2014 has come an gone! Its amazing how fast the year went too! This year was so amazing I witnessed the birth of my beautiful baby girl and I got engaged to an amazing woman. Also, I was able to be a part of a great group of fellow movie fans, and write my thoughts for all of you! For that I say THANK YOU! 2014, brought us highs (Boyhood, Guardians of the Galaxy, Birdman, Whiplash) and some lows (Tammy, Oculus, Tusk, Transcendence), but over all, it was a great year for film. I was introduced to a lot more indie and foreign films and I realized that I was missing out on a whole new realm of story telling. We all also witness the best movie that come out, was only 80 seconds long!!! After waiting a long time we were given several new trailers for upcoming movies for 2015 (Star Wars VII, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Avengers 2) as well as a epic conclusion of the The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings universe. We witnessed an attack on our theater experience as well as our right of free speech, that delayed the release of The Interview. We took a journey that was 12 years in the making with Boyhood. Two great actors went to very dark places for their roles, Steve Carrel and Jake Gyllenhaal. An Michael Keaton made a huge come back! We also lost some great actors to this business we all love. Rest in Peace- Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, Bob Hoskins, Mickey Rooney, Harold Ramis, Shirley Temple, and many more. 2014 you will be missed.
Before we turn the page on 2014, lets see where it took us.
It took me back to being my Boyhood living on Jumpstreet. I was in a spelling bee, surrounded by apes. We were attacked by a huge monster, but we were saved by mutants, and a captain, and some guardians. Birdman, however, was no where to be found, cause he was checking into a Grand Hotel. I boarded a train, and pretend to be a cop. I signed up at Foxcatcher and journeyed to North Korea and to space. But when I was there I noticed that there was no fault in our stars. But in the end, no turtles, transformers, a crazy band teacher, dragons, a sex tape, or even an evil doll could keep us from the woods. We made some tracks, cause the ride along of life is a long way down. So let us purge, with our neighbors, for this is where I leave you! Thank you 2014!
I was able to see a lot of films this year in the theater. I really enjoy the theater experience. When you are watching a movie on the big screen or just at your house, it is an experience, for good or bad. I had some of the most fun at a theater this year. My good experiences would be laughing out loud with whats happening on screen (22 Jumpstreet, Guardians of the Galaxy, Top Five), gasping when something shocking happens (Foxcatcher, Gone Girl), being taken back to a time that I forgot (Boyhood), enjoying the action on screen (John Wick, The Purge: Anarchy) or being scared out of my mind (Annabelle).
It wasn't all just good though. My bad experiences included a drunk lady talking and filming the movie (Birdman), being grossed out to the point I couldn't eat (Tusk), bring our baby to a film and then she starts being fussy so my wife has to leave (Calvary), thinking one of my favorite actresses was overrated (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1) or just being bored (Tammy, The Amazing Spider-man 2, Transformers Age of Extinction). But if a film is doing its job correctly it doesn't matter if its a good or bad experience cause the story will conquer. I loved being sucked in and hooked on the screen.
So lets see what I thought was the best of 2014!!!
