Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Derek's Top 15 Movies of 2014

Getting married proved to turn 2014 into an eventful year for myself. The hustle, bustle and major adjustments in life caused my movie viewing to drop a bit this year. Plus, I find myself becoming pickier with what I decide to see in the theater. Take for instance comedies; I was interested in seeing Anchorman 2 and Dumb and Dumber To, but I figured I’d just wait for them to show up on Netflix. Anchorman 2 did show up on Netflix - it had its moments but not once did I regret waiting. I’m guessing I’ll feel the same way with Dumb and Dumber To. I also never mustered up the energy to see the third Hobbit movie. What’s it called again? I love the LOTR franchise with all my heart but was completely let down by the first two Hobbit movies; I found them to be endurance tests more than anything. I endured the first two in the theater, but couldn't gather the initiative to see the third. Now I’m regretting that decision. I could have endured the entire movie had I made it to the theater, but at home? I’m terrified that I’ll be multitasking the entire time, which I absolutely loath during first time viewings. We’ll see how that one goes.

Lets get to the movies I did see. As for my 2014 list, it’s more a reflection of my favorite movies more so than what I feel was the best of the year. Though, some blending of those two ideas does take place when making any subjective movie list. Take a look at my Top 15 of 2014 after the jump.

     15. Noah
Had this movie kept up its momentum, it probably could have ended up in my Top 5. But somewhere along the way - specifically the whole Ray Winstone on the ark subplot - it lost its stronghold on my attention. The evolution scene, however, is probably my second favorite scene in 2014. Check out the clip below.
 

     14. The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Society of the Crossed Keys really bumps this one up on my list.
     13. The Guest
So much 80’s revival happening in this movie. Plus that score is pretty epic in some portions of the movie.
     12. Birdman
Michael Keaton back in full force. I love that ambiguous ending.
     11. Under the Skin
Spooky, right? Plus this movie had one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever seen in my life. That poor little child. I can’t even.
     10. 22 Jump Street
An extremely funny, self-aware sequel.
     9. As Above So Below
My new brother-in-law has reinvigorated my interest in the horror genre. While I still find today's mainstream horror output mostly bland, this one stood out. Plus, I really dig the mythology here.
     8. Interstellar
Going into the black hole and that sweet spin move McConaughy performs are some of the greatest scenes I witnessed in 2014. Plus Hans Zimmer’s music, I think it’s his best work to date.
     7. Nightcrawler
A lovely creepfest.
     6. Snowpiercer
An interesting story on the separations between the classes.
     5. Gone Girl
My jaw was on the floor during so much of this movie. So much crazy happening.
     4. Whiplash
This is easily the best work of J.K. Simmons’ career, and he definitely deserved the golden statue for Best Supporting Actor. He plays a character I would hate and would never want to be in contact with in real life, yet I understand his ways and think his methods would provide fruitful results. I’m not much for jazz music, but this movie had me fully captivated from beginning to end.
     3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
I love how serious these movies take themselves. So much emotion! As a child I was always fascinated by the original Planet of the Apes makeup. Even more so with the makeup work in Tim Burton’s vision. I was originally upset that practical makeup wouldn't be a part of this reboot/prequel franchise, but once I saw the final results I was sold. I found the digital makeup successful in Rise and find it even more successful here in Dawn.
     2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
I’m almost guaranteed to like anything X-Men related. What else can be said about the Quicksilver scene? Seriously, as it was happening I began to have a crush on it. Like, I wanted to get the scene’s attention, get it to like me, and take it out to dinner. Amazing work! One complaint: I wish Kitty had to phase through the brain of the person she was sending back in time; it would have made more sense with her existing power.
     1. The Theory of Everything
I found myself taken aback by how much I enjoyed this movie. Maybe not how much I enjoyed it, more amazed at the fact it was able to stay at the top of my best-of-the-year list. Even with my loyalties to the X-Men and Apes franchises, this movie was able to push to and stay at the number one spot. For some reason it really stuck with me. I think about it often. I found it flawless in its narrative goals, masterfully performed by all cast members, and visually stunning. Not one complaint. Plus I got a little misty eyed there at the end.