Top 10 Films of 2014

Sin títuloWith the Academy Awards just around the corner I have finally been able to watch all the movies nominated for Best Picture to do my top 10 of the year. It was a tough list to put together and I still feel I have left out some really good ones, but these are my final top 10 favourite movies:

#10 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 1a6c2f4dab2c00b532c924ad8013ad174dd6d82e Director: Matt Reeves Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell

Let’s be honest, Andy Serkis is the master of motion capture. This movie has taken to a whole new level the amount of emotion you can portray through a CGI character. But the outstanding special effects are not the only thing that make this movie a perfect sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The story itself has more social relevance and depth than you would initially expect to find in a movie like this, proving that not all summer blockbusters have to be mere pop-corn movies to be entertaining. Review.

  #9 The Grand Budapest Hotel GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL_c371.JPG Director: Wes Anderson Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton

Wes Anderson’s unique style flows from every single shot of this film. Charming and gorgeous, it not only has a spectacular cast, extravagant and quirky characters where even the cameos are a delight to watch, but it also tells a great story that doesn’t stick to one genre and the dialogue is in itself a masterpiece. The Grand Budapest Hotel and Wes Anderson’s vision are a breath of fresh air in today’s filmmaking. Review.

  #8 Guardians of the Galaxy Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Team-Photo-High-Res Director: James Gunn Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace

When this movie was first announced a lot of people started wondering if this could be the time Marvel bombed. Centering the story around a group of characters that hardly anyone had heard about, amongst which there were a talking raccoon and a walking tree, and making the BSO consist of 70’s hit songs, Marvel took the leap of faith and, with James Gunn’s corky style, made one of the most successful and funny movies of the year. At this point, can Marvel do anything wrong? Review.

  #7 How to Train your Dragon 2 how-to-train-your-dragon-2-toothless-hiccup Director: Dean DeBlois Cast: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harington

Another sequel that was a step up from an already fantastic movie. How to Train your Dragon 2 took a more mature approach than its predecessor and showed that animated movies can tell an epic story, with unforgettable characters, still having a lot of heart and not being afraid to get a bit dark, which makes them perfect, not only for kids, but for adults too. Hiccup and Toothless are a duo that I will never get tired of seeing on-screen. Review.

  #6 The Imitation Game THE IMITATION GAME Director: Morten Tyldun Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance

It might not be the most cinematic experience of the year but the story behind it is so fascinating and Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Alan Turing is excellent. The Oscar for Best Actor this year is clearly a two-horse race between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne but at least he, as well as Keira Knightley, are getting the recognition they deserve. Review.

  #5 The Theory of Everything x900 Director: James Marsh Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis

A beautiful love story that tells the story behind the myth that is Stephen Hawking and his ex-wife Jane, that is not afraid to show that their relationship in real life was complicated, challenging and full of self-sacrifice, but nonetheless inspiring. Just for Eddie Redmayne’s performance, this is a must-see film. It’s breath-taking watching the way he transformed himself into Stephen Hawking. Could he win the Oscar this week? Review.

  #4 X-Men: Days of Future Past X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Photos-4 Director: Bryan Singer Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart

The X-Men are back! This movie could have been a mess with so many characters and timelines but Bryan Singer handled it perfectly, mixing the old cast and new. The cast is amazing and so talented but Days of Future Past is not only an epic, fun adventure, it also got rid of the events in X-Men: The Last Stand and that alone is quite an achievement… Also, Quicksilver kills it. Review.

  #3 Gone Girl gone-girl-DF-01826cc_rgb.jpg Director: David Fincher Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens

I found this movie so mesmerizing. Full of twists and turns it keeps your attention during the two hours and a half and it’s impossible not to be constantly wondering what is going to happen next. Rosamund Pike gives one of the best performances of the year, portraying such a complex and disturbing character. It keeps the intrigue and the tension going until the very last second with a shocking ending. Review.

  #2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier captain-america-the-winter-soldier Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Cast: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford

Comic book movies can also be great espionage thrillers and, without losing the spirit of who Captain America is, The Winter Soldier and The First Avenger couldn’t be more different.  Full of great action sequences, a major improvement from The Avengers in Steve Rogers, the movie also did a great job at focusing on characters that in previous Marvel films we haven’t seen much development for, like Black Widow, Nick Fury and Maria Hill. In addition, the introduction of the Falcon and an extraordinary “villain”, the Winter Soldier, make for a fantastic movie. Anything else? Yes, Robert Redford is in it. Review.