Total 2014 Films Seen: 109
Thumbs Up percentage: 60%
Movies I need to see, that could make my list: A Most Violent Year, Selma, Inherent Vice, and American Sniper
Actor of the Year:
(Enemy and Nightcrawler)
Actress of the Year:
(Captain America: The Winter Solider, Chef, Under the Skin, Lucy)
Best Actor: Michael Keaton - Birdman, Steve Carrel - Foxcatcher, Andy Serkis - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Brendan Gleeson - Calvary, and Miles Teller - Whiplash
Best Actress: Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl, Agata Trzebuchowska - Ida, Shailene Woodley - The Fault in Our Stars, Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything, and Mia Wasikowska - Tracks
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash, Shia LaBeouf - Fury, Ethan Hawke - Boyhood, Edward Norton - Birdman, and Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
Best Supporting Actress: Emma Stone - Birdman, Patricia Arquette - Boyhood, Carrie Croon - Gone Girl, Rosario Dawson - Top Five, and Tilda Swinton - Snowpiercer
Surprises of the Year: Edge of Tomorrow, John Wick, 13 Sins, Snowpiercer, The Purge: Anarchy
Best Laughs: 22 Jumpstreet, Top Five, Bad Words, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Godzilla and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Worst of the Year (from bad to awful): Transcendence, Tammy, Tusk, Oculus, Leprechaun: Origins
Honorable Mentions for the Top 10: Snowpiercer, The Lego Movie, Chef, Big Bad Wolves, Wish I Was Here, The Fault in our Stars, X-Men Days of Futures Past, Captain America: The Winter Solider, and Interstellar
(John Michael McDonagh)
Brendan Gleeson portrays Father James, a priest of a small community, in Ireland, and a good man. As he begins to listen to his Sunday confessionals, he gets threat on his life. He becomes deeply conflicted and troubled about what to do. He tries to continue his life as usual, but as it gets closer to his confrontation with the mystery man, his life begins to fall apart. I really enjoyed Gleeson in this role. He is truly underrated as an actor. This film has a great cast that play their characters so well, that you begin to believe that it could be anyone of them who wants to kill Father James. Aidan Gillen and Chris O Dowd are also great in this and add some dark humor as well.
I really didn't know anything about this film when I first walked into the theater to watch it. When the credits finally rolled, I had a huge smile on my face. This movie is really smart and really well directed. I like how Chris Rock can poke fun at himself, basically plays a parody of himself. This film follows Andre Allen (C.Rock), a recovering alcoholic, and comedian, who is tired of doing comedies. He wants to branch out to more serious roles. As he does this no one is taking him seriously. As he is promoting, one of his dramatic roles, he is followed by a report, Chelsea Brown (R.Dawson). The chemistry between Rock and Dawson is amazing. Its because of that chemistry that this movie finds it heart and its growth for the characters themselves.
Talk about totally disappearing into a role! Steve Carrel has so much talent and brings a scary presence to the screen. I was literally wondering what this guy was going to do next. This film is very tense and methodical. Every performance (Carrel, Tatum, Ruffalo) grips you. Based on true events, Foxcatcher tells the story of the relationship between John du Pont and the Schultz brothers. John du Pont, has to be one of the scariest people on the silver screen all year. He is eccentric and trying to gain the approval of his mother, and respect from his fellow peers. He wants to have the wrestler he coaches win a gold medal, more than anything. The places the characters go, are truly remarkable.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
It is a rare feet to see a sequel build off the success of the previous film and be better than it in every way. This is the Empire Strikes Back of this soon to be franchise. Andy Serkis, has once again proven to every one that he is an actor not just a guy in a green suit. His performance in this film, as Ceasar, should be nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar. He brings so much depth to his character. Also, Toby Kebbell, is just as amazing as Serkis. It shows, that its not just Serkis who knows how to act in the suit. This film takes placed 10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It shows an interaction between the apes and humans and the fragile peace, that is built. It is the beginning of the war to determine the dominant species.
Guardians of the Galaxy
When this movie was first announced, I was really skeptical. How could a movie with a talking raccoon and and walking tree be any good? Marvel, however took a big risk that paid off. This was the most fun I had in a theater all year and was the only film I went for a second time to see. I love the soundtrack. The characters are fun and goofy. Chris Pratt, proves that he is not just a comedy star but now an action star. The chemistry between Pratt, Saldana, Bautista, and Cooper is what makes the movie fun. It had everything I wanted this movie to have, and a lot of things I didn't expect. Just a good flick!
This has to be one of the most talked about films of the year. I know I have had a good long discussion on this movie. You can love it or hate it, but the fact remains that if you are talking about it outside the theater, the movie did its job. A compelling story about a husband (Affleck) and wife (Pike) and the struggles of true love and the crazy things we will do. I know its based on the Gillian Flynn novel, but I loved how it plays of some other real life murder cases that has happened in the past. You also don't find many authors willing to write the screenplay based of their book, but I'm glad she did! Cause I believe she will win her Oscar! The performances are awesome, as we come to expect in Fincher movies. But my favorite thing has to be the mastermind of Trent Reznor. He once again sets up the scenes of this movie. Watching this movie on the silver screen, was amazing cause the whole crowd was on the edge of their seat.
