Well, here we are again, Corriente Nation! Another year came and went like yesterdayâ€™s newspaper. Quite frankly, 2014 really wasnâ€™t a strong year in terms of films. Itâ€™s really sad when the most powerful cinematic impact was made based off a TV show (TRUE DETECTIVE) rather than films as a whole. Donâ€™t misunderstand where Iâ€™m coming from, there were lots of trips to the movies where I walked out feeling pretty good and moved by what I saw, but honestlyâ€¦I think weâ€™ve had stronger years.
After all the trips I took to LA and back for junkets, interviews, reviews, pop-corn, publishing promos, giveaways, and trying to maintain balance between my movie/personal life, the ride was bumpy, but interesting.Â
That said, the following were the top flicks that personally touched me and felt were the best of the best this year. As it happens every year, you (generally speaking) can think, do, or say whatever you want till youâ€™re blue in the face â€“ makes no difference to me.
Without further adieuâ€¦ Here my top twenty for 2014!
20. THE LEGO MOVIE
Honestly, it delivered upon its hype. Very entertaining and different from most animated features, this was a total package of fun, creative genius, funny, and a damn good time!
Cryptic and strange! This dark, puzzling suspense thriller ups Gyllenhaalâ€™s screen clout in big ways!
18. BIG MEN
The rich get richer and the poor keep gettin’ fucked! A real good documentary that gives you the opportunity to venture into rooms you have no business entering. You’ll eavesdrop on meetings about oil deals worth billions and watch heavily armed militants preparing to strike their own kind. It’s a fast-paced tour through the high-powered world of African oil deals – a quest for money and power and influence that affects us all.
17. NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC
This piece is rough, rugged, and raw! A solid documentary following Nasâ€™ life that provides crafty storytelling and lots of style.This is a piece that was quite engaging for many reasons, especially on a level where it was personal for me considering we grew up in the same area, went to the same schools, and recall his performances from the very start during talent shows at school, in the lunch-room, etc.
16. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
High on intensity, low on dullness, and crisp in terms of heroic display. WINTER SOLIDER is a flawless flick whose superiority to those that led up to it sets up a lot upon MCU’s future films.
15. FED UP
Great documentary that exposes raw, informative links pertaining to childhood obesity, big (food) business, and our government.
Food porn, anyone? This piece is a delicious serving of spicy comedy, sprinkled with a side of drama. Definitely a delightful, edible piece of indie film-making!
13. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Although not as emotionally driven as the first, DAWN does a great job continuing the story. Darker and a lot more visceral this time around, a [new war] among inheriting the Earth that entails a twist that raises lots of stakes among two species, making this sequel uniquely interesting. On a side-note: Ape supremacy today, tomorrow, and forever!
12. GONE GIRL
Seriously, one of the best films this year. A twisted tale of guilty-or-innocent delivered with grungy cinematography and a wicked script.
11. KILL THE MESSENGER
Laced with many clichÃ©s, yet very intense as it follows the ever-changing true life occurrences of journalist Gary Webb as he exposes the epidemic of Crack in the 80s and how it traced back to the CIA.
While it starts a wee bit slow, NIGHTCRAWLER morphs into a grungy, cynical piece of go-getting cojones! Sprinkled with dark delights, from start to finish, this riveting piece provides an engaging arc of struggle to success by any means necessary â€“ even if it means breaking rules on an already rule-breaking underground society. Structured well, while elevating Gyllenhaalâ€™s talent, this film will remain in the minds of everyone that watches it in one way, shape, or form!
What sets FURY apart from the bulk of modern war movies is its dedication to grotesque reality of battle without a Disney-like scope and ending.
Well-executed political drama exposing extreme truth between oppression and defiance.Â Great debut for Jon Stewart as a director.
7. LIFE ITSELF
An interesting, open, clever piece about an interesting, open, clever individual.
No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, one thing you cannot deny is the noise and mark Edward Snowden has made for himself, as well as the U.S. government. In CITIZENFOUR, Snowden reveals the extent of our government’s surveillance upon its peons and those abroad. Aside from learning about who you are as a citizen and where you stand, youâ€™re also exposed and become aware of how charismatic and articulate this man is.
Different, unsettling, fun, funny, and very entertaining. Some of the best work I’ve seen out of its entire cast, especially Michael Keaton, who remains someone on my list of favorites. This man’s swag is untouchable and beyond a charm to watch no matter what role he tackles.Â
4. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
A very well executed, produced and interesting film upon a lesser known world and set of characters Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll see more of. MARVEL has a magical way of presenting their world and if they can present an obscure bunch and make them lovable, the idea of where they go next is beyond comprehension. If there’s a bunch who know what they’re doing… it’s MARVEL and it’s great to know Disney lets them do their thing. I’m on board for anything these guys plan for the future.
3. THE IMITATION GAME
If thereâ€™s an actor who deserves much props and respect itâ€™s Benedict Cumberbatch. As one of the smartest actors working today considering his choices, this manâ€™s future is beyond bright. His strengths are all laid out in this biographical piece of wit and wisdom.
2. AMERICAN SNIPER
War has many faces. Many of them ugly, especially when thin lines among any stance rely on a soldierâ€™s existence. Bradley Cooper has definitely grown as an actor, and itâ€™s a travesty he hasn’t been nominated for anything this year.
Honestly, everyone needs to support this film. Brilliantly acted, superbly cast, and extremely powerful! Like most around the world, our nation has gone through some of the darkest days in terms of evolution. Dr. Martin Luther King is one of our countryâ€™s most inspirational individuals and as his existence and cause is laid out in this perfect narrative, Iâ€™ve come to the conclusion this had to be MY number 1!
Â Well, here you have it, folks. There were others on my list like BOYHOOD or FOXCATCHER (for example), but I think when push came to shove, these twenty were the ones I had on my list of films as the ones that rattled my brain the most. Share your list if interested.
Hereâ€™s to another year at the movies!
Happy New Year, Corriente Nation! All the best!