Thursday, January 8, 2015

Best Movies of 2014 and the Movies I Look Forward to Most in 2015

With 2014 coming to end and 2015 just beginning it's time to take a look at my favorite movies from 2014 and the ones I'm looking forward to most in 2015! Now keep in mind while I have seen a lot of movies this year (40 to be exact, not all in theaters though), I haven't seen all of movies that came out in 2014. Also, these may not be the most well done movies, or the most artist, but these are the movies that entertained me the most and stayed with me after seeing them. Now enough introductions, here they are!

What movies did you enjoy most this year?

(Also if you want to see my list from years previous here they are 2013 and 2012)

Best Movies of 2014

10. The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian Mckellen, Richard Armtiage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly
Released: December 17

While not quite as entertaining as Desolation of Smaug, the Battle of Five Armies was still a great addition to the Middle-Earth film series. This movie has everything one has come to expect from a Peter Jackson Middle-Earth film, incredible action sequences, beautiful cinematography, great drama, and an outstanding score from Howard. Many have debated that the Hobbit should have just been two films like the originally planned, and use to agree with that, but I will say that had a lot of fun with this series, and I am very sad that this is the last trip to Middle-Earth. It's not a perfect film, but it still is a whole lot of fun and a great lead into the the sensational Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

9. The Lego Movie

Directed by: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson 
Released: February 7

"Everything is awesome!" Everything in this movie was very awesome! I've now seen this movie twice and I feel like I didn't catch every joke in it. Never dragging or never slowing down this movie constantly entertains. It's not only fun, but it has a really great message about control, letting go, adding value to the world using our talents, and accepting who we are.

8. Meet the Mormons

Directed by: Blair Treu
Starring: Real life mormons! 
Released: October 10

Being Mormon my myself I might be a little biased but this was probably the most uplifting and inspiring movie I saw this year. Here's an excerpt from my review of it I did "This movie is a demonstration of how the human spirit to do good can still make a difference in the world... It shows that even the smallest acts of kindness and goodness can make a huge difference. It also helped me see the potential that I have to share and do good in the world." That explains perfectly why I love this movie. You can read the rest of my review here.

7. Lone Survivor

Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch
Released: December 25 (2013) 

(Technically this came out in 2013, but it didn't get a wide release till 2014) Based on the true story of the failed Navy Seal mission Operation Red Wings, Lone Survivor is one of the most inspiring and heartbreaking military films I've ever seen. It was the first movie of 2014 to get me to tear up. The performances are outstanding, and the direction makes you feel like you are there part of the action. This movie not only made me greatly appreciate all the men and women who serve my country, but it also gave me hope that even during times of terrible war people still can extend kindness and good will to others.

6. Dawn of the Planet of Apes

Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell
Released: July 11

Wow! That's how I felt when I walked out of this movie. Not only is this film an entertaining blockbuster, but it also has so much to say beyond just spectacle (which it has plenty of). I loved the commentary this movie has on war, the danger of misunderstandings and assumptions, the power of compassion, and the need to accept others who are different from us. The themes and messages are ones that I was not expecting from a blockbuster movie and I think we all need reminders of from time to time. I also need to give a shout out to the music, great mix of CGI and practical effects, and Andy Serkis incredible motion capture performance.

5. Captain America: The Winter Solider

Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford 
Released: April 4

Probably the best action movie of the year (and best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), but it also delivers great thrills, performances, and game changing consequences to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This movie was so much fun, but also carries great depth. It works not only as an action movie but also as an effective thriller. I love the competing ideologies of freedom vs. control and security that clash between Captain America and Shield. I'm so excited to see them explore this theme more next year in Captain America: Civil War.

4. The Imitation Game

Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightly, Mathew Goode, Mark Strong
Released: November 28

While I was intrigue by the premises of this movie I did not expect to be so enthralled by the story of Alan Turing.  Riding on great direction, outstanding writing, excellent music and breakthrough performances (especially by Benedict Cumberbatch) this is one of the best films of the year! It is both triumphant and tragic, and is incredibly powerful. It has a simple message to seek to understand the people around us and the need to work with others. Check out my review here.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace 
Released: August 1 

I didn't know what to expect with this at first, but holy cow no other movie made me laugh, cry, and excite as much this movie did this year. This takes the cake for the funniest movie of 2014 (followed closely by the Lego Movie). While being hilarious, it also some incredibly touching moments. I love the obscurity of this movie and how different and bizarre all the main characters are. In one movie James Gunn introduced us to a whole new side of the Marvel Universe and made me feel like I knew who each of the main characters are.

