By TepidShark 11 Comments
I continue to love Giant Bomb, but I don't play as many games as I used to. However, I watch a lot of movies, and with Screened gone this year, I figured I would post here about the best and worst from this year in movies.
Best 2013 movie that I didn’t get to until 2014: All is Lost
I left 2013 feeling that for the most part it was not a great year for movies. After going back, there were a few more movies that I ended up liking from 2013. Her, 42, & The Place Beyond the Pines are few examples. What stood out about All is Lost, is how much of a bold statement it was. If you have only one character and very little dialogue, that is a hard thing to keep people’s attention for 90+ minutes. Yet, you are engaged the whole time. Yes, it is Gravity on the sea, but on some level it is better then Gravity, because they leave some things open to interpretation. All is Lost is a one of a kind experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Biggest Disappointment: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
I recently got the Blu-Ray of the original Sin City (It is a very good Blu-Ray too) and it is incredible how much the storytelling and visuals hold up. That said that was 2005. It took them nearly a decade to tell more stories in that world, and it is ultimately a letdown. To be fair, the actual A Dame to Kill For segment was well done, but the other two show promise and run out of steam by the end. After the watching Sin City, I wanted more Sin City. After A Dame to Kill For, I don’t need anymore.
Criterion of the Year: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
This was the first year I started to pay attention to the Criterion Collection and there is a lot of great stuff in there. This year, they re-issued the mind blowing Ace in the Hole, I got to see the original Insomnia, and marveled at the adorable Fantastic Mr. Fox, among many other great ones they put out this year. If Disney’s Fantasia didn’t exist, Mad World would be my favorite movie of all time and their treatment of Mad World is stellar. In addition to a high quality transfer of the theatrical version, they have finally put together all available bonus footage for the extended version, I have been longing for. Plus, there is a ton of great bonus material including the cast promoting the film, that I’m surprised has never been put out before. This is the version of Mad World fans have been waiting years for, and I could not be happier because of it.
2014 movie I didn’t get to, that I most want to see: Lucy
In any given year, there are plenty movies I can’t get to, but intend on wanting to see. Others from this year include Frank, Boyhood, The Fault in Our Stars, The Drop, Kill the Messenger, St. Vincent, Big Eyes, and many others. In fact, I came very close to giving Birdman the honor, but Lucy looks like my kind of movie. It looks like the kind of bat shit crazy that I would hope for. If it really is the dark gangster tale like The Professional mixed with the insanity of The Fifth Element, that sounds like something I have got to see.
Worst Movie: Transcendence
It is really easy to get down on the fact that this year had a fourth Transformers movie, (I have only seen the first one, and I thought that was terrible. From what people tell me they only get worse) but to be honest, I didn’t see this specific one. I think the reveal of who is behind what is going on in Non-Stop is stupid, but until that time, that movie is fun bad. Transcendence is just the worst. The leaps in logic in that film make no sense. It is just the worst kind of paranoia about technology and the future I have seen. I’m no futurist, but I seriously doubt anything that happens in that movie could actually happen in real life, and that would be fine, if they weren’t trying to portray it as a warning to people about the future, but they take it super seriously. It is the very definition of a mess of a movie.
Top Ten of 2014
10. 22 Jump Street
The Jump Street movies are a lot of fun, but if 22 was just 21 again, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. 22 has even more fun with the nature of exceeding expectations and sequels while at the same time maintaining the nuts atmosphere of the first one. And that credits sequence is one of the best things I have seen in a while.
Snowpiercer had a semi-crazy story about making it to our shores, so it is incredible that the director’s vision of that movie came out here. And while that vision may borrow from other films like Elysium, the way they show that is one of the most bizarre and visually interesting films of the year.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy
Most people thought Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be a disaster. I never really thought that. The idea of The Dirty Dozen in space mixed with Marvel’s track record seemed like a no-brainer to me. And yeah, it tries a little too hard in spots, but Guardians is ultimately a film that just fills you with joy.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel
This year turned into the year of Wes Anderson for me. Before, I had never really liked him, but this year I saw both The Life Aquatic & Fantastic Mr. Fox and found them enjoyable but not classics. With the mad-cap caper film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson finally made a film that I truly loved.
6. Gone Girl
David Fincher has been slowly turning into one of my favorite modern directors. If Her last year was about how people connect in relationships, then Gone Girl is about how they disconnect. I also appreciate how both men and women are equally to blame when it comes to the breakdown in a relationship. Gone Girl is yet another addition to Fincher’s already stellar catalog.
5. Edge of Tomorrow
Edge of Tomorrow had the ability to be either really stupid or something completely forgettable. Instead it is the surprise film of the year. It is really astounding how well the idea of action sci-fi Groundhog’s Day works. And unlike Transcendence, the concept being taken seriously only helps sell the idea to the audience. It may go down as an underrated gem, but it is one that shouldn’t be missed.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I feel like I’m one of the only people who liked the first Captain America, but I genuinely enjoyed the idea of a World War II superhero film. With the Captain going into modern times, the world is less black & white and it is hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The Winter Soldier is the best kind of Marvel storytelling, the kind that uses their characters to tell a story that reflects the state of our world. It is the Marvel film for the times we live in.
3. The Imitation Game
Alan Turing is a figure that not many people seem to be familiar with. Yet, our modern world might not be the same without him. But that is not what makes The Imitation Game fantastic. It is ability to blend several genres like a romance film, war story, and spy thriller, is something that has to be commended. It’s one of the best stories and best performances of the year.
I’m not really a religious person. So the thought of a movie about Noah, doesn’t sound like it would be that appealing. What Darren Aronofsky has done with this film, is make a film that tells the story of Noah without it having to be attached to religion per se. He also does a masterful job at making Noah a conflicted figure, and makes you question if Noah’s decisions are the right one. It is an incredibly thoughtful and well-realized film.
1. The Lego Movie
It may be a bad thing that the first new film I saw this year, also ended up being my best film of the year. Yet, The Lego Movie has everything you could want in a movie. Even though it is CGI, it looks beautifully handcrafted. The humor is legitimately funny, appealing to both kids and adults. But the best thing about The Lego Movie, is its message, which is that being creative is a wonderful thing and should be celebrated. It can’t think of a more engaging and memorable film this year.