2014 Films, Ranked.

by Marjeez | created - 09 Jan 2014 | updated - 07 May 2015 | Public

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1. Two Days, One Night (2014)

PG-13 | 95 min | Drama

89 Metascore

Liège, Belgium. Sandra is a factory worker who discovers that her workmates have opted for a EUR1,000 bonus in exchange for her dismissal. She has only a weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses in order to keep her job.

Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne | Stars: Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Catherine Salée, Baptiste Sornin

Votes: 45,416 | Gross: $1.44M

9/10

What a movie. Outstanding story, realistic, and an amazing performance from Cotillard. The direction is beautiful and the ending was the purest I have seen all year. It's a masterful foreign film that is relevant to our times and will stay with you long after the credits roll.

2. Whiplash (2014)

R | 106 min | Drama, Music

88 Metascore

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

Director: Damien Chazelle | Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser

Votes: 722,845 | Gross: $13.09M

9/10

The last 20 minutes of this film are jaw-dropping. I love drumming and man.. this film.. just got it right. Amazing performances all-around. Direction and editing were both original and outstanding. The themes in this film are very hard to pull off and they did so brilliantly. Loved it.

3. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

PG | 102 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

76 Metascore

When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

Director: Dean DeBlois | Stars: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson

Votes: 306,820 | Gross: $177.00M

9/10

Animation has really come a long way in 4 years. HTTYD is one of my favorite animated films, and if you had told me the sequel would exceed it in nearly every way I would have called you a liar. HTTYD 2 is a nearly-perfect animation. It was nice to see such an epic story after the first film's simple premise. The story here is beautifully told.

I love the mixture of goofy-looking dragons and their puppy-like behavior with a dark storyline. HTTYD's most memorable moment was the touching of Toothless, a moment that was unforgettable. HTTYD 2 has 3 or 4 of those moments. It's a really brave and emotional story. The villain had a great reveal.

What I loved above all was the feeling that these characters have really grown up. You sense that time has passed and for an animation to be able to do that takes true talent. The animation is visually breathtaking and wonderfully directed.

This is right up there with the best. One of my new favorites.

4. Wild (I) (2014)

R | 115 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

76 Metascore

A chronicle of one woman's one thousand one hundred mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée | Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann, Michiel Huisman

Votes: 121,018 | Gross: $37.88M

9/10

An emotional journey of grief and finding yourself. A bit similar to 127 Hours, it's a story told through the main character's memory flashbacks. It's impeccably directed and acted. Reese Witherfork gives the best female performance of the year and she really lays it all out on the line in this one. Mistakes in life shouldn't be seen as mistakes, but a process of learning and how we deal with them defines who we are. Wonderful soundtrack as well.

5. Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (2013)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama

60 Metascore

The continuation of Joe's sexually dictated life delves into the darker aspects of her adulthood, obsessions and what led to her being in Seligman's care.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell

Votes: 87,007 | Gross: $0.33M

9/10

For me this is right up there with Dogville and Melancholia. It's thought-provoking, funny, always entertaining and surprisingly sometimes brilliant. It pokes fun at itself and our society as a hole (pun intended) yet still manages to provide intrigue. It's artistic but it doesn't take itself overly serious. In my opinion this is better than Vol I because, although the pacing is a bit off, I found that it takes more risk and is more "out there," which ultimately made it more entertaining. Gainsbourg (easily one of my favorite actresses) shines in her role in Vol II and gives a memorable and brave performance.

6. Gone Girl (2014)

R | 149 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

79 Metascore

With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

Votes: 865,166 | Gross: $167.77M

9/10

If you've ever wondered what a David Fincher romantic film would be like, this is it. Gone Girl shows this director at the top of his game. Tonally, this is extremely similar to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Similar atmosphere, similar score, and some of the scenarios are similar as well. The acting is top notch and the "girl" is played with an unforgettable performance. Go into this one knowing nothing. It's a movie that will make you think but not over-think; Fincher shows a nice balance between entertainment and thought. This is also his funniest film to date. Just see it.

7. The Babadook (2014)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

86 Metascore

A single mother and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when an eerie children's book titled "Mister Babadook" manifests in their home.

