Ten Favorite Films of 2014

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Forming a Top 10 list at the end of each year is an annual right of passage for cinephiles. When you take a look back at a year, you are reminded of all the great experiences you had watching movies, whether it be in a theater, at home with friends or on your phone screen while riding a plane. As fans of entertainment, we like to decide what was the best of the best. While it can be somewhat ridiculous arbitrarily ranking movies (what’s better, Django Unchained or Wreck-It Ralph?), it always ends up being a satisfying experience finally deciding what you thought were the best films of the year.

Looking over other’s Top 10’s, it’s fun to compare and contrast. Different films affect different people in different ways. Drew McWeeney from HitFix provides one perspective, while Jeremy Jahns provides a different take on the year. The thing is, I love both of them as enthusiastic film lovers, and I have a different ranking myself.

All that being said, this is going to be a different Top 10 list, in fact, its not going to be a Top 10 list at all. You’ll notice how I titled this article, what follows will be ten of my favorite films from the year, this will not be my definitive Top 10 list. I will not write my official list (where I will rank the films #10-1) until sometime in February. Why would I wait until February 2015 to write my Best-Of 2014 list? Simply put, I have not seen nearly enough movies to make a list that is worthwhile.

You’ll see below, but as of right now my favorites of the year are pretty much all big blockbusters. I’m not ashamed of that, 2014 has been a great year for blockbuster cinema, but I haven’t seen any of the big fall movies. As the Critic’s Awards and Golden Globe Nominations have rolled in, it has been made clear which movies I need to see before I could even start ranking my 2014 films. There’s a handful of reasons as to why I haven’t seen them, the biggest being that a lot of these “Oscar movies” are only released in certain cities across the U.S., they aren’t given a full wide release nation-wide.

With that being said, here is a list of films that I feel I need to see before making my official Top 10.

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • Fury
  • Gone Girl
  • The Imitation Game
  • Life Itself
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma
  • Whiplash

Whether I purchase a ticket at a theater, buy the film on blu ray or rent the movie via Redbox/Amazon, these are the films I need to see. Once I have seen these movies, I will feel comfortable making an official Top 10 for 2014. Essentially, I want to see all the nominees before making my decision.

With all that being said, let me go ahead and share with you ten of my favorite films from 2014. Since I will be posting a full Top 10 in the coming months, this will be an abbreviated list. I will be sharing a few thoughts on each film, sometimes those thoughts will be quotes from my reviews from earlier this year. I will be posting the films in alphabetical order, as to avoid the temptation to prematurely rank them.

I’d like to thank everyone for reading the blog this past year. Whether this is your first time reading or you’ve been here occasionally throughout the past months. 2014 was a tough year, but getting to blog about movies and have some great discussion with you all really helped us get through it. Whether through Mr. and Mrs. at the Moview or here at Tarpley Movie Talk, getting to talk about movies with friends (in person and online) has been a great experience and it all started this year.

Ok, enough sentimentality. I present to you my first year end review piece (look for more over the next month), here are my current favorite films from 2014.


22 Jump Street

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“A great script and energetic direction could still be a bad film if the wrong talent is in front of the camera. Fortunately for us, there is tremendous talent in front of the camera. It has been said that Hill and Tatum have become good friends since the filming of 21 Jump Street, and it shows on this film. You believe that Schmidt and Jenko are real life friends. Their chemistry is electric and it is so much fun getting to experience their friendship through the film.”

-Quote from my Review of 22 Jump Street

Further reading: Thoughts from the Summer


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Comments on the film to be written in my official Top-10 (Because this will be there).


Chef

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“While the movie features heart-felt characters and witty dialogue, let’s not forget that this movie is entitled Chef. The film is a love-letter to food and the devotion that goes into making food. It’s one thing to watch someone make food and think, “that looks good” (i.e. something we see on Food Network). It’s another thing altogether to use strong filmmaking to make us swoon over the food we watch fictional characters craft. There is an impressive attention to detail in the film and it translates well to the audience. Make sure you either have food with you or you plan on eating afterwards when watching this movie, a viewing of Chef is not recommended if you are on a diet.”

-Quote from my Review of Chef


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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“Yes, the film is a summer blockbuster that features huge action set pieces, humor and an ape riding a horse while shooting two machine guns. At the same time, the film moves at a slower pace, giving you time to appreciate the depth of the characters, experience the thought that goes into the plot, and to reflect on the themes the film explores. Saying that the film is a good blockbuster wouldn’t be giving it enough credit,Dawn of the Planet of the Apes goes beyond the limitations of a genre movie and succeeds at being an amazing film that encapsulates both escapism and meditation.”

-Quote from Review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Further reading: Thoughts from the Summer


Godzilla

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“Borenstein took a page from one of the greatest monster-movies, Jaws. Like Jaws,Godzilla is a slow burning story that likes to spend time with the humans in the world, making you care about them before you care about seeing the monster. Many are complaining that Godzilla himself wasn’t in the film (the movie is entitled Godzilla, after all). On the contrary, I think he is the film for the perfect amount of time. If this is the Batman Begins of Godzilla movies, then this film perfectly built the character of Godzilla and unveiled him masterfully”

-Quote from my Review of Godzilla


Edge of Tomorrow

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“I can’t state enough how much fun it is to watch this movie. The film is so confident in its sci-fi world and time travel concept, that it can move past the otherworldliness and focus in a great human story.”

“I can’t recommend Edge of Tomorrow enough. It is a satisfying film-going experience. An experience created by an intriguing concept, tight direction and great performances by everyone involved. Go see Edge of Tomorrow, you won’t regret it.”

-Quotes from my Review of Edge of Tomorrow

Further reading: Thoughts from the Summer


The Interview

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Two things. One, the movie is extremely funny and is a very successful action/comedy. Two, YOU SUPPORT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY LIKING THIS MOVIE!!!


The Lego Movie

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Comments on the film to be written in my official Top-10 (Because this will be there).


Snowpiercer

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Snowpiercer is a film that is as much about spectacle as it is about exposing the prejudices in our world today. As Curtis and his crew journey from one train cart to the next, they are moving through the various classes and the film displays some smart thematic material about the world we live in.”

“The film creates a world that is dark and gritty, you feel the depravity of the situation. There are good guys and bad guys, and you care about our protagonists. This leads to some of the most thrilling and tense actions scenes released this year…the film is so well made I was sucked in from the opening minutes and went on the journey Joon-ho Bong wanted to take me on.”

-Quotes from my Thoughts from the Summer


X-Men: Days of Future Past

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“Though it may technically be a “superhero” movie, Days of Future Past is an extremely well-written and well-directed character-driven piece of science fiction filmmaking. Bryan Singer directs these movies with such gravitas, you feel the weight of the world and the characters, yet there is also breathing room and some great comedic moments. Although Wolverine may be guiding the audience through the narrative, the film is about Charles Xavier, Mystique and Magneto. These three characters are still growing and their journeys are so rich and filled with emotion, the film rewards the viewer for getting invested. Expect a review to come soon, but for the time being, just know that X-Men:Days of Future Past is extremely satisfying and is not to be missed.”

-Quote from my Thoughts from the Summer


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