  #1 Whiplash Whiplash-5547.cr2 Director: Damien Chazelle Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser

No other movie has kept me in the edge of my sit like Whiplash did. The tension builds up throughout the whole movie to culminate in what probably is the best climatic ending scene of the year. The movie is elevated by its two main characters, a raw performance by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons who is so intimidating and demands your attention in every scene he is in. There is no doubt he will win a very well-deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this year. Review.

  Honorable mentions Boyhood: Such an achievement in filmmaking and the story catches live perfectly. Chef: Food porn. Big Hero 6: Cute, funny and epic. It’s Marvel. Snowpiercer: Weird, horrific and beautiful at the same time. Wild: An inspiring story, a self-discovery journey and an amazing performance by Reese Witherspoone. Edge of Tomorrow: or All You Need is Kill or Live. Die. Repeat., or whatever is called now. Emily Blunt is a badass. Locke: 80 minutes of Tom Hardy driving a car and talking on the phone. Begin Again: Wonderful soundtrack. The LEGO Movie: It’s awesome. Only Lovers Left Alive: Don’t worry, these are not sparkly vampires and the chemistry between Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston is just brilliant.

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

First of all, Happy New Year! Now, let’s star with some honorable mentions like Peach Perfect 2, Heart of the Sea, Jurassic World and Tomorrowland, films that I’m looking forward to, though not quite as excited about as the following:

#10 The Martian

ridley_scott_va_a_dirigir_the_martian_con_matt_damonDirector: Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott hasn’t done many great movies lately but I’m still giving him the benefit of the doubt. The Martian is based in the novel by Andy Weir, so the story is already there and if Ridley Scott can do something is making an spectacular-looking film and with this one being set in Mars, I expect nothing less.

 

#9 Minions

minion-miniDirector: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda

The cutest part of Despicable Me has finally its own movie and is of course going to be one of my most anticipated of 2015. Starring the minions, this movie is going to be incredibly funny and adorable.

 

#8 The Hateful Eight

-7882faad-1c50-4e2a-b005-b0e51c821e04Director: Quentin Tarantino

After what he did with Django Unchained, I just can’t wait to see what Tarantino has in store for this movie. The script for the film leaked but I’m glad he’s still making it, that shows it has a lot of potential.

#7 Crimson Peak

Crimson-PeakDirector: Guillermo del Toro

Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain in a movie together, do I need to say more?

#6 Spectre

007-bond-movie-announcement-new-title-spectreDirector: Sam Mendes

I love what Sam Mendes has done with the Bond movies, especially with Skyfall and Daniel Craig is such a fantastic James Bond.

 

#5 Ant-Man

Ant-Man-Movie-CostumeDirector: Peyton Reed

It’s not much what we know about this movie and the production has been a rollercoaster with Edgar Wright leaving after so long attached to it and some people are starting to lose faith, but, for me, Marvel has yet to disappoint so I’m trusting them for now.

 

#4 Pan

hugh-jackman-in-an-image-from-the-new-pan-movieDirector: Joe Wright

I can’t describe how much I liked the trailer for this movie and that is why it’s so high in my list. Peter Pan is one of my favourite fairy tales and I just love the cast gathered for this movie. The kid, Levi Miller, looks like he could be a great Peter Pan and I’m super excited about Hugh Jackman and Garret Hedlund playing Blackbeard and Hook. The only one I’m still not fully convinced about is Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily.

 

#3 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

imagesDirector: Francis Lawrence

The first part might have suffered from a lack of action and being quite slow but everything in it was leading up to this moment  and even though Mockingjay is my least favourite book of the trilogy, the movies have still to disappoint me and I’m sure this  will be an action-packed finale.

#2 Star Wars: Episode VII

2014StarWars_TheForceAwakens_Press_251114Director: J.J. Abrams

The race for the top spot was in a dead heat but finally I’m putting the next Star Wars in second place just because at this point, considering the previous films, I have a little more faith in Marvel. Still, I’ve loved everything related to this movie. The teaser gave us just what we needed, I’m very excited about some of the cast members and to see the original cast coming back. The most disappointing thing is to think is still a year away.

