My (Revised) Top 20 Movies of 2014

Three of these didn’t blow.

I know I originally did this list way back in late December, but it would be kind of stupid of me to have watched all those movies I watched for Oscar season and having had my opinion evolve without re-doing the list. So, uh, here you go.

20. Big Hero 6

Dear god, do I want a Baymax plushie. Have I mentioned that yet? I don’t care, I still want one.

Genres: Animated, superhero, comedy

Directed by: Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt)

Voices of: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans, Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Daniel Henney

I’m personally still pissed that it won Best Animated Feature, but I’m also not going to deny that Big Hero 6 is an incredibly likable movie, if not the most original or unpredictable. To be absolutely truthful, this movie probably wouldn’t rate as highly in my mind if it wasn’t for Baymax, but the other characters hold their own in terms of likability, especially Hiro and his brother, though the side characters get their share of laughs as well.

They really should’ve picked one way to pronounce “Hiro” and stuck with it, though. That’s pretty goddamn annoying.

19. The Lego Movie

Genres: Animated, comedy, adventure

Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street)

Voices of: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman

I didn’t love The Lego Movie nearly as much as some people did, but, again, I still thought it was a great movie. I thought the buildup was kind of weaker than I expected, but the rest of the film is pretty terrific fun. It’s definitely the best piece of incredibly conspicuous product placement ever made, if nothing else.

Ant it’s not even close, realy.

18. 22 Jump Street

Genres: Comedy, action

Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (See above)

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Ice Cube

The second straight Phil Lord/Christopher Miller project on my list had, like The Lego Movie, kind of a weak buildup that kind of disappointed me. Thankfully, when it does pick it up, it grabs hold of the intensity knob (Heh) and turns that shit up to 11 (Out of a possible five).

“I am the unicorn wizard!!!…”

It’s not quite as good as the first movie, but as long as Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube keep delivering, I genuinely wouldn’t mind seeing some of the joke sequels that were teased during the credits.

17. Edge of Tomorrow

Genres: Science fiction, action

Directed by: Doug Liman (Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity, Fair Game)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

Admit it, you took one look at the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow (Or All You Need is Kill. Or Live. Die. Repeat.) and rolled your eyes. “Oh great, another Tom Cruise sci-fi movie. Why can’t this Scientologist prick just fuck off into irrelevancy and take his smug-ass demeanor (As well as his tremendous talent for making action movies) with him?” Then you learnt about the plot. “Oh, fucking brilliant. Oblivion meets Groundhog Day??? Jesus Christ, are there no more original ideas in Hollywood?”

Yes. Yes there are.

And then, you actually watched Edge of Tomorrow. That made you feel pretty stupid, didn’t it?

16. The Theory of Everything

Genre: Biographical romantic drama

Directed by: James Marsh (Man on Wire, Project Nim)

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis, Maxine Peake

This movie has gotten a lot of recent criticism for essentially being just another paint-by-numbers Oscar movie, but even so, I really like it. I definitely understand the complaint that it’s a merely okay movie with good performances, but when those performances are as good as the ones you get from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, I frankly don’t see that much reason to hate it all that much. I can understand being adverse to it, but I enjoy it, personally.

15. Selma

Genre: Historical drama

Directed by: Ava DuVernay

Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Giovanni Ribisi, Lorraine Touissant, Stephen James, Wendell Pierce, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey

It’s bullshit that Ava DuVernay didn’t get nominated. And that’s all I have to say about that.

14. The Imitation Game

Genre: Historical thriller

Directed by: Morten Tyldum (Headhunters)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Mark Strong

Much like (Although maybe not quite as much as) The Theory of Everything for being another “Oscar-bait” movie, and while I do generally have a problem with that term, I can see what people get at when they criticize it. That said, even more than The Theory of Everything, I love this movie, mostly for Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance.

13. John Wick

Genre: Action thriller

Directed by: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem DeFoe

Oh, just read the entry for Edge of Tomorrow again.

12. Top Five

Genre: Comedy

Directed by: Chris Rock

Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, J.B. Smoove, Cedric the Entertainer, Tracy Morgan

Cedric the Entertainer is fucking disgusting. This movie has convinced me of that.

