Top 10 Films of 2014

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Just a quick update before we get started. I’ll have my Oscar predictions and results from the latest Vote! segment out this week, so make sure to get your votes in before it closes. Additionally, hopefully, my review of “Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter,” a film I greatly adore, will be published before week’s end. Now let’s get going…

25: The Raid 2: Berandal (Gareth Evans)
24: Snowpiercer (Joon-Ho Bong)
23: Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
22: The Trip to Italy (MIchael Winterbottom)
21: Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch)

20: The Rover (David Michod)
19: I Origins (Mike Cahill)
18: Frank (Lenny Abrahamson)
17: The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum)
16: Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)

15: Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
14: The Drop (Michael R. Roskam)
13: Nymphomaniac (Lars Von Trier)
12: Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour)
11: Birdman (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)

10: Starred Up (David Mackenzie)/(’71, Yann Demange, 2015?)

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Are we going with 2014 or 2015 for “’71?” It’s rather comical that up-and-coming super-stud Jack O’Connell had three films screen this year, the worst of which received the widest release. “Starred Up” is a hard-hitting prison drama that’s lifted to towering heights by the performances of O’Connell and co-star Ben Mendelsohn. Swapping the more traditional, cringe-worthy visual aspects of the unflinching prison sub-genre (not all) for impenetrable dialogue and a vast array of relationships teetering on the brink, “Starred Up” will fill you with insight before knocking a few teeth down your throat.

9: Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy) / Enemy (Dennis Villenueve)

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Very few have had quite as stellar a year as Jake Gyllenhaal in 2014, which is why I couldn’t help but rank this remarkable double-feature inside my top 10. This double-dose of Gyllenhaal showcases the actor’s staggering, at times terrifying range. It’s mind-blowing that Gyllenhaal didn’t garner an Oscar nomination for either of these two fantastic performances, but I digress.

8: The Guest (Adam Wingard)

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Containing easily the best soundtrack any film of 2014 had to offer, “The Guest” sees dynamic duo Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett reach new cult status. With incredibly charismatic performances from Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe, in addition to non-stop action “The Guest” is endlessly entertaining!

7: Locke (Steven Knight)

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Looked upon as a reliable, strong-minded scribe with a plethora of solid screenplays to his name, including the creation of “Peaky Blinders,” a personal television favourite of mine. Prior to 2014’s “Locke,” Steven Knight hadn’t much to brag about from behind the camera, but that quickly and assertively changed. Led by a phenomenal performance from occasional Knight collaborator Tom Hardy, “Locke” is a magnificent spectacle of the human experience.

6: A Most Violent Year (J. C. Chandor)

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This is the second consecutive year-end “best of” list J. C. Chandor has cracked for me, personally (All Is Lost, 2013). Much like last year’s film “All Is Lost,” “A Most Violent Year” didn’t get much love come award season, but once again that didn’t discourage my ranking it inside the top 10. With formidable performances from its entire cast, including Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, and Albert Brooks, a subtle, yet immensely powerful story, gloomy atmosphere, and the sure-handed direction from Chandor, “A Most Violent Year” is a must-see to any who missed it.

5: Force Majeure (Ruben Ostlund)

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As I’m sure most of you are aware, comedy cinema doesn’t sit too well with me. Which should only speak volumes in regards to “Force Majeure’s” placement on this list. Providing the laughs, abundantly, and a rock-solid story that’s never as easy to watch as its breezy demeanour would insist, “Force Majeure’s” Oscar snub is almost as unforgivable as the absence of “Mommy” in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

4: Gone Girl (David Fincher)

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To say that I adore David Fincher and his very impressive resume would be a massive understatement. “Gone Girl,” although not the illustrious filmmakers best work to date, certainly has a place amongst the top of his efforts. Further cementing Ben Affleck as a force to be reckoned with both on and off screen and earning Rosamund Pike an Oscar nomination, deservedly so I might add, “Gone Girl” mixes all the potent Fincher facets into one hell of a morbid cocktail.

3: Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev)

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The odds-on favourite to take home “best foreign language film” at this year’s Academy Awards, “Leviathan” is an aptly titled juggernaut. Breathtaking visuals, impressive performances, and an unfathomable socio-political complexity are just a few tangents of what makes “Leviathan” triumphant.

2: Mommy (Xavier Dolan)

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Directed and written by home-grown Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan, “Mommy” catapults the young filmmaker to the relative peak of my top 10. I’d feel very unpatriotic leaving Dolan’s latest off this list, but rest-assured he earned this spot. “Mommy” is brutal, unforgiving, whilst conversely evoking the most genuine and rooted responses of the emotional spectrum. Performed with the utmost investment by the entire ensemble, “Mommy” is one foreign language film you won’t want to miss.