 

#1 Avengers: Age of Ultron

avengers-age-ultronDirector: Joss Whedon

The first Avengers movie is probably one of my favourite movies of all time and it seems the sequel is going to be at the same level. The trailer was just spectacular. I like the change in the tone, the new additions with the twins, Vision, and, of course, Ultron, who has the potential to be an amazing villain. Also, I’m so excited to see how the events in Age of Ultron and the relation between Ironman and Cap lead to Civil War.

 

Top 5 Worst Movies of 2014

#5 Pompeii

pompeii-pompeii-movie-reviewDirector: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kiefer Sutherland

First of all, I don’t consider Pompeii one of the worst films of the year but it’s in the list for being one of the most disappointing. Telling the story of the Vesuvius had so much potential and it was completely wasted in a lame romance, lame characters and quite horrible acting. What could have been an epic experience became one more disaster movie where, except for the eruption, not even the especial effects were that good.

#4 A Million Ways to Die in the West

a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-westDirector: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris, Liam Neeson

The worst thing a comedy can do is not make you laugh and A Million Ways to Die in the West not only failed to make me laugh but it made me feel treated like an idiot. The majority of the jokes were so silly and immature and I was expecting so much from Seth MacFarlane. Most of the cast was so horrible, even Liam Neeson was painful to watch.

 

#3 The Expendables 3

the-expendables-3Director: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson

Just because you can fit all those well-known actors into a single movie, doesn’t mean you should. Especially if you’re not going to try to tell a decent movie. If you rely just on the calibre of the actors instead of the story you’ll end up with something like The Expendables 3, a mushup of beloved action movies that border the caricature of its characters.

 

#2 Transformers: Age of Extintion

Transformers-4-Promo-Banner-2Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, NicolaPeltz, Jack Reynor

I’m so tired of Michael Bay doing the same thing over and over again and if it was actually good it might not matter as much but come on, how many horrible movies does he need to make before changing something in his filmmaking? This story is so lazy, is like he didn’t even try. And it’s so long. I was just waiting for it to end from the first fifteen minutes and it felt as if it never would.

 

#1 Transcendence

Transcendence-2014-posterDirector: Wally Pfister
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara

Transcendence occupies the top spot in my worst films of 2014 because I was actually looking forward to it. It had a nice cast, I was excited about seeing Johnny Depp going back to play a “normal” person and not a caricature as he only does these days, it had such an interesting premise… and completely blew it. The story was ridiculous, Johnny Depp did nothing with the character and worst of all, it was unbelievably boring.

Top 10 Marvel (MCU) Movies

marvel_cinematic_universe___banner_by_mrsteiners-d77vtby

Guardians of the Galaxy was the tenth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Definitely Marvel Studios-Disney are the ones doing the better job with their comic book properties and even when their movies aren’t the best, they are still pretty good. So, this is my ranking, I’m interested in knowing yours!

 

#10 The Incredible Hulk imgthe incredible hulk2

Director: Louis Leterrier

Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, William Hurt

Bruce Banner tries to find a cure for his condition which causes him to turn into a giant green monster under emotional stress. On the run from the military which seeks his capture, Doctor Banner will have to face another creature whose powers match the Hulk’s own. This is the only movie that wasn’t done by Marvel Studios-Disney  and even though it’s still entertaining, the story here isn’t that good. Also, I prefer much better Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner than Edward Norton. I hope he would get the chance of a solo movie in the near future.

 

#9 Iron Man 2 2010_iron_man_2_076

Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson

With the world now aware of his dual life as Iron Man, Tony Stark must contend with his declining health and face the pressure from the government, who wants him to share his technology. Meanwhile, a man with ties to his father’s legacy seeks vengeance. Even though the story and the villain wasn’t a match for the first Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was just as good. I loved the introduction to the Black Widow and didn’t mind at all the replacement for Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle as War Machine.

#8 Iron Man 3 review-ironman3

Director: Shane Black

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Ben Kingsley

The events from New York has left Tony with post traumatic stress disorder and when his world is torn apart by a terrorist called The Mandarin he embarks on a quest where he would have to rely in his ingenuity to survive and find the answer to the question that has been haunting him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? After The Avengers this movie felt a bit like a step back. I didn’t mind the plot twist regarding The Mandarin as many did but I just wasn’t too invested in the story.

#7 Thor ThorMov2

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard, Anthony Hopkins.