Also, DMX has the voice of an angel.

11. Guardians of the Galaxy

Genre: Superhero

Directed by: James Gunn (Slither)

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

I saw this movie four times in theatres, and it got a little better each time for me. I’m sure most of you are sick to death of it by now, so I’ll just say that if you haven’t seen it yet, do so immediately.

10. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Genres: Anime, drama, fantasy

Directed by: Isao Takahata (Grave of the FirefliesPom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas)

Voices of: Asi Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii, Nobuko Miyamoto, Atsuko Takahata

English dub: Chloe Grace Moretz, Darren Criss, James Caan, Mary Steenbergen, Lucy Liu

I haven’t talked very much about Studio Ghibli, as I’m just now starting to get into Japan’s answer to Disney, but The Tale of the Princess Kaguya sold me on them. As cliched a noun as “beautiful” is in describing movies, it’s a perfect word to describe this dreamlike movie. The art style in this movie is brilliantly executed, and the last fifteen to twenty minutes or so are composed of some of the best animated sequences I’ve ever seen. Also, the soundtrack in this movie is terrific. It figures that I’d get into Studio Ghibli right when they decided to go on a hiatus.

9. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Genres: Animated, fantasy

Directed by: Dean DeBlois (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon)

Voices of: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrara, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

As much as I loved Princess Kaguya, it just couldn’t beat out my highly developed Western ethnocentrism.

8. Nightcrawler

Genre: Crime thriller

Directed by: Dan Gilroy

Starring: Jake Gyllenhal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton

It’s bullshit that Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t get nominated. That’s all I have to say about that (Again).

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Genre; Superhero

Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo (Community)

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson

Terrific movie, but did we ever ind out what happened to Red Skull in the first movie? That kinda seems like something you wouldn’t wanna gloss over.

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Genre: Comedy

Directed by: Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom)

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric

The Grand Budapest Hotel is actually the only Wes Anderson movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s tough to think that any of his movies could possibly be better than The Grand Budapest Hotel. Just give me dark, whimsical, occasionally crude humour in formal, colourful environments and I’ll be putty in your hand, I guess.

5. Gone Girl

Genre: Psychological thriller

Directed by: David Fincher (Seven, The Game, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris

Blood…. So much blood… Poor Ben…

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Genre: Science fiction

Directed by: Matt Reeves (Let Me In)

Starring: Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee

It’s bullshit that Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell… Ah, fuck it.

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Genre: Superhero

Directed by: Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicolas Hoult, Evan Peters, Ellen Page, Peter Dinkage, Shawn Ashmore

With all the love that Marvel movies keep getting, it’s easy to forget that Fox has been churning out quality X-Men movies (Brett Ratner and shitty Deadpool aside). Days of Future Past (Based on the popular story arc fro mthe comics) continues on in that tradition, combining the older actors from the original trilogy with the newer actors from X-Men: First Class. Hopefully, X-Men: Apocalypse is just as good. Also, while we’re hopin  things, I hope the sexual assault allegations against Bryan Singer turn out to be false.

One of those definitely seems more likely than the other. But hey, Channing Tatum’s gonna be Gambit and Nightcrawler is coming back, so it all works out in the end.

2. Whiplash

Genre: Drama

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist

Until I saw Whiplash, I thought for the longest time that there wasn’t any real competition for my favourite movie of the year. It didn’t quite get there, but hey, 2nd place ain’t bad. J.K. Simmons especially did a really good job-“

“Excuse me? You dropped my movie to second place for some fucking Hollywood circle jerk art house piece of shit?”

Oh, uh, Doctor Fletcher, I-

“Did I say you could speak, bitch?”

(Whimpers)

“If you deliberately sabotage my movie, I will gut you like a pig!”

I’m no sabotaging it, I, really loved it, I-I-

“Oh my dear god, are you actually crying? Are you one of those single-tear people?”

N–n-no!!

“You are a worthless pansy-ass who is now weeping and slobbering all over your keyboard like a nine year old girl! “

(Starts straight-up bawling)

“… Whiplash is your favourite movie. Say it.”

Whiplash is my favorite movie.

“Say it so the entire internet can hear you. “

Whiplash is my favourite movie! 