1: Interstellar (Christopher Nolan)

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It doesn’t exactly bode well for the credibility of Nolan’s latest topping this list, seeing as I could be considered the leader of Nolan’s group of so-called “Fanboys,” but I can’t stress “Interstellar’s” greatness enough. You’ve either seen this film by now and loved it or hated it. I fail to see the middle ground and apparently so does everyone else. With monumental visuals, a complex, out-of-this-world premise that simultaneously showcases the down-to-earth emotionality and intellectual reach of the human race. “Interstellar” will leave you in awe and down-right flabbergasted. Thankfully, this film offers much post-viewing reading that should solve any issues or curiosity.

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What did you think of my list? Have a list of your own? Let me know in the comment section below!

 

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About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television. thecinemamonster.com

Posted on February 17, 2015, in Top 10s and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. I haven’t seen #2 or #3 Joseph but they’re on my list. I have to say, I’m happy to see you rate Interstellar so highly. What a fabulous epic that really didn’t deserve some of the backlash it received. It’s also good to see Locke, Starred Up and Enemy feature. Great films.

  2. Ah Joseph, stellar list here 😛 It’s fine, I am right up there with you on the Nolan front 😀 😀 We’ve got this. You know I absolutely adored The Guest! *gush gush gush*

  3. thanks for the tips on enemy and mommy. hadnt heard of either and am now looking forward to seeing them.

  4. Love seeing Interstellar at number 1; what a cool film that was. Also, some The Guest love is always nice. Great list man, a few of these I need to get caught up on.

  5. Nice to see Nightcrawler make your top ten, the screenplay and Jake’s performance is exceptional, I still gotta see Enemy some time. Great list!

  6. Excellent list. Nice to see Gone Girl that high, especially since so many people seem to have forgotten about it come awards season.

    Question: have you seen Whiplash? It’s my favorite movie of the year.

    • It’s such a shame about “Gone Girl” and it’s many snubs this award season. I know it’s a long shot, but I’d love to see Pike win! I’ve yet to see “Whiplash,” I hear I need to watch that immediately from a lot of people lol.

  7. Lots to agree with there Joseph; a great list. Good to see many of my favourites on there and some I still need to check out. Interstellar has made a few number one spots and I’m so glad you had that reaction to it.

  8. Absolutely love seeing someone else put Interstellar as their #1. I really think I may have been the only one before now. I absolutely love that movie and the experience I had watching it.

    Fun and diverse list ! Good stuff.

  9. There are loads of picks on your list that I agree with but I am definitely a bit of a middle grounder when it comes to Interstellar…

  10. …I am a disgrace. I’ve only seen five of these!!! (Though I am actually watching another one of them right now!) While Only Lovers Left Alive wasn’t totally my thing, I do quite love Interstellar, Gone Girl, Birdman, and The Imitation Game. Though Grand Budapest is totally my top. Where the heck is that on this list?! 😉 Bold choice for Interstellar as number one! I do hate that it’s divided people so much, but I’m a fan. 🙂 Nice list here, Joseph!

    • Five out of the entire twenty-five?! If so, it’d appear we don’t have similar tastes when it comes to film ;). Ummm…I thought everyone was aware of my distaste for Wes Anderson and his films… I didn’t hate Budapest but wasn’t exactly my cup-o-tea.

      • Hahaha I hate to say it, my friend, but we have way different tastes. GBH is soooo good!! Also, I will be putting a review out of another film on this list today. You’re…not gonna like it. Lol.

  11. I’ve yet to see Eleanor Rigby, Mommy and I Origins. Fantastic list! A bit shocked not to see Boyhood, Whiplash and Budapest Hotel but love the inclusion of Locke, Enemy and Force Majeure in your top ten. Fantastic films!

    • I absolutely hated Boyhood and quite dislike Wes Anderson and his films. Didn’t detest Budapest but didn’t fall head over heels for it either. Just watched Whiplash and I’m definitely finding a place for it on this list! Thanks for reading!

      • Maybe you’ve already watched these and decided against placing it in your list but I recommend these movies

        Winter Sleep
        Predestination
        Coherence
        The tale of the princess kaguya
        A most wanted man
        Dear white people
        What we do in the shadows
        Calvary
        Ida
        Housebound
        Obvious Child
        Love is strange
        Hide your smiling faces
        Maps to the stars
        Blue Ruin
        The Double

      • I’ve seen about half of the films you listed. The most intriguing films for me that you listed which I missed are Ida and Winter Sleep. Been aching to see them but never got around to it. Thanks for the recommendations!

  12. Totally see the middle ground of Interstellar. All it was good for was visualising some interesting space phenomenon that had previously only ever been theorised about by physicists. If all proceeds went to space exploration programmes I would have watched it again.
    I had not heard of Enemy until this post. I will watch it.

  13. Great list, Joseph. There are more than a couple here I’ve yet to see. The Guest and 71 being two that will have to be seen after reading this post.

  14. Great list mate. Like you, I’m a massive fan of Interstellar. It was #3 on my list. The ambition, visuals and about three of the most exhilarating cinema moments of the year were more than enough for me to overlook the film’s flaws.

    Still a fair bit on your list that has not opened here yet. Leviathan is opening soon and I am keen to check it out. And Mommy played a few festivals out here and everyone loved it, so want to get on that.

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