There's no Anthony T's #TBT but I have my list for the best film of 2014. It’s nine day late, but it’s the first time that I’ve decided to do one of these best of list in almost five years. This year was a tough one considering I didn’t see film like “Boyhood”, “The Imitation Game” and other before 12/31/2014. Still, I managed to come up with a top 10 list for 2014.
Before I get started, here are my honorable mentions for 2014.
Neighbors, The Raid 2, On the Job, Begin Again, Only Lovers Left Alive, Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead, Draft Day, Rigor Mortis and Oculus.
Now, let’s get on with my top 10 of 2014.
10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The film is the first of two Marvel films on my list. “Captain America: The Winter Solider” was a big improvement from the last Captain America film. One of the things that I liked about this film was the fact it was able to blend in spy film elements with its dark comic bookish story. It made the film entertaining and kept my interest throughout the film as the action was suspenseful. The film also had great action sequences and an intense story that made this comic book film very good. It’s amazing how Marvel is light years better than DC when it comes to putting out entertaining and serious comic book films.
9. The Legos Movie.
If you told me that this film would be on my top 10 of 2014 list last year, I would’ve laugh at you. But to my surprise, everything is awesome with “The Lego Movie”. One of the things that I liked about this was the film had an entertaining story. I liked how everything was fun from the characters to the story itself. It made me interested in these characters especially Batman, who should get his own Legos spinoff film. The other thing that I liked about it was the film’s screenplay. Whether it’s the way the dialogue was written to how they develop the characters, it manages to keep my interest considering that I’m not that big into any family film outside Disney or has Minions in them. “The Lego Movie” was the year’s biggest surprise as I expected this film would be an epic failure, instead it’s in my top 10 films of 2014.
My number 8 and 7 films were two of the most disturbing films of the year.
“Found” was very one of most difficult films to sit through this year through its violence and dialogue but it helped with the film’s shocking and gloomy tone. One of the things that make this very good was Scott Schirmer’s direction. He made everything that come off as very dark and disturbing. It helped with the film’s shock value. The other thing I liked about this was the lead performances. Both Gavin Brown and Ethan Philbeck did a very good job making sure the performances were mature. It helped with the film’s tone and made some of the scenes very shocking. This is one of those films where you’re left in a state of shock.
7. The Sacrament
“The Sacrament” is another one of those films that shocks you to the core. One of the reasons for that was Ti West’s direction. This is clearly his best film considering he’s done some very good ones like “House of the Devil” and “The Innkeepers”. What makes this his best was the way that he executes everything. From the great performances from A.J Bowen and Gene Jones to how the cinematography was handled, it brought a very dark and shocking tone to the film especially with the ending. It was one of a few times that I horrified all year.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
Going into this film, I thought it would be the least successful of all the Marvel films in terms of box office numbers. By the end of the summer, I was surprised that it made the most money out of all the summer films considering that “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and Disney’s “Maleficent” came out this summer. What makes this film very good was the way the director and co-writer James Gunn makes sure that the characters are entertaining and interesting. It also helped that the screenplay was very good. It had interesting characters with an entertaining story that keeps the comic book fan at heart interested. This was the only film that I’ve seen more than once in theaters this year.
5. Cheap Thrills
“Cheap Thrills” was my favorite horror film of the year. What makes this film great was the direction of first time director E.L. Katz. Whether it’s the way he handles the shocking scenes to the way he directs his cast, every aspects works so well that you’re horrified with the film’s action. The film also had one of the best ensemble casts of the year. There were great performances from Pat Healy, David Koechner, Ethan Embry and Sara Paxton. It made all the twisted action work. It also helped that it had a great screenplay that developed its characters and had effective dark humor that makes everything work. It’s worth checking if you’re into dark humor.
“Chef was one of those films that left a smile on my face this year. One of the reasons that I enjoyed this so much was Jon Faveru’s screenplay and direction. He does a very good keeping the film’s upbeat tone through his direction and writing. It helped kept my interested from the start to the end of the film. That’s something that you need for a film like this to be great. The other thing that I liked about this screenplay was the fact it focuses heavily on the main character and his journey to get back up after being quitting his job and his relationship with son. It made the story entertaining throughout. It’s one of those forgotten films that got lost in the shuffle this year.
“Snowpiercer” is the second film on this list to feature Chris Evans as the lead. This was the best film that was released this summer and it’s a shame that it was relegated to limited theatrical release and VOD. For a while, this was going to be my number one film of 2014. One of the reasons that makes his film great was Joon-ho Bong’s direction. He does a great job with the way the approaches the material. Whether it’s the film’s shocking violence to some of the great action set pieces, this film manages to stay on course and keep my interest considering the film is very dark in tone. Never I was lost considering that the film’s message was preachy at times or the fact it’s violent throughout. The other thing that makes this film great were the performances. Both Evans and Tilda Swinton were excellent. They both did a very good job making their character’s stand out. It made help make this film worth watching considering the subject matter that this film deals with. “Snowpiercer” is truly one of the best post-apocalyptic films that I’ve seen.
One of things that I liked about my two and my number one film is that they were original in the way it was filmed and approached from a director and screenwritter standpoint.
2. 20,000 Days on Earth
When I first heard about 20,000 Days of Earth, I didn’t care much for it until I was blown away by the film’s trailer. Thankfully, this lived up to the trailer and my list of the best films of the year. One of the reasons for it was the way that everything gelled together perfectly. This and my number one film were original in the style it was filmed and approached. Whether it’s the behind the scenes footage of Nick Cave’s album “Push the Sky Away” to some of the film’s scripted parts and some of his performances, it made this film fascinating to watch and brought a sense of energy that few films did this year. The other thing that I liked was the way that the screenplay and direction incorporates Cave’s narration from his point of view. It gave this film’s its interesting and captivating vibe that persists through the whole film. This is truly one of those films that you should check out, if you’re into Nick Cave’s music and screenwriting work.
1. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" is the year’s most unique and entertaining films and my favorite film of 2014. The film marks Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s first feature film since his 2010 film “Biutiful”. This was a great film from start to finish. He does a great job with the way that he handles his approach to the material and all the film’s long takes. It helped give the film its raw feel which made the film move at a good pace. Also, everything in the screenplay and his directions flowed with well. Whether its direction and use of the film’s score to how the characters seemed important, it keeps your interest throughout. The acting was also great in this film. If Michael Keaton isn’t being highly considered for Best Actor, then there’s something wrong. He delivers the year’s best performances of the year. The performances added to this film, as it helped keep my interest through. It has some very good supporting performances from Zach Graffians, Emma Stone and Edward Norton who should get a supporting actor nomination out of this. I truly hope that this film wins Best Picture and Best Actor at this year’s Academy Awards.