Monthly Rewind of April

Hello, everybody!

The fourth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing April!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Kick-Ass

The Losers

The Good the Bad the Weird

A Nightmare on Elm Street

The Human Centipede

Thoughts: Alright, let’s start off with The Human Centipede, you know, the movie that has three people surgically connected to each other ass-to-mouth. I do kind of get why so many people like this movie, but honestly I can’t get behind it myself. I saw it with a crowd that really dug it, and while the movie promised it was the “most grosses movie you’ve ever seen!” it really wasn’t. It fact, beside the general concept, it’s rather tame compared to other movie with a concept like this.

Next is the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and oh man did I NOT like this movie. Like at all! While the movie had some descent imaginary, oh man did I NOT like this movie. Like at all! While the movie had some descent imaginary – the only standout to me is the scene when Rooney Mara’s Nancy is “micro-dreaming” in the pharmacy as sees Jackie Earle Haley’s Freddy coming for her – and that is most likely thanks to music director Samuel Bayer (who hasn’t directed another movie since), who gave the movie a grimy feel. The movie itself, from what I can remember, was very generic, with no real bigger standout moments – at least for me. Haley was a good “replacement” for Robert Englund, but the script didn’t do him too many favors.

Kick-Ass, based off the comic of the same name, brought the superhero movie genre to the ground level and made them a little more edgy than what we were getting. It’s also our lead getting the crap beat out of him and having to be saved by a kid, who actually knows what she’s doing. The movie was a nice little breather from other comic book movies, especially with Chloe Grace Moretz’ breakout performance.

The next movie, also a comic book adaptation, is The Losers. Honestly, to me, one of the under-appreciated comic book movies out there. Simple concept, a CIA special forces team are betrayed and they want payback, but it’s definitely held together by the cast and how they all play off each other, the humor, and how ridiculously fun it is. I mean seriously, look at this cast; Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Holt McCallany and Jason Patric.

Finally, one of my personal favorites of all time, the Korean hit The Good the Bad the Weird. Set in 1940s Manchuria, two outlaws and a bounty hunter clash over a treasure map, while also being pursued by the Japanese army and a group of bandits. I first saw this at the Chicago International Film Festival, and immediately fell in love with it. The three main leads, the score and the action just blew me away when I first saw it, and still does to this day. Highly recommend if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

 

2011

Insidious

Fast Five

13 Assassins

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Takashi Miike-directed (which should tell you what you’re getting into already) 13 Assassins. The film followed a group of assassins who band together on what is basically a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. I saw this at the no-longer film festival Actionfest, in a packed theater who was already rowdy before the movie even started. That did play a factor in my enjoyment of the movie, but the movie itself is a huge buildup to its massive third act where we see the titled assassins let loose on the lord’s men, and to take a line from the movie it was a “total massacre.”

Next, is the James Wan-directed horror Insidious. This is one of the more modern horror movies that made me audibly gasp in a movie theater along with the whole theater – the famous scene of the lipstick demon behind Patrick Wilson. It’s also James Wan, who at this point I was wholly behind as the new master of horror.

Finally, Fast Five! The movie basically took the reboot route here as the movie was no longer about stealing DVD’s, or working with a crime lord, but instead started becoming heist movies. It introduce Dwayne Johnson to the series and had a, still to this day, exciting and thrilling final act with the Brian and Dom dragging the vault across the streets of Rio.

 

 

2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Lockout

Headhunters

Thoughts: Let’s keep the Actionfest trend going here with the Swedish film Headhunters. The film followed an accomplished headhunter who obtained a valuable painting from a former mercenary (played by Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and the cat-and-mouse game they play afterwards. To the best of my memory, Headhunters was the third Swedish film I had ever seen, and it was in the dark, mystery drama genre like The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo that I loved.

Next is the forgotten about, Escape from New York knockoff, Lockout. Starring Guy Pearce as an ex-CIA operative who may or may not have committed espionage against the U.S, but instead of going to prison, he’s given a chance to earn his freedom by going on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter from outer space prison that has been taken over by its violent inmates. I’ll be honest, it’s not all that great, but it was rather enjoyable seeing Pearce play it a little more loose and as an action hero for a change.

