Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Year at the Movies - 2014

Happy New Year!

Here is a chronological list of the 2014 movies I saw in theaters this past year. My top ten favorites of the year are accompanied by images.

Jack Ryan
The Invisible Woman
The Monuments Men
Winter’s Tale
Pompeii
Non-Stop
300: Rise of an Empire
Need for Speed
Divergent


Noah

I enjoyed this surreal, sci-fi rendition of the Biblical story of Noah and the flood. Russell Crowe stands out as an Ahab-like captain of the Ark.


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Although I was not always totally engaged by this film, I have to say that this is without a doubt the most meticulously conceived film of the year. Some of the sets are so full of color and detail you wish for the camera to linger longer - or you wish for the characters to return to that set but they don't. Though some parts work better than others, this film is always visually arresting.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Transcendence
Bears


Under the Skin

I’ve never seen anything like this movie. The surrealistic depictions of what the “alien” does with her victims is bizarre. The shots of Scotland are awe-inspiring. The film hits you in the gut in a number of places, and Johansson is perfect for the role.


Spider Man 2
Godzilla
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Million Dollar Arm
Maleficent


Edge of Tomorrow

I saw this a number of times at the movies, and I’ve watched it multiple times on DVD. Clever story, great editing, and an excellent Cruise performance as he mixes humor with serious acting. The year's most watchable movie full of humor and action.


The Fault in Our Stars
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Rover
The Immigrant
22 Jump Street
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Dawn of the Apes
Planes: Fire and Rescue


Lucy

Johansson strikes again in this violent but wildly bizarre action film that's basically about Scarlett Johansson turning into the Internet. At first you think that Lucy will just be this vastly intelligent and superior killing machine. Then the film takes Lucy where no action heroine has gone before.


The Giver
If I Stay


Boyhood

Real moments follow stilted moments and make this film worth watching. More than a film, it is a visual experiment that chronicles the real growth of a real boy throughout his ups and downs.


Guardians of the Galaxy

This engaging film takes tropes from Star Wars and has a lot of fun with them. One of the most delightfully entertaining films of the year.


The November Man
A Walk Among the Tombstones
The Maze Runner
The Equalizer
Gone Girl
The Boxtrolls
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
The Judge


Fury

This grim depiction of the last year on the western front in World War II features a thrilling tank duel and a solid performance by Brad Pitt and even an excellent supporting performance by Shia LaBeouf


Nightcrawler

This creepy, uncomfortable, suspenseful film features an amazing performance by Jake Gyllenhaal.


Interstellar

I saw this film six times at the movies. This doesn’t mean that it’s flawless. It means that I think it’s the best movie of the year for its epic vision, its transporting visuals, and the, excellent performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain.


Birdman
Big Hero 6
Rosewater
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
The Theory of Everything
Exodus: Gods and Kings
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Wild
Annie
Unbroken
Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb
Big Eyes
Into the Woods





4 comments:

Cannon said...

I can't say I got much of anything from critical darlings such as Boyhood and Guardians of the Galaxy, nor the posturing platitudes of Interstellar.

But props to adding to your list the warped pop-art of Lucy (frankly, I though Besson out-visualized Nolan) and that thing of a movie Under the Skin. The latter is among my favorite films of the past decade.

Hokahey said...

Cannon, thanks for the comment. You are most likely right about the visual aspect of LUCY. As for UNDER THE SKIN, it was definitely original and memorable. It has stayed in my mind.

Steve's Blog said...

I love reading posts like this as there is so much to discuss and debate. I will say that I would put Noah higher up on the list and Boyhood further down. I agree with Fury, Edge of Tomorrow, Interstellar, Grand Budapest, and Guardians. I might include Gone Girl and Fault in Our Stars as well. I liked Lucy; I didn't love it. I would definitely include The Babadook and a violent, brilliant Israeli parable called Big Bad Wolves.

As for Under the Skin, I feel it is like a great museum piece or literary work. The more you meditate on it, the richer its rewards.

On a side note, I just got to see the new film by Jean Claude Jeunet called The Talented and Prodigious T.S. Spivet. It is a delightful, Forest Gump-like travelogue of America beautifully shot and quietly profound. I don't know if it's been released stateside yet. Highly recommended and some of the most majestic vistas photographed this past year.

Hokahey said...

Steve - thanks!

My top ten list here is in chronological order. Interstellar is definitely #1 on my list. If I rated them all, Boyhood would probably be #10.

Excited about the Jeunet film. I love him!

Saw The Babadook (check out comment under my link to letterboxd.com; see my most recent post here). I thought it was - okay. Standard creeps. I guess the whole thing is more metaphorical than "realistic" but I can't say I'd rate it high on my list of favorite horror films. Certainly didn't impress me or move me as much as Mama or Insidious.