Another year in movies has come and gone and with it also comes another list of the best movies of the year. How was 2014 for movies you might ask? Well the summer only really gave us a couple of true blockbusters and it seemed the time of year that usually produces great movies we ended up with just some very good movies. While this year might have lacked a few things, there still were plenty of movies to enjoy, some more that others, so here are the 14 films that I found to be the best of 2014.
14.” The Babadook” The horror genre has seen some new life pumped into it after nearly being left for dead thanks to films like “Paranormal Activity” . While there have been a fair share of good horror movies, none were as smart and as fresh as “The Babadook”. Writer and director Jennifer Kent tells the perfect boogey man story that will make you again think about what might be in your closet as you sleep.
13. “Wild” Sometimes the ‘rediscover yourself’ story can be overplayed. That is not the case of the story about Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) and her 1,100 solo hike along the Pacific Trail. While the movie really shines with the flashbacks of Cheryl and her mother played by the brilliant Laura Dern, the rest of the movie shows the strength of human resolve and character.
12. “Ida” If I said black and white movie about a nun finding herself , and oh yeah, it’s in Polish, most people would run away. For those who stayed though , you get to see one of the best shot films of the year. A film whose only beauty is not only what you see, but also in the story on a young woman, who finds out about the family she never knew before she takes her vows.
11. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” While there might not have been any huge blockbusters this year, but this one earned its place among the greats, as well as keeping the “Planet of the Apes” series alive. With a story that keeps your attention and motion capture that will amaze you, this is one film that is ok to go ape shit over.
10. “Citizen Four” With so many documentaries to choose from that inform you, none stood out like “Citizen Four” . Filmmaker Laura Poitras made the right decision to film as she interviewed a person at first only known as Citizen Four as he told one of the biggest stories in the last five years. That person being Edward Snowden, and we get a front seat as he tells what he knows and watch as the world learns of the secrets he shares.
- “ Whiplash” While music and movies go hand and hand, when a movie gets the music right, it often elevates that film to a different level. Writer and Director Damien Chazelle finds that level with the story of a jazz drummer and his quest to be the best at what he does, and the teacher that tries and push him to find that greatness.
- “Starred Up” This was supposed to be the year Jack O’ Connell became a star with his turn in “Unbroken”. While he was good in that film, it was this little seen film that came out earlier in the year that showed the world what O’Connell can do. It is the tale of a teenager who is transferred to an adult prison, where he meets his father, who he never knew, and who tries to be his father the only way he knows how.
- “Chef” Sometimes a movie just works and travels by word of mouth as everyone wants to share what they found. “Chef” was that movie this year, a film that somehow made you have fun and hungry at the same time. It also delivered one of the best father/son relationships that was as good as the menu and the story in this jewel of a film.
- “A Most Violent Year” A movie that takes place in the eighties without all the big hair and bad fashion decisions. “A Most Violent Year” instead tells the story of a immigrant who fights to protect his business and his family. With stand out performances by Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, this is one of those movies that will surprise you how great it is.
- “Selma” It is hard to believe no film has yet to tell the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With the life the Dr. King lived, it would be hard to fit it into one movie. Writer Paul Webb and Director Ava DuVernay instead focus on the time Dr. Kind spent in Selma, Alabama and the history-making event that followed. With a moving story and a outstanding performance by David Oyelowo as Dr. King that is just as moving, this should be required viewing for everyone in America.
- “Blue Ruin” Revenge is a dish best serve cold, and in the “Blue Ruin” that is exactly how it is served. The difference from every other revenge movie out there though, is that Dwight (Macon Blair) wants to carry that revenge out, but he has no idea what he’s doing. Writer and director Jeremy Saulneir’s tells a great story of family and revenge with sudden violence and performances to match.
- “The Grand Budapest Hotel” One day I believe their will be a group of people who worship Wes Anderson’s movies and live their life by his morals. There is just something about a Wes Anderson film that is not like anything else out there. Anderson delivers what may be his best film to date with this telling of the adventures of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy Zero Moustafe ( Tony Revolori) and the usual cast of characters that pop up in any Wes Anderson film.
- “Birdman” or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) All you can do is marvel at Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s film about a washed up actor trying to reclaim his past glory. Michael Keaton is perfect as the actor who once played an iconic superhero, who must overcome his ego and his family as he tries to climb back to the top by preforming in a Broadway play.
- “Boyhood” If you could make the perfect story about coming of age what would you need? For Richard Linklater all he needed was to follow the same group of actors for twelve years. In “Boyhood” we watch Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he ages from five to eighteen and experience with him all the trials and tribulations of growing up. This is unlike any film you have and may ever see. Take the time to watch this masterpiece.