As the big summer movie season is winding down and soon it will be Oscar season, it’s that time of the year to figure out what my top ten movies of the year, as we just passed the halfway point of the year. At this point I have seen 54 new movies, and once again, this includes any new or old movie that I have seen for the first time. And so the first cut, is the easiest, as I get rid of any movie that didn’t come out in 2014.
But as the final ten movies are locked it, a few just missed the cut, and those were Godzilla and Life Itself. I was one of the few people who enjoyed Godzilla, even with its issues, and Life Itself was a great look at Roger Ebert, a man who all of us who review movies want to be like.
But enough about the ones that didn’t make it, let’s get to My Top Ten Movies Of 2014 (So Far).
#10 Veronica Mars
Us fans finally got what we wanted. With a little help from our dollars via Kickstarter, we finally got our Veronica Mars movie, and I was happy with the outcome. Plenty of nods for all of us fans, and got me wanting to re-watch the series. I have heard some good things from those who weren’t fans of the show about the movie. Now we get to sit and wait to see what TV show is going to get a second chance on the big screen next. I have a few ideas, but I am sure you all do.
#9 X-Men: Days of Future Past
After a few misses in the franchise, we got back on the right track with X-Men: First Class. Then they brought back Bryan Singer for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which got my expectations even higher going in. It was a nice mix of the new and old X-Men and love the direction that they may be heading in now. We can all hope and dream that some point down the road, the Marvel universe will be one, and some great cross-overs will follow. Standout scenes would have to be Quicksilver showing off his powers, and of course the big ball park scene with Magneto.
#8 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
When it comes to the Marvel Studios films, my favorites were The Avengers and the first Captain America movie. The first was basically Indiana Jones, and the second one, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was basically a spy/Bourne film, mixed in with some super hero elements of course. I had some issues towards the end, but still rather enjoyed it. Adding in plenty of Black Widow in the mix is also a positive for me.
#7 Edge of Tomorrow
As I was compiling this blog, I made a slight adjustment. I did some more thinking and decided to put this one above Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This was one of those movies I was sort of meh about going to see. Yes it reminded me of Groundhog Day, but after it was released, there was a nice wave of positive reviews that piqued my interest a little. If you’re not a fan and can look beyond Tom Cruise, who I know is why some people had interest in seeing it, you can enjoy him dying multiple times in the movie. But we can’t forget about Emily Blunt, who sort of steals the show and looks great doing it as well (1:15 in the trailer). I had some issues with the end (seems to be a common phrase this year), but still thought it was a solid movie, and one I was glad to see in the theaters before it was gone. Another little surprise, how fun it was.
#6 Under the Skin
The great year for Scarlett Johansson continues into 2014, with a nice supporting role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Under the Skin, where she gets the leading role. This is one of those movies you need to watch with friends, as it’s going to start a nice discussion of what you just saw. I did not do that, and I wish I had. It’s also a movie that I would suggest not reading too much about it going in, and that is why I am going to be a little vague. Save the reading and research for after you see it. It’s a haunting film, with some great visuals, and an even more haunting score, which I bought after seeing it. I can’t wait to watch this one again, as it’s sitting in a pile of movies all deserving my attention.
#5 Grand Budapest Hotel
It seems I can’t have a top ten list without having Wes Anderson pop up, and this year is no different. He’s got a weird and quirky style and story telling, and you can love him or hate him — I seem to side on the love him. A cast of Anderson regulars and a few new ones to add to the list. It’s a weird story, but you’d expect that, and there is lots of heart and laughter in this movie. It may not change your mind on him, but I would hope you would at least give it a chance and watch it. The main reason I love making these lists is hoping to get a few people to check out a few movies they knew nothing about or had no interest in seeing.
#4 How to Train Your Dragon 2
I absolutely loved the first How to Train Your Dragon and was very hopeful that the second one would be just as good. And the fact that it is this high on my list, they did keep the streak alive. You fall in love with Toothless all over again, and get to see more of the world, along with a few new dragons. It’s going to play with your emotions, and also going to make you laugh. If you are a pet owner, they know how to make you relate even more to Hiccup and his friends and their dragons. And we know there is going to be another movie, and once again, we wait and hope that they deliver another solid hit. If you didn’t see this in IMAX 3D, you are missing out. The flying sequences were amazing and beautiful.
#3 The Raid 2: Berandal
Another sequel and another movie that delivered and surpassed the first one. If you thought the first one was crazy, they turn it up way past 11 in The Raid 2: Berandal. A longer movie means more amazing action sequences and plenty of chances to make you yell with excitement. Add in Hammer Girl and Bat Boy, a great car chase, and the return of a favorite from the first movie (though I will say the way he is used sort of threw me off the first time I saw it). But good news, the second time I saw it, it wasn’t an issue. And there is one more chapter in this series, and one more chance to make the rules in what every action movie should be like. Hollywood please take note, although I don’t think we need a remake, people just need to get over the language and subtitles.
#2 The LEGO Movie
And as we reach the big two movies, there is a theme to these movies. OK, there is actually a few themes, but the one I am referring to is the fact when they announced this movie I was little meh about seeing it. But after it was released, the wave of positive reviews piqued my interest and just a few minutes into this movie, I was hooked and everything was awesome. So many laughs, a few nods to other movies, and a great story all wrapped up in a block of goodness. It was a nice way to flashback to the fun of playing with LEGOs as a kid — hell, I think we can all agree that you are never too old to play with them. Life lessons in a movie about building blocks, I am just as shocked as you. More are on the way, and hopefully they don’t run this franchise into the ground, just as it’s taking off.
#1 Guardians of the Galaxy
A movie with a talking tree and raccoon, with characters most people don’t know, yeah that will never work out. Well unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week, you know that James Gunn and Marvel knocked it out of the park with Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes it was amazing, and yes it’s at the top of my list for Marvel movies, and yes I would choose this over The Avengers. I plan on seeing this one a few times in theaters, and I am glad I saw it first in glorious IMAX 3D. The amazing visuals and effects looked incredible on the big screen, but I have a feeling it will hold up on your TV at home as well. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, ’cause the amazing word of mouth is going to turn a few people away and perhaps create some huge expectations going in. But picking it #1, I have a feeling you will still enjoy it. I just want my dancing Groot now!!!
And there you have it. In my opinion, the best movies of the year so far. I will say that there are a few big ones I have not seen yet, so this may change by the end of the year. Although the one movie that I think poses the biggest threat to reach #1 at the end of the year, is Interstellar. And fingers crossed that it is good, otherwise I think the movie gods are playing with our emotions.
Do you agree with my picks, or am I too high or low on some? Feel free to leave comments below and post your top ten so far for 2014. Perhaps you will spark my interest in something I missed. I always try to get at least a second viewing of a movie before I do my end of the year list, just to make sure it’s fresh in my mind when I compile the list. It’s a big deal and much thought needs to go into it.