Finally, The Cabin in the Woods. The meta-horror film that you could make the argument is the be-all-end-all horror film. The cliché horror trope of college kids going to a cabin in the woods and they start getting attacked, until they learn that they are part of something bigger. It’s honestly a super smart horror film with great characters once you really dig deep into it.

 

 

2013

Evil Dead

Thoughts: The rare month where only one real movie stood out to be, and that was the remake/reimaging of Evil Dead. I, like many, was very skeptical about the remake considering the legacy of the franchise already, but DAMN did Fede Alvarez do this movie justice! The gore, the griminess, the dread of it all, I was all for it.

 

 

2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Oculus

The Raid 2

Brick Mansions

Locke

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the remake of District B13, Brick Mansions starring Paul Walker and original film star David Belle. The movie takes the action from France to Detroit, following the bare bones premise of the original; a cop teams up with a resident of the blocked off city run by a crime lord to stop him from devastating the city. Problem is the movie doesn’t have the same flare and substance like the original. Which is a shame since Brick Mansions was the last movie that Paul Walker completed (having shot most of Furious 7 at that point).

Next is the Tom Hardy-led, and really only star of the movie, Locke. The movie followed Hardy’s Locke, a construction manager who gets a call that makes him drive from Birmingham to London at night. So yes, it’s a movie about Hardy sitting in a car driving all night as he takes constant phone calls trying to keep his family life intact. It’s a rather enthralling performance by Hardy, and one that proves Hardy can indeed carry a movie himself.

Moving on to the horror-drama Oculus, directed by Mike Flanagan (Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House series) which starred Karen Gillan as a woman trying to prove that an evil mirror has been behind her families deadly past, and trying to clear her brother’s name. I remember watching this and immediately loving it. It was the first movie I saw with Flanagan’s name on it, and I loved how he edited scenes together almost seamlessly. On top of that, the family drama aspect was good “filler” in between the horror moments.

Next is The Raid 2, the sequel to the heavy-hitting action film The Raid. The sequel takes a different approach by taking the action outside, and upping the ante on the fight scenes, introducing the now famous Hammer Girl, and the awesome final fight between Iko Uwais’ Rama and Cecep Arif Rahman’s The Assassin in a restaurant kitchen. It does have some pacing problems, and takes a more story driven approach for the most part, but The Raid 2 is a wholly worthwhile action sequel.

Finally, let’s talk about, arguably, my favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Solider. Directed by The Russo Brothers, who then took over the MCU directing wise, took a more spy 70s thriller approach to the sequel, giving the movie a completely different feel, and the result worked. I honestly only have one thing that I “dislike” and that’s the return of Toby Jones’ Dr. Zola.

 

 

2015

Furious 7

Ex Machina

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, the sci-fi thriller that was the talk of the town and year for those that ended up watching this in theaters. The film lead by Domhnall Gleeson as a programmer who is selected to participate in an inclusive ground-breaking experiment involving A.I., played by Alicia Vikander, created by Oscar Isaac’s Nathan. The film was completely thought-provoking, and all of that was because of the cast who one-hundred percent committed to everything in the film, including a dance sequence by Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno.

Then we have Furious 7, the last Fast & Furious film that starred Paul Walker, and one of the more personal films in the series. The thing that everyone remembers from the movie is the tribute to Walker and his character at the end, which is fair, since it was a touching tribute. The movie was also directed by James Wan, which was refreshing (he did have a non-horror movie at this point in Death Sentence), and it was the last movie directed by series writer Chris Morgan (who started writing the movies since Tokyo Drift).

 

 

2016

Hardcore Henry

The Jungle Book

Sing Street

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the “one-shot” first-person view action movie Hardcore Henry. The movie’s concept came from the viral music videos from the band Biting Elbows like “Bad Motherfucker” which was also directed by the movie’s director Ilya Naishuller. So yes, the movie is basically like a video game. The action scenes are pretty well thought out, and you could actually tell what’s going on for the most part, but it’s definitely not for everyone, especially the easily motion-sickness people.

Let’s go from one ambitious movie to another one in Disney’s The Jungle Book. I didn’t have the same connection to the animated movie like a lot of people do, so I was pretty much going in freshly minded. Thankfully, the movie surprised the hell out of me, cause I really dug it. The big takeaway was of course what Jon Favreau was able to pull off with the special effects, which were highly impressive and groundbreaking, and something Favreau brought with him to do the new Lion King movie this year.

