Best Films of 2014

Scarlett Johansson in "Under the Skin." | Courtesy A24 Films.
Scarlett Johansson in “Under the Skin.” | Courtesy A24 Films.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] have a love-hate relationship with making year-end lists. On one hand, I think it’s trivial to pick only five or 10 films, albums, books that I enjoyed throughout the year. There are so many options to choose from and I don’t want to leave any out. But on the other hand, I love discussing with people why they liked their picks and the thought process that went in to determining the placement. It’s not an exact science and everyone has their own formulas to the process. I can only speak for myself, but I found it fun and agonizing to cultivate my year-end film review this year.

"The Lego Movie" | Courtesy WB
“The Lego Movie” | Courtesy WB

2014 was a spectacular year for motion pictures. I saw myself going to the movies more and seeing certain filmmakers try new things. But one trend that I started to see, that annoyed me, was the dependence on sequels and films based on other source material. I usually don’t weigh too much value on how much money a film makes, but looking at this year’s box office, the top 10 grossing films of 2014 were based on previously created resources and six were sequels. I am not condemning sequels and reboots, heck even some of my favorite films this year were continuations or retreads. I just wish that Hollywood be more concerned with the current product, as opposed to one five years down the line.

"Inherent Vice" | Courtesy WB
“Inherent Vice” | Courtesy WB

Generally in a calendar year, there are more than 900 films that are released. I’d like to say that I’ve seen them all, but that is just not humanly possible. And some 2014 films will not be released in Chicago till January, so unfortunately “Selma” and “Inherent Vice” will not be appearing on this list. But that is okay, because this year was nothing to scoff at. There were a plethora of original films that pulled at my heartstrings, comedies that had me belly laughing on the floor and yes, even some sequels that showed a glimmer of being more than just another chapter in a franchise.

Here is my list of the best films of 2014:

1. “Under The Skin”

2. “Whiplash”

3. “Boyhood”

4. “The Immigrant”

5. “The Lego Movie”

6. “Blue Ruin”

7. “The Babadook”

8. “The Missing Picture”

9. “Snowpiercer”

10. “Force Majeure”

Honorable Mentions: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Ida,” “Gone Girl,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “We Are The Best!,” “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Note: While some of the films on this list were released in 2013, many were not widely released until 2014.

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