Top 10 Favourite Movies of the Year (so far)

Hi guys! Sorry for the late posting, I’ve been having exams, but that’s all over now… so I decided to make another top 10 list.

This time, as you can see from the title, it’s going to be a list of my favourite films of 2014 thus far.

So first of all, I obviously haven’t watched every single film that has come out this year, but there are certain major ones that I missed (largely due to my exams). The ones I’m about to list… I’m very sure they would have made the Top 10, but due to different circumstances, I just wasn’t able to watch them in theatres. So just as a mention, these films are:

The Grand Budapest Hotel (didn’t come out ANYWHERE near me)

Chef (didn’t come out ANYWHERE near me)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (exams D: )

The Fault in Our Stars (exams D: )

Begin Again (exams D: )

22 Jump Street (exams  D:)

Possibly… Noah (too many other interesting films came out around then)

Guardians of the Galaxy hasn’t hit theatres around here yet, so you won’t see it here.

But anyway, those aside, these are my picks for films this year (so far):

10. The Other Woman

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Ok, honestly, I’m not too sure WHY this is even here, but after my selection process it just kind of ended up here. Though I guess despite its lack of much real comedy or smartness, it felt, in a way, like a kind of “feel-good” film for me. Maybe it’s the connection between the film’s two lead characters (Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz) which made me see something in this movie. (And, I’m sorry, but Kate Upton was clearly the third wheel here.) Also, it might not be entirely original, but it did at least keep me thinking about what was actually going to happen at the end, and let me tell you, that ending was not what I was expecting. (I’m talking about what happened to Nikolaj). Oh, and Nicki Minaj pretty ok, to me.

Highlights (in a few words): that scene in the bushes. nicki minaj. the dog.

9. Divergent

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Before I start, I’m just going to admit that I… haven’t actually read the book series. (but yes, I’ve heard the “tris dies” spoiler about a thousand times). In a way, I think that was a good thing, since I went into the theatre to see it as a product in the form of a film instead of some book adaptation. And honestly I think that alone gave me very different views compared to many others (especially fans of the book). Despite some people screaming and nearly hyperventilating about how the movie was  “awesome” once I left the theatre, I honestly thought that while it was certainly a good film, it was far from a great film. I thought it was suspenseful and fast-paced, the action scenes worked pretty well for me. The emotional and romantic connection between Tris and Four worked too… kinda. But I thought if anything, it seemed to be lacking a powerful plot and message. I don’t mean to compare, but when placing this against The Hunger Games, the distinction for me is pretty jarring. In THG this feeling of “dystopia” is much stronger to me, and the plot was very smooth; I completely understood everything that was going on. In Divergent… well maybe it was because of the slightly questionable concept, but I found myself questioning many things about the film, from those tests, to the Faction system etc. But I won’t talk too much about that. Overall though, I went in simply to watch a film, and if Divergent hadn’t been so concept-heavy, those action scenes would have put this film much higher up on this list.

Highlights (in a few words): The Fear Landscapes, Post-Apocalyptic Chicago, that gliding scene.

8. Rio 2

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Rio 2, for me, was all about the music. The musical moments were by far the highlights for me in this film. Other than that… well everything kind of fell a little flat as compared to the first film. The three new characters, those three child birds, honestly their characters felt really one-dimensional. The plot didn’t exactly feel original, nor did it bring much suspense, but for me, as I’ve mentioned, this film was saved by it’s music, and also partly it’s colourful and beautiful visuals (especially, once again, during it’s musical moments). I can tell that younger children would probably love this; it definitely did appeal to the little child in me. So, yeah, this is in the 8th position because of it’s musical appeal.

Highlights (in a few words) : that pink frog. the music.

7. Neighbors

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One of the funnier films of 2014 so far. 22 Jump Street might have taken its place… but let’s not go into that. The plot is simple but really fun and engaging… it’s the typical “an eye for an eye” type of movie, where the two sides keep finding mischievous and hilarious ways to get back at each other. The chemistry between Seth and Zac is definitely there… their one-on-one fights/moments were really interesting to watch. But for me, Rose Byrne stole the show. I definitely remember her best from Bridesmaids, where she delivered perfectly the intolerable and bitchy (sorry) character of Helen Harris III, and here, I really enjoyed her portrayal as a crazy, ingenious mama bear. I mean, who else could pull off that scene where she manipulates Pete and Brooke into having sex? (I should probably put some kind of PG guidance thing here). And not to mention that outrageous (if slightly irkish) scene with the breast milk.

