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
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.
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).
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?”
And then, you actually watched Edge of Tomorrow. That made you feel pretty stupid, didn’t it?
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Fireflies, Pom 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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-“
Oh, uh, Doctor Fletcher, I-
I’m no sabotaging it, I, really loved it, I-I-
(Starts straight-up bawling)
Whiplash is my favorite movie.
Whiplash is my favourite movie!
WHIPLASH IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE!!!!
WHIPLASH IS MY FAVOURITE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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.