Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top 10 Films of 2014

With so many incredible movies released in 2014, this year's film ranking may have been the toughest one yet. Out of the 176 first time views this year, 58 were new releases (you can view a full ranking of every 2014 release I watched this year here:  In any other year the films that ranked 11-20 would have definitely made it to the top of my list, so my top 10 are the ones I thought were really something special. 

Top 10 (originally published at

1. Whiplash
When I first bought a ticket for Whiplash, little did I expect I would be watching the tensest movie of the year. To put things in perspective: I usually don’t sit through the credits, but the film was such a punch in the gut that I couldn’t move until after the house lights came up.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians is the most fun I had at a movie theater all year, and it’s clear that everything from its performances, direction, and awesome mix are done with love. As a lifelong comics fan, I can attest that James Gunn celebrated the weirdness of the Marvel Universe, and introduced characters I never through I’d see on the big screen.

3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
A Shakespearian drama by way of apes, Dawn brought allegorical gravity to the summer movie season. Andy Serkis is a cinematic treasure and if anyone still had any doubts that motion capture could stand with regular performances, this movie should clear that right up.

4. Boyhood
Linklater’s magnum opus takes full advantage of the capabilities of film, continuing the philosophical themes and experimentation with time that made many of his previous films so remarkable. Boyhood is one of the best coming of age movies, one that works with just as much intelligence as it does heart.

5. Gone Girl
David Fincher dangles his audience on a string, swinging us from scenes of caustic, honest humor to those of shocking horror. With Amy Elliot Dunne, Fincher and Flynn create one of the year’s most memorable and complex characters.

6. Interstellar
With Interstellar, Christopher Nolan creates a thrilling science-fiction film whose answers you have to work for. The film undoubtedly has its flaws, but when so many films play it safe it is undeniably exciting to see a director aim so high with his ambition.

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Russos, who had ironically been my last pick on the shortlist of Cap 2 directors, delivered one of the best and most politically relevant comic based films of the decade. Winter Soldier doesn’t just operate under 2001 notions of terrorism, but looks at the world  today while offering all the excitement and humor we’ve come to expect from Marvel Studios.

8. The Lego Movie
There hasn’t been a satire of genre movies this smart and fun since Mel Brooks rode in with Blazing Saddles. The Lego Movie was an unexpected surprise, an exercise in wit that’s more than just an animated kids’ movie.

 9. Godzilla
Godzilla relies on atmosphere more than action scenes, and instead of wearing the audience out with battle fatigue, Gareth Edwards ensures the climax is worth the weight. In its focus on family and an impending sense of doom, Godzilla is reminiscent of blockbusters from the 70s and 80s while remaining modern in its examination of man’s arrogance.

10. Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson’s 70s set neo-noir eschews modern plot sensibilities, yet still manages to craft complex characters that are parodic yet honest. It’s one of the year’s funniest films, and one that I had to learn how to watch, in order to fully appreciate it.

Honorable Mentions: Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Foxcatcher, 22 Jump StreetNightcrawler, Snowpiercer, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Dear White People, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Oculus

Worst of the Year: Sabotage, Pompeii, Hercules, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

2015’s Most Anticipated:

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
3. Spectre
4. The Hateful Eight
5. Crimson Peak
6. Trainwreck
7. The Revenant
8. Inside Out
9. Ant-Man
10. That's What I'm Talking About
11. Knight of Cups
12. Jurassic World
13. Friday the 13th

Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who visited my blog this year and read my reviews. This first year has been quite exciting and I owe a lot to this blog and to those of you who have supported it in various ways. Your opinions are immensely valuable to me, and the feedback I've received has helped me to become a better writer and viewer. Looking forward to great things in 2015!

--Richard Newby

No comments:

Post a Comment