Finally, let’s talk Sing Street. This was one I didn’t know too much about before watching. I had seen the trailer once, and thought it looked okay, but the movie itself was great! The film is set in Dublin during the 80s, and follows a group of kids start a band, mainly done by one kid who wants to impress a girl (of course), at a catholic school. It’s a very well done coming-of-age story with an amazing original soundtrack. Look for it if you hadn’t seen it.

 

 

2017

Colossal

The Fate of the Furious

Free Fire

Thoughts: Okay, let’s start off with The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, but it’s on here not for the reason that you think. I, like some I’m sure, saw Fate of the Furious as a massive step down from the last movie, and you can make the argument that it was because it was hard for the franchise to continue without one of the franchise’s leads. It was a huge question mark, and for the most part, they really didn’t execute it too much. Then there was some of the behind-the-scenes stuff between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, and Diesel with Universal. Unfortunately, we now have to wait a little longer to see if the series can bounce back since F9 is now delayed a whole year (Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t count since it’s a spinoff).

Next is the Anne Hathaway-led Colossal, which followed Hathaway’s Gloria, an out-of-work party girl who is forced to leave her lifestyle in New York and has to go back to her small town home. While she gets accustomed to her now new life, a giant creature ends up attack Seoul, South Korea and eventually she learns she had a connection to it. And if you haven’t seen the movie or read anything about, DON’T. Go watch the movie just with that information, because Colossal is one of the prime movies that lives us to the motto “the less you know, the better.” I will admit that the reveal and what follows is kind of wacky, but director Nacho Vigalondo is known for wacky concepts (watch is other great film Timecrimes from 2007)

Finally, Free Fire, which immediately jumped to my favorites of all time list after one watch. The movie is set in Boston during the late 70s, where two gangs meet at a warehouse to make a deal, but of course, it goes wrong and a shoot-out ensues. The movie is held together by its impressive cast of Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor and Sharlto Colpey; to name a few. Highly recommend.

 

 

2018

A Quiet Place

Isle of Dogs

Avengers: Infinity War

Thoughts: Now, to probably and arguably, the best April of this list, we’ll start off with Wes Anderson’s stop-motion/CGI film Isle of Dogs. I know Anderson isn’t for everybody, and I really just started getting into Anderson myself. I did like Isle of Dogs, but I’d be lying if I said I preferred this to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, because I love Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Next let’s talk about A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski, which followed a family trying to live in a post-apocalyptic world that is haunted by monsters that are ultra-sensitive hearing. The movie itself is almost like a silent-movie, and movie experience was something that really took people by surprise. People took online to say that their theaters were absolutely silent as to not ruin the experience, and when a movie can do that, especially a horror movie, that’s saying something.

Finally, the last movie of the list is Avengers: Infinity War. The culmination, at that point, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is wholly remembered for the ending. The ending of a comic book where the heroes lose and the villain, although some make the argument that Thanos was the hero, so he’s the hero? Regardless, ten years of superhero movies, all coming down to this, what a way to leave the theater, and for Marvel to take the chance? Oh boy!

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

Favorite Fight Scenes of All Time – Part 2

Everyone loves a good fight scene, right? I know I do. Hell, I LOVE a good fight scene. There’s something about a fight scene that just gets me going. Not to the extent that I’m going to start picking fights with strangers – at least not anymore – but seeing the hard work of training and filming for months and weeks just for our enjoyment is awesome to watch. So here is where I’m going to shout out some of my favorite fight scenes of all time. Obviously, this is my list and purely my opinion, so if there is a fight that I missed, it’s probably because I simply forgot. This is also, most likely, the first installment of many articles to come.

However, before we get to the list I want to say how I will approach this, at least fight wise. I’m not including battle scenes, which pretty much excludes anything from The Lord of the Rings or the great opening from Saving Private Ryan (another post maybe?). The fights will range from one-on-one or one-on-two, or something along those lines. Also, despite the order, I’m not ranking them. Finally, some of these fights, could be final fights so SPOILER WARNING!

Alright, let’s get cracking…bones…too much? Too much.

