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Picking the best movies that come out in any given year is no easy feat. For film fans, a quality feature can come out at any time, from any one, and discovering an enjoyable and well-crafted feature is truly a pleasure. As we reach the halfway point of the year, many excellent films have already made their way to theatres, films that are well worth a watch. Below, you shall find the list of the top 30 films of 2014 to date, a list that ranges from science fiction thrillers to period dramas.
A few notes to keep in mind when reading our entry: Certain films from our 2013 list make a second appearance on this list. This is because the movies, while technically released this year, were seen by a select few in time for last year’s list, due to the benefit of film festivals and press screenings. The list itself is in no particular order, »
Stars: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Jillian Bell, Peter Stormare, Amber Stevens, Nick Offerman, Wyatt Russell, The Lucas Brothers, Marc Evan Jackson, Rob Riggle | Written by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman | Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
When 21 Jump Street came out it had little expectations. A reboot of a heavily dated late 80’s television program that will be directed by people who never made a live-action film before?—surely it will fail. Not only did it not fail it was both a critical and financial smash hit. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took the ridiculousness of the reboot and used it in their favor by making it an updated meta spoof on Hollywood’s need to reboot everything. Now the question becomes, can they do it again?
In short the answer to that question is a solid yes. 22 Jump Street keeps with the tradition of the first film, »
- Dan Clark
22 Jump Street is the follow-up to the hugely successful 21 Jump Street (2012) that earned over $200 million at the box office on a budget of only $20 million. Since show business is a business, this sequel was no surprise to anyone.
The film was directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller – same as the previous entry. They certainly keep this film moving along at a similar brisk clip here for the most part. The hijinks and hilarity are very similar to the last film – but more on that later. 22 Jump Street was written by Michael Bacall, who wrote the prior film, along with Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman who both have limited credits until now. Clearly, the goal here was to pretty much keep the same team and playbook in place.
- Steven Gahm
22 Jump Street
In lesser hands, the overtly meta nature of 22 Jump Street could easily have become insufferably smug. Directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, though, have been proving themselves to be kings of manic, self-aware comedy, and their more consistently strong follow-up to 2012′s 21 Jump Street might be the best comedy sequel since Joe Dante’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
This time around, officers Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) have botched another pursuit of a criminal (Peter Stormare). Deputy Hardy (Nick Offerman) dismisses Jenko’s vocal desire to transfer to the Secret Service, sending the pair back to the undercover operations of Jump Street, because they unexpectedly did so well last time and the department “has invested a lot of money to make sure Jump Street keeps going.”
- Josh Slater-Williams
The first 21 Jump Street reboot movie didn’t just safely navigate the traps and pot holes of cheesy TV adaptations — it made the exercise a breezy art. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s odd-couple pairing as two narc cops going undercover at a high school snuck up on critics — a luxury they don’t have at their disposal in the sequel.
But that doesn’t seem to be stopping director Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie) from doubling down on the same comic sensibility. The only thing that’s changed for 22 Jump Street is the setting — college — and »
- Jeff Labrecque
Chicago – “22 Jump Street” is a big budget Hollywood sequel that actively comments on the diminishing returns of sequels. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller know that for every “Lethal Weapon 2,” that manages to surpass the original, there are a dozen “Another 48 Hours”.
..that try and fail to give audiences an approximation of what they enjoyed before.
The original “21 Jump Street” succeeded because it wrapped its own crappy jokes in a cocoon of meta commentary and irony. If anything “22 Jump Street” takes that element to even more hyper self aware extremes, but it also risks becoming its own self fulfilling prophesy.
