It’s been a pretty good year for movies and the MOARGeek staff. Some of us have seen more than others, but we have all had plenty to fall in love with and watch time and time again. We decided to take a look back at the movies of 2014 and reflect on our favorites ranging from comic heroes, to dirty hobbitses, to seedy crime reporters and beyond. Here are our favorite films of 2014.
This was a great year for smartly-made action films. Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie to date, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a pleasant surprise (even though I liked Rise a lot too), and Snowpiercer was a fun adventure. My number five was a toss-up between Interstellar and John Wick, but Matthew McConaghuey’s performance along with some great hard science and fantastic visuals made the former the right choice. Boyhood may just be my favorite film of all time, so it was a no-brainer to put at number one. Aside from the obvious experience of watching Ellar Coltrane grow up physically on screen, you’re also watching the character grow in such a fascinating and uncompromisingly realistic way. It will be a long time until there is another film like it, if ever.
You’ll find me really only paying a full price box office ticket if I feel the movie is worth it. For me this year, Nightcrawler was a movie more than worth it. Dark, ugly, unsettling, weird, and uncomfortable. The only thing holding the film back from near-perfection was a better score. The film’s soundtrack felt wrong, and not in a good wrong like the rest of the film made you feel. Certainly my movie of the year. Then there was Birdman; a quirky, creative, self-aware film that one would expect from Alejandro Inarritu. Emphasis on the long-shot and surrealism from a quality Mexican director. Disney’s Big Hero 6 was a pleasant Disney trademark production, which simply met expectations in all animation categories that you’d expect it to. It went a little above in its diverse cast, which was great to see. Guardians of the Galaxy felt like a by-the-numbers Marvel product with a bit of an older Whedon-era quirk to it, and despite its transparent formula had likeable performances. Book of Life was a charming, passionate film that served as a literal story told about Dia de los Muertos. More of a visual stunner that shouldn’t really be merited for any unique storytelling, but instead was peaceful inspired Mexican eye candy.
There were definitely some great movies this year, and I’m not surprised that two Marvel movies made my top 5 list. The company is simply on a tear with the successful translation of their stories to the big screen. Guardians of the Galaxy was indeed a lesser known property but really delivered a fun, but still serious, movie while Captain America: The Winter Soldier took a bit of a darker turn and the tie in with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was excellent. The LEGO Movie no doubt was a huge undertaking and was easily hands down the best kids movie of the year – and filled with just enough humor for the adults. Edge of Tomorrow was a surprise favorite for me, and was well done for a movie which used the tagline “Live. Die. Repeat.” Luc Besson delivered with Lucy as well, an interesting look at what would happen if someone was able to unlock more and more of their brain. Besson’s movies have always been fun action packed thrillers and this was no exception. Looking forward to catching up and seeing some of the others listed here including Nightcrawler and Xmen: Days of Future Past.
JUSTIN JELINEK (Editor)
Ok, so I didn’t watch a TON of movies this year so my list is in some ways similar, and in other ways quite different than everyone else’s. I suppose a notable exception from my list is The LEGO Movie. I love LEGO, and I expected great things from that movie but was honestly rather disappointed. I’ll fill my “kid’s movie” quota before we’re done though, don’t worry. Maybe it was because I was at Disney World just before Big Hero 6 came out, and we got to see some early drawings and conceptual art for the world they’d built, but I just enjoyed Big Hero 6 thoroughly. Maybe I didn’t see all of the big name movies, and there are some definite absences that I intend to watch (Interstellar) at some point. But of the movies I’ve watched this year, Big Hero 6 stands out as the best.
It was tough going through all the new movies I saw this year (especially with so many are still on the “to be seen” list still and quite a few repeats from others) and trying to rank them but the it came down coming away from each of these movies with something that resonated with me. Despite the flaws, I thought The Hobbit was incredible, I even sat through all of the credits to watch the artwork because it was so amazing. I don’t typically watch movies over and over, but The Grand Budapest Hotel was just a gem, I watched it three times in as many weeks when it came out. Not usually my style but maybe that’s why it struck me as being so great.. The LEGO Movie was so far beyond expectations I honestly turned to my husband mid-movie and said shame on Hollywood for having an animated LEGO movie that is better than dozens of films they’ve released this year. X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy were great as well, though I kind of surprised myself to see that they were so far down the list.
I don’t have a whole lot of time to catch movies in the theater but I do try and catch them at home, although I’m usually writing while watching. The Equalizer tops my list – I thought Denzel was excellent. The story started slow but moved quickly once it gained steam. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is my second pick. I’m not a fan of the other Apes films but this one, this one was done right. The first 300 was an absolutely amazing film, Rise of an Empire didn’t quiet live up to the first but it still earns my respect at #3. Big Hero 6, a fun action packed animated flick, probably one of the best ever, the kids loved it and it broke some stereotypes. Rounding out the top 5 is Guardians of the Galaxy, super awesome flick but comes in at 5 just because most everyone else rated it higher. Yup, that’s my only reason.