now on Netflix.
I reviewed this film earlier this year. I have since watched it again and I think it warrants multiple viewings. In a nutshell, the movie follows two down on their luck friends who get an opportunity to earn money doing first audacious and later gruesome things. It’s darkly funny and full of WTF-ery. This idea has been explored in other movies such as Would You Rather? but is more fleshed out here (pardon the pun). David Koechner is delightfully wicked as the bank-roller of the evening and ups the ethical and physical ante with each dare. The movie gets progressively darker and more obscene. It contains graphic violence and gore. A strong stomach, love for all things macabre and wicked sense of humour is all you need to enjoy this one.
This movie is an interesting take on the classic “rags to riches” story. It tells the story of a young woman, Sarah, played by Alex Essoe, who is struggling to become an actress. She shares her apartment with and is surrounded by frenemies. She has not developed coping skills and as-such self-abuses by pulling out her hair or gouging her skin. One day after a failed casting call she freaks out and starts ripping out her hair and screaming in the venues bathroom. She is observed by one of the casting directors and told that she can have a second audition if she shows the same kind of gusto during her scene. She begins working with the directors for an undefined project. The film shows the transition that success and personal empowerment can have and the lengths that some might go to for stardom. The film is bleak but at times is contrasted with bright color and panache. It has a very noir-ish and old Hollywood feel. I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to anyone looking for something different and who enjoys psychological horror.
The Babadook, directed by Jennifer Kent, is a phenomenal film. It tells the story of a harried single mother Amelia, played by Essie Davis who is raising her quirky child Sam, played by Noah Wiseman. Sam is a pale, often frightened child with wild eyes, who could be kin to Danny Torrence of The Shining. One day he finds a storybook on his shelf and asks his mom to read it. The book is a rhyming tale with scary charcoal pop-up pictures. Sam who already makes his mom check the closet and under his bed for monsters is frightened by the images and so is the viewer. Weird things begin to happen around the house and Amelia tries to get rid of the book. She is unable to sleep because of Sam and soon begins seeing things and hearing things and questioning her sanity. I loved this film because of its fresh original ideas. The pacing is great and there are some genuinely scary moments. (In fact after seeing it I even had a moment of checking the shadows at my house, which I hadn’t done since the Blair Witch Project in 1999). The story is relatable and I love any movie that follows a character’s descent into madness. A truly original, spooky piece of filmmaking. I recommend it highly.
Only Lovers left Alive
This movie came out on Christmas Day of 2013 but wasn’t in wide release until this year, so I am cheating a tad for including it. I must confess I am quite obsessed with Tilda Swinton and try to see everything she makes. Only Lovers Left Alive is directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as Eve and Adam, who are Vampires that have been alive and together for centuries. This is nothing like your typical vampire movie. Though the pacing is slow, it never feels drawn out. We see the couple in modern times where Adam has become a wealthy, reclusive rockstar. When Eve’s sister comes to visit, she causes turmoil and sets the stage for drama ahead. This movie is beautifully done with a stellar soundtrack. The sets are lush and decadent, as are Eve’s clothing. A special treat is found in Eve’s friend and mentor, Marlowe, played by the exquisite John Hurt. Though vampires Adam and Eve are very relatable and share some of the same thoughts and concerns that most people do. They aim for peace and rest. It was great to see Hiddleston in something else too, since I really disliked him as Loki in the Marvel movies. The movie has the slick, slightly shady feel of an Opium Den or Absinthe Parlor and everything about it is gorgeous. Even if you’re sick of vampire movies, give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Nick (31FilmTalk)’s Top 10
Good day to you all! Nick from 31FilmTalk here to speak about my ten favorite films of 2014. Before I get into my list, I want to lay out a few things on the table. First off, I live in the United States, so releases here may differ from someone who lives in, say the UK. Secondly, there were a mess of films I unfortunately did not get to see or haven’t watched yet and they could have made it on this list. I’m sure by the time the Oscars happen, this list will be completely different. So these are the films I have not seen yet that came out in 2014 and I think would impact my list. They are:
- The LEGO Movie
- Gone Girl
- The Book of Life
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
- Edge of Tomorrow
- How to Train Your Dragon 2
- 22 Jump Street
- Big Hero 6
- The Gambler
- American Sniper
Now, you might be saying “Damn Nick, that’s a huge amount of movies you missed out on. How the hell can you even make a top ten!?” and I would say…well…valid argument. The sad thing is, a few of these I own on bluray, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and watch them. I know, I know, that is really terrible. Which is why the following list is very much incomplete, and likely to change. Maybe Chris will let me update it as time goes on.