The plot sends the team of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill undercover in college to sniff out the supplier of a new drug after a young girl’s untimely death. The drug is called why-fy and it offers 4 hours of adderal-type laser focus followed by an acid trip. »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
This week’s new entry in the Summer movie schedule has the distinction of pulling off the seasonal cinema trifecta. So, what’s this multiplex “hat-trick”? Well, number one, it’s a big studio action comedy. Number two, it’s a feature film remake of a decades old classic TV show. And the topper, number three, it’s a sequel. Usually TV adaptations are done in one, like The A-team and Bewitched. 22 Jump Street is the follow-up to 2012′s surprise smash 21 Jump Street, based on the late 1980′s Fox TV crime drama (created by The A-team’s Stephen J. Cannell with Patrick Hasburgh) that propelled Johnny Depp to stardom. But the flick from two years ago wasn’t a straight-faced, literal movie expansion. Taking a cue from 1987′s Dan Aykroyd/Tom Hanks starrer Dragnet, 21 was a loving parody of the earlier cop show. Can Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum possibly »
- Jim Batts
This weekend, the comedic action antics of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill take to the big screen in 22 Jump Street, a sequel that seems to be wholly satisfying on every level. The two stars have been making the rounds on late night talk shows this week to promote the film, but one of the more fun and unique appearances came on Comedy Central's social media comedy game show "@Midnight," where co-star Ice Cube was a contestant. Tatum and Hill were on-hand for one of the segments that involved unearthing some creepy and erotic fan fiction featuring the franchise stars. It's awkward and hilarious. Watch below! Here's Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill & Ice Cube on @Midnight for 22 Jump Street: 22 Jump Street is directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie) and written by Michael Bacall (21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World »
- Ethan Anderton
The first half of 22 Jump Street relies largely on making jokes about how it's a sequel. These "jokes" are wedged directly into the film's plot by way of comments on a bigger budget and how they should do everything the same. It's a level of self-awareness that has become quite regular in today's movies, and worked well on a smaller scale in the first movie, in an attempt to divert your attention from the fact what you're watching isn't only unnecessary, but not really all that good either. The second half of 22 Jump Street attempts to be funny by suggesting this sequel has now gone over budget and they're going to have to think outside the box to complete their movie -- excuse me, complete their investigation. The jokes throughout both halves rely heavily on gay innuendo, playing off the fact police officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are partners. »
- Brad Brevet
Directed by Edgar Wright
For those familiar with the work of English director Edgar Wright, saying he is adept at bending various genres should not come as a surprise. It would appear easy to label both Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End as spoofs, but each is boosted by genuine storytelling and character development which elevates them above the fray, whereas spoofs are primarily content with poking fun at the genres they tackle. In 2010 Edgar Wright chose to flex some directorial muscles in rather unorthodox ways with a silver screen adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Speaking of things unorthodox, the titular character’s universe is nothing like the what regular humans understand Nay, what appears on the surface to be a familiar pasture is in fact a candy-coloured »
- Edgar Chaput
22 Jump Street, 2014.
After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college.
Quite evidently not simply resting on their laurels, Phil Lord and Chris Miller have seemingly created a monopoly over the finest comedies of recent years. In 22 Jump Street, the two have captured the anarchic tone of Animal House and the scatter shot, balls to the wall, joke a minute ideals of Airplane. As the film opens, Nick Offerman announces, “things are always worse the second time round.” So surprising first time round, writers Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman don’t simply rehash the jokes so expertly put together previously, »
- Thomas Harris
Funnier, cleverer, wittier, and snarkier than the first film. It is nonstop self-deprecation that doles out well-deserved smacks to about 817 Hollywood things that desperately deserve it. I’m “biast” (pro): loved the first film…
I’m “biast” (con): …but wasn’t expecting to love the sequel
I have seen the source material (and I love it)
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
I am like Charlie Brown contemplating before me Lucy with the football, and wondering once again if I will let myself be suckered in… again.
And I did.
See, I loved the late 80-early 90s TV show 21 Jump Street. And I hate Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill with the power of a thousand dying brown dwarf stars (so, you know, not that much, but still). Also too: Hollywood please stop it with the reboots and the remakes and the updos and whatever and start telling some new stories. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Nb: If you hated 21 Jump Street, you may want to skip this article.
There’s a moment early in 22 Jump Street where Deputy Chief Hardy (a returning Nick Offerman) jokes openly about the rules of movies sequels: “Do the same thing again,” he deadpans, “and everyone’s happy.”
It’s this kind of self-referential humour which could be seen to mark 22 Jump Street out as a post-modern comedy, yet the greater percentage of its means of getting laughs are as old as the hills: insults, misunderstandings, pratfalls and wilfully bad jokes. The winning formula was set up, of course, in 2012‘s 21 Jump Street - a large-screen adaptation of the 80s TV show of the same name, which, it’s probably fair to say, wasn’t »
It may have been twenty years since we saw the last great comedy sequel. 1993 saw the release of Wayne’s World 2; before that there was 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The wait for a new champion may be over; following 2012’s instant comedy classic 21 Jump Street – also the most pirated movie of that year – we’re treated to a sequel that’s just as funny, heartwarming and well-crafted as the original.
