Alas, one year ends and another begins. While I still have some films to catch up on, I wanted to post my favorites of the year. These are films that I think are well made, and I personally really enjoyed watching them. If you have not seen some of these films, I strongly encourage you do. 2014 was a year filled with some great films, but these are the ones that really stuck out to me.
10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I had some high expectations for this film, and it completely exceeded them. From the acting, to the cinematography, this film is great. I even think it is better than The Avengers. That might be a bold statement, but I thought that this film had some great character development, a terrifying villain, fantastic choreography, and a catchy score. It is definitely the best superhero film of the year!
9. Edge of Tomorrow
I remember feeling uncertain of this film. The trailer looked cool, but I was careful not to get too excited. It is definitely the biggest surprise of the year, because not only is it great, but it is one of the year’s best. Sadly it did not do great in the American Box Office, but I am hoping that people are buying the DVD now that it is out. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are electric, the plot is engaging, and it has a great blend of comedy and action. Of all the big blockbusters of the year, this one is definitely the best.
8. The Lego Movie
I do not know why, but I gave this film a 10/10. It is a great film, but upon a second viewing I think it deserves a 9/10. It is a great animated film with plenty of laughs and considerable heart, but the third act does get a bit muddled. The voice cast is great in the film, the animation is absolutely gorgeous, and the story (while a bit familiar) is heartfelt. This is a film that can appeal to both children and adults, which makes it impressive in my book.
Wow, this film was an emotional roller coaster. Seeing a family grow up over a period of 12 years is a great concept, but filming it over 12 years is genius. I loved seeing the times change around the family, and reminiscing when I lived through those times. There are some problems that I have with the film, but I can overlook them because of everything it gets right. After watching it a second time I liked it even more, and was able to appreciate what the film achieved.
I did not review this film, but that does not mean I did not like it. I actually loved this film. It is so unusual that it instantly caught my eye. The music is weird, the characters are weird, and the story (while a bit familiar) is still fairly weird. It was just refreshing to see a film that is so unusual, and it left a lasting impact with me. Michael Fassbender is definitely a highlight of the film. His performance as Frank is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. To anyone who has not seen this film, I strongly encourage you to do so.
Here is another film that I was unable to review. I saw this in October, and spent many hours trying to figure it out. I love when a film is cohesive enough to make some sense, but complicated enough to take a while to figure it out. Jake Gyllenhaal give a fantastic performance, the cinematography is excellent, the plot is engaging, and the ending is haunting. I do not want to post any spoilers for this film, but the ending of this film left me completely terrified. This is a film that will stick with me for a while, and I look forward to showing it to other people.
Yet another film I was unable to review, Snowpiercer had some impressive action, an exciting plot, and a great performance from Chris Evans. I am surprised that two Chris Evans films have made my top 10 list. A few years ago he was a pretty bad actor (in my opinion), but he has really turned his career around. His performance as Curtis is hands down his best, and the character of Curtis proves to be very interesting. This film is currently streaming on Netflix, so if you have a Netflix you should watch it right now.
Just like Chris Evans, Jake Gyllenhaal is on this list twice. However, unlike Chris Evans I think Jake Gyllenhaal gave two oscar worthy performances. Between the two films though, I think Gyllenhaal gave a better performance in this one. I did not see Jake in his performance, he completely became Lou Bloom and terrified the audience. The plot is different than most films, the ending is certainly unexpected, and I love how well written the film is. Overall, I was very impressed by this film.
This review is coming soon, but it immediately made my top 10 list. I could go on for days to explain why I love this film. Michael Keaton is fantastic, the cinematography is mesmerizing, the plot is engaging, and the characters are really great. In case you did not know, this film is edited so that it looks like it was shot in one take. I love this choice, because it kept the momentum of the film going on. Keaton really carrie the film, but the supporting cast proves to be capable on their own as well. I also want to mention that Zach Galifianakis gives a great performance. He has some good laughs, but he is not a complete goofball like his previous roles.
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
I did not have a review for this film, but I knew it would be in a prominent spot in my top 10 list. Everything about this film is fantastic. It is not for everyone, but Wes Anderson’s style really appeals to me. I love how the film was shot, I love how the plot unfolded, I love the films’ comedy, I love the films’ drama, I love the films’ ending, and I love the film’s acting. Ralph Fiennes delivers a fantastic performance, and I fear that he will not get the recognition he deserves. I implore you to see this film, as I do believe it is the very best that 2014 has to offer. I hope it gets nominated for some Oscars, and even wins a few (particularly for cinematography).