By Mitch Burns
If you can’t tell, I’m passionate about film, I put a lot of work into this list. I see a bunch of films to prepare for this list and to prepare for “The Hollywood Persona Awards”, which are coming up shortly. I’ve seen over 100 films this year, a little less than last year, but I’ll chalk it up to being a little busier recently. There are a good 20-30 films I’d like to still see from 2014, but I just don’t have the time. I like to have my “Best of” list out before the Oscars, afterwards these things just don’t seem to matter anymore, I guess we have to move on to 2015 at some point.
At the end of the year there is always the conversation about whether or not it was a “Good year for Movies”. At one point, I might have said it wasn’t a great year for movies, but once I started to put together my top ten, I realized I could barely narrow it down. There were at least 26 films I considered putting on my top ten at one point. To show how good of a year it’s been, here’s a little breakdown on the grades I gave this year:
Although, I did narrow it down to ten, and that’s coming up. What I’ve also done, like past years, is given “My Next Ten”, which technically makes this list a top 20. Anyways, enjoy!
10. Edge of Tomorrow – (A-)
While it’s being branded as “Live. Die. Repeat.”, “Edge of Tomorrow” is one of the smartest, funniest, action movies to come along in a while. What may have prepared me to love it so much was how little attention it garnered at first, the marketing for “Edge of Tomorrow” was lackluster to say the least. I didn’t have high hopes going in, so when it hit me like a ball of electricity, I couldn’t have been happier.
9. Fury – (A-)
Writer and Director David Ayer, and star Brad Pitt, are what got me in the door. Brad Pitt has hardly picked a bad project since 2005, and I loved David Ayer’s cop drama “End of Watch”. What made me love “Fury” is it’s nail-biting action, and five awesome characters, portrayed wonderfully by five very talented actors. It’s one of the better War films we’ve had in a while.
8. Only Lovers Left Alive – (A)
“Only Lovers Left Alive” didn’t seem like something I would normally flock to, but enough good word of mouth and I finally gave it the shot it deserved. “Lovers” is about a depressed vampire, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) who’s lived for centuries with his one true love, Eve (Tilda Swinton). The portrayal of depression in this film, against the backdrop of a beautiful romance, made “Only Lovers Left Alive” one that struck a chord, and resonated deep.
7. Nightcrawler (A-)
“Nightcrawler” is an insanely tense, balls to the wall, thrill-ride I haven’t been able to get out of my head since I seen it 5 months ago. “Nightcrawler” is insane, shocking and scary, but grounded in reality. Gyllenhaal gives one of the best performances of the year, and should be one of the five Acting nominees at The Academy Awards, as should Rene Russo, both in their respective categories. This film is one entertaining film I can’t wait to watch again, and I know I will have a lump in my throat, even on repeated viewings.
6. Gone Girl – (A)
I had complete faith in David Fincher, I knew he could pull it off, and he did. “Gone Girl” is a psychological thriller unlike any other, it had me squirming in my seat, almost afraid to go home with my wife after the movie. If it weren’t for Julianne Moore’s wonderful performance in “Still Alice”, the Academy Award would be Rosamund Pike’s for the taking. “Gone Girl” is just such a slick, marvelous achievement in film-making, you can’t help but watch in awe, mouth agape.
5. Interstellar – (A)
People will do whatever it takes to pick apart “Interstellar”, it has its flaws, but in my opinion, you REALLY have to be looking for them. Christopher Nolan has created such a grand, epic adventure, that I was sucked in unlike anything I’ve seen in a while. A story spanning time, space and dimensions, smart as can be, with terrific acting, and enough emotion and wonderment that should make prickliest critic happy. “Interstellar” is an adventure that demands to be had.
4. The Grand Budapest Hotel – (A)
For most directors you’re first few pieces of work are usually your best, they come out of the gates running and tend to lose steam. Wes Anderson seems to keep topping himself, getting better, and wittier, with each film of his. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is hilarious, and incredibly brilliant, wonderfully acted by the entire cast. Budapest feels extremely fleshed out, each character has a complete, unique personality, and it all comes together to make what I consider Anderson’s best comical outing.
3. The Imitation Game – (A)
I wasn’t expecting all that much from “The Imitation Game”, a traditional biopic, nothing too special. What we’re given isn’t traditional at all, “The Imitation Game” is an incredibly accomplished biopic. It’s a story about an incredibly interesting man, Alan Turing, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch who gives a wonderful performance. Alan Turing’s story is one I’m happy to have seen on film, there is so much complexity to the man himself. The story hits its high and low points, but director Morten Tyldum, and writer Andrew Hodges move the story along wonderfully. perfect pacing and tone, a beautiful score from Alexandre Desplat, and great performances from Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode.
2. Whiplash – (A+)
“Whiplash” is a complete bombshell of a film, the moment J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller appear on-screen together, to the last moments, it’s incredibly tense and explosive. The acting from the two leads is terrific, especially Simmons, who must have a spot already clear on his shelf for the Oscar he so deserves. Damien Chazelle, Writer and Director, has crafted something brilliant here. In a time when kids are drafted to the team just for applying, and told “Good Job” just for trying, this is a film that needs to be seen, and felt.
1. Boyhood – (A+)
“Boyhood” is a tremendous achievement, a million and a half things could have gone wrong with this film and they didn’t. Boyhood caused me to reminisce on my own journey through life, it affected me in a most overwhelming fashion. It takes a true artist to do something as profound as Linklater has done here. “Boyhood” is something I will watch many times over, something I will put on to make me feel better, it’s something that will stick with me always.
The Next Ten
Ten more films that I enjoyed, a few of these were most likely in my Top Ten at one point, but we knocked out along the way! Give them a watch!
11. Locke – (A)
12. Life Itself – (A-)
13. Birdman – (A)
14. Calvary – (A-)
15. Under the Skin – (A-)
16. Guardians of the Galaxy (A-)
17. Noah (B+)
18. Obvious Child (B+)
19. John Wick (B+)
20. X:Men: Days of Future Past (B+)
A Few Honorable Mentions
Okay, now I’m just being greedy, Ten more is ridiculous! That’s 30 films?!?! Well I enjoyed these ten films as well, and I just wanted to mention them.
21. The Rover – (B+)
22. Snowpiercer – (B+)
23. Two Days, One Night (A-)
24. Blue Ruin – (B)
25. Still Alice – (A-)
26. Cake – (B-)
27. Foxcatcher – (A)
28. The Theory of Everything – (B+)
29. St. Vincent – (B-)
30. Selma – (A-)
Wanna see “The Worst and Most Dissapointing Films of 2014”, well click the link and revel in the hatred!
As Always, thank you for reading! 2014 was fun, I hope we get some great movies in 2015!
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