The Top Ten Movies of 2014

by / 0 Comments / 868 View / February 26, 2015

[section_title title=First page title] Despite what many may say, 2014 was a seriously good year for movies. Due to the pressure put on by award ceremonies, the best movies of the year happen to all come out at the same time but, despite this, I have tried to do my best to “remember” this year’s lineup. Additionally, (before you freak out at your “favorite movie ever!” not making the list) remember that any movie that makes my list did so because it had a “profound emotional impact” on me as the late Roger Ebert would’ve said. Yes. I have seen “American Sniper.” Yes. I have seen “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Yes. I have seen “Guardians of the Galaxy.” In fact, the only movies that you may expect to see on this list that I haven’t seen yet are “The Imitation Game” and “A Most Violent Year.” I am sorry “The Theory of Everything,” but you stink. Here is my critic’s personal top 10 list of the year. First, some “Honorable Mentions” (scored at a 4/5, in no particular order): “Selma (Best Picture Nominee),” “Live, Die, Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel (Best Picture Nominee),” “Nightcrawler” Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.44.42 PM 10th- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes– Starring Jason Clarke, Andy Serkis, and Gary Oldman, this year’s surprise hit came in the form of a smarter-than-its-predecessor talking apes movie. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the first one as well. That being said, with an advertising campaign that made the movie seem more like your standard action blockbuster, this second entry to the series adds unexpected depth and a powerful emotional punch. More of a political thriller than a sci-fi drama, “Apes” exceeds expectations and lands its spot in the year’s top 10. Many movie-lovers are calling it the “The Dark Knight” of the “Apes” series. I wouldn’t go that far, but “Apes” is nonetheless a rare blockbuster with brains and a beating heart. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90% Personal Score: 4/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.46.10 PM 9th- Noah– Starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, and Logan Lerman, “Noah” is a well-acted bible epic that raises the bar for the genre. I know. Before you just close out of this article because you hated the “rock monsters”- hear me out. Why does Noah standout this year? First, it is clearly visually stunning. Even if you were not a fan of the rock monsters you can appreciate the gorgeous special effects. From the well-crafted animals to the superb ocean sequences, Noah’s VFX kill it all across the board. And Secondly, Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) is a powerhouse psychological thriller director. Noah examines the consequences of a man who sticks to his religious convictions even when they conflict with the more human side of his person. The result is an intense, emotionally complex, torn Russell Crowe struggling to do the thing he wants to do and the thing he has to do. The movie builds slowly and has so many dramatic ups and downs that it will keep the viewer on the edge of his/her seat. If you are willing to suspend your belief systems and appreciate the movie as a work of fiction- it has a lot to say. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77% Personal Score: 4/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.46.52 PM 8th- Captain America: The Winter Soldier– Arguably Marvel’s best stand-alone movie ever. Marvel cracks out an old school, heavily stylized spy thriller with some really sharp dialogue and valid points about the nature of America as a security state. With lines like “that’s not freedom, that’s fear,” it becomes clear that subtlety is not the strong suit of this incredibly fun movie. Once you get past the goofball Marvel silliness, you get amazing camera work and near-perfectly choreographed action scenes. I haven’t been this enthralled by action sequences since “Casino Royale.” “Winter Soldier” is a wildly fun entry into the Marvel cannon, and it has an awesome retro feel to it with all too timely themes to boot. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89% Personal Score: 4.5/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.47.25 PM 7th- Fury– “War never ends quietly.” The slogan for the movie says it all. “Fury” is an intense and excellent war drama. Starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman (now twice on this list), and Shia LaBeouf (Seriously, Nikhil? And “The Grand Budapest Hotel” didn’t make your list?). Directed by the all-star action director David Ayer (“End of Watch”), the movie deals with the capacity for war to turn men into machines. Action sequences are intense and gut-wrenching, while dialogue pieces are thoughtful and heartbreaking. “Fury” delivers some of the best pacing of the year. Despite the dark content of the movie, “Fury” takes a step back to make the argument that the capacity for people to do good is as strong as the capacity to do evil- some sentimentality that is very welcome in an otherwise bitterly dark genre. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77% Personal Score: 4.5/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.48.08 PM 6th- Gone Girl”- David Fincher directs his most fun film yet, and with “Gone Girl” you can expect all of his trademark washed out color and unsettling content. Filled with twists and turns (frequently a little too obvious), “Gone Girl” dishes out a suspenseful and often times disturbing viewing. Fincher and Flynn (author of the book and screenwriter of the movie) add an unexpected but refreshing blend of dark-comedy to lets the viewer know that they do not take this material too seriously- and it pays off big time. Set to the eerie yet weirdly peaceful Trent Reznor soundtrack, “Gone Girl” is a masterclass medley of twisted motivation, manipulation, and utter madness. Like the characters, soundtrack, and content- this movie is the king of the mixed-message and it has fun playing with the viewer to the last second. Concluding with a haunting finale, “Gone Girl” is the definition of guilty-pleasure fun at the movies. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88% Personal Score: 5/5