All in all, this was one outrageous and hilarious movie which I will not be forgetting soon.

Highlights (in a few words): that scene where they imitated celebrities voices. that last firework scene.

6. Godzilla

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Ok, we’re starting to get into the blockbusters. TBH, just a note, I thought almost all the blockbusters this year were actually really well made, with only a few exceptions. (I’m looking at you, TAS2, Transformers 4… urgh). Godzilla felt pretty dark to me, but all the more suspenseful. I would pick those fight scenes with Godzilla over the ones in Pacific Rim any day (I’m sorry), because they were simply EPIC. That atomic breath… WOW. I actually found the way they changed perspectives from one human to another to be really interesting as well… since it kind of showed that, well, this mega-sized (and at times, kind of awesome) destruction was happening just about… everywhere. Those long-legged creatures/parasites or whatever actually scared the crap out of me. The visuals were stunning in a big-scale, buildings-getting-destroyed-like-cardboard kind of way, which was expected. As for Godzilla itself (himself?), I don’t know if it’s just me, but I had SO much respect for it (him?). Yea he’s some gigantic, slightly paunchy lizard, but his resilience brought tears to my eyes.

Highlights: The Atomic Breath. Sally Hawkins (because it’s Sally Hawkins), looking at how useless man-made technology was. Las Vegas destroyed.

5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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I watched this really recently, so it’s still pretty fresh in my mind. I know there’s some message about humanity etc etc, but to be honest I’ve had enough literature for the term, so I’ll not delve into that. I thought at the main antagonist, Kova, was really what drove the film. He was so brutal, so savage, that any scene with him (which was pretty much almost every scene) kept me by the edge of my seat. When he shot Caesar and those watchmen, I flinched so hard the guy beside me spilt his popcorn. That huge scene where the human base is attacked was so intense and brutal I was literally shaken after that. It was really impactful to me. But perhaps more so was the final fight between Kobo and Caesar, honestly I wasn’t sure how much damage either party was going to take before one of them came out on top. It ended on a slightly cliched note, with the typical “villain-hangs-by-the-edge-of-a-cliff-while-protagonist-looks-on.” kind of thing. But really, that last part was a really fitting end for Kobo.

Highlights (in a few words): that big orange ape (Maurice). that book scene with Maurice and Alex. the final explosion.

4. The Lego Movie

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Not to be cocky or anything, but I could tell instantly this was going to be a huge hit the moment the first marketing materials came out. And it was. I think the theme song holds completely true, everything IS awesome about this film. Like, literally every part of the movie seemed to be a highlight. The film was funny, reaaally smartly written, visually appealing, and had a really interesting plot. All the characters are so unique and hilarious in their own ways, from Emmet’s “nobody, yet somebody” character, to Batman’s narcissistically hilarious character, to Unikittys overly sweet and chirpy facade. I loved the cast as well, Chris Pratt (from the awesome Parks and Rec), Elizabeth Banks (THG, Pitch Perfect), Morgan Freeman (is it just me, or is Morgan Freeman in like every known movie). That twist at the end where we see a real-life Will Ferrell was pretty cool, and the final confrontation between Emmet/Lord Business, Will Ferrell’s char/his son was really touching, and was probably just about the best conclusion I’ve seen to a movie yet.

Highlights: If I have to choose… The Spaceship Dude. All the Batman-nisms.

