As I look back on 2014, I realize the new movies I wanted to see far outnumber the new movies that I did see. Here are some of my favorites from this year:
The Imitation Game: In my review, I gave this movie 4.5 stars, and I stand by that. What I didn’t mention in my review is that the film induced a visceral response in me: I had that nervous, tense feeling deep within me—the kind I would get whenever I took a high-level, high-pressure math test at school. When a movie can generate that sort of response, it’s pretty special.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I: I love the book series, and the films are doing a great job of bringing them to life on screen. I can’t wait for the next one!
Guardians of the Galaxy: I finally saw this just recently and I loved it! Chris Pratt is absolutely perfect for this role. Combine that with a good script, a dynamic cast of characters, excellent visual effects, and fun-filled sci-fi comedy, this movie was pretty fantastic. (Elliott wrote a review when it was released).
Into the Woods: I love fairy tales and musicals and James Corden and Emily Blunt, so this was a win for me. You can read my review to find out what else I loved about it.
Divergent: I love the book, and I thought the adaptation was really well done. Again, I’m excited for the next installment!
Captain America: the Winter Soldier: My cohorts have almost all mentioned this one, but I loved it too. (You can read Logan’s review here).
As I said, the list of what I have NOT seen is much longer. Here are some of the movies that might end up on my 2014 favorites list once I actually get around to seeing them:
The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies; Big Hero 6; Unbroken; Big Eyes (Tim Burton’s latest, starring Amy Adams); Exodus: Gods and Kings; The Theory of Everything; Interstellar (Christopher Nolan can do no wrong, in my opinion); Magic in the Moonlight (Woody Allen’s latest, starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone); The Fault in Our Stars (I loved the book and still need to see the movie); Last Days in Vietnam; Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson’s latest)
There are more, but I’ll stop the list there.
Despite my limited number of new movies this year, I did experience some disappointment. When I first saw the trailer for Mr. Turner, I was ecstatic that there was going to be a film about my favorite painter: Joseph Mallord William (J.M.W.) Turner. After much enthusiastic anticipation, I finally got to see it and was spectacularly let down. While Timothy Spall’s performance is simultaneously sensitive and commanding, and the art direction and cinematography work together to beautifully create the world and time in which Turner lived, the list of positives stops there. Director Mike Leigh begins working on a film before there is a script—and it certainly showed in Mr. Turner. The story is slow and rambling, and the pacing and tone of the film have none of the energy, turbulence, or tumultuousness that defined the latter part of the painter’s life (which the movie portrays). The story felt vague and unfocused, and the ending was wholly unsatisfying. Frankly, it’s tragic that such promising subject matter was dealt with so poorly.
All in all, 2014 was a pretty good year in movies, and I clearly have some catching up to do.