Top 9 Movies of 2014
9 – Frank
Michael Fassbender is amazing…even inside a paper mache head! Frank is an oddball of a film but it never ceases to be entertaining. On the surface it’s about a band with a gimmick. Underneath that it’s got a lot of heart and emotion. If you want more on Frank be sure to check out the Nutshell Review we did on it recently by clicking the link.
8 – Gone Girl
Although the plot was a bit predictable the film still managed to shock me a few times. Ben Affleck showed me he may be able to handle Batman and Rosamund Pike was excellently nutty. Even more disturbing was that woven into this bizarre love story were some very real realities on relationships. People do change for each other and we all do some crazy stuff for the ones we love as well as doing insane things to get back at the people we loved. We just usually don’t put as much thought into it as Pike’s character.
7 – Guardians of the Galaxy
This film was perfect in a lot of different ways. Whether, it was the whimsical dancing of Chris Pratt as Star Lord or the witty one liners of Rocket Raccoon, this film had it going on. James Gunn really did everything right in this film. I mean, how great was that soundtrack?! The only reason it isn’t higher is because this was a truly great year for movies and there were so many incredibly great films to choose from. Click here if you need a history lesson on the Guardians before moving on.
6 – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson doesn’t change his style very much in this film but when he’s got such a fantastic and unique thing going on, why should he? This is perhaps his most entertaining story yet, as it delves into somewhat darker areas for him, while ratcheting up the adventure. The silly humor is still very much present and Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori are a heartwarming dynamic duo.
5 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This year was a good one for super heroes, even when they were being made fun of, in the case of Birdman. The first Captain America was rushed and it’s last hour was filled with some pretty bad moments. Thankfully the sequel was light years ahead of its predecessor as it tackled the timely issue of increasing government surveillance in the modern world. What could be a better metaphor for drones then the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carriers! This was the spy thriller Captain America needed to be and we gave it a lengthy review here.
4 – Interstellar
I already discussed why I loved this movie in more depth in my Nutshell Review, but I will add a bit more. This is a story that harkens back to a time when people were generally delighted to explore and adventure into space. The story is about parental love at its core but it gives us some of the most exhilarating looks at the cosmos we’ve ever seen while it tells that story.
3 – Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
I absolutely loved the way this film was shot. It is made to look like one continuous shot and it’s really outstanding to watch. You feel totally immersed in the film throughout and you root for Michael Keaton as he struggles to prove his own artistic integrity. I really think this film does a good job at poking fun of Hollywood’s current obsession with superheroes whilst failing to alienate fans of those same superheroes. The real star of this film was Edward Norton to me though. He stole every scene he was in and was a complete delight to watch. My only problem was that I wanted it to end with the Keaton’s climactic moment on stage.
2 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
I am a huge X-Men fan but the prior film’s had all but ruined the super heroes on the big screen for me. I almost didn’t even go see this film, but boy was I thankful I did. The film successfully incorporated and rebooted the X-Men’s entire cinematic universe. On top of that it delivered one of the best super hero films of all time, whilst successfully adapting an amazing Chris Claremont story arc. That would be enough on its own but then you have to factor in some truly great performances from actors like Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, as well as Hugh Jackman’s somehow reinvigorated 7th portrayal as Wolverine. The best part for me though was the elimination of my favorite character Cyclops’s death from continuity. Bravo! If you need more on this, check out my full review here.
1 – Whiplash
This year the competition for best picture wasn’t even close in my opinion. This movie demonstrated outstanding cinematic style during its climactic ending as well as an intriguing look at what it takes to be great. J.K. Simmons played the role he was born for and Miles Teller knocked it out of the park as the young man who wouldn’t give up. You will be on the edge of your seat every moment of this film!