As I did with last year's Top Films List, I'm posting my personal favorite films from 2014 list today on Oscar Sunday. I don't feel the need to rush and finish a Best of the Year List at the end of said year, especially when there are more films I need to see and consider. The extra time to catch up is quite nice, but even with six extra weeks there are things I still haven't seen, including Nightcrawler, Selma, Interstellar, Force Majeure, Ida, The Overnighters, Citizenfour, Enemy, Foxcatcher, American Sniper, Wetlands, The One I Love, Listen Up Philip, We are the Best, and others.
2014 was a good year for movies. These were my favorites.
TOP 15 FILMS OF 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Under the Skin
The GuestKILLER!), the humor, the visuals, the acting, everything just pops and is spot-on. Dan Stevens is magnetic in the lead role of David, somehow pulling off the impossible task of playing a character that is the hero of an action movie and also the villain in a horror film. The rest of the cast is also great, I particularly loved the younger brother, Luke, and all of his perfect reactions to the stuff David tells him. The Guest definitely has its influences, namely the early films of John Carpenter, The Terminator, and Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but it manages to wholly be its own thing, and that thing is a completely engaging and entertaining action-thriller-horror film!
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Raid 2
the next ten:
-Captain America: The Winter Soldier - This spy adventure action thriller is one of Marvel's best!
-Joe - Nicolas Cage gives a wonderfully understated performance in this great David Gordon Green film.
-Obvious Child - A very funny romantic comedy about abortion.
-Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - I am very pleased with the way these new ape movies are turning out.
-Coherence - A low budget sci-fi head trip, full of general unease and tension that slowly ramps up.
-Edge of Tomorrow - Watch Tom Cruise die a bunch of times! I just wish the aliens weren't so generic.
-Finding Vivian Maier - A solid documentary about an undiscovered, eccentric street photographer.
-Noah - I admire the boldness of such a film; the "creation sequence" is one of the best scenes of the year.
-Jodorowsky's Dune - The amazing story of the greatest movie never made.
and. . . . .
The Most Overrated Film of the Year:
Birdman is filmed in such a way that it appears to be a single, fluid, continuous shot. While this is impressive and the cinematography should be congratulated, it is just a gimmick. This movie is all gimmick, and I realize I used that term while talking about Boyhood up above, but in Boyhood's case, the story is served by the gimmick, it enriches the narrative. In Birdman, the gimmick is the story, it's what people talk about, it's what impresses them, but strip away that artifice and you're left with something a lot less interesting.
Birdman isn't a bad movie, I don't want to totally trash on it, but it is nothing more than average and it definitely might not be deserving of all the high praise it is getting or a potential Best Picture Oscar tonight, even if it is the kind of movie, in the tradition of Argo and The Artist, that Hollywood likes to congratulate itself on making.
**UPDATE** So of course Birdman won Best Picture. Ha.
The Worst Movies I Made the Mistake of Watching in 2014:
-The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - An amazing spider-mess. This movie spider-blew. And so on. . .
-Need for Speed - Ugh. I appreciate the real car stunts and driving, but jeez, this movie is terrible.
-Robocop - The only interesting thing in this unnecessary remake is the fact that there is an action sequence set to Hocus Pocus by Focus.
-Bad Words - This is so bad it makes me wish I watched Teen Wolf Too instead. Serious question: is Jason Bateman actually funny?
-The Monuments Men - Monumentally weak!
-The Interview - Notable for the controversy surrounding it, but not worthy of it.
*One other note: I've noticed Ben Wheatley's A Field in England pop up on a few people's Best Of 2014 Lists, but I can't agree with that. Not that it isn't a great movie (it is spectacular) but because, even though it saw American release in 2014, it actually was released domestically in England in 2013, and I like to abide by domestic release dates when dealing with foreign films. Otherwise it would be in my Top 5 (it really is spectacular).
Well, there you go. What do you think?
Agree? Disagree? What were your favorites of 2014?