Fury, this isn't your typical war film. This film isn't concerned with flashy battle sequences or explosions, but of the soldiers who fight in this wars and why. I find that extremely refreshing. As a fan of war movies, some of them feel like they are trying to be to Saving Private Ryan and not something unique and real. Each character is unique and brings a totally different dynamic to this squad. As you follow this characters, you start to feel for them and care about them. They will piss you off one minute then do something totally redeeming that will make you realize that each one of them is like us, the viewers. It was truly an experience that made me want to purchase another ticket as soon as the credits rolled. The standouts for me were Shia LaBeouf and Jon Bernthal. Shia LaBeouf, is a damn good actor when he wants to be! Thats all Ill say!
Jake Gyllenhaal has slowly climbed up my favorite actors list the last couple of years. Last year, I witnessed him, as Loki, in the movie Prisoners. In that film, he was one of two maybe three standouts (Hugh Jackman and Paul Dano) that made the films for me. However, unlike that movie, Gylenhaal, stands above all the rest. As you watch his performance as, Louis Bloom, his eyes go black. He is totally that character and is totally lost in it. Louis Bloom is a very driven character, who muscles his way into this world of journalism. Not just any kind, mind you, crime journalism. Nina Romina (Rene Russo) aides him in his effort to provide the most haunting visuals he can. He blurs the lines of just observing and participating. It is truly haunting. Rene Russo, is also a sight for sore eyes! She was also really good in this role and its a good surprise. Going into this, I had no idea she was in this. When she is on screen with Gyllenhaal, their interactions between one another will blow your mind! As will Gyllenhaals performance! It was F***ing Amaze Balls!!!
(Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
I said this about Top Five, but I really enjoy when actors can play parodies of themselves. This movie was such an accomplishment to all involved. Michael Keaton was so amazing in this role! He totally had me cheering for him every second as the film rolled on. Keaton, plays a washed up actor, who just so happened to play a superhero. He must over come his ego and his family troubles as he tries to reclaim his past glory. The other star of this film was Mr. Inarritu. I have never seen a movie filmed like this before. The camera seemed to be in one continual shot the entire movie. I would say any other year he would get the Oscar but this isn't other year! Emma Stone has an amazing monologue in this that totally made me almost stand up and clap! This movie will really make you think, so pay close attention!
Back in the day I use to play the trombone, and I thought I had a tough band teacher! Well, I was totally out of my mind to have ever thought that! J.K. Simmons, acts his ass off in this film! He is your worst nightmare and is truly frightening. Miles Teller is no joke either, as he is quick becoming one of my favorite actors as well. Teller, plays a young drummer who is enrolled in a tough as nails, music school. The only problem is his band teacher, Mr. Fletcher (Simmons), will stop at nothing to make him realize his true potential. Fletcher will stop at nothing until he realizes it. In a year with 5 super heroes movies, this is the ultimate test between good and evil! The ending alone is breath taking! Makes me want to play the drums, or just download the soundtrack and act like I'm drumming. So, dare I say it, but, GOOD JOB!
When it all comes down to it, this was truly the best film of the year! A movie that took me back to my child hood and into the brain of a child. This film is such a unique experience, cause you are growing with the characters. You follow a boy named Mason, through his life for 12 years. He becomes apart of you. He is you! This movie might not take you to the flashiest events in his life, but where it takes him are the events that change his life! The parents of Mason (Patricia Arqutte and Ethan Hawke) are some of the key characters that might be the most enduring of anyone on the screen this year! Such powerful performances were given to such real characters. If you see only one movie on this list or even all year, make it Boyhood. Cause its not just a movie but it reminds you of where we have been, and where we hope to go in our life, even if we don't know yet!
So there you go!!! Thats my Top Ten of the year! What are your thoughts? Disagreements? What did you like? Share below!