The Best and Worst of 2014: Eddie’s Take

Raid 2 - post

List compiled by Eddie on 19/12/2014

I’m not going to lie, 2014 is easily one of the best movie years for me in a long time. In amongst many years that’ve had their share of gems yet far too many duds 2014 has provided the goods with a raft of original and brilliant films, made by some equally exciting filmmakers.

While there is still the usual sequel/superhero fluff being churned out by the big studios there have been some genuine big budget flicks that have demanded more from audiences other than eating popcorn and texting during a screening. Interstellar, 12 Years a Slave and countless others are films that have pushed what we expect from cinema and with a raft of small budget films like Enemy and The Raid 2 pushing their budget limitations to the max it’s exciting to see both small films and the tent poles pushing the limits of the medium.

It’s a fascinating time to be a movie lover and 2015 looks set to deliver a plethora of big screen beauties and if it’s anything like 2014 we are due to be both entertained, thrilled, emotionally spent and above all us wowed by the films we have witnessed.

As always happy reading and happy watching.

Disclaimer – Please note due to Australia’s lacklustre treatment regarding movie releases many films have been unable to be judged as of yet and other films that many would of caught last year have been included due to later releases on Australian screens/home release formats. Films yet to have been seen by me include – Whiplash, Birdman, The Imitation Game, Big Hero 6, Citizen Four, Force Majeure, Wild, American Sniper, Selma, Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything, Unbroken, Inherent Vice, Nightcrawler.

 10 Best of 2014 –

HER-FP-0833.JPG

 10. Her – A sharp, funny and ultimately touching essay on love and human relationships. Spike Jonze whimsical Sci-Fi love story is a joy to watch thanks to some top notch performances, witty script and fine direction. Read my review here.

9. All This Mayhem – A must see documentary centered around the Australian skateboarding legends, The Pappas Brothers. A touching look at fame and the fall that can follow this is often gut wrenching stuff. Read my review here.

8. Snowpiercer – An original and sometimes downright bonkers Sci-Fi fable by famed Korean director Joon-ho Bong, Snowpiercer is a thrilling and visceral train ride that in years to come will find the audience it deserved upon release. Read my review here.

7. Starred Up – An emotional gut punch of a movie that marks a career making performance from young Brit Jack O’Connell (soon to be a lot more famous thanks to Unbroken), this is often terrifying yet always watchable prison drama. Read my review here.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street – With an award worthy turn from his leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese crafted an incredibly fun, energetic and full of life telling of the true life story of Jordan Belfort and his time in the wild world of Wall Street. Read my review here.

Wolf

5. The Raid 2 – If you were blown away by Gareth Evans first sucker punch of an action movie then the Raid 2 will blow your mind into overdrive. An incredibly constructed tale that features enough stand out action to fill dozens of its American counterparts, this is movie making at its most uninhibited and downright awesome. Read my review here.

4. Gone Girl – Who better to tackle one of the most successful and humorously dark books of recent times than David Fincher, a man who has proven time and time again that he does “mood” better than anyone else around him. Gone Girl is the complete package thanks to its stand out acting turns, on point script and assured direction from Fincher. Read my review here.

3. Enemy – I suspect a large amount of movie lovers are still yet to see this gem from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, which is a mighty shame. A stunningly well-made thriller that features a powerful duel performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, this is fascinating filmmaking that while not for all tastes, is one to cherish for those so inclined. Read my review here.

2. 12 Years a Slave – Steve McQueen’s powerful adaptation of Solomon Northup’s memoir is undoubtedly one of the most emotional and engaging tales of slavery ever seen on film. From haunting performances, an affecting score and McQueen’s ever growing ability as director, this was a worthy winner of this year’s Best Picture Oscar. Read my review here.

1. Interstellar – An incredible cinematic journey that offers us not only a chance to journey into the deepest recesses of space but a human story that digs deep into what makes us who we are and our ability to love one another. Christopher Nolan’s brilliant and awe inspiring masterpiece has been a real divider of the movie world but for those that let it take us away, it’s an experience we will never forget and forever remain thankful for. Unique, ambitious and utterly brilliant, this is one for the ages. Read my review here.

10 Worst of 2014 –

Last Vegas

10. Last Vegas – Unfunny, embarrassing and just downright pointless. This old man version of the Hangover is a trip to Vegas no one wants to talk about. Read my review here.