Director: Jennifer Kent | Stars: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney

Votes: 197,998 | Gross: $0.92M

8/10

An instant classic. Imagine if young Tim Burton made a horror movie and it was genuinely scary. I loved the atmosphere; the way the characters change throughout the film. The story was interesting and had real, non-jump scares. It also has some Raimi-esque comedic elements. I actually wanted to put off watching it to the morning half-way into the movie. When does that ever happen? This will be re-watched every Halloween. This puts most modern horror films to shame.

8. Boyhood (I) (2014)

R | 165 min | Drama

100 Metascore

The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Elijah Smith

Votes: 336,471 | Gross: $25.38M

10/10

By far the greatest achievement in film-making this year. The way the story, albeit simple, is told is incredible. The fact that these actors stuck around is incredible. How the tone of the film was maintained throughout twelve years is incredible. How you could see technology advance, these people grow, is incredible. And finally, the fact that it made me feel like I was reliving my own childhood is incredible.

Despite the 10, no it's not "perfect". The second half wasn't nearly as interesting as the first for me, and I just can't see myself re-watching this anytime soon, if ever. With that said, if you care even a hint about the power of cinema, see it.

9. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

R | 86 min | Comedy, Horror

76 Metascore

Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane - like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs and overcoming flatmate conflicts.

Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi | Stars: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Jonny Brugh

Votes: 158,530 | Gross: $3.33M

8/10

Probably the funniest vampire movie ever made, and the most original since Let the Right One In. It is down-right hilarious at times. There's not much of a story here, but it's very clever. These characters are written with precision and wit. The use of practical effects surprised me. It was campy yet still looked realistic. This is a must watch.

10. Locke (2013)

R | 85 min | Drama

81 Metascore

Ivan Locke, a dedicated family man and successful construction manager, receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career that sets in motion a series of events that threaten his carefully cultivated existence.

Director: Steven Knight | Stars: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott

Votes: 136,806 | Gross: $1.36M

7/10

I've never seen anything quite like this film before. I always give kudos when a writer can make a minimalist setting/story so interesting. Even though it's only around 80 minutes, the story is memorable and well-told. It all takes place in a car, and I can see if people find that boring, but pair great dialogue and a brilliant performance from Tom Hardy and you have a worthwhile and interesting film.

11. Interstellar (2014)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity's survival.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy

Votes: 1,523,631 | Gross: $188.02M

8/10

This is the most lop-sided movie of this year. It is sometimes astonishingly breathtaking, and other times laughably bad. Starting with the bad, the amount of exposition is ridiculous. The dialogue can be horrendous to the point that I have no idea how a professional writer can submit it in a final draft. The acting is hit-or-miss throughout. The story can be nonsensical. It has no idea if it wants to be artistic ala Gravity, thought-provoking ala 2001: A Space Odyssey, or a generic popcorn Hollywood flick that insults the audience's intelligence. The ending is a cop-out but well-executed.

With that said, and like I said, this film is breathtaking. The visuals are extraordinary. The emotion this film portrays, although it doesn't always work, is brutal and had me near tears. I loved the main astronaut actors of the film. The score is one of the best of the year and it fits the movie to a tee. The movie felt like it was 90 minutes which is saying something.

I am disappointed. There is a story here to be told and I thought it was told poorly. Some people may be going crazy over this movie, but I don't see it from an entire package point-of-view. The film has so many frustrating flaws that are difficult to forgive. Make no mistake this is more of a disappointment because other aspects of the movie were some of the best I've ever seen. Had the dialogue been a little better, the direction a little more tight and the story maintained better flow, this would have been a masterpiece.

12. Life Itself (2014)

R | 121 min | Documentary, Biography

87 Metascore

The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.

