The end of the 2014 movie year is here and it won’t go down as one of the most memorable in movie history. It started with the forgettable “Paranormal Activity: The Marked One” and ended with a flood of films to draw moviegoers at the holidays, including “Unbroken.”
Box office totals were off despite efforts by the studios to lure audiences with big comic book movies such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” or the finale of “The Hobbit” trilogy.
For my best and worst list, the only criteria is that the film had to play on a local movie screen or been available via online or DVD during the year. That means movies such as “Selma,” “American Sniper” and “A Most Violent Year” weren’t among the productions in the running.
Here are my picks for the best and worst movies in 2104.
It earns the top spot because of the memorable supporting work by Edward Norton and Emma Stone plus the mind-blowing techniques used to film the production.
This modern day “Sunset Boulevard” has so much to offer multiple viewings still might not be enough.
While the subject matter of the biopic suggests this will be a production mired deep in scientific chatter, the movie is really a beautiful love story. The chemistry between Redmayne and Felicity Jones is galactic.
Give credit to Ralph Fiennes for making this all work as he plays a hotel employee on the run.
It’s as well acted as it is visually stunning.
This adaptation of a Marvel comic book opens with a bang and never lets up, riding the charm and energy of star Chris Pratt. There’s not been an action film hero this good since Harrison Ford slipped into the Indiana Jones role for the first time.
Witherspoon starts by being stripped to her physical and emotional core. From that humbling beginning she takes the character on a pathway of redemption.
Laura Dern turns in an amazing supporting performance as the catalyst for Witherspoon‘s character to make her emotional journey.
Linklater has put together a reminder that while we may remember the big moments with the most clarity, we are all the product of what seem to be insignificant moments along our life’s path.
It’s equally amazing watching Ellar Coltrane’s acting journey from talented youngster to gifted young adult.
It’s easy to dismiss this as a kid’s movie because it’s built on a world of colorful plastic blocks. That’s just the foundation for a production loaded with such smart writing and visual gags that it builds and builds the fun and excitement.
Plus, no other movie offered as catchy a song.
Never has East met West in such a visually stunning way from the blending of the architecture of Tokyo and San Francisco (to create San Fransokyo) to the collision of traditional animation with anime.
It is “manga-nificent.”
Director Steve James has put together a full look at Ebert’s life and career from his battles with Gene Siskel to Ebert’s ill health.
Director Dan Gilroy offers a dark and depressing tale that appears to be an examination of TV news but is in reality a look at the public who hungers for this type of reporting.
It’s a strong commentary delivered through the impressive acting efforts of Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo.
McCarthy, Susan Sarandon , Kathy Bates and Toni Collette do not have one funny line in this miserable film about a fast food worker who goes on a road trip to find herself. What we get is a movie that’s such a stinker the caustic fumes still linger in some theaters.
The tale of a killer doll is full of bad acting, writing and direction.
A mix of bad casting, embarrassing acting (that means you Cameron Diaz) and the weak voice of star Quvenzhané Wallis leaves “Annie” one of the biggest duds since the Depression.
He gets some help making this supposed comedy a disaster from Drew Barrymore as they play a couple who go from a bad blind date to sharing an African vacation. A bad blind date is seeing this horrible excuse for a movie.
The new “Endless Love” is a sanitized version of the original movie, which was already a flop.
The tale of three women looking to get revenge on the man who’s cheating on all three of them is all the fun of cleaning a horse stall. And, it is twice as stinky.
From the blonde who becomes the first fodder for the creature in a cursed house to all efforts to stop the spirit only being done in the dead of night, the makers of this flop wouldn’t recognize an original idea if it was spelled out on a Ouija board.
It has neither taut drama nor first-rate action to give it any life. It doesn’t help that the usually dependable Neeson has fallen into a rut of playing tough — but flawed — lawmen. Prints of this film should be taken.
It’s sad that a movie about artificial intelligence isn’t smarter. With a plot that looks like a prequel to the apocalyptic world of the NBC series “Revolution” and a love story that gives new meaning to “computer dating,” this cautionary tale ends up being a few bytes short of a download.
Not dumb enough to be campy fun. It’s just dumb.