9. Blood Ties – A lifeless and uninvolving crime/family drama, Blood Ties makes such little impact that you do wonder how a star studded cast thought it was a good idea to make a movie as pointless as this. Read my review here.

8. 3 Days to Kill – To long, to stupid and just generally bad, this star vehicle for Kevin Costner’s imminent return to the A-list was a complete fizzer. Read my review here.

7. Sabotage – While he found some decent success with this year’s Fury, director David Ayer’s other 2014 film is one he would likely love to see buried. With a bland Governator in the lead, an overacting goateed Sam Worthington and a story that is all types of dumb, Sabotage is cringe worthy stuff. Read my review here.

6. Blended – While we don’t expect much from Adam Sandler these days, we still expect a comedy to actually be funny. Overlong and overstuffed, Blended is another sad entry to the Sandler cannon. Read my review here.

Blended

5. The Dyatlov Pass Incident – A horror that isn’t in the least bit scary, Renny Harlin’s horrible found footage horror squanders a decent set up on idiotic characters and missed opportunities. Read my review here.

4. I Frankenstein – Almost so bad it’s good, I Frankenstein is bad movie making at its most watchable but it doesn’t make it any less awful. A career low performance from Aaron Eckhart, this monster should be buried, never to be seen again. Read my review here.

3. Pompeii – Another lowly entry into the Paul W.S. Anderson filmography, Pompeii is anything but adventurous or thrilling and is so devoid of personality that you’ll be looking to switch it off mere minutes into the journey. Read Jordan’s review here.

2. Transcendence – The career slide of Johnny Depp continues in this incredibly daft Sci-Fi yarn. First time director Wally Pfister has no handle on his material and his actors seem equally lost in a wannabe meditation on what it means to be human in our tech driven age. Read my review here.

1. Face of Love – A laughable, horrifically bad love story, The Face of Love is a tortuous experience that sadly features quality actors Annette Benning, Ed Harris and the late Robin Williams in movie roles that they must absolutely loathe. Horrendous on every level. Read my review here.

Favourite Director –

Chris Nolan

Christopher Nolan – For giving us the incredible vision that is Interstellar and looking to push film audiences more than perhaps some are willing to go. Interstellar has sparked debate and a battle of some sorts between those that love and loathe it, that can only but showcase the power this tale has on both parties.

Favourite Actor –

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal – Has been on a streak for some time now and with Enemy and Nightcrawler, showed an incredible talent that should continue to entertain us for decades to come.

Favourite Actress –

Rosamund Pike

Rosamund Pike – Her breakout role as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl is just rewards for an actress that has long been threatening to break out into the A-list. In a year in which usual suspects Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore weren’t getting the usual awards love, Pike would be a frontrunner.

Worst Director –

Paul W.S Anderson

Paul W.S. Anderson – The man has made some entertaining films but seriously, Pompeii? Another dire and heartless affair that commits the mortal sin of not even being trashy fun, Paul W.S. Anderson needs to make a film more than just throwaway entertaining and he needs to make it fast.

Worst Actor –

Depp - Transendence

Johnny Depp – After a career comeback Depp has once more fallen off the bandwagon and with the announcement that he will be returning to the Pirates franchise just further proof that his artistic credibility is dead. With drunken awards ceremony appearances and interviews where he admits to not really giving two hoots about his films, the time has come for the world’s love affair with Mr. Cool to end. Oh and Transcendence totally sucked.

Worst Actress –

Nicole - Grace of Monaco

Nicole Kidman – now officially box office poison after the insipid response to Before I Go to Sleep and Grace of Monaco, it seems as though all good will towards Australia’s golden girl is well and truly gone. With a seemingly cringe inducing turn in the upcoming Paddington, things don’t look any better in the near future for Mrs. Keith Urban.

3 Overrated films –

Guardians

3. The Fault In Our Stars – read my review here.

2. The Babadook – read Jordan’s review here.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy – read my review here.

3 Underrated films –

Edge of Tomorrow

3. Edge of Tomorrow – read my review here.

2. Enemy

1. Interstellar

Biggest Disappointment –

Godzilla

Godzilla – While it was in no way bad, Gareth Edwards update of the beloved monster lacked a certain something that may have stalled the legend from finding a new, adoring audience. Read my review here.