“LOUDER!!!”

WHIPLASH IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE!!!!

” You are a worthless, friendless, faggot-lipped little piece of shit who is under the delusion that he has any writing talent to share with anybody, and who is now weeping and slobbering all over his computer like a fucking nine-year old girl! So for the final, FATHER-FUCKING time, SAY IT LOUDER! “

WHIPLASH IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

…Start practicing harder, Rollins.

(Resumes sobbing)

1. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Genres: Surreal comedy, black comedy

Directed by: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel)

Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan

No, I’m not bandwagoning. I loved Birdman even before it won Best Picture. If you really want me to go into it, read my review, or my Oscar predictions, for that matter. It’s my favourite movie of this year, possibly one of my favourite movies of all time, and that’s really all you can ask out of a year in movies.

Especially when there’ no hilarious Nicolas Cage performance to rewatch. God, that movie blows/

The 5 Biggest Oscar Screw-Ups of This Year’s Nominations

Even the statues seem miffed about Jake Gyllenhaal getting snubbed.

The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced early Thursday morning, and, merely a year removed from the pleasant surprises that were the nominations last year, I was feeling pretty positive about the Academy’s ability to make smart decisions about who they would nominate.

And then, this clusterfuck of a ballot surfaced. Ho-ly-shit.

I’m sure there must be other colossal mistakes that just aren’t coming to me, but these are the biggest blunders that come to my mind when I think of this year’s ballot. Let’s dive right in.

5. No Recognition for Voice or Motion Capture Performances

The Oscars: Once again proudly displaying their bias against black people, women and tiny Englishmen with whiteheads all over their faces.

Look Academy, I don’t expect too much forward progress from you guys when it comes to movies that aren’t entirely live-action. Hell, it took you guys until 2001 to actually make a Best Animated Film Category, seventy-four years after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I’ll get into the animated movies later, but using this logic, we can safely assume that it’ll be sixty-one years (Seventy four years after Gollum’s appearance in The Two Towers) before motion capture gets the respect it so rightfully deserves.

I’m not saying that you give Andy Serkis a nomination for Best Supporting actor, because a) Wasn’t he the lead actor in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? And b) I have no idea how to compare motion capture performances to live-action performances. That said, shouldn’t voice and motion actos get some kind of recognition? “Best Actor Whose Face doesn’t Appear in the Movie?” Something like that, maybe!?

4. No Best Animated Film Nomination for The Lego Movie!?!?!?!?

See Oscars? Even Benny the 80’s astronaut thinks you’re out of touch.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Despite everybody deeming The Lego Movie to be the movie to beat in this category, I did not want The Lego Movie to win this award. I wanted How to Train Your Dragon 2 to win this award. When How to Train Your Dragon 2 upset The Lego Movie at the Golden Globe Awards, I was ecstatic. So, in a sense, I’m happy that How to Train Your Dragon 2 now has less competition for the award.

That said, The Boxtrolls over The Lego Movie? Get a goddamn clue, will you Oscars? The Boxtrolls was fine, but it was no ParaNormanThe Lego Movie was earning consideration for a screenplay nomination.

Eh, at least that annoying song was nominated, so I can’t be too mad.

3. Selma…… Where are you Selmaaa……..

Sorry guys. We clearly have a ways to go yet. 

It’s so surprising to me that the power behind Selma (Oprah Winfrey, the American equivalent of Kim Jong-un) was unable to drum up a few more nominations for the movie, especially such an important, controversial one as Selma. I haven’t seen it yet (I plan to this weekend) but I have very high expectations, given everything that I’ve heard about it so far. The Oscars, being forward thinking as always, jumped at the chance to nominate David Oyelowo, who has been described by many to be the living embodiment of Dr. King.

Oh… He wasn’t nominated? Well, surely, the Academy jumped at the chance to nominate Ava DuVernay, the first black woman to be nominated for Best Director?

No? You’re gonna nominate the guy whose movie wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture?

…You people make me sick.

2. Lead Actor Shananigans

Yeah, I feel you, buddy.

