Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Movie Reflection

It’s that time of year- the time where I reflect on my most anticipated movies of the year and re-rank them according to how they stood out over the 2014 Movie Release Calendar Year. I also will do a quick summary of my top movies of 2014 overall as of whatever day I’m posting this. If you want to see the original reasons for these rankings you can check out my post from April.

20. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Marc Webb) – Well I was right about this one in my anticipated summary; “disappointing” was definitely one of adjectives used to describe the sequel too. Underdeveloped Electro villain along with a crowded cast of characters for screen time and a complicated Spidey back story quickly turned this movie to mush. The only positive was the relationship between Peter Parking and Gwen Stacey. They had great chemistry on screen and appeared to setup future films nicely until the ending- Sony announced a Sinister Six and venom Spinoff movies after the release but recent Sony hacks revealed Sony is apparently spinning their wheels on where to take this franchise. We can only hope at this point the Spider-man IP swings its way back into the arms of Marvel Studios.

19. The Hobbit: There and Back Again (Peter Jackson) - TBD

18. Gone Girl (David Fincher) – Never read the book, and I’m glad I didn’t otherwise I would have been spoiled. I’m not going to divulge too much into why I liked this movie (for spoiler reasons) other than saying it’s probably Fincher’s best since Fight Club and it’s a 2014 must watch. I’m ashamed I didn’t have this higher on my anticipated list.

17. Unbroken (Angelina Jolie)- TBD

16. Blackhat “Cyber” (Michael Mann) –Pushed to 2015 and removed from my most anticipated 2015 movies- The Trailer looks incredibly boring and generic.

15. Stretch (Joe Carnahan) – I would call this the surprise of the year but I had it on my antispated movie list at number 15 and it ended up in my top 10 this year. Joe Carnahan rocked this humor- DO NOT let A-Team and Smokin’ Aces cloud your judgment hear. Stretch is light-years better than those. Ever since the Grey, Carnahan has been on a role. Another must watch for 2014.

14. 22 Jump Street-(Phil Lord, Chris Miller) Meh- The first movie was full of belly laughs but the sequel goes out of its way to remind the audience that its sequel will be doing the exact same thing as its predecessor. “The EXACT SAME”. Why would we want to see the exact same thing as an audience? There’s a few good scenes sprinkled in there, like every scene with Ice Cube, but the movie is an overall bloated mess. Let’s hope Sony was just kidding about the Men In Black – 22 Jump Street cross over film plans. Do expect a 23 Jump Street movie though.

13. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony & Joe Russo) – Totally exceeded expectations. The Russo brothers have a handle on how to depict great action with Chris Evans as Captain America. This might be slightly better than the Avengers as the best comic book movie made to date. We should be happy to hear the Russo brothers have signed on to complete Captain America: Civil War (and rumored to also helm the Avengers Infinity Wars).

12. American Sniper (Clint Eastwood) – The book was full of short stories of how the most lethal sniper in US history was able to get his reputation, but it also depicts a ton of internal conflict between Chris Kyle and wife on re-enlisting instead of staying with his family. That makes this a perfect story to adapt.

11. Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman) – I wish they had kept the ALL YOU NEED IS KILL title, but this movie is enjoyable, even coming from a young adult book adaptation. I have to hand it to Tom Cruise, he continues to play the same character over and over, “Jack, John, Ethan,” and it continues to work. He’s still an action star and get this- Mel Gibson is the same age as Cruise. Look at a picture of them side by side.

10.  Noah (Darren Aronofsky) – So glad I avoiding reading anything about this prior to seeing it- it could have been a major spoiler and I will leave it at that again. Another movie hard to talk about without ruining the experience for people who haven’t seen it. I will just say I loved some of the “Things” in this movie.  My only big complaint is the viewer has no sense of time passing. I felt like Aronofsky should have paid a little more attention to detail there.

9. Transcendence (Wally Pfister) – Just terrible. I was wrong to assume director abilities and qualities could translate to a DP. Even Johnny Depp’s stardom can’t save this movie from being an unwatchable mess.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn) – Though the Russo Brothers is probably a better movie, I put Guardians of the Galaxy ahead of it because I felt it was more of a risk and I couldn’t have been happier with both movies. I was a huge Gunn fan with Slither and Super and Gunn nailed the humor the tone the universe and it’s safe to say GotG2 will be near the number 1 spot of 2017.

7. A Million Way to Die in the West (Seth MacFarlane) – The only thing I would change about this movie is not having Seth MacFarlane play the lead- I think that hurt the experience to viewers who only know Seth MacFarlane for Family Guy. We got one of the better original songs out of 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE5uCw7y7g4

6. Jupiter Ascending (Wachowski Siblings)-  Pushed to 2015.

5. Tomorrowland  (Brad Bird) - Pushed to 2015.

4. Godzilla (Gareth Edwards) – Just a sloth of a film. Just all over the place with this story- I think they wrote it based on the imagery on screen- "Gee how do we get them all to converge on the Golden Gate Bridge". This Aaron Taylor-Johnson guy- Did he have a pulse? This is who you cast in a gritty major franchise reboot? There's an hour and a half of boilerplate Hollywood drama centered on one of the most stiff and bland actors in the world. If you thought the military was bad in the 1998 Godzilla movie- shooting everything in NYC, wait to you see the 2014 Navy by the Golden Gate Bridge! 15 School buses, no problem we got that covered. Ken Watanabe's character realizing that Cranston could help them was only slightly less hysterical than Matthew Broderick the earth worm expert helping stop Godzilla.

3. The Raid 2: Berandal (Gareth Evans) –If I had one word to describe this movie it would be: “Bonkers”- This movie is hard to watch- not because it isn’t good, but because it’s basically the most brutal fighting movie ever made. Violence, gore and there’s even a scene that resembles a live-action Superjail. Evans knows how to create great action, as depicted in this gif below- The making of The Raid 2.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson) – There is nothing wrong with this movie- It is everything you would expect in a Wes Anderson film- I can appreciate this movie for what is it, I just did not find the story as compelling as some of Anderon’s previous work such as, Moonrise, or Life Aquatic, or Rushmore or hell even Bottle Rocket. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, chances are you’ll love this movie.

1. Interstellar (Chris Nolan) – I cannot appreciate a movie more than what Chris Nolan puts on screen- He has the vision and ambition to go far beyond what you would expect in generic sci-fi. I still think there’s room for improvement with dialog (like Hathaway overacting the line “'Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.”)  and continuity, but overall his films are a marvel to watch.

Actual Top 10 of 2014
1. Interstellar
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Gone Girl
4. The Raid 2
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. The Sacrament
7. Stretch
8. Edge of Tomorrow
9, The Lego Movie

10. Nymphomaniac: Vol. I 

Bottom 10 movies of 2014

10. 3 Days to Kill
9. Willow Creek
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
7. The Legend of Hercules
6. Under the Skin
5. Transformers: Age of Extinction
4. Into the Storm
3. 300: Rise of an Empire
1. Brick Mansions
1. Devil’s Due