by Coop Cooper
Keeping in mind I haven’t seen several of the hyped filmed which may be up for awards (ex- “Unbroken”, “Birdman”, “American Sniper”, “Inherent Vice”, “Selma”, “Foxcatcher”, “The Imitation Game”, etc…), here are ten of my favorites so far from 2014…
10. “Guardians of the Galaxy” – Possibly the most re-watchable film of 2014, this obscure Marvel comic book became the surprise blockbuster of the year. With comic Chris Pratt reinvented as an action hero co-starring with a menagerie of weird aliens, this franchise could be the “Star Wars” of this generation.
9. “Fury” – This WWII tank film could almost be a spiritual sequel to “Saving Private Ryan” as Brad Pitt commands a solitary tank which is the only line of defense between a German platoon and an undefended medical base. This film was about one or two scenes short from being a perfect war movie.
8. “Boyhood” – More of a grand experiment and monumental achievement than a perfect film, “Boyhood” is a narrative time capsule of a story that spans the teen years of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) growing up in a dysfunctional, broken family. Director Richard Linklater parsed out the filming of this movie for twelve years to match the aging of Coltrane’s character. Despite some amateurish acting the film is a wonder to behold.
7. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – With a parallel storyline to ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, this is possibly the best Marvel film to date as Captain America (Chris Evans) uncovers a conspiracy within the government that could destroy the world. This film will lead into the next “Avengers” film this year.
6. “Cold in July” – This country noir thriller starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepherd and Don Johnson proves that both good and bad guys have limits to the evils they can tolerate. I’m hoping this will become a sleeper cult hit on video.
5. “The Purge: Anarchy” – Easily the most satisfying horror film of the year, this sequel made the most of its original and chilling concept to create an action-packed labyrinth of terror as innocent Los Angeles citizens and hunters are caught out in the open on the one night of the year where all crime, including murder, is legal. A rare superior sequel.
4. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” – This worthy sequel to the original matches much of what made the original so perfect as Hiccup and the Dragon Riders of Berk form new alliances to stop an army of dragon slavers. The film managed to merge similar storylines to “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” all in one film.
3. “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” – The most entertaining documentary of the year follows “Bonanza” actor Bing Russell as he and his son Kurt buy a single-A minor league team in 1973 and proceed to turn the world of baseball on its head. It’s only on Netflix Instant and unfortunately is not suitable for younger viewers (language).
2. “Nightcrawler” – This sharp critique on media in America is packaged within a nail-biting thriller and the best male performance of the year by Jake Gyllenhaal as the sociopathic freelance journalist Lou Bloom who will stop at nothing to capture only the bloodiest crimes for the evening news. Gyllenhaal deserves the Oscar for this one.
1. “Gone Girl” – What starts off as a predictable thriller ends as one of the most shocking and intelligent thrillers of the year. Rosamund Pike has a terrific shot at Best Actress for her scary portrayal of a modern wife who places horrific expectations on her cheating husband. Her character will go down as one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time.