So without any further delay, here are my Top 10 Films of 2014
Number 10……Jason Thunder: Agent Impossible
Right out of the gate, I would bet that you have never heard of this movie. I put this film on my list out of respect because its a short film created by my friends over at Flick Fanatics, a YouTube channel that reviews movies and has several different shows. This past year, they set out and actually made a film together. Its an action B-movie with the main character getting a robot arm and taking out the evil villain who has robots. Its all cheese with some fun special effects. Its on YouTube now, so I recommend checking it out for yourselves!
Number 9…..Captain America: The Winter Soldier
And here is the start of many action movies to come on this list. I didn’t get to see a lot of dramas this year, but one or two might sneak in here. Anyway, The Winter Soldier gave me some faith in Marvel’s Phase 2. Thor: The Dark World was a decent start but this one really kicked it all into high gear. The action is superb and the story is interesting. The studio was happy too because the pair of directors from this film are going to be very involved in future Marvel films. The one thing about this film that almost ruins the whole movie for me, is the “twist” reveal in it. I still to this day have a hard time accepting it. Iron Man 3 also had a twist I just didn’t like, so I don’t know what’s up with Marvel’s sudden fascination with doing this, but this one I do not like. I am sort of in the minority on this, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, you may like it.
Number 8…..The Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
This is another one you may or may not have heard of. The Angry Video Game Nerd is a very popular web series created by and starring James Rolfe as a character who reviews terrible older video games. He has a unique and colorful way of expressing his anger for them which is the main hook of the show. The series has been going since 2006 and is still going strong. The past two years, making a full length movie became the main goal for Cinemassacre (James’ production team). Through all their work, traveling, some crowd funding and post-production, the movie finally came out this year. It was released in select theaters across North America. I was fortunate enough to attend the screening in Chicago. To our surprise, another huge internet personality was there and introduced the film, The Nostalgic Critic (all of this is in video form on my channel in my review video of this film). The film itself is a love letter to two things: film itself and the fans. There is so much humor and nods to nerd culture and cinema, its insane. James Rolfe is a lover of horror and B-movies. His film here is very much a B-movie with many practical effects and green screen effects. Its hugely charming and fun to watch. I really only recommend you check it out though if you’re a fan of the series. Otherwise, its a bad starting point if you want to check out AVGN, because the main attraction of the film, the game E.T. on Atari, has been build up over the years as the most requested game to appear on the show since it has the reputation of being the worst video game of all time. Let the madness ensue!
Number 7…..Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Yes, a new reboot film for the Ninja Turtles did come this year. I didn’t bother seeing it, but I did check out this documentary. Its an in-depth look at the origin and creation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. A lot of content is covered here from the comics, the cartoon, the merchandise, the video games, the movies and so on. There are great interviews with the original creators of the comic, the TV show producers, executives from the show and movies and so on. Seeing interview footage of James Avery was a real treat. RIP Uncle Phil. There is some never before seen behind-the-scenes footage of the first live action film that is a real neat to see. My only complaint with the film is its not very “definitive”. After brief talk about the second live action movie, the rest of the Turtles’ history is skipped over and we’re at present day. So much more could have been talked about. If you are a Turtles fan though, definitely check this out.
