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Top Ten Movies of 2014

I've never put together a top ten (less or even more) list before, so bear with me here. I'm frequenting other blogs and seeing some top tens being published, so throwing my hat into the ring seemed pretty fair, if not, at least redundant. There are a few problems I can think of as I prep this list.

1. I may not have seen ten films that were released in 2014.

2. I can never make up my mind.

Regardless, I'm pushing forward. It's a good thing I've been recording everything I watch because my memory isn't as good as it should be at my tender young age. Either that, or the movies that came out in 2014 really weren't that memorable, which makes the likelihood of a bottom ten list pretty high. I remember going to see Godzilla in theatres, but if you were to ask me what year that was, I would tell you 2013. It seems so long ago, and this is true for many films from 2014. This is most likely happening when those movies have received a home release and have been on store shelves for a while. Godzilla also points out another issue: I really enjoyed that film coming out of theatres, but when it came time to sit down and watch it again, I found myself turning it off. Anyway, here we go.

10 - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ever since The Royal Tenenbaums I've been a sucker for Wes Anderson films, and Grand Budapest falls perfectly in line. It has that perfect pacing, injection of humour and style that I've come to know and love. A great story, interesting score, good acting and playful use of various camera formats made this a guarantee for my top ten films of the year. It was a great theatre going experience: a bit of change of pace from big action movies, and I look forward to seeing it again (and picking up the inevitable Criterion edition).

9 - Life Itself

Over the past decade or so I've made an effort not to get caught up in reviews before watching a movie, and would occasionally look at professional words after the fact. Ebert was always the first stop, and I grew to admire his writing and take on films, as I've referenced some specific reviews in my own. Life Itself was well put together and really quite fascinating: from his early beginnings as an editor, to the history of the Siskel & Ebert television show, and sprinkling the past few years of life battling health obstacles throughout, this was a great send-off to one of the most significant players in the movie industry.

8 - Enemy

This is a brilliant (little) film with not just Jake Gyllenhaal, but two Jakes. And they both have beards, so it makes it that much more difficult to tell them apart. If it's not the slow burn, far out subject matter that gets you, it'll be how beautifully this movie was shot and presented with a unique colour scheme. This is a film that deserves to be experienced.

7 - Coherence

Again, this is a film that deserves your attention: it certainly got mine with only a few words. A random internet stranger (well, I do follow their posts at least) said it simply: if you like Primer, you'll love this. And so it was, I quickly went about seeing this film and was not disappointed. I was tempted to put it higher up on the list but I saw it but recently, so I'm taking into consideration that I may still be on a high from the film. I wont' give away much: seeing it (and many other movies on this list) without knowledge of it will surely round out the trippy, mind bending experience.

6 - Gone Girl

Come on, no list of top movies is going to be complete when a Fincher movie is out there. After first watching this, I was pretty happy to give it a solid 4.5/5, then it dropped down to a respectable 4/5. Maybe I just burned myself out, or maybe it's just not as good as I wanted it to be. While it doesn't come up to the platform I've put some of his previous work on, this is a great film and has many of the Fincher elements that make Gone Girl a treat to watch (re: lighting, for instance). Perfect performances keep you guessing (for those of us not familiar with the novel) and hooked until the very end. And yes, I had no problem with the ending - I rarely do.

5 - Edge of Tomorrow

Just as I was coming down off the high of Oblivion, this movie brings me right back up. It's a one-two punch of Cruise sci-fi, with a healthy dash of Blunt to turn this film into an incredible theatre and movie experience. The time loop/travel aspect is just downright fun and adds enough brain to an action film to bring me back for a second and third viewing within as many months. The visuals are terrific, and the pace is kept up with the perfectly balanced injection of humour and thrills.

4 - The Babadook

This was hotly anticipated amongst my social circle and it paid off in spades: Babadook isn't a run of the mill horror film with a gimmicky creature. This is a psychological semi-slow burner that explores serious subject matter: grief, single parenthood and wrestling your inner demons. Again, the cerebral part of this movie is what really speaks to me, but the performances and creepy atmosphere go a long way to round out this package of horror. That book!

3 - John Wick

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This movie exceeded all expectations: what I thought would be another clone of Taken, was much more than that. It's actually the simplicity in plot and execution (pun not intended...) that really speaks to me. From the get-go, Wick's dog is murdered in cold blood, which sets him off into an all-out, calculated murderous rampage that brings us into the fascinating world of assassins. Keanu is perfect, as are the supporting cast. The action is clean, incredibly clean and a welcome change from your typical cut-too-fast action films. Watching Reeve's manipulate his foes is extremely satisfying. And to top it all off, he apparently did 90% of his own stunts.

2 - As Above, So Below

What an incredible treat: this movie flew under the radar - probably because it didn't look very good - and fell right into our urban exploring laps. As fans of this type of material, my friend and I became instantly enamored with this film. Being a found footage movie can't stop this from us falling in love, as it's all about the subject matter. A relic hunter and her team go into the catacombs beneath Paris in search of something and come across the fabled doorway to hell. Of course they enter and things get freaky, tense and incredibly fascinating. 

1 - Interstellar

I wasn't entirely convinced to put this at the top of the list, but here it is anyway. Looking back at 2014, no other movie had me enthralled as much as this one did: the point where I bought tickets to go to a 70mm projection in another city, taking the entire day to travel and watch the film. I would see it a second time around and while the image wasn't as beautiful (those IMAX scenes were incredible) but the movie was just as good. It had my heart pounding, the tear ducts gearing up and my eyes wide open in awe. The visuals were incredible, the story was decent and the science behind it all was solid enough for a layman like myself to believe. An exhilerating experience that I look forward to seeing again. I've already placed my pre-order for the bluray.

Tags: Top Ten