Biggest Surprise –

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer – With all the talk about the Weinstein’s unhappy with the final product one thought this Sci-Fi was doomed to a life of mediocrity yet what we got is a cult classic in waiting that will continue to be discovered by audiences for years to come.

2014 – Best Poster

Enemy - poster

2014 – Worst Poster

Transendence poster

Favourite Scenes of 2014 – Top 3

Xmen

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past – Quicksilver solves a tricky situation. Read my review here.

2. The Raid 2 – Kitchen-set fight/Prison Mud Brawl.

1. Interstellar – Realisation of time that has past, video log diary scene.

How does this overview of 2014 compare to your thoughts? Let us know what was good and what was bad about the year in film in the comments below.

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43 responses to “The Best and Worst of 2014: Eddie’s Take

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy overrated…No Way!!! That movie was so much fun! And I thought there were worse movies than Las Vegas that came out this year. The rest of the list im not too mad at. I do agree Edge of Tomorrow was highly underrated, it was definitely one of the better movies this year. I’m on board with everything else…nice list!

  2. I think the Screenjunkies summed it up best that one’s love for Interstellar or lack thereof is heavily dependent on where one’s artistic sensibilities lie: If you’re more of a big-picture, artistic spectacle kind of guy, you’ll likely get a lot out of Interstellar and by extension most of Nolan’s filmography. However, if you’re more trained to follow details, train of thought, logical narrative progression, and sensible character motivations, it’ll likely leave you very frustrated and underwhelmed….also like much of Nolan’s previous work.

    As such I feel I’m sort of the rare exception to these artistic taste extremes and am mostly in the middle; I’m pretty much neutral on the whole thing. It was a good sci-fi space-exploratioin movie with ACTUAL science-fiction in it (a true rarity in Hollywood these days), but movie of the year? I dunno, that’s kind of a hard sell for me.

    Also, glad you liked the Raid 2, Edge of Tomorrow, and we’re kinda disappointed with the new G-Man. I understand or agree with all those points.

    Also, no go on Babadook? Looked pretty scary to me and was wanting to see it…

    • Hey mate nice thoughts on Interstellar – I do think Nolan has his films judged more harshly than other filmmakers which is interesting. But yeh I loved Interstellar thought it was a great adventure.

      Babadook I am very much of the same train of thought of Jordan on that one, I wanted to like it heaps more than I did. Found it quite frustrating and had one of the most annoying child performances you’d ever dread to see.

      In regards to Wolf and Her – we here in Australia did not get to see them until this year mate so it couldn’t of been on last years list and found it’s way onto this years. Much like we have yet to get Birdman etc etc.
      E

      • Animal Kingdom was phenomenal! The Square was solid. Wish You Were Here was marvelous! And The Rover this year was one of the most cinematically beautiful and deep films ive seen, in 2014 at least. Have yet to see The Babadook but I tear horror films apart normally because most feel the same to me.

  3. I can’t really comment to the top 10 list as I haven’t seen half of the movies on it 😛 In fact I’ve only seen Snowpiercer which also is on my favorite of the year together with Big Ass Spider and Edge of Tomorrow if I were to have a top 3. Yup, I got a weird taste sometimes. I was also a backer on the Veronica Mars thingie so that was kind of a highlight for me… I just love the characters. I kind of feel I’m the only one that sort of liked Sabotage and Mirelle but that just goes to show that people has different taste.

    Godzilla, meh… I preferred the 98 version with Broderick. It had characters I liked and a better story. The only thing I liked about the new one was the bridge scene and the halo jump scene. The characters I didn’t care for at all.

    Biggest disappointment of the year for me was the new X-men movie. Sure Quicksilver was awesome but that was pretty much it. Oh yeah, and I agree, Pompeii was shit too.

    Looking forward to see Guardians of the Galaxy and Gone Girl tho, they’re on top of my list.

    Oh, The Equalizer was pretty good… at least I think so. One never fails with Denzel 🙂

    • Awesome to hear man, I agree with X-Men that was a fun movie but again way way over hyped. Its even made its way into Critic top ten lists!