 

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – News Team Street Fight

Oh, you thought this series was going to be just serious fight scenes? Oh no. Although, this arguably breaks my battle rule, this fight is too good to pass up on the list. It is fun and over the top in the right way possible.

 

The Raid 2: Berndal – Rama vs. Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man

I briefly mentioned this fight in Part One of the series, and I thought I’d talk about it here considering this is a great lead-in to that final fight. Berndal really builds up the threat of Hammer Girl (Julie Estelle) and Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman) – yes, those are their credited names – throughout the entire movie on more than one occasion. So when it came down to them versus Iko Uwais’ Rama, the threat is very real.

Behind-the-scenes it’s cool to find out that Julie Estelle, who had no background in martial arts, trained for six months before starting to shoot, and all her effort really showed. Of course, it helped that she had some great teachers. Also, expect to see her name pop up again in the future.

 

The Matrix – Neo vs. Agent Smith (Subway)

When The Matrix came out, it was groundbreaking on every level; from the story, the visuals, and the characters and, of course, the fights. While it’s easy to remember the building shootout, the thing I remember the most about the movie is the fight between Neo and Agent Smith in the subway. The fight proves the Neo could go face-to-face with an agent, and hold his own, despite the lack of real training. Also, it was a chance to show off the tremendous work on every level behind the camera.

 

Atomic Blonde – Lorraine vs. Thugs & Solider (Daniel Bernhardt)

David Leitch is now become a household name thanks to his work in John Wick, and the man has been going nonstop since then. The former stuntman, now director, obviously has an eye for directing action, and after seeing John Wick, it should have come as no surprise that Atomic Blonde would have great looking, hard hitting action and fight scenes. The highlight for me is the final big showdown between Charlize Theron’s Lorraine going up against kill squad and a character simply known as The Soldier, played by Daniel Bernhardt – another well-known or at least recognizable stunt man. The fight is made to look like a one-take, and it is seamlessly done.

 

Ip Man – Ip Man vs. Ten Blackbelts

Hey look, its Donnie Yen again! Anyway, throughout all of Ip Man we see Donnie Yen’s titled character show a tremendous amount restraint during his fights, but it was at this part of the movie where he finally cuts loose, and shows the deadly side of his character and of Wing Chun. The sight is masterful, brutal and a sight to see.

 

The Protector (Tom yum goong) – Kham vs. Madam Rose’s Men (Finale)

Tony Jaa made a name for himself here in the States with the success of Ong-Bak, which we’ll see later in the series, but I’m going to focus on his second movie The Protector (or Tom yum goong). More specifically, the massive finale when Kham lets loose after seeing his whole purpose throughout the movie is gone. The rage he lets out against Madame Rose’s men who dare cross him is almost cringe worthy to watch, but so damn good to not turn away (so if bone crunching or snapping is hard for…maybe don’t watch this one).

 

The Man from Nowhere – Cha vs. Henchmen (Finale)

The Man from Nowhere is a South Korean action thriller that stars Won Bin as Cha Tae-sik, a quiet pawnshop keeper who gets befriends a young girl, but when she gets kidnapped, his violent past and abilities come back out. It’s a really worthwhile film that you should check out – it even got a Hindi remake called Rocky Handsome – and was rumored to get an American remake (still in developmental-hell). One of the great things about the film is it’s a slow-build action film. There are action bits throughout the film, but it saves the big moments for the finale that sees Cha take on dozens of guys after they mess up pretty bad.

Favorite Movie Fights of All Time – Part 1

Hey, look a non-review/podcast post!

No, in all seriousness, I have been wanting to do some sort of series on here for a while now. While ideas ran rampant in my head, fight scenes always stuck out. So that’s what I’m doing here. This won’t be the only series coming – I’ve got some others stored away – but for now, fight scenes are were its at.

Everyone loves a good fight scene, right? I know I do. Hell, I LOVE a good fight scene. There’s something about a fight scene that just gets me going. Not to the extent that I’m going to start picking fights with strangers – at least not anymore – but seeing the hard work of training and filming for months and weeks just for our enjoyment is awesome to watch. So here is where I’m going to shout out some of my favorite fight scenes of all time. Obviously, this is my list and purely my opinion, so if there is a fight that I missed, it’s probably because I simply forgot. This is also, most likely, the first installment of many articles to come.