2. Interstellar

Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Mathew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin
Released: November 5

This movie may not be perfect or even Christopher Nolan's best film, but no other movie this year challenged me or made feel like this movie did. I love that I didn't know exactly everything that had just happened, and that I had to think and piece together for myself what I thought happened. Most movies don't challenge and make their viewer really think about what they just watched, and I loved that this movie did, while also keeping a very human and emotional connection to it all. While some scenes do take some time to develop the emotional pay off was always worth it. I got a little choked up numerous times. Amazing concept, outstanding music, great emotion, fantastic acting, and incredibly thought provoking.

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Micheal Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Ian Mckellen, Patrick Stewart
Released: May 23 

This was the most fun I had at the movies this year! I have seen this movie multiple times now and I still never get sick of it. It's smart, has new an innovative action scenes, thought provoking, funny, emotional, and exciting. All the ingredients for the best movie of the year. (I'm a huge X-Men fan, so I might be a little biased) The thing I loved most about this movie are relationships between the characters. The relationships makes the tension and action so much more meaningful, especially in the last 20 minutes were it turns into a conflict of survival and saving the soul of one of the main characters.

Honorable Mentions: Edge of Tomorrow, Big Hero 6, The Fault in Our Stars, Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1

Movies I'm looking forward to most in 2015

10. In the Heart of the Sea

Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy
Release Date: March 15

Ron Howard's new movie about a fresh take on the Moby Dick story actually looks really exciting!

9. Jurassic World

Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, Judy Greer
Release Date: June 12

The world of Jurassic Park is back! That is enough to get me excited. Plus it has Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle with Dinosaurs.

8. Antman

Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline, Lilly, Corey Stoll
Release Date: July 17

While it's had a bit of a troubled production, I trust that Marvel will be to deliver another fun and exciting film. Plus, it looks like they are mixing up the formula again.

7. Inside Out

Directed by: Peter Docter
Starring: Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Mindy Kailing, Bill Hader
Release Date: June 19

When I was a kid I use to always think there were little people inside in my brain controlling me, so I'm excited to see my theory finally come to life. Pixar always delivers the goods and this one looks like it will be able to deliver once again.

6. Chappie

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver
Release Date: March 6

There are a lot of robot movies and a lot of coming of age movies, but a movie about a robot coming of age, that's new. This looks like it's going to pack an emotional punch, and it's also got Hugh Jackman as the bad guy, and his Aussie accent!

5. Tomorrow Land

Directed by: Brad Bird
Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw
Release Date: May 22

I don't really know what this movie is about, but it looks intriguing. But the real reason I'm excited is because this is the collaboration of Brad Bird (director or my two favorite Pixar movies Incredibles and Ratatouille) and Damon Lindelof (writer of the amazing TV show Lost).

4. Spectra (Bond 24)

Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Dave Bautista
Release Date: November 6

I thought Skyfall was one of the best Bond movies (if not the best), and this one has the same team back for it's sequel, and it also adds Christoph Waltz to the cast.

3. Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2

Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Release Date: November 20

I loved Catching Fire and while I really like Mocking Jay Part 1, I felt that it was a lot of leading up to this movie, so I'm really excited to see how this series ends. No spoilers now though, I haven't read the books!

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johnasson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader
Release Date: May 1

Joss Whedon said in an interview that he looked to The Empire Strikes Back for inspiration for this film, but even if he didn't say that I would still be stoked out of my mind to see this!

1. Star Wars The Force Awakens

Directed by: JJ Abrams
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis
Release Date: December 18

And here we go, the movie that has been on my most wanted to see list since October 30 2012! While some are skeptical I am extremely excited for this. It's got a great director, John Williams is back for the music, a great looking cast, and a pretty awesome teaser trailer!

Thanks for reading! Now, what were some of your favorite movies of 2014? Which ones are you looking forward to seeing in 2015?

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