Well 2014 is now over, so now it’s time to do a top ten list of the best movies of that year. However, that is very hard to do because 2014 was a ridiculously great year for film from the big blockbusters, to the Oscar films and even a lot of indie films. It was really hard to make this list, but I managed to squeeze out the movies I found to be the best of the year. However, before we begin the top ten, let’s start out the honorable mentions.

 

15. 22 Jump Street

The faces of two men wearing colorful sunglasses, and holding guns up beside their faces. Above them the number '22' in red.

It’s not that hard to see from the long string of comedy sequels that the vast majority of them are pretty bad, but 22 Jump Street (much like the first film) exceeded expectations by taking the concept they were given and making it far better than it has any right to be by satirising comedy sequels, bromances in action films and just telling really funny jokes

 

14. Captain America the Winter Soldier

Captain America The Winter Soldier.jpg

After the rocky start of Marvels Phase II with Iron Man 3 (which was flawed, but enjoyable) and Thor the Dark World (which was just not that good), I was worried that the new phase was going to drop the ball, but Captain America the Winter Soldier picked it up and chucked it in the air with a well told story, a tightly written script and some of the best action I’ve seen in a comic book movie, with one of the best uses of shaky cam I’ve ever seen in a film.

 

13. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

A chimp brandishes an automatic rifle while astride a rearing horse.

While this might sound sacrilegious to some, I personally think that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the best movie in the franchise because it shows the moral grayness that manifests within smuggling groups trying to survive in hard times, making even the villains of the film sympathetic, especially when everything around the characters is crumbling down because of their mistakes.

 

12. American Sniper

A soldier wearing desert fatigues, a woman embraces him. They are standing in front of a tattered US flag.

It seems like Clint Eastwood is back to making good movies again because this film is incredible because it shows the journey of a soldier who just gets addicted to the field of battle, and how that makes him disconnected to the people that care for him the most, which is perfectly performed by Bradley Cooper who put his all into this character by changing his body type and nailing the mannerisms of a man suffering from PTSD.

 

11. Boyhood

Boyhood film.jpg

I always like when a director experiments with how to tell a story, and Richard Linklater definitely experimented with his film Boyhood because he filmed a coming of age story of a boy, but it’s shot in real time (12 years to be more specific), making for a cinematic experience that feels much more real and much more easy to connect with, especially if you grew up around the same time the main character did (like myself for instance).

 

Now with those films out of the way, let’s begin the actual top ten list.

 

10. The Lego Movie

A construction worker Lego figure running away from a bright light, with other Lego characters running alongside him.

Like most people, I sighed when I heard this movie announced because I thought it was going to be a lazy toy commercial, but when I actually saw the film, I was shocked to find it to be one of the best animated movies of the year (maybe all time) becauses it’s charming, funny, has great characters and projects the message of the importance of working together.

 

9. Guardians of the Galaxy

The five Guardians, sporting various weapons, arrayed in front of a backdrop of a planet in space.

I thought for certain that Captain America the Winter Soldier would be my favorite Marvel movie of the year, but then Guardians of the Galaxy came out and stole the show by being the funniest comic book movie of all time, having a vast variety of characters that are all memorable from the way they look to their personality and last the movie has incredibly fun action sequences that are on par with the action in the Avengers.

 

8. A Most Violent Year

A black and white photo of a male and female

I love me a good crime film and this film gives me flashbacks to the 70’s era big city crime films like the French Connection, and this movie incompesses the feel of those types of films with the way the film looks, the dialogue, the characters and so on, making for a great blast from the past.

 

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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I am a Wes Anderson fan and so it’s no surprise that the film he made this year would make it on the list, but I found myself putting this film in my top three Wes Anderson films as well because it has some what of a more mature feel to it from a darker story, but at the same time it still has the visual style and humor that makes Anderson who he is, making it a breath of fresh air while still satisfying fans of his usual fair.

 

6. Gone Girl

A man in a blue shirt standing by a body of water, wispy clouds in the blue sky above. A woman's eyes are superimposed on the sky. Near the bottom of the image there are horizontal distortion error lines.

It’s always impressive to see a really well made thriller because they are so hard to make right, but David Fincher managed to make one of the best thrillers of the year with twists and turns that are executed with perfection and the performances in the movie elevate the very unsettling tone of the film that will leave you with a feeling of emptiness, but in a good way.

 

5. Selma

Selma poster.jpg

This is a fantastic historical drama about one of the most pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Movement when Martin Luther King marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to secure equal voting rights, and you see every hardship the marchers suffered at the hands of pure hatred, making this a truly powerful movie.

 

4. Whiplash

Whiplash poster.jpg

How far is too far when it comes to teaching, well this film certainly dives into that issue by having one of the most brutal teacher student relationship ever shown on film and brilliantly portrayed by Miles Teller and JK Simmons who give amazing performances that pushes you to the limits when watching it.

 

3. The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game poster.jpg

This true story of a brilliant mathematician who cracked the Enigma Code is an amazing film that while has amazing performances and an incredible script, the main draw of the film is Benedict Cumberbatch who gives one of the best performances of the year, making a character who would have come off as just a detached asshole if given to a lesser actor and instead into a likable protagonist (much like what he did with Sherlock Holmes).

 

2. Nightcrawler

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To use the word unsettling to describe this film is an understatement because it’s probably one of the darkest films I saw this year with a chilling performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, some trully brutal acts of violence and relentless jabs at the news media like how our society seems to be obsessed with said violence.

 

1. Birdman

Birdman poster.jpg

This is not only my favorite movie of the year, but probably one of my favorite movies of all time because it’s such a unique specimen of a film with it’s one long tracking shot perspective, to the ensemble cast that is full of very human performances and last to the visual style of the movie is something that I have never seen before, all of this makes this film a unique experience that I say is worth watching.

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