Director: Steve James | Stars: Roger Ebert, Chaz Ebert, Gene Siskel, Martin Scorsese

Votes: 14,878 | Gross: $0.81M

8/10

This is a really well-made documentary. It's half a re-telling of Ebert's book of the same name, and half of Ebert's health issues. It's heartbreaking but at the same time a nice way of seeing the impact this man has made. RIP

13. Noah (2014)

PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

68 Metascore

Noah is chosen by God to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson

Votes: 243,792 | Gross: $101.20M

9/10

I'm surprised at the negative feedback on this film. It's not perfect, but it does so many things well. Strictly as an epic, it's tremendous. It's big-scale film-making but it feels so confined and well-structured that it doesn't feel over-bloated. The graphics and effects were a nice surprise. It's more difficult to make animation come to life in a world that is this bleak and dark, but it worked. The practical effects and cinematography in this film are simply breathtaking.

Aronofsky does take a few liberties in the story, which should be no surprise, but why would anyone want a by-the-books retelling of the story we all know? You see these amateurs try to retell stories and add controversy and they end up looking ridiculous and attention-seeking. This is not the case. Everything that was added adds new elements to the story but keeps the central theme in tact. I loved some of the undertones of the film and it really spoke true to my personal beliefs. The acting was superb by the entire cast and add to it a memorable score and you have [easily] one of the best, most daring films of the year.

14. The Drop (2014)

R | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood's past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living - no matter the cost.

Director: Michaël R. Roskam | Stars: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts

Votes: 143,313 | Gross: $10.72M

7/10

A nice little thriller. Tom Hardy is outstanding in this. Great acting all-around. Voice over makes no sense but that's okay. Really entertaining and packs an emotional punch at the end. Kind of similar to Place Beyond the Pines but much, much smaller in scale. Really enjoyed this one.

15. Still Alice (2014)

PG-13 | 101 min | Drama

72 Metascore

A linguistics professor and her family find their bonds tested when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

Directors: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland | Stars: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth

Votes: 126,969 | Gross: $18.75M

7/10

One of the sadder stories of the year. It has a very "Lifetime" movie feel, but it's much more than that. Moore gives a great performance that will earn her many awards. It's never in-your-face, and I enjoyed the mellowness and realism to it. Not one I'd recommend but if you're interested in the subject matter then it's a must-see.

16. Nightcrawler (2014)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

When Louis Bloom, a con man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

Director: Dan Gilroy | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed

Votes: 469,725 | Gross: $32.38M

8/10

This was a really well-made film. Gyllenhaal gives one of his best performances. The way he delivers his dialogue was special to watch. His character is super-focused, maybe Adderall-overdosed and intelligent. Reminds me of myself. The last act was outstanding, nail-biting and had me on the edge of my seat. See this one.

17. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

76 Metascore

A group of intergalactic criminals must pull together to stop a fanatical warrior with plans to purge the universe.

Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana

Votes: 1,047,980 | Gross: $333.18M

8/10

A complete blast from start to finish. Unlike most Marvel movies, it didn't take itself too seriously and it was obvious the director had more control over production. Great characters, action, music.. you name it, it's all great. An unforgettable ride not to be missed.

18. A Most Violent Year (2014)

R | 125 min | Action, Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city's history.

Director: J.C. Chandor | Stars: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola

Votes: 67,088 | Gross: $5.74M

7/10

I'd describe this as The Godfather meets There Will Be Blood. I loved the score to this film. The acting was all-around excellent and it had a great story. See it.

19. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

R | 99 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

88 Metascore

A writer encounters the owner of an aging high-class hotel, who tells him of his early years serving as a lobby boy in the hotel's glorious years under an exceptional concierge.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody

Votes: 712,475 | Gross: $59.10M

7/10

A simple story told through Anderson's beautiful direction. I didn't love it nearly as much as some of his previous work (like Moonrise Kingdom), but it was good nonetheless. The story felt a little convoluted and jumbled at times, with many things happening at once and many A-list actors showing up in minor roles, but overall it is another masterfully-directed effort by Wes Anderson.

20. The Theory of Everything (2014)

PG-13 | 123 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.

Director: James Marsh | Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior, Sophie Perry

Votes: 406,558 | Gross: $35.89M

7/10

A difficult film to critique. It's technically sound, outstandingly-acted and beautifully shot. Redmayne gives a truly memorable performance. There isn't too much story here, but I enjoyed the direction they took. Much of the story is told through visuals as opposed to dialogue. I also liked the score. Highly recommended.

