Andrew: Hello dear readers. Long time, no post. We know. We've been positively awful about reviewing and posting other content on the blog the past few months. And it's not that we're not seeing films - because we are - but we've been pretty busy with our days jobs to the point that the time it takes to record, transcribe, edit and post the reviews like we'd like to feels exhausting.
We'll try to be better as the new year continues, considering there are a TON of great-looking movies that we're excited for this year.
That all said, with 2014 in the rearview mirror now, Sarah and I wanted to take the opportunity to look back at all fifty-some films we saw that were released last year and talk about which ones were our favorites. Unlike in previous year's, because of our lackadaisical job at reviewing all the films we saw this year, our criteria is simply that we had to have actually seen the film. We've included a few movies that we didn't post reviews for.
So without further ado, in alphabetical order after the jump, here are my and Sarah's respective list of our Top Ten Favorite Films of 2014!
SARAH'S TOP TEN FAVORITE FILMS OF 2014
22 Jump Street
Sarah: The first one was a blast, the second one did not disappoint. True, there was no Johnny Depp sighting in this one, but Jonah Hill being bitch-slapped by a girl made up for it. With all of Channing Tatum's serious roles coming out now it’s good to have these movies to look back on and remember that this guy is actually super funny!
S: This was another one we gushed over. We just couldn’t get enough of the music and the characters. We are so pleased to see that it got some much deserved love in receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. We are rooting for this one all the way. If you haven’t seen Begin Again yet, then take the 90 minutes and invest. (Read our review of Begin Again here)
S: It was no mystery that we loved this movie. Whenever I think about this movie, my stomach starts to growl. It was a great movie that gave an actual depiction of what life in the kitchen is actually like. I can’t tell you how many times during the movie I was taken back to my time working with a professional chef. It was uncanny. The story was simple and it may not have been the best performances, but it touched my heart and will be one that graces our shelf for many years to come. (Read our review of Chef here)
S: Yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! Wanna fight about it?! It was a lot of fun and showed a very abridged version of what happens when the NFL draft comes along! It made sports a little more exciting for me! Kevin Costner was perfect for this role and played Coster to a tee. Even being someone who sees the coming of Fall as the longest season to sit through imaginable, I was able to find some excitement and enjoyment over the research into players and managers as they face one of the most life-defining moments…for football players that is. (Read our review of Draft Day here)
Edge of Tomorrow
S: And I will continue to call it Edge of Tomorrow because this movie has gone through waaaaay too many name changes to be taken seriously. But it should be! This adapted story was so awesome, and actually showed Tom Cruise in his "cool" way. And yes, there is a "uncool" way to Tom Cruise a movie, but there wasn’t any of that nonsense here. Emily Blunt proves that, once again, she is such a bad-ass chick. I’m beginning to wonder if there is anything that woman can’t do! There’s not. I’ve made the ruling. (Read our review of Edge of Tomorrow here)
S: The visual effects in this movie were stunning. It had the cheesiest of lines but delivered in the most bad-ass way imaginable. And it brought back the Jaws sense of dread to the big screen for a whole new audience. Wins all around in my book. One cannot live on Shakespeare and Broadway musicals alone, we have to have some giant iguanas and something called M.U.T.O.S. to break it all up. This movie has that and more. (Read our review of Godzilla here)
Guardians of the Galaxy
S: This movie is a bit of a no-brainer. I am dyed-in-the wool, drinking the Kool-Aid, all-for anything Marvel. It’s a bit of a cult, sure, but when the movies make it fun to be in a seat for 2 ½ hours, then it is OK with me. This movie took a less serious approach to the already borderline comedy feel of all the other Marvel movies that made the audience laugh. And I mean laugh A LOT. Kudos to this film for taking all the pre-release criticism on the chin and reminding viewers what they loved about going to the movies. (Read our review of Guardians of the Galaxy here)
The Imitation Game
S: Benedict Cumberbatch can be in any movie. Those who say otherwise can just go sit at the back of the class. This movie was a little every-British-voice-apply-here but I was totally fine with that. The actors in The Imitation Game brought a gravitas and prestige to the screen that was a refreshing change of pace to what we had been seeing lately. This is also a movie that I have been wanting to go back and see again in theater, which cannot always be said of a movie. That has to count for something!