Jonah Hill’s Schmidt and Channing Tatum’s Jenko, having gone undercover through high school – posing as students much younger than themselves – and consequently uncovering a drug ring, are pulled back in by Ice Cube’s brilliantly angry Captain Dickson to pull off pretty much exactly the same investigation, by the exact same means, and, by proxy, act out the exact same plot as the original. From the start, the movie plays with the conceit of the sequel – their inevitability, »
- Gary Green
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller; Screenwriters: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman; Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens; Running time: 112 mins; Certificate: 15
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back on the beat and perfectly in tune with each other in the crazy funny cop sequel 22 Jump Street. That's just across the street from Korean Jesus at No. 21, in a converted Vietnamese church that's bigger and better and just a little bit '24' with lots of shiny surfaces and where, as Hill notes, the captain's office "looks like an ice cube". (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)
After the surprise success of 21 Jump Street, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who also scored a hit with The Lego Movie) take the weight of expectation and bat it around in carefree style, with lots of self-referential humour. That might get annoying, fast, except that Tatum and Hill - as Jenko »
The only truly negative thing I have to say about "22 Jump Street" is that Chris Miller and Phil Lord are setting themselves up to eventually become a media punching bag. That's the inevitable ending when someone's on a winning streak, and right now, Miller and Lord are looking like the guys you call when you have a terrible idea but want to make a great film anyway. That's an amazing skill set, and I find myself deeply impressed by each new thing they release. What made "21 Jump Street" so much fun was that it was completely self-aware. The movie openly made fun of what a terrible idea it is to turn old TV shows into new movies, and it also managed to run some very smart and fun riffs on high school movies and buddy cop films, constantly subverting expectations in a way that I think added up to something that felt very fresh. »
- Drew McWeeny
For someone who has achieved a high degree of fame in his 20s, Jonah Hill managed to stay out of the tabloids and gossip columns—until now. This past weekend he unleashed a homophobic slur at a paparazzo while he was walking with a friend in the Larchmont Village area of Los Angeles.
Losing his cool, the 30-year-old star lashed out at a photographer who was teasing him about his flowered shorts. “Suck my d—k, you f—-t,” Hill told the man who had been trailing him all day.
Ironically in this week’s Variety cover story, Hill was asked how he’s been able to avoid attracting negative press all these years, something he attributed to his good upbringing and working nonstop.
“Since ‘Superbad,’ I haven’t taken a break. I go make movies, so I don’t’ have the time to be a mess,” he says, “At least not yet. »
- Jenelle Riley
Welcome back to Jump Street, where double the budget means double the payoff – right?
Following in the footsteps of 21 Jump Street, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return not only to continue their undercover antics, but also self-consciously poke fun at Hollywood’s reboot/remake obsession. The question is, can their previous smash success be replicated? Michael Bacall’s 21 Jump Street screenplay blends humor, action, and a self-aware nature that incorporates satirical storytelling, creating a hybrid genre experience mirroring that of spoof comedies. Such punnery only benefits humor on a level of novelty though, which 21 Jump Street smartly realizes and minimizes.
22 Jump Street invests heavily into the idea of “self-aware” humor, but more than its predecessor, losing some of that initial magic. Had Nick Offerman’s repeat dialogue been the only cheeky acknowledgement to the surprise success of 21 Jump Street, I would have been a happy man, left only to enjoy »
- Matt Donato
Those masters of having their genre-parody cake and eating it too, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, have followed up their sly, self-referential franchise reboot “21 Jump Street” with an inevitable sequel that is, at least in part, a sly, self-referencing commentary on the inevitability of sequels. Reuniting producer-stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum for a second round of poorly camouflaged undercover antics, “22 Jump Street” swaps high school for college and prom for spring break but otherwise sticks snugly to the prior film’s winning formula, mining the resultant doublings and repetitions for maximum absurdist hilarity. (Think Samuel Beckett’s “Animal House.”) Given both Hill and Tatum’s ever-increasing zeitgeist value, the pic should have little trouble besting its predecessor’s $200 million worldwide haul, giving “Lego Movie” helmers Lord and Miller their second B.O. smash of 2014.
Much as “21 Jump Street” managed to simultaneously tip its hat and thumb its nose »
- Scott Foundas
If you had to find a particular fault with 22 Jump Street, and it's a really picky one, it's that it simply can't resist a joke. There's barely an opportunity for a gag that's passed up here, and if that's at the expense of a little bit of story, or pushing the fourth wall just a little further, then so be it. For as with its predecessor, 22 Jump Street is a Hollywood comedy with the emphasis on the laughs and some memorable characters, and it's not keen to let too much else get in the way.
On the significant upside? 22 Jump Street delivers an awful lot of those laughs. Even more, perhaps, than last time.
Picking up from where things were left at the end of 21 Jump Street courtesy of a »
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