21. Dumb And Dumber To (2014)

PG-13 | 109 min | Comedy

36 Metascore

20 years since their first adventure, Lloyd and Harry go on a road trip to find Harry's newly discovered daughter, who was given up for adoption.

Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly | Stars: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden

Votes: 129,251 | Gross: $86.21M

7/10

Dumb and Dumber is one of my favorite movies, and my favorite comedy. When this was announced I became excited, not because I thought this was going to live up to the original, but because I wanted to see these characters again. I'm not someone who thinks a sequel can "ruin" the original. I was pleasantly surprised. I don't understand the hate. This movie is hilarious. It's never going to be a classic like the first film, because it's a little too raunchy (sometimes distasteful) and the story is a little too forgettable. With that said, there are tons of nostalgic similarities to the original, it's funny throughout, it's dumb, and there are even a couple of surprises in store. The credits brought some sadness as well. If you're a true fan of the original and grew up with these characters like I have then give it a shot.

22. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

PG-13 | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

71 Metascore

A soldier fighting aliens gets to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.

Director: Doug Liman | Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson

Votes: 602,555 | Gross: $100.21M

8/10

Source Code on a grander scale. This was a really entertaining blockbuster. Story was complicated, in a somewhat positive way. It was extremely funny, and I enjoyed the direction. The action was top-notch. No, it didn't all fit together perfectly and there were a bunch of things that made no sense, but whatever. An overall great film.

23. The Lego Movie (2014)

PG | 100 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

83 Metascore

An ordinary LEGO construction worker, thought to be the prophesied as "special", is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the LEGO universe into eternal stasis.

Directors: Christopher Miller, Phil Lord | Stars: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett

Votes: 324,824 | Gross: $257.76M

8/10

This is the kind of animated film you don't see too often. The animation is wonderful, despite my initial thoughts based on the trailer. It's unique and quirky and it works. It's also hilarious, and probably the funniest animation I've ever seen. The tone is similar to CN's Adventure Time cartoon on acid (in other words: it's really fast paced). The great thing is that there is also plenty to love for the adults; from the nostalgia of Legos alone, to all of the cameos, The Lego Movie is a blast from the past.

24. Under the Skin (I) (2013)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

80 Metascore

A mysterious young woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. However, events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

Director: Jonathan Glazer | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell

Votes: 130,461 | Gross: $2.61M

7/10

A really polarizing film. Some will be bored by it while others will love every single second. I'm sort of in between. I believe a large portion of the audience will either not understand the story, or not be able to piece it all together in their first viewing. Given the slow nature of the film, those people may not care to give it a second viewing. This is unfortunate because Under the Skin is a really deep film.

Right off the bat this is an "experience" movie. Don't watch it on your phone or your laptop. The experience is unparalleled to anything you will see this year. The score of the film is one of the best I've ever heard in a movie. It's inspiring and haunting. The visuals are unique and fit the music well. It's similar to some of the imagery seen in Hannibal (the TV show). The first thirty minutes are perfect.

My biggest gripe with the film is its repetitive nature and its unwillingness to provide more information to the audience. It's a puzzle that gets more stale as the minutes run along. It gives no reason behind the actions of these characters, but rather focuses on the emotions and character development. This is where it will divide audiences; the crowd that takes in the characters and how they change throughout a story and the crowd that focuses on the story alone (plot). The latter will not enjoy this film. I felt there were a few unnecessary scenes that made the film repetitive, and scenes that needed more editing.

Overall, I would say it's mostly a brilliant movie and like nothing I've ever seen. It'll be something I will re-watch very soon, because even though I feel like I fully understood it, it's a story that may change depending on who is experiencing it.

25. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama

87 Metascore

A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough

Votes: 582,747 | Gross: $42.34M

7/10

This is a good movie that is difficult for me to fully appreciate. The score is a revelation, and absolutely enhances the experience. The acting was all-around great, particularly by Emma Stone, Keaton and Norton. My biggest gripe is with the direction. It's a nice achievement that they are able to fake the one-take structure for a film of this scale, but at the same time I couldn't fully appreciate it because, well, it's fake. There are many filmmakers that have been able to pull off films in one-take by putting in time and effort to make sure every little detail worked.

