Before a new batch of cinematic goodies usher in the New Year, it’s only fair to pay tribute to the flicks that made last year a well of movie madness. If there's one word that could describe these screen-picks, it would be “variety.” There was something for everyone, at every age, in every genre you could imagine–from a witch of a wife to space adventures to an indie fare more than worth your while.
So before 2015 starts to crackle with its silver screen selection, we'll bust out the popcorn and press the rewind button as we look back at the movies that made a dent in pop-culture in 2014!
Scariest Psycho Bitch: Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne in Gone Girl
This anti-date movie invoked fear in the heart of every man. David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s stone cold novel of the same name was an acerbic, hyper-modern, guiltily entertaining mind-fuck that relentlessly tugged at the emotions of its viewers.
Screw Ben Affleck, it was the simultaneously eerie and calculated performance of actress Rosamund Pike as the titular gone girl that was the driving force of this sick romantic thriller. Not only was the brooding mystery a box-office hit, it also manipulated the concept of gender politics and redefined the dynamics of the contemporary love story as seen through the movie lens.
Most Visually Stimulating: Interstellar
Granted there were some sappy loopholes in director Christopher Nolan’s intergalactic opera, it was still the year’s most captivating sensory spectacle. Shot with a combination of 35mm anamorphic film and 65mm 15 perf IMAX FILM, his oeuvre is meant for IMAX theater screenings. And it did not disappoint.
Overflowing with stunning set pieces, out-of-this world CGI, plus a potent mix of techno savvy and tons of heart, the film was a mirror of the ambitious artist behind it all. With riveting performances from Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain, Nolan proved that sci-fi need not be steely and can turn on the leaky pipes faster than a launching rocket.
Best Ensemble Cast (And Illest Soundtrack): Guardians of the Galaxy
Who knew that Chris Pratt had leading man potential?
Obviously, the guys behind GOTG did when they cast the Parks and Recreation regular as the bumbling Star-Lord. With the help of a wise-ass raccoon named Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a green-skinned, leather-clad assassin named Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an inked-out muscle goon named Drax (Dave Bautista), and a gigantic houseplant called Groot (Vin Diesel), they proved that the off-beats are capable of saving the universe from destruction. And they did all this with the help of some funky tunes courtesy of musicians like Marvin Gaye, David Bowie, The Five Stairsteps, Elvin Bishop, and The Jackson 5.
The Hero We Deserve In Our Man-Cave: Baymax from Big Hero 6
The best thing about Disney’s rendition of the Marvel title is that it doesn’t underestimate the emotional intelligence of its audience. The movie is about death and grief, and the solution to these devastating facts of life for 14-year-old protagonist Hiro Hamada comes in the form of a cuddly robot named Baymax.
Originally designed for first aid purposes, the blob of cuteness gets a reboot when the city of San Fransokyo comes under attack from a mysterious masked villain. The result of Baymax revamp is something all men could use in their lives: a robo-warrior that can shred your enemies and cure you of unhappiness...
...and even do interviews!
Video via toofab
The Best Movie Longer Than Three Hours: Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Forget the entries of the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival, because Lav Diaz’s Norte is the epic local drama you need to see should you have the chance...and four and a half hours to spare.
Screened to great reviews at both the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival, it’s the epic tale of how one criminal act can forge the fates of several lives, sending some to reckoning, other’s to retribution, and the perpetrator to the brink of insanity.
Best Onscreen Bromance: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as Schmidt and Jenko in 22 Jump Street
As far as comedy sequels go, 22 Jump Street is as good as it gets. It’s crass at every corner, self-aware in its musings, with a buddy-cop duo hilarious enough to make you forget that Lethal Weapon ever existed. The secret formula to its success: add one semi-chubby Jonah Hill with a dash of Channing Tatum’s lovable meathead machismo, swirl them into a script so meta that it pokes fun at the very concept of the comedy sequel and the result is a soup of nut-busting laughter.
Most Ass-Kicking Actress: Scarlett Johansson in Lucy
2014 was the year of the Scar Jo. Not only did she bare her amazeballs bod as a man-eating extraterrestrial in Under The Skin, she also turned in career-revitalizing supporting roles in Chef and Captain America: Winter Soldier.
But it was her turn as an ass-kicking femme fatale jacked up on evolution-inducing drugs in French director Luc Besson’s comeback movie Lucy that was the vehicle for SJ’s potential as a leading lady to be fully realized. Shun the fact that she turned into a USB at the end of the film, but revel in high-octane scenes that exploit her curvaceous bod in a sweat stained tank and killer tight jeans.
Coolest Comic Book Flick: Captain America: Winter Soldier
Harking on conspiracy thriller films of yore, Winter Soldier took the usual comic book fare and gave it a sophisticated twist. This addition to the franchise made Tony Stark’s and lothario Thor’s outings look like child’s play. Forget the camp and silly one-liners, here the Cap gets to be smart, current, and move within a premise not too far from the pervasive paranoia of modern day America.
Possibly The Longest Movie Ever Filmed: Boyhood
Image via Cultoid.com
Director Richard Linklater redefines the cinematic experience in this tale of one boy’s journey through childhood. Told through the eyes of Mason Evans (Ellan Coltrane), this coming-of-age drama was filmed over the course of 12 years (something never quite done before) as he faces growing up with his not-so-present dad (Ethan Hawke) and relationship-hopping mom (Patricia Arquette). The delicateness of the process is most present in the way the audience plays witness to the naturalistic dialogue Linklater is infamous for and the niceties of ageing the actors undergo in front of the camera.
The Girlfriend's Choice: The Fault in Our Stars