Here are the movies that came in at #20 – #11 on my complete movie list for 2014. We are as close as we can get to seeing my wonderful Top 10. Please compose your excitement.
20. How To Train Your Dragon 2
The sequel carries on the superb series (I say that assuming there will be more). The animated film brought laughs, emotion and just a good time. This film was hard to slot (and still might be in the wrong spot) because I knew it was a great movie but it was tough to gauge my entertainment level compared to the other films around it on this list. Maybe if it gave me a few more laughs I would be sure of its positioning (Here I go nitpicking again. Cant’ ever be satisfied).
19. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
It took two viewings for me to feel this movie should be this high. After I first watched it, I didn’t hate it as much as many do now but I felt it didn’t succeed on what it really wanted to do. After seeing it for a second time, I thoroughly enjoyed the better looking CGI, the action, Andrew Garfield’s (once again) great performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Jamie Foxx before he became Electro, and of course the lovely Emma Stone (Garfield is one lucky guy). I also loved that the movie included a famous death scene from the comic that was needed in order to further the story (even though I hated seeing Stone die in a movie. Sorry I just spoiled it after trying to not fully spoil it. I should of just spoiled it from the jump). We all know that there might not be a story to further since Sony has completely mishandled the Spider-Man property but I’m going to try to ignore that right now. The movie did mishandle the villain situation though. Electro was basically used as a second tier villain but was portrayed like he was the main guy and that Rhino inclusion was so pointless. Sony really wanted to look ahead to ‘Sinister Six’ which might not even see the light of day.
This is a great movie but man it’s confusing. I’ve seen it twice so I think I have a better understanding of what I saw but I still can’t tell you exactly what happened in the movie with details and whatnot (Communicating to the past while in a black hole using a watch and…oh man my head hurts). All I know is that Christopher Nolan did it again with another great movie and seeing the exceptional visuals, this movie had, in IMAX made the overall quality even better.
The technique of making it seem like this movie was just shot as one big scene and barely had it any cuts in between was a great idea by director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Thanks to that, the directing in this movie is one of the most clever and coolest I’ve seen in a while. The acting in this movie, all around, was outstanding as well. My favorite performance came from Edward Norton (but my biased favorite came from Ms. Stone). The ending didn’t go in the direction I wanted it to go but everything up to the point was great so I can’t be too mad it.
This was the Jake Gyllenhaal show. This guy killed his performance from start to finish with probably the best performance of his career. His conversations with Rene Russo’s character, Nina, were things of beauty because they were so entertaining thanks to Gyllenhaal. How he didn’t get nominated for an Oscar is beyond me. When it comes to the movie, it was great but the ending let the main character slide but should of shown him pay more, somewhat, for his actions.
15. This Is Where I Leave You
It wasn’t hilarious but still funny throughout. That didn’t affect the movie, in my opinion, though. The cast, who are some of my favorites, shined and helped some instances of the movie be more entertaining than if other people were in it. Also, I’m becoming a bigger fan of Adam Driver (I know I’ve already talked about this) after every role I see him in. I can’t wait for Star Wars VII to come out so his career can take off (I know I already talked about this as well).
‘Fury’ was a brutal, violent spectacle that was great from start and definitely at the finish. The main cast all, I feel, held their own on screen with each other and gave you an insight how it would actually feel to be in their shoes. I commend the director, David Ayer, for visually giving an idea of how brutal war can be. I’m pretty sure many other war movies showed the same thing but I not familiar with many myself so this movie really stood out to me. It also felt like there was constantly something going on in the film, especially in the violence department, so the 2 hour 20 minute run time didn’t seem as long at all.
13. 22 Jump Street
Very clever in beating everyone to the punch about how subpar sequels can be (even though I usually like comedy sequels but what do I know). The chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum shines once again. Can’t forget how hilarious Ice Cube’s (yes the Ice Cube who is my long lost twin brother) over-the-top performance of Captain Dickson is. And you also can’t forget about all those hilarious sequels at the end…man this movie was funny.
12. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Even with all the continuity questions that it brought and did away with, an entertaining movie from start to finish. This movie continued upon and improved on the great quality that the ‘First Class’ trilogy has brought us. Just to nitpick, I was hoping for a more epic 3rd act but it probably wasn’t even needed.
11. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Great decision to have the film be a Ceasar based film. Even though he is a CGI ape, he made a terrific feature character thanks to being portrayed by Andy Serkis of course. The interaction between the apes was way more intriguing than I would’ve guessed. The movie might not have been action packed or very explosive until the end but my attention was still solely focused on the movie throughout. You have to applaud a great script and some great performances for that.
(Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Open Road Films; Nanthaniel Rogers – http://www.towleroad.com/2014/10/weekend-movie-the-miraculous-birdman.html; Erin McCarthy – http://mentalfloss.com/article/57276/10-things-know-about-22-jump-street)