However, before we get to the list I want to say how I will approach this, at least fight wise. I’m not including battle scenes, which pretty much excludes anything from The Lord of the Rings or the great opening from Saving Private Ryan (another post maybe?). The fights will range from one-on-one or one-on-two, or something along those lines. Also, despite the order, I’m not ranking them. Finally, some of these fights, could be final fights so SPOILER WARNING!

Alright, let’s get cracking…bones…too much? Too much.

 

SPL/Kill Zone – Ma Kwan vs. Jack

You will see Donnie Yen a lot in this series, and I might as well start with one of my favorite fight scenes he’s been in. SPL (Sha po lang) or Killzone as it was re-titled here in America – sometimes even SPL: Kill Zone – we see Yen’s Ma Kwan going one-on-one against newcomer (at the time) Jing Wu’s Jack. The scene itself leads into the final fight between Yen and Sammo Hung, but we’re here to talk about Yen vs. Wu. The fight itself was treated almost like a sparring match between the two martial artists, and was even a “last minute” addition to production once Yen joined the film.

I honestly love this fight ever since I saw it for the first time. The whole movie did a great job of building up the threat that Jing Wu’s Jack is, and to see Ma go toe-to-toe with him with the music and the moves these two make is a sight to see.

 

The Raid 2: Berndal – Rama vs. The Assassin

The Raid, or The Raid: Redemption in some places, was a ground-breaking and breakthrough action film. Sure the story was simple, but it was the action and fight scenes that put the movie over the top with fans. So when the sequel was announced, we immediately knew that we were in for a fun ride, and oh boy, were we. The Raid 2: Berndal upped the ante with the action, and it was the final two fights that really showed director Gareth Evans was not messing around. That said, I’m just going to focus on the last fight between Iko Uwais’ Rama and Cecep Arif Rahman’s The Assassin.

The scene itself took a reported eight days to shoot, and it shows because this thing is brutal, long and completely worth the wait.

 

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Yu Shun Lien vs. Jiao Long

I doubt there isn’t a list of Favorite Fights Scenes of All Time that doesn’t have the epic sword fight between Michelle Yeoh’s Yu Shu Lien versus Ziyi Zhang’s Jiao Long (or Jen Yu in the Mandarin version). The fight between the experienced veteran fighter against a less experience younger warrior was the perfect mirror in real life with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon being Zhang’s breakout role – and second feature film. Seeing the two different styles, and just a tad bit of humor, definitely makes this one of the best fight scenes in cinema.

 

Hero – Nameless vs. Sky

Like mentioned above, the sword “fight” between Jet Li’s Nameless versus Donnie Yen’s Sky is one of the best fight scenes in cinema – for me at least. I say “fight” because the fight doesn’t really happen, but is instead played out in the minds of Nameless and Sky, while an excellent score plays in the background. The scene itself is only the second on-screen fight scene between Li and Yen – the first being Once Upon a Time in China II – which is odd to think considering how well they work together in the scene itself.

 

The Bourne Ultimatum – Bourne vs. Desh 

The Bourne Ultimatum is, by far, one of my favorite spy action thrillers. What Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon were able to do in the short amount of time they had together – Greengrass didn’t direct the first Bourne movie – was pretty damn great. That said, Ultimatum was the very best of the series on all accounts, and when it came to the action sequences, Ultimatum has them beat by miles. While, the Waterloo Station scene is probably one of my favorite scenes of all time, the fight between Damon’s Jason Bourne and CIA asset Desh, played by Joey Ansah, arguably began the hard-hitting, no score fight scenes in the Americana cinema (that statement could be wrong, but at the time of writing this, the only other movie that pops in my head for fight scenes with no score in them is Haywire. Will correct if I find out, or feel free to tell me). I mean, Bourne beats him with a book, A BOOK!

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service – Harry vs. The Church

No, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this fight is on my list – or any list for that matter. I mean, look at it! Not only does the fight feel like a one take – it wasn’t but that’s fine, one take fight scenes are really hard to make – but it’s got Colin Firth kicking ass to Free Bird. COLIN FIRTH AND FREE BIRD!