      You’ll love Gone Girl and seemingly everyone and their dog loves Galaxy.
      E

  4. Great lists!

    I also have yet to watch The Imitation Game – and I have heard great things.

    I’m sad you weren’t affected by The Fault In Our Stars (just read the review linked), as I literally sobbed continuously for the last 20 minutes of the film. I guess I fit into a demographic slightly older than the teenage girl category, so that may be why I was affected more than you were. But I do agree, Woodley’s performance carried that film.

    One thing I would add to disappointments here is If I Stay. Ugh – I’m still so sad I didn’t like that movie, because I liked so much about it (Moretz, the poster, the soundtrack), but once I actually went to watch it, I found myself unaffected – much like how you felt with The Fault in Our Stars. It was a disappointment to say the least.

    • I have heard that the book of Stars was a lot more effective, as is the case sometimes with those tales. I just thought the dilouge was often horrendous.

      Can’t wait to catch the Imitation Game, should almost see Cumberbatch go for an Oscar.
      E

  5. Some good picks here, nice to see some love for Enemy; great little movie.

    I have to ask, was your choice of Johnny Depp for worst actor based entirely on Transcendence? ‘Cause I watched Tusk last week and his performance there is so awful it almost makes Transcendence seem Oscar worthy.

  6. Nice summing up of the year and some cool choices in there. I really need to see Starred Up. I am in the middle of trying to sort out a ‘top 20’ for 2014 and I’m kind of in the same position with regard to release dates – Her, 12 Years A Slave, American Hustle, Nebraska and Inside Llewyn Davis are all films I’ve seen from Jan onwards, but not sure whether to include them or not!

    • Mate Starred Up is fantastic. Yeh release dates are funny, we Aussies don’t get things for ages sometimes, so it felt right including these ones released here this year.
      E

      • We won’t get Whiplash, American Sniper or Inherent Vice until January either. Although I think Birdman is out here before the end of the year. But I guess we might both get The Interview before the US, though I’m not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing as yet.

  7. Biggest disappointment of the year was totally Godzilla, but I would say it was bad, very, very bad. Enemy annoys me, as I just can’t get hold of a copy to watch and I don’t know if I ever will.

    I’d put What we do in the Shadows in the top 10 though.

  8. Transendence really was a big stinking turd wasn’t it? And I agreed on Guardians of the Galaxy. Totally overrated.

    • I also really loved Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Big Hero 6, Tale of Princess Kaguya, Boxtrolls and Lego. Great year for animation

  9. Great list man! A fun read right through.

    Glad u said about guardians as I feel exactly the same. Gets so much love but came across as an average movie to me.

    Happy for chris Pratt though – seems to be on a high after it.

    Dont agree with all choices but thats just movies!

    Shame you haven’t seen the hobbit 3 yet.. got a feeling it could squeeze in the list!

    • Yeh not totally sure about the Guardians love, it seems people have never seen a movie like it before but to me it felt pretty generic. It was a ton of fun but it’s no lasting classic.

      Pratt though is the man, hope his role in Jurassic World is a good one to.

      Haha the Hobbit has been getting pretty lacklustre reviews but I am a sucker for epic sword battles! Bring on boxing day I say.
      E

  10. Really sad to hear that thing about Johnny Depp. He is one of my favourites actually, but I also realized that his latest movies didn’t sound very promising :/ I hope he will get out of this down-phase again soon. I really love his acting in his earlier movies, also the children movies like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” 😥
    Interesting list though. Some of them are also on my list like Interstellar and the Raid (1+2). I have only seen some scenes of the Raid 2, and they were abnormally brutal 😀 I felt a bit strange about those scenes, so that’s why I am stil waiting to watch it.
    But Enemy sounds really interesting. Jake Gyllenhaal also belongs to one of my favorite actors, and I will try to watch that movie soon 🙂

  11. I can’t wait till you see the movies that haven’t been released yet!! you will be blown away by Birdman, Whiplash, Imitation Game and Theory of Everything..if not just the films themselves..the performances.. I think also in underrated films..John Wick..I know I know..but damn it was fun!! 😀 and cannot agree more on Quicksilver..I loved that character so much and it stood out so well!! Just a note..see Whiplash & Birdman in a crowded theatre if possible..as I’ve seen each a few times now..a packed screening was by far the most fun!! 😀 Cheers..

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