3. Edge of Tomorrow

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The most overlooked film this year, in my opinion. The box office receipts definitely wasn’t proportionate to the quality of this film… to me this was definitely one of the best films of the summer, if not the best. The “Live, Die, Repeat” sequence in the film was really interesting and intriguing to watch, and for once, we really see the impossibilty of Tom Cruise’s stunts (through his constant deaths). The chemistry between Emily and Tom’s character was actually one of the strongest and most interesting for me, as personally, I thought that both their warrior-like hearts shone really powerfully, individually, and when put together… wow. I thought the design of the Mimics was really cool, and overall, as the marketing material very correctly states, this film was smart, exciting and unexpected. Those scenes on the beach were so intense, and seeing the intricately planned motions which the two characters went through was almost better than every coordinated mission in the MI series. It was funny, hilarious even, to watch the way in which these plans were made out, which I thought added a nice and appropriate touch of humour to the film. Overall, this is my definition of a GREAT film.

Highlights (in a few words): The (entire) final action sequence. Emily Blunt’s sword action.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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The first one was good… but this REALLY showed what Marvel can be made of. I thought it’s straying from the typical “beating-up-bad-guys” thing all Marvel movies seem to have made this film SO much better. After the disappointing Thor 2 last year, I went in with my expectations slightly muted. And boy, was I blown away. The action throughout most of the film was far from Avengers-esque, but more with a touch of Black Widow to it, which I really loved. The whole idea of Hydra completely infiltrating Shield really helped made this film so much more suspenseful for me, it honestly felt to me that it was Chris and ScarJo (and that falcon dude) versus the world, since EVERYONE seemed to be against them. The final sequence with those huge helicarriers felt so unique and enthralling to watch. The way those ships blew each other up at the end…. WOW… the chills… Perhaps more so though, was the connection between The Winter Soldier and the Capt. After the first film, where I really liked the friendship between the two, I thought their fight scenes were more like a fight between two best friends, which is SO much more emotionally conflictive than one between worst enemies. That was definitely the emotional highlight for me through the movie. The chemistry between Chris and Scarlett was good as well, and once again, Scarlett is back in her lovely lethal and sarcastic character, though with a nicely added vulnerability. Maria Hill and Nick Fury also played really interesting roles, and I actually half-believed that Nick Fury had actually died there at the start.

Highlights (in a few words): The helicarrier guns. Colbie Smulders. Emily Van Camp. The emotional conflict between Capt and TWS.

Before I unveil my No. 1 pick, these are a few honourable mentions (in no particular order)…

Mr Peabody and Sherman

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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

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The Amazing Spiderman 2

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And in No. 1….

X-Men Days of Future Past

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No questions asked, this was THE movie of the summer for me. Where do I even begin? The concept felt really refreshing and new for the “going back in time” thing, to start. And all the scenes in the future… SOO awesome. I was actually hoping there were more of them. The fight scenes in the future were SOOO intense, the most intense ones I’ve seen yet. Frankly, it’s pretty enthralling yet frightening to see my favourite heroes from the original X-Men series (Iceman, Colossus, Storm) fighting such an impossible battle, not to mention the equally awesome newcomers (Blink, Sunspot, Bishop etc.) The Sentinels were shit-your-pants scary, easily the most intimidating antagonists of the summer. It was SO painful to watch those drill-like hands impale so many of the X-Men. The emotional engagement of this film was also… wow. The scene with old/young Charles brought SO MANY tears to my eyes I was bawling like a little baby. That final climactic scene, which flashes the Mystique/Magneto confrontation and the final battle… the chills and feels were just… overwhelming. This film went beyond awesome for me, it had such a poignant, powerful pulse to it, like the beating of a human heart. (Ugh I’ve been drowning myself in literature for my exams). I watched this film 5 times in theatres… more than any other film this year, and each time I felt so equally engaged. Oh of course, the cast. I mean, what can I say? This ensemble cast could easily outmatch The Avengers cast. All in all, this was the film of the year. (so far)

Highlights (in a few words): Bobby. That 2 seconds of Rogue. All the future fight scenes. Blink’s portals. Old/young charles scene. Storm’s storm/lightning. The love/hate relationship between (young and perhaps old) Magneto and Charles. The Sentinels rising to Magneto’s side. The slow-mo prison break scene. Mystique’s fight scenes. The stadium descending around The White House.

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Well… that’s it!

Those are my picks for my favourite movies of the year so far! What are yours? Leave your opinions in the comments below! 😀

– J.K

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