22 JUMP STREET
I didn't expect much from 22 Jump Street, but I was pleasantly surprised. 22 Jump Street has some truly hysterical moments and is undoubtedly one of the best sequels ever made. One of the year's best comedies and a movie that barely missed my top 15 list.
An emotional roller-coaster with a terrific performance from Amy Adams, some great costume designs and a brilliant score from Danny Elfman, Big Eyes is Tim Burton's best in years.
After Cowboys and Aliens and Iron Man 2 missed with fans and critics, Favreau definitely bounced back with this terrific little film.
The Interview will likely go down in history as the movie that almost got canceled because of terrorist threats and that's kind of unfortunate, because it's also a terrific little comedy with great action and funny performances.
This zany, bizarre Hollywood comedy has great energy and is a blast from start to finish with some of the best voice-over in years.
THE RAID 2
The Raid 2 features some of the most vicious carnage ever depicted on a movie screen with some truly cringe-worthy moments. The crime elements are also fantastic (this film is like The Godfather if Michael was a martial arts expert) and that's what separates The Raid 2 from other action films. It's smart, it's intense and it's one awesome, bloody ride.
And one special exception......
Now finally, for my top fifteen films of the year.
15. INHERENT VICE
Inherent Vice is a deep dive into a world of bizarre and lovable characters that manages to be funny, smart and deeply felt. This was the most recent movie that made it on this list, but I just couldn't shake it. The characters, the atmosphere, the soundtrack- I simply could not shake this film. I had so much fun with Inherent Vice and I simply loved this movie. Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Katharine Waterston were all terrific in the film and Paul Thomas Anderson's direction is brilliant. Sure, the plot is difficult to follow, but there is so much great stuff going on that you won't care. You might not get all of it, but it's a very enjoyable ride.
Calvary is one of 2014's most under-seen and underrated films, a dark, uncompromising look at humanity, religion and death. Brendan Gleeson anchors this film as Father James, the priest who's life is threatened by an unknown parishioner early in the film. Father James spends the rest of the film trying to help people in his town, but eventually, he realizes that some just can't be saved. John Michael McDonough's film is full of rich dialogue and great characters- not a moment on screen is wasted. Calvary is an ambitious film achievement that takes on so many interesting subjects and uses them to create a complex, interesting film.
12. EDGE OF TOMORROW
11. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Dan Gilroy's sick and twisted media thriller is both a wickedly smart satire and a disturbing character study and it all hinges on Jake Gyllenhaal's incredible performance as sociopath Louis Bloom. Gyllenhaal gives his all to the polite, driven and downright creepy media journalist that will do anything and everything to become successful. This film sticks with you and it's a good test to see how far any audience will go before they absolutely despise a main character. With a strong script, great acting, an electrifying score and cinematography that perfectly captures the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, Nightcrawler is a film that will not be forgotten any time soon.
One of 2014's biggest surprises for me was Snowpiercer. I had heard about the film before, but when I rented it, I had no idea that I was about to watch one of 2014's most stunning films. Chris Evans is fantastic in this disturbing and incredible trip through a messed up society that is ravaged by class issues. The action scenes are invigorating and some of the individual moments (Evans' monologue is awesome) are fantastic. This is a great sci-fi film from director Boon Jong-ho, one that has brains and brawn in equal measure.
I saw Interstellar three times in theaters and each time I came away with something new and fresh. The first time around, I was deeply shaken by this film. I had just seen something, but I wasn't sure exactly what I had seen. The second and third viewings allowed me to get a deeper understanding of the densely layered plot (most of my confusion was a result of mishearing something or mixing up different things) and I was able to fully appreciate the vision that Nolan put on screen. Interstellar is one of the most ambitious films in history because it explores things that have never been done before. It's a 169 minute film that feels like an hour and a half. With great performances, a gorgeous score and amazing cinematography, Interstellar is another Nolan knockout. This bold, beautiful vision is my favorite film of 2014 and one of the best films of the decade so far.
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