 

Banshee – Burton vs. Nola

The last fight in this first installment of Favorites Fight Scenes of All Time comes from a TV series. Cinemax had a great series called Banshee. The show itself didn’t rely on the action its first season, but the characters and the story it was trying to tell – the action was just a nice touch and welcomed. As the series went on the action became more prominent, and awesome to watch. The highlight of that came in the third season of the show – unfortunately the series only last four seasons – where there is an amazing feature film quality fight scene between Burton (Matthew Rauch), the main series villain’s henchman and Nola (Odette Annable), a character who was only in six episodes, including this one, but left an impression.

When I first watched the series, I wasn’t really expecting the fight at all, and fans of the show went crazy when they saw it, because it’s really – from what I can remember – the only fight scene like this. Every other fight is more like a brawl, but this was two fights going toe-to-toe, and man was it great to watch. Warning, not for the squeamish.

 

Like I said, this is only part one of a series, so which one of these are your favorite? What are you looking forward to me possibly talking about? Do you like this new series? What more do you want to see? How many more questions can I ask here??

My Best/Favorite Movies of the Year 2014

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!!

 

There were some good movies and films that came out this year, and then there were movies and films that I highly enjoyed that made the list too. The list really ranges all over the place, so you’ll see a wide array of titles. But, of course, this is my list and my opinion so your list might be different and obviously it is okay.

 

The list will have the movies in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because it would be really tough.

 

Movies That I Missed That I Wanted to Watch

Wild

The Theory of Everything

Inherent Vice & American Sniper (although it was only a limited release around here)

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Joe

A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Bad Words

Under the Skin

Cold in July

Life Itself

Wish I Was Here

Magic in the Moonlight

Frank

Starred Up

The Skeleton Twins

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Tusk

Kill the Messenger

The Judge

Laggies

Horns

Rosewater

The Babadook

Stretch

Unbroken

 

(To watch a video form of the list, you can go here: )

 

Just Missed The List:

A Most Wanted Man: I love movies that keep me thinking until the end. A Most Wanted Man had elements of that but it was also of the great performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, and Willem Dafoe. It was odd to hear all of them put on German accents but that’s just being nitpicky right?

 

Boyhood: Don’t get me wrong, Richard Linklater’s twelve-year film following a boy from childhood to adulthood was a great experiment to see unfold. The movie had some great things in it but at the end of year, against some of the other movies that I’ve seen; I had to barely leave it off the list.

 

Nightcrawler: While Jake Gyllenhaal gave one of the best performance’s I’ve ever seen him do and his character is so complex in a compelling and frightening way, Nightcrawler was a mixed bag and while there are gaps of great scenes and what seems like unnecessary filler.

 

The Drop: While the film was filled with strong performances all around (Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Matthis Schoenaerts, and the late James Gandolfini in his last finished role), the film compared to the others is just a tad bit under the others.

 

The Rover: David Michod’s not really apocalyptic story has Guy Pearce playing a loner gets his car stolen and is eventually left with one of the thieves’ brother (Robert Pattinson) and goes after them. That’s about it for the movie. After that there really isn’t a plot and you’ll mostly catch things on second watch, but performances by Pearce and surprisingly Pattinson makes the movie watchable the first time around.

 

Whiplash: Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons gave great performances in the drama where a young man tries to become a great jazz drummer and meets his match with a well known instructor that pushes him to his limits. Again, the performances make the film worthwhile and the last performance of the movie is what the film really builds up to, but Whiplash does have some moments and decisions that made me question it.

 

Honorable Mentions

300: Rise of an Empire

Birdman

Edge of Tomorrow

Foxcatcher

Her

John Wick

Lone Survivor

The Book of Life

The Guest

The Purge: Anarchy

This Is Where I Leave You

X-Men: Days of Future Past

 

Best/Favorite Movies of the Year

Begin Again

begin_again

I hardly knew anything, if at all, about Begin Again before I saw the trailer and final film. I was completely surprised and floored by how good the film was and the original soundtrack they made for it was fantastic.

 

Big Hero 6

big_hero_six_ver2

Disney’s first Marvel animated property came in the form of a group that no one really knew about and they turned it into their own thing. Disney followed their formula and created a movie that tons of fun and full of heart. It also doesn’t hurt that they created a loveable character of Baymax.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

captain_america_the_winter_soldier_ver20

I think we all would be lying to ourselves if we thought Captain America: The Winter Soldier was going to be that great. Marvel and the Russo Brothers turned Captain America into a spy thriller with just some comic book elements and made – and dare I say this – the best Marvel film to date.