This is just ridiculous. Jake Gyllenhaal and David Oyelowo being left off of the ballot is a damn disgrace. While I may end up eating my words when I do end up seeing Selma (I doubt it) I find it hard to believe that Steve Carell in a glorified Supporting Role (Admittedly, a great performance) or Bradley Cooper in his umpteenth consecutive nomination for a movie that is getting by on Clint Eastwood’s reputation, from what I’m hearing (I still need to see American Sniper) is topping somebody who has been called a present-day embodiment of one of the biggest heros this planet has ever seen.

And ditching Jake Gyllenhaal? Ridiculous. Fuck you, Academy. What the hell are you people thinking!?

1. Two “Best Picture” Slots Left Vacant

Look at that. Even the trophies don’t feel so good about this situation.

No, I don’t agree that accepting more movies dilutes the legitimacy of the ceremony. I think that even if a bad movie (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, for example)gets in, it’s not very likely to go anywhere when Judgement Day arrives, and that’s what really matters in the end. So when I booted up my laptop, I was so disappointed when neither Nightcrawler nor Gone Girl nor Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were nominated.

I thought I was gonna end with me guns-a-blazing, spewing vitriol, but I’m just too sad, honestly. The nominations are actually fine, mostly, it’s just that all the nominations, with the exception of Best Actor and Best Animated Film, are the safe choices, and I was also really hoping that maybe they could make some history with Ava DuVernay… I guess I’m just disappointed. Mostly pissed off, though.

Despite my whining, I’m still going to watch the Oscars in February, and I still plan on reviewing all the Best Picture nominees that I haven’t reviewed yet (What else am I going to do? Watch The Wedding Ringer?). I should have my Imitation Game review out within the next couple of days, and if I get through those relatively quick, I may review a few more of the nominated movies. You know, if I feel like it. Also, I have something special coming up that involves Batman, so keep an eye out for that.

Oh..Dark Knight was a movie that got snubbed… I’m depressed again.

Top 10 Best Movies of 2014

After a couple nights of sobbing, binge drinking, and being driven to insanity several times over, I was able to release my list of the worst movies of this year. Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to set our sights on this year’s best movies. Before starting, I must admit that I haven’t seen every movie that I probably should’ve seen by now. Selma, for example, won;t be released in a theatre near me until January, I haven’t had a chance to see The Imitation Game yet and, like an idiot, I missed my chance to watch Whiplash when it was released in Edmonton. Since I can’t very well claim to have seen the best of this year until I’ve, y’know, actually seen the best of the year, I’ll probably do another list in February after awards season, when I’ll have become a little bit less of an uncultured swine.

Unlike my…Other list, I actually enjoy watching good movies. Therefor, I have a few honourable mentions to get through before getting to the actual Top 10. These are movies that would be great fits on any Top 10 list, but juuuuuust missed out on mine.They are, in no particular order:

  1. Interstellar
  2. Neighbors
  3. The Fault in Our Stars
  4. Boyhood 
  5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1
  6. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  7. Edge of Tomorrow (Or Live. Die. Repeat. Whatever the hell we’re supposed to call it)
  8. John Wick
  9. Big Hero 6
  10. The Lego Movie
  11. 22 Jump Street 
  12. Top Five

Let’s give them all a round of applause, everybody!

Oh, right, before I go on, once again, this list is purely opinion-based, and if you don’t agree with it, feel free to leave your own list in the comment section. Also, I’m not going to go quite as in-depth as I did with the shitty movies (In fact, I’m only doing a caption for each movie), as I’ve already reviewed quite a few of these movies, and pretty much all of those that I haven’t reviewed yet are probably on deck for an Oscar or Golden Globe review. Alright, let’s do this!!!

10. The Theory of Everything

You will cry.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy

This is an actual thing that happened.

8. How to Train Your Dragon 2

“Nice pansy-ass white balloon robot. Check out my pet.”

7. Nightcrawler

Uhh…..Bamf????

6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

One of the most badass posters of the year, by the way.

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel

“You’re an inanimate fucking object!!!”

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I want an orangutan of my very own. Maurice is fucking awesome.

3. Gone Girl

..Ummmm… I’ll just give you two some privacy…

2. X-Men: Days of Future Past

The collective awesomeness in this poster is too much for most mortal men.

1. Birdman

What? No! Who the hell is this?!