When the powerful but arrogant Thor is cast out of Asgard by his father Odin and forced to live on Earth he starts to learn humanity by falling in love with the scientist Jane Foster. This new-found strength comes into play when his adopted brother Loki usurps the throne of Asgard and sends the Destroyer to Earth. physically, Chris Hemsworth was made to portray this character and is so good at it. Still, the true star of this movie is Tom Hiddleston, who simply eclipse everyone else when he’s on-screen. The dynamic between the two brothers is fantastic and showing the realm of Asgard allows some great CGI.

#6 Thor: The Dark World Thor-The-Dark-World

Director: Alan Taylor

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Eccleston.

When Jane Foster gets cursed with a powerful object wanted by the Dark Elves and their leader Malekith, Thor must join forces with his brother, the war criminal Loki, to head to the Dark World and destroy the Aether to save both Asgard and Jane. Not many people did but I liked this movie better than the first one. I found it funnier and the action was better, though the villain wasn’t much developed to make him interesting. I liked that it wasn’t scared to go to the next level and kill off some characters. Tom Hiddleston was again a scene stealer and you root for him more than ever.

#5 Captain America: The First Avenger captain-america-the-first-avenger-production-stills

Director: Joe Johnston

Cast: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci

It’s 1942 and after being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers takes part in a top-secret research project that turns him into the super soldier Captain America. Along with his best friend Bucky Barnes, the agent Peggy Carter and his group of Howling Comandoes, he will have to confront the Nazi organization known as Hydra and its head, the Red Skull. I loved how this movie captured the style of the 40s. Chris Evans was simply made for this role, he makes you love Steve as much before as after the serum. It’s a great origin story and it was quite a risk for Marvel given that it deals with an actual historical event as World War II and its consequences, rather than simply focus on a hero with superpowers.

#4 Iron Man ironman-awesome

Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges.

The billioner Tony Stark, owner of a weapons manufacturing company, is seriously wounded on the chest and captured by a group of terrorist. In order to escape he develops a powerful metallic armor powered by the battery that keeps him alive. Once back home and seeing what his weapons are being used for, he stops the manufacturing and focus on perfecting his Iron Man suit. This movie represented the beginning of an era and Robert Downey Jr. has basically become the face of the MCU since then. Tony Stark may have a lot of imperfections but his wits, charisma and humour makes it impossible not to love him and is always a pleasure to watch.

#3 Guardians of the Galaxy GuardiansOfTheGalaxy

Director: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan,

After stealing a mysterious orb, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, is now the main target of a manhunt led by the villain kree Ronan the Accuser. He will have to join forces with a group of misfits in order to save the galaxy. As Robert Downey Jr. did with Iron Man, Chris Pratt channels his own personality into the character of Peter Quill making him iconic and charismatic. The villains are not a strong point in the movie and the story is quite basic, but the dynamic of the team is so good and, let’s be honest, anything with Groot and Rocket Raccoon is meant to be awesome. Definitely the funniest movie in the MCU.

#2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier cap

Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

Cast: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford

Steve Rogers struggles to adapt to the ideals of the modern world. Working now for S.H.I.E.L.D. and discovering that it has been corrupted and he can trust no one, he will have to team up with Black Widow and Falcon to face a threat that comes directly from his past. Very different in every way to Captain America: The First Avenger, and a definite improvement. Breath-taking action scenes, a fantastic car chase sequence and a great story. I love how the Captain America movies always take chances at exploring the actual world and are more serious in tone, still conserving part of the smart humor that is so characteristic of the MCU.

#1 The Avengers The_Avengers_NY

Director: Joss Whedon

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson

Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. reunites the most remarkable heroes: Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye, to defend the Earth that has been threatened by Thor’s own brother, Loki. This group of very different people will need to learn to work together and rely in each in order to save the world from an alien invasion. What can be better than having all your favourite superheroes thrown into one movie and seeing them arguing over every tiny detail? The chemistry between the cast is fantastic and Joss Whedon managed to find the perfect balance between the action, the comedy and even the drama. Loki, always fantastic in the Thor movies, makes again an excellent villain that can hold himself against the earth’s mightiest heroes. Phase 1 couldn’t have culminated in a more brilliant way and now that Phase 2 is nearly over its time to eagerly await Age of Ultron.