 

Chef

chef

2014 has been slightly dubbed the year of comedian actors trying to the public take them seriously. Chris Rock did it with Top Five but the best example for me would be Jon Favreau’s Chef. Favreau wrote, directed, and starred in this uplifting dramedy about a chef and father trying to find his passion again and trying to reconnect with his son. Favreau showed that he handle every aspect of filmmaking and you can tell that he has also found his passion for filmmaking doing an independent film.

 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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There is something to be said that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes turned out better than Rise of the Planet of the Apes since Rise was a very well done film that probably shouldn’t have been as good as it was. Dawn continued and elevated what made Rise good and expanded on them. Andy Serkis also continues to prove that he is the master of motion capture and can probably out act a real actor, but now has some competition with Toby Kebbell who played Koba and gave Serkis a run for his money. Finally, that siege scene was a work of art and fantastic to watch.

 

Godzilla

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Godzilla didn’t get a lot love, and I’ll even admit there were parts that made it uneven but the whole movie was an adventure and seeing “The King of the Monsters” back on screen was a sight to see.

 

Gone Girl

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Talk about a total mind-twisting film. Gone Girl had me guessing throughout the whole thing and if you knew what was going on, 1) I’d say you read the book or 2) you’re covering it up. Rosamund Pike was fantastic in this and I’m glad more people got to see how good of an actress she is.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Much to everyone’s surprise, Marvel pulled this off. Dubbed “Marvel’s Biggest Risk to Date” Guardians of the Galaxy had it all: humor, action, heart, and a great soundtrack. The whole cast held their own and this showed us that Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista are going to be bonafide movie stars.

 

Interstellar

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I like Christopher Nolan and there are some people that don’t like for whatever reasons they have. Which is fine since that’s the way the world works, but I do know some people out there don’t like him for the hell of it. Anyway, Interstellar probably isn’t the best Nolan film but it’s still a good one and visually it’s Nolan’s best. Even if you didn’t like the premise you have to at least appreciate the acting from Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi and the youngest and probably best actor of the film Mackenzie Foy.

 

Locke

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If you wanted to stare at Tom Hardy for eighty-five minutes as he drives a car, then Locke was the movie for you. Seriously, the whole movie takes places in a car on one night with Hardy talking to various characters over his phone. Hardy is compelling and gives one of his best performances of his career and one of the best his year. I know it doesn’t so like much but believe me, check this out when you get the chance.

 

Snowpiercer

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Most post-apocalyptic movies (good ones anyway) are usually bleak, dark and somewhat morbid. Joon-ho Bong first American film was all of those and with a great cast behind him of Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Tilda Swinton, Ah-sung Ko, and Jamie Bell, the film was great from start to finish.

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Wes Anderson is one of those directors not everyone gets, and I’ll admit I was one of them early on. However, I have quickly become a fan of his and his films, and The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those films. I don’t think I laughed as hard as I did in theaters this year when watching this. It’s a great quirky film with laughs, mystery and romance.

 

The Imitation Game

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Based on the real life and accomplishment of English mathematician Alan Turing who cracked the Enigma code during WWII, The Imitation Game is a great drama with great performances by Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Rory Kinnear. But all of them are lead by Benedict Cumberbatch, who gives one of the best performances of the year and completely embodies the character so well that you really want to see him succeed and feel for him at the end.

 

The LEGO Movie

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Another movie that probably shouldn’t have worked, The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller managed to pull off a great movie based a huge product that literally has no story to it. The LEGO Movie has so many layers to it that every time I watch it I find something new to love. Everything is Awesome!

 

The Raid 2

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I didn’t think it would be possible for Gareth Evans to top what he did in the first The Raid, but wow, was I wrong. The Raid 2 might be one of the best action films of the year, if not the best. I know a lot of people were irked by how slow things moved, but looking at how all the things turned out, all that build up made the ending so satisfying

 

So what is on your list? What do you think of my list?

 

Happy New Year!

and here’s to another great year of movies