MASON’S PICKS FOR TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2014
I’ve been waiting to make my top ten list this year because i’ve wanted to check out some movies that i’ve missed. But I figure I should just do it anyway. I struggled this year with finding movies that moved me and would stick with me through the years. A lot of movies were really good but lacked some emotional impact. Have super hero movies made us into emotionless movie goers? I hope not.
1. Imitation Game
I was very excited to see this film and it did not disappoint. On paper I could imagine the challenge being how to make this story one that people would want to see. I mean its about super smart people trying to crack a german code machine. The movie never loses its audience and has so many more layers to it than just their objective. We’ve come a long way in society and still have a long way to go when it comes to human rights. Benedict Cummberbach is absolutely brilliant in this. You understood his character just by looking in his eyes. Kiera Knightley was very good as well and the rest of the cast. This year needed a film like this that moves you and teaches you and entertains you. A must see!
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
I know, I know, don’t laugh. Last year I put the Hunger Games sequel as my top movie and this year my number 2 spot goes to a movie starring apes. Like Hunger Games, there is so much more to this movie than what you might expect. Watching Cesar rise to power and cope with the betrayel of close friends and the conflict of humans vs. apes was fascinating to me. There is depth in these characters. And the story lines could be translated to things that are going on in our world today. I have been shocked that I have liked this new reboot but for that reason it deserves its spot. I honestly can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.
3. Gone Girl
Oh man i was completely engulfed in this mystery and how it was to unfold from beginning to end. I feel like it has been a long time since we’ve seen a good mystery thriller. And this was very well done! The movie has a certain vibe to it that sticks with you. Maybe its the amazing soundtrack by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. Or maybe the great performances by Ben Afleck and Rosamund Pike. The movie was pieced together so well, combining flashbacks with reality, to really grab hold of you. While I knew there was some big moment in this movie, i never predicted it. I can’t wait to watch it again.
4. The Fault in our Stars
I’ll admit I was concerned you would have to be a teenage girl to enjoy this movie. Or that it would manipulate your emotions and cram them down your throat like a lifetime movie. I didn’t percieve it that way at all. I felt like it was full of great insights and maturity. The soundtrack was brilliant and really fit the movie perfectly.
This was a highly entertaining and creative movie. Felt you were watching a video game as live action. I loved how well the script was written. You didn’t know where the story was going but you were interested the entire time. The repeating day could have become annoying but they gave you just enough of the repeat to keep the story moving forward. Saw this twice in theaters in 3D and loved it both times.
6. Into the Woods
I enjoy the theater so much and was very excited to see this movie which had so many great actors in it. I had never seen the play but am now looking forward to it. Chicago was a favorite movie of mine and this was directed by the same Rob Marshall. I loved the new telling of classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales. The way all the stories were woven together was so creative. And the music and lyrics by the great Stephen Sondheim were so fun to listen to and have since lingered in my brain. You have to like musicals to enjoy this. It feel very much like you are at watching a live play. The plot twists near the end took me for a surprise the first viewing and I wasnt sure i liked it but upon second viewing i was able to pick up more subtleties and deeper meanings to the overall message of this movie.
7. Book of Life
I saw the advanced screening of this movie and was so excited to see one of my favorite Holidays brought to life on the big screen. Day of the Dead has such a colorful, creative style and this movie captured that and way more. There are so many details and artistic expressions put into the animation that my brain could not keep up. As a graphic designer myself, this movie was eye candy! The story was cute and the songs were fun but the animation is the star here. I just bought the movie in 3D and cant wait to watch it again. It takes on a whole new dimension in 3D that I wish everyone could enjoy.
I feel like people either really like this movie or don’t. I happened to really like it. I thought everyone in it created some really interesting characters and great performances. It was good to see Michael Keaton again. I was completely in awe at the filming style. The director made it seem like the movie was shot in one continuous take. No edits or cuts. So cool and I think added to the feeling of the subject matter. I liked what I thought the film was trying to say and found it somewhat thought provoking.
9. Night Crawler
This movie makes the top ten because it was a complete surprise to me. Jake Gylenthal was absolutely amazing in this! I’m serious. You’ve never seen him better. He played the character with such intensity and oddness and not in a way that seemed fake or annoying. The story was very interesting and fun to watch go deeper and deeper.
I saw the trailer to this and foxcatcher around the same time. They looked to me to be the very same movie except one is a drummer and one is wrestler. I found fox catcher to be kinda boring and draw out and the performances (steve carrell), was not worth the hype. Whiplash on the other hand was fresh and different and intense and the performances was top notch. This movie made me feel something. I was nervous and scared and intimidated. A fascinating journey the character goes on.
Really good small films:
• Snow Piercer - Very fun to watch this futuristic thriller that exposes some interesting commentary on our social system. I loved Tilda Swinton in this so much!
• 100 foot Journey - Completely enjoyable from beginning to end. I always love Helen Mirren and it was eye candy to watch the food scenes. Nearly made my top ten.
• Boyhood - I wanted to love this movie but found the story to be too mundane. Its worth mentioning and seeing because it was filmed over 12 years. You get to actually see the main actor go from a boy to a teenager on screen. Brilliant in that regard!
Really good popcorn films:
• Intersteller - Super long and needed editing but it was thought provoking and had some great visuals and talking points.
• Gaurdians of the Galaxy - Just plain good fun!
• Mockingjay - I keep loving these Hunger Games movies.
Really good suspence/thrillers:
• Equalizer - This movie had such a style to it that it has stuck with me. Some really cool constructed action.
Really good comedies:
• Penguins of Madagascar - I’m a fan of the madagascar movies. I think there are lots of laughs in them. This one has a lot too but does drag toward the end.
Really good based on true stories:
• Theory of Everything- A heart breaking story and amazing performace by Eddie Redmayne.
• Unbroken - I tell everyone I know to read the book. It will change your life! The movie did a great job but i feel like it lacked some of the heart and emotion of Louis Zamperinis amazing life.
• The Good Lie - I would recommend this movie for families. Great story and clean for everyone to enjoy.
Still wanna see:
• The Drop
• A Mos Violent Year