I didn't think Birdman's style particularly enhanced the experience. It was more gimmicky than anything, and I felt it held back the film's potential. It's hard to appreciate all aspects of the cinematography when every camera angle feels cheap. It may have been better to only have a couple of real long takes with genuinity and artistry (think Touch of Evil). I thought the film lacked emotion; I didn't particularly care for any of these characters on an emotional level. I did like the ending.

Even though I had many problems with Birdman, I still recommend you see it. The score, story, and acting are worth the price of admission.

26. The Interview (II) (2014)

R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

52 Metascore

Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapaport run the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight". When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Jong-Un Kim, they are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.

Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen | Stars: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan

Votes: 307,274 | Gross: $6.11M

7/10

It's funny how the hacks actually got this film so much attention and many more people will watch it now. It really does disgrace North Korea, but it's for our enjoyment so it's fine. The movie is really entertaining and funny, with a surprising amount of action. Very well-made. James Franco was absolutely hilarious, see it.

27. Labor Day (2013)

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

52 Metascore

Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.

Director: Jason Reitman | Stars: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Clark Gregg

Votes: 43,012 | Gross: $13.36M

8/10

It's not perfect, not even close. The characters are careless to the point that it's frustrating, and the child actors bring the film down (the acting is nowhere near as good as, for example, the acting seen in Mud). A few decisions the director made are a little suspect. With that sad, it's an extremely well-written, well-directed story that is well worth the watch. It's a emotional romance that anyone can enjoy equally.

28. Nymphomaniac: Vol. I (2013)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama

64 Metascore

A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf

Votes: 116,944 | Gross: $0.79M

8/10

Directed by one of the most polarizing directors working today, you'd think that I wouldn't know what to expect. But this was exactly what I expected. I've loved every single film I've seen of Lars von Trier and this is no different. It's actually quiet surprising in many ways. The dialogue has weight to it and I like the structure. The acting is superb and this film is his funniest yet. To my surprise the ending actually has me excited to watch Volume II, where we get to finally see Charlotte Gainsbourg play a bigger role.

29. Foxcatcher (2014)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

81 Metascore

U.S. Olympic wrestling champions and brothers Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz join "Team Foxcatcher", led by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont, as they train for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, but John's self-destructive behavior threatens to consume them all.

Director: Bennett Miller | Stars: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave

Votes: 134,927 | Gross: $12.10M

6/10

A weird one to criticize. Mark Ruffalo steals the show. It's unlike any sports movie out there, and in fact I wouldn't even consider it one. Steve Carell's performance is haunting, but I credit that a tiny bit more to the character himself and great writing than his performance. It was interesting to see him in a role like this, but at times I felt he was over-acting. The wrestling isn't very exciting to watch, so it's difficult for me to recommend this movie. The film is worth experiencing for the acting and direction alone, but the story here wasn't enough for me to say that it is a must watch.

30. The Sacrament (2013)

R | 99 min | Horror, Thriller

49 Metascore

A news team trails a man as he travels into the world of Eden Parish to find his missing sister, where it becomes apparent that this paradise may not be as it seems.

Director: Ti West | Stars: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley, Amy Seimetz

Votes: 17,137 | Gross: $0.01M

7/10

This is another original horror film from Ti West. It's another slow-burn, masterfully paced story similar to The Innkeepers. There is a real sense of dread that builds up to a rather large crescendo. It's not as outstanding as The House of the Devil but it is much better than the disappointingly mediocre Innkeepers. The acting was all over the place as you may expect from a low-budget horror but the main actors, especially Father, give great performances. It shares many of the actors from You're Next, which Ti West also had a cameo in.

I loved the way the film was shot. Yes, it's found footage, but it mixes it up nicely with regular camerawork and overall it makes sense. It's found footage done RIGHT; you feel like you are there with the characters and it is totally immersive. However I did notice many times during the film where the camera work was far-fetched, as were some of the story elements. So no, it's not perfect, but it's certainly worth a watch and is a return to form for one of horror's promising storytellers.

31. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

79 Metascore

A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier.