Muppets Most Wanted
S: I was a little skeptical going into this one because it just seemed like they were piling anyone and everyone in Hollywood into this movie. And…they did! But in the best way possible! No one hogged the screen (except for Miss Piggy) and the actors that did have a lot of screen time were secondary to the real stars, the Muppets. I actually liked this movie much more than the first one! (Read our review of Muppets Most Wanted here)
S: I was surprised by this movie. I haven’t always enjoyed Reese Witherspoon’s performances but here she took the cake. She was riveting to watch. It was sad in a way that was relatable to every audience member but Witherspoon's Cheryl Strayed was a character worth cheering on. This was a story that resonated with me to live life to the fullest. I hope that it does with every person who saw and will see this movie.
Whiplash - Stunning. If I could pick 11, this would make it on the list. That Miles Teller, he’s going places, man.
Horns - Yep. Me. I liked a horror movie. The creepy, Daniel Radcliffe American voice movie. I can get around a scary movie that doesn’t keep me up at all hours of the night.
ANDREW'S TOP TEN FAVORITE FILMS OF 2014
A: A sweet little musical drama about two people who don’t fall in love with each other, but do discover that they very much needed the other. Great performances from all involved and great original music including “Lost Stars” which picked up an Oscar nomination this week. Just an uplifting, well made movie. The kind of movie that those who say no good movies are made anymore needs to see.
A: Written, directed and starring Jon Favreau, this personal film of his is great for many reasons. First and foremost the food looks delicious. Secondly it’s sharp and funny. It also has a great cast that includes Favreau, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johannson, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey, Jr. But as with Begin Again, it’s just a sweet, uplifting movie with this one tackling the father-son relationship in a touching way.
A: One that probably went unseen by most, The Drop is a nail-biting crime film that literally had me on the edge of my seat. An understated by powerful lead performance by Tom Hardy carries the movie with an undercurrent of tension that builds and builds until the climax. It’s also a nice final performance from the late James Gandolfini. (Read our review of The Drop here)
A: The best video game movie ever. Seriously. Yes, it’s an adaptation of a Japanese light novel called “All You Need Is Kill” but the set-up of the film, it’s structure and execution is the perfect embodiment of what it’s like to advance through a video game. A classic Tom Cruise turn, a breakout badass turn from Emily Blunt, great action, great effects, just a great movie.
A: In my opinion this was the best overall movie we saw this year. It was masterfully directed by David Fincher, it’s a sharp script and twisted tale from screenwriter (and author of the source novel) Gillian Flynn, and it introduces what I think will become one of film’s greatest villains of all-time in Rosamund Pike’s Amy Dunne. That it only received a single Oscar nomination (for Pike) is a shame. It’s the only film we saw this year that stuck with me for days after we saw it. (Read our review of Gone Girl here)
A: By far the most fun movie we saw this year, which is saying something. Marvel and director James Gunn knocked it out of the park with their casting and dialogue. Equal parts fun, funny, exciting and emotional, Guardians is the best stand-alone Marvel film to date.
A: A damn shame this film was so far under the general public’s radar. I’m not even sure it ever received a true, proper wide theatrical release. But this thriller from Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (the duo behind 2013’s fantastic horror film You’re Next and the V/H/S anthologies) stars Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens in what should have been a breakout role. He’s scary and scary good as a mysterious Middle East veteran who enters and is welcomed into the lives of his former platoon-mate’s family. The film itself is gonzo in the best way possible and is a great homage to John Carpenter, right down to using his trademark title font.
A: A dark, seedy film starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a coyote of a man who strives to become the best freelance news videographer, or “nightcrawler,” in Los Angeles. At any cost. It’s Gyllenhaal’s best work to date (and he’s been doing some great work lately) and the film is just a fascinating look into the mind of a sociopath and the lengths some people will go to succeed. (Read our review of Nightcrawler here)
A: If The Guest was gonzo, Snowpiercer takes the gonzo dial and turns it up to 11. A Korean film starring an international cast led by Chris Evans, this futuristic sci-fi flick brings some of the best hand-to-hand action I’ve seen in a long time and inhabits a world fully realized by the filmmakers. That it’s a biting critique on class warfare just adds to it’s excellence. (Read our review of Snowpiercer here)
A: An indie film that took Sundance by storm and carried that all year into multiple, deserved Oscar nominations, Whiplash might be the most exhilarating film we saw all year. Miles Teller is astounding as a drumming prodigy at a prestigious music school in NYC, with Teller doing all of his own drumming in the film. And J.K. Simmons is even better as his terrifying, demanding instructor in what surely will result in Simmons garnering a little gold statue of a bald man to perfectly match his own lack of hair. It’s tough to watch at times but in the end it’s uplifting and a phenomenal piece of filmmaking by second-time director Damien Chazelle.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
22 Jump Street