See? Told you I’d have a drama or two in here. I remember walking out of this one and didn’t know what to think. It was such a grim but interesting tale, and the ending left me uncomfortable. Mister Jake Gyllenhaal deserves a lot of praise for his performance. He created a genuinely creepy character that was unpredictable and memorable. He should be getting all kind of award nominations. Until it was announced, Gyllenhaal was my ideal casting choice for the new Joker in DC’s cinematic universe. That’s how creepy he was to me.
This choice is a little biased. I am a HUGE Godzilla fan and this film was so much fun. After watching it on bluray, my love for it has died down a bit, but in the theater, it was epic, which is a word I try to reserve for only appropriate moments. The movie has its flaws, but its a great first stepping stone to a trilogy that hopefully ramps up the monster action.
Number 4…..John Wick
Keanu Reeves returning to a true action movie with gun-fu play, humor, and all inside an interesting world. This was one of the underwatched action movies of the year. It was a lot of fun. Its simple in its storytelling, but it worked so well. The world this movie takes place in is a dark and grim one, but the film wasn’t afraid to sprinkle in some funny moments that were great and fit in just fine. If you’ve seen a lot of John Woo movies, you will want to check this one out. Its not as crazy as those, but its very much inspired from those films. I’d say its a cross between The Killer and The Bourne Identity.
Number 3…..Guardians of the Galaxy
I feel like this film will be making a lot of people’s list, and for good reason. Its a solid action space opera with its own style, humor and soundtrack. I was very curious to see how this one was going to turn out with audiences. Its based on a relatively unpopular comic, has two all CGI characters which were a talking tree and a talking racoon, its own sense of humor, and the least Marvel-feeling Marvel film, if that makes any sense. But the world embraced this movie, and so did I. This movie won my award for the movie I saw in theaters multiple times (three!). I’ve since calmed down on my love for the film. I think how the action was filmed could have been done better, but overall such a fun experience.
Here’s a film I kept hearing about when it made its theatrical run. The consensus was it was very good and should not be missed. So day one release on bluray, I picked it up, watched it a day or two later, and wow did I enjoy it. On the surface, everything is great. The costumes, the practical effects, the setting, the acting, the characters and the story are fascinating. What the movie is making a comment on, social class systems, is done in such an interesting and visual way, you want the film to keep going and every time you go somewhere new, its so fun to take it all in. I feel like this film did a much better job expressing itself about social classes compared to Elysium, which was a film I liked, but fell apart in the third act for me. Snowpiercer is directed by Bong Joon-ho, a Korean director who also directed a personal favorite of mine, The Host (2006). Both films have the actor Song Kang-ho, who is fantastic here as well. Snowpiercer is mostly an English-speaking cast, which is sort of odd but I’m not complaining. Definitely check this one out. I believe its on Netflix.
and Number 1…..The Raid 2
If you know me, you know that I am a HUGE martial arts cinema fan. The sequel to the highly praised The Raid was very high on my list for most anticipated this year, and damn did it deliver! I feel fortunate that I saw this in theaters, because that rarely happens in the US sadly. I think this is only the third marital arts film I’ve seen in theaters. The story, characters, setting, acting, and action, dear God the action, fantastic. I don’t even want to talk about this film too much because its something you just need to see yourself. I wouldn’t say the first film is required to see for this one, but its definitely helps. There is an amazing car chase in this film, which is done practically and with such finesse, The Fast and the Furious films should be taking notes. It feels so genuine and real, it gets your blood pumping. Be sure to check out the behind the scenes on how they filmed the car chase, its amazing. This film kicks your ass, throws you through a glass window, beats you up with a bat and hammers, then ties you to a chair and obliterates your senses. Just, gah, this film, AHHhhhhh, GO WATCH IT!
And that is my top ten of 2014! I definitely can see some of these being knocked off the list once other films are viewed, but some of these would remain no matter what I feel. Let me know what you think of my picks and what you thought of some of these movies!
What were your favourite movies of 2014? Merry Christmas, or Happy End-of-2014 readers. Thanks for all your support and here’s to a great movie-year in 2015. All the best – The Cinephiliacs Team.