Director: Matt Reeves | Stars: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis, Kodi Smit-McPhee

Votes: 412,624 | Gross: $208.55M

8/10

Grand yet simplistic. Beautiful yet disappointing. What I loved: the motion capture has come a long way. The atmosphere is commendable and the world they created feels real. The action is sometimes brilliant.

What disappointed me: rarely a somber note. Action, action, and more action. The story itself was predictable and too simple for how big this film was in my opinion. The ending was disappointing and, again, rather predictable. Pacing is off.

I would say it's as good as the first, both with flaws (the first being more cheesy), yet coming with high expectations into Dawn might leave you a little disappointed. What could have been intelligent, intriguing science fiction turned out to be an action-packed, predictable summer blockbuster. What disappointed me the most was the story, which I found uninteresting and unimportant. With that said, it's visually perfect, has one of the best scores of 2014 and has many great moments that make me put it up there with Rise, for different reasons.

32. The Wind Rises (2013)

PG-13 | 126 min | Animation, Biography, Drama

83 Metascore

A look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Miori Takimoto, Masahiko Nishimura

Votes: 74,357 | Gross: $5.21M

7/10

This is truly Miyazaki's most adult film to date. It reminded me a lot of Grave of the Fireflies. It is daring storytelling for an animation and while it's bittersweet (being his last film), it's also a testament to his craft. It combines war, romance and culture in a very deep and emotional way. The main character is very likable and intelligent and inspiring, but he's also creating a man-killing weapon. It's an interesting dynamic. The art and score were beautiful. They used, what sounded like, human mouths to make the sounds of the planes and I thought that was an interesting touch. In the end, it doesn't feel like a Miyazaki film, but maybe that was the point. It felt like his passion project more than anything, and while it may disappoint some in terms of its lack of imagination we've come to expect, and the fact that this is his last directed-film, I feel it is a fitting end to a respectable career.

33. John Wick (2014)

R | 101 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

68 Metascore

An ex-hit-man comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him.

Directors: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe

Votes: 542,110 | Gross: $43.04M

7/10

All style and.. a nice bit of substance. The acting is stoic as one might expect. The story is simple. What shines here is the direction. The action is breathtakingly brutal and well-directed. No constant cut, shaky cam BS. It's repetitive, which makes the film feel longer than its run time, but overall this is an action film done right.

34. Willow Creek (2013)

Not Rated | 80 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

62 Metascore

A man and his girlfriend camp in the woods to capture firsthand evidence of Bigfoot.

Directors: Bobcat Goldthwait, Laura Obiols | Stars: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson, Laura Montagna, Bucky Sinister

Votes: 10,583

7/10

Blair Witch Project meets Troll Hunter. This is an extremely well-made film and should please any aspiring filmmakers as it looks like this was made on an non-existent budget. The acting is realistic and the frequent long-takes are a thing to behold. The tension is similar to the first Paranormal Activity but combined with minutes upon minutes of footage without a single cut. It's not original in terms of it being in the found footage genre (we saw The Sacrament change the formula up a bit), and it's pretty much 1:1 in the style of Blair Witch Project, but it's found footage done right. An all around commendable effort.

PS: Where can I get one of those camcorders? Longest. Battery. Life. Ever.

35. Big Hero 6 (2014)

PG | 102 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

74 Metascore

A special bond develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who together team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams | Stars: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, T.J. Miller

Votes: 412,707 | Gross: $222.53M

6/10

I didn't like this one as much as I thought I would. I felt it was poorly directed and filled with cliches. It wants to have those sad moments that seem to be in every single animation nowadays but also cops-out in its ending. The story could have been more refined. I loved the animation. It's one of the most beautiful animated films I've ever seen and at times it was hard to distinguish it as an animation and not live action. The characters are mostly forgettable, but Baymax and Hiro are great characters as was the villain. It's a good movie, but it doesn't reach the heights of Tangled or Frozen.

