Top 5 Movies I Saw In 2014

Posted by : | January 9, 2015

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I could expound upon what many consider to be a weak year for movies, and I’m not sure that I’ll be watching more than one or two of last year’s offerings for years to come, but there were some very worthy hours of time to be spent nonetheless. As usual I didn’t catch as many movies as I would’ve liked in 2014, but just like with the Chicago Cubs, there’s always next year. Here’s the best of what I saw:

5.) The Lego MovieLego-Movie-Emmet-1050x700

One of the most entertaining and funny animated movies I have ever seen, at least as an adult. Sharp writing and visual fireworks I would’ve never expected out of something titled “The Lego Movie”. Don’t be scared off, ladies! My Review…

4.) Captain America: The Winter Soldiercaptain-america-winter-soldier1

I watched this a bit late in its theatrical run, so I never really had the time or inclination to type out a proper review, but forget what all those Guardians of the Galaxy supporters are touting- this is the Marvel movie that packed the most punch this summer. But while most of them deliver the goods when it comes to mindless superhero action, this one ALSO injects a paranoid undercurrent straight out of Watergate 70s about government corruption and eerie NSA-type supervision and control over citizens. And it does so with surprising intelligence. Chris Evans as the Cap did a great job playing the ideal American WWII patriot in the first, but in this superior sequel he brings actual emotional layers of confusion and sadness to a man out of time, an idealist who is coming to realize that his codes of honor are seen as old-fashioned and naïve in the present day world which he now inhabits. It’s a wonderful, understated performance that gives more depth to the character than we are used to expecting from such material, and provides a solid-ground anchor to all the digital wizardry, turning Captain America into the most interesting and complex of all the Marvel heroes. I expected this to be disposable fun, but its themes are strong enough to linger. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually am looking forward to the sequel.

3.) Gone Girlgone_girl2

So creepy I consider it a horror movie, Gone Girl has the best mid-movie twist since Psycho. Everyone is terrific in this movie about modern marital relations, and director David Fincher is at his precise, exacting best. See this with someone you love and then dump them right after. My Review…

2.) BirdmanBirdman2

Should I go cliché and say that Birdman soars? No, that doesn’t quite cover it. It whizzes, bangs, snaps, crackles and pops. A dizzying display of filmmaking prowess with a seminal performance from the great Michael Keaton. The chaos of the stage and a disdain for the brainless products of studio machines, I left the theater with a buzz, something it takes at least a couple whiskeys to normally achieve. My Review…

1.) Noahnoah-movie

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? I have taken more flak than I can remember for touting this masterpiece, but I’ll gladly endure for what was locked in as my best movie of the year almost nine months ago. I waited for something to hit me as hard and stick to my guts as long as Darren Aronofsky’s brilliantly imagined and realized take on the mythic biblical story. I’ve seen it 5 or 6 times more since that initial viewing and it has only continued to enthrall. I’m in the minority, I know, but everyone else is wrong and I’m right. Best of 2014, hands down. My Review…

Honorable Mentions

1.) The Grand Budapest Hotel

I was a bit cold at first on this one, though I still liked it. A second viewing has solidified my appreciation. My Review…

2.) The Imitation Game

A great performance from everyone’s darling little Benedict Cumberbatch and an interesting story of the cracking of the Nazi Enigma Machine by Alan Turing and his team of British nerds. It’s a tad unfocused in parts, which kept it from true greatness, but none could go wrong with this one on movie night.

3.) Nightcrawler

A weird little movie about a creepy little weirdo, Nightcrawler could not have worked without a career performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. He inhabits and oozes Louis Bloom, creating a character I won’t soon forget. The story didn’t quite command my attention as much, but it’s no slouch. My Review…

The Okay (with link to review if applicable)

-Edge of Tomorrow, Lucy, A Most Wanted Man, Anchorman 2, The Skeleton Twins

The Crap (with review if you’re curious)

-Robocop, Maleficent, Guardians of the Galaxy (superhero movie post), Godzilla (monster movie post)

There are always some things I missed over the year that I wanted to catch, so hopefully soon for these:

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Interstellar (though maybe not)

Inherent Vice

American Sniper

Black and White

Locke

Here’s to 2015! For a list of Stephanie’s favorites that don’t include Noah, go here.

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  1. Lisa
    Posted January 13, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    K – Noah is now on the streaming list along with Night Crawler and Boyhood

    Sorry Steph – Nobody puts baby in a corner (Pat – famous line from Dirty Dancing which you may not have seen)

    • Stephanie
      Posted January 13, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      okay LL, but my advice is bring a book or your Candy Crush app to fend off the boredom 🙂 🙂

    • Lisa
      Posted January 18, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Hey Pat – I’ve been spending too much time at the movies this past week and have seen a couple that I think you would really like, mostly because they aren’t what you think they’re going to be in the best way possible.

      Selma. It’s not a biopic or a cliche.

      Boyhood. It’s not boring.

      As a side note: I strongly disliked Foxcatcher. Steve Carell’s performance is amazingly disturbing, and the rest is flat and cold.

      Up next: Birdman, American Sniper, and Whiplash.

      • Patrick
        Posted January 19, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        That’s not a bad thing at all. Have to say, I’ll probably never see Selma, have zero interest in it, but I’d like to catch Boyhood and see what the fuss is. Never been a huge Linklater fan, though I like some of his stuff. Foxcatcher has been off my radar since I heard Steve Carell is in it. That guy just bugs me as an actor. I’ve got to see Inherent Vice, and American Sniper to round my list. I know Whiplash is supposed to be top-notch, but that trailer just looked so ridiculous and awful it’s hard for me to overcome that.

  2. Erik
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Uh oh… I haven’t seen any of those yet! And I haven’t seen Lisa’s either, except Guardians of the Galaxy, of which I know Pat will agree with me when I say…. eh.

  3. Lisa
    Posted January 9, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    My top 4 so far: Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch amazing performance), Guardians of the Galaxy, Gone Girl, Big Hero 6

    Still left to see: Birdman, Selma, Wild, A Most Violent Year

    When it comes out on Streaming: boyhood, Top Five, Nightcrawler, Whiplash, and now Porcupine has really piqued my interest in Noah. Wow what a review!! ( sorry Steph!)

    Honorable mention: Grand Budapest Hotel, Hunger Games, Lego Movie

    • Stephanie
      Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      oh no don’t you Noah, Lisa. Don’t you waste your life away!!! Me and Dan wanted to leave immediately. That’s two opinions! 🙂

      • Patrick
        Posted January 12, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        You saw Noah with me, not Dan! You’re thinking of Interstellar. Don’t listen to her, Lisa! She knows not what she speaks. Definitely see Noah and let me know what you think.

        • Stephanie
          Posted January 13, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          haha okay that’s fair. i guess i get all these horrible movies confused. still, I’m sure most of the people sitting near or around me felt like they wanted to walk out but didn’t want to leave their dates or mothers…

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