Year in Review: Top 5 of 2014

Hi folks! I thought that this week I would take a break from reviewing films to instead review my year at the movies, and to recount some of my favorite and LEAST favorite movies I saw this year that actually came out this year. I figured I would start off with my favorites first, and we can work our way from there to the shittiest movies I saw this year. I will give a short synopsis of each, and also link the full article if you want to compare my recollection now with my thoughts then. Maybe I've since changed my mind? Really who knows, I'm essentially delirious all the time. At any rate, bear in mind that I'm not saying these were the best movies that came out, just the ones I SAW, so don't suggest movies I didn't see. Also I saw lots of other good movies, but I liked these best. So shut up and enjoy the list. Without further ado I give you:

2014: The Top 5 Tagline Movies
5)The Purge: Anarchy: Original Post here.
A sequel to a more conventional home invasion movie, The Purge: Anarchy offered more of what was hinted at by the original premise. A movie that was a consistently paced and filled with heaps of action. I was sort of on the fence between this movie and John Wick for the best pure "guys shooting guys with guns" film, but I opted for The Purge because it had a little bit more nuanced of a narrative, and it was paced a little better. There was sort of a slower section in the middle of John Wick, whereas the Purge: Anarchy keeps the action coming, as the characters attempt to fend for their lives in a nearly impossible situation. It also offers a seriously unsubtle commentary on this country's treatment of the poor.

4)Godzilla: Original Post here.
A surprise entry for me, as I had very little in the way of expectations when this film was released. As a franchise reboot made by a Hollywood studio I was definitely figuring that we'd have a marginally better rehash of the disaster we were previously treated to with the 90s Godzilla. Instead, I got a movie with a really cool Godzilla, that I thought actually captured a lot of the spirit of kaiju films, while still including some manner of human drama to give a plausible perspective for the action. Also Godzilla is totally awesome and breathes superhot plasma. Some other notable inclusions were Ken Watanabe constantly looking startled, and Heisenberg as a nuclear scientist. 

3)Edge of Tomorrow: Original Post here.
My number three was also actually a pretty big surprise to me, as there wasn't a ton of hype surrounding it. Based on a sci-fi manga, Edge of Tomorrow, or Live.Die.Repeat. or All You Need is Kill... whatever the fuck you're calling it, was a stand-out sci-fi entry in a year full of middling offerings, or occasionally movies pretending to be sci-fi (I'll deal with them on Thursday). This was a spectacular action movie, with an interesting and novel premise (think Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day) and a really cool and totally bizarre alien invader. The mimics are as alien as it gets, and make for a fascinating antagonist. Emily Blunt also gives an amazing turn as a totally kick-ass soldier/superkiller person. There was a lot to love about this film, and you should definitely see it.

2)Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Original Post here.
No doubt to the horror of true franchise fans, I've never really given a shit about Planet of the Apes movies (I liked the reboot film alright though, it was a good film in its own right). If a movie is just great however, you don't have to care about the franchise too much to enjoy it, and that was the case here. Dawn takes place a while after the world has been ravaged (as a direct consequence of the events in Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and follows a crucial tipping point in the diplomacy between the human survivors and the fledgling community of super smart apes. It has a lot of drama, shows a lot about the human condition (or ape condition I guess) and is packed with action. It is also tragic and sad, and reduced me to blubbery tears, as the audience learns by way of a super genius ape chieftain that you can never go home.

1)Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Original Post here.
No real surprise to anyone who has read my blog or even this post, my number one this year was without a doubt The Winter Soldier, despite my waning interest in a media landscape drenched in Marvel shit. Chris Evans is amazing as always, and leads a cast taking part in a film that transcends its genre and subject matter, to become a greater whole. Less a superhero movie than it is a political thriller and action film that happens to star some superheroes, The Winter Soldier exceeded every expectation I had of it, and raised the bar in my mind for the sort of movies I hope to see out of the Marvel studio. I understand that not every movie is going to be this caliber, but man I really wish it could be. If there was a single movie I demanded you saw this year, this would be it.

So there you have it, my top 5. On Thursday we will dip into sadder territory, as I recount my hall of shame list for 2014.

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