36. American Sniper (2014)

R | 133 min | Action, Biography, Drama

72 Metascore

Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home with his family after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis

Votes: 441,500 | Gross: $350.13M

6/10

A more action-heavy Hurt Locker, but nowhere near as masterful or intense. It strictly stays as an American war blockbuster film and never goes into the politics of it all (had it done that, the film would fail). With that said, it still feels like a propaganda piece. The film is beautifully shot and edited. These movies are very difficult to pull off without shaky cam or constant cuts, but they pulled it off here. The themes were in-your-face and left no room for ambiguity, which hurt the emotional side of the film. The "enemies" were as one-dimensional as a military shooter video game. If you watch your war films strictly for the action and nothing else, you'll enjoy American Sniper.

37. Big Eyes (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 106 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

62 Metascore

A drama about the awakening of painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.

Director: Tim Burton | Stars: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter

Votes: 86,308 | Gross: $14.48M

7/10

There's something "off" about this movie. I thought Amy Adams completely saved it from being mediocre. The direction felt safe; a hint of classic Tim Burton but completely safe and ordinary. The constant cuts in the film never gave these performances any life. Christoph Waltz shows that he really is a one-hit wonder. All of his performances are extremely similar, this due to his really distinctive voice and facial expressions. I thought he was completely miscast. Some of the character interactions were just plain weird and unrealistic. It can be too melodramatic considering the subject.

What this film has going for it is a beautiful performance from Amy Adams, an interesting story, beautiful cinematography and high entertainment value. I'm recommending it, but it's far from perfect.

38. The Guest (I) (2014)

R | 100 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

76 Metascore

A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

Director: Adam Wingard | Stars: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe, Joel David Moore

Votes: 92,107 | Gross: $0.32M

7/10

I can appreciate this film for what it is. It's a stylish little thriller, has a unique main character and it will entertain you. I would say it's not as good as Wingard's previous effort, You're Next, which I loved. This film's style was too similar to Drive and it took me out of the experience. The music was great, as was the acting, which is commendable considering the small budget. It's worth watching but nothing special.

39. Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

R | 108 min | Comedy, Crime

40 Metascore

Dale, Kurt and Nick decide to start their own business but things don't go as planned because of a slick investor, prompting the trio to pull off a harebrained and misguided kidnapping scheme.

Director: Sean Anders | Stars: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston

Votes: 159,079 | Gross: $54.45M

7/10

This is how you make a comedy sequel. They actually had a new story to tell. I don't remember much of the first movie, so I can't say if it's better or worse. A lot of good jokes but rarely ones that will make you laugh-out-loud. Just an overall great time, packed with jokes that will make you smile. Surprisingly underrated.

40. Honeymoon (2014)

R | 87 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

65 Metascore

A newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night.

Director: Leigh Janiak | Stars: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, Hanna Brown

Votes: 24,339 | Gross: $0.01M

7/10

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It's not really original, but it's well-made and enjoyable. It has nice pacing and a great acting. Recommended.

41. Redirected (2014)

Not Rated | 99 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Three friends try to make money and invite another friend in on a plot.

Director: Emilis Velyvis | Stars: Vinnie Jones, Scot Williams, Gil Darnell, Oliver Jackson

Votes: 33,379

7/10

A really enjoyable Guy Richie knock-off film. Funny, action is good, story is entertaining, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. Surprisingly good.

42. Non-Stop (2014)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

56 Metascore

An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages demanding $150 million into an off-shore account, or someone will die every 20 minutes.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra | Stars: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery

Votes: 250,807 | Gross: $92.17M

7/10

Bad-ass movie similar to last year's The Call. Occasionally cheesy, highly entertaining, and thrilling. A lot better than the Taken movies. Great direction, hit-or-miss ending. It's Liam Neeson on a plane kicking major butt, if that doesn't sound awesome to you then this film isn't for you. Pretty much Flight Plan with Neeson instead of Jodie Foster. I still prefer Flight Plan but this was a good movie.

43. 22 Jump Street (2014)

R | 112 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

71 Metascore

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.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Stars: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Nick Offerman

Votes: 346,946 | Gross: $191.72M

6/10

No complaints. It's enjoyable, action is good, and it's pretty funny. Nothing extraordinary, just good. I remember enjoying the first one a little more, but it's close.

44. Bears (I) (2014)

G | 78 min | Documentary, Family