There were some pretty good movies that were released in 2014 here are 10 of the best that you may have missed that you probably need to watch!
1. The Case For “Edge of Tomorrow”
Tom Cruise’s best movie in nearly a decade had a terrible title and some pretty uninspiring trailers, but none of it mattered when it came to the film itself. As directed by Doug Liman, “Edge of Tomorrow” is like a Road Runner cartoon mixed with “Jerry Maguire” and some lost John Wayne movie about World War II (except with aliens replacing Nazis). Cruise is inspired as the cowardly lieutenant colonel, but it’s Emily Blunt who steals the show.
2. The Case For “Chef”
This delightful charmer written, directed by and starring Jon Favreau can feel like blithe, feel-good fare. And it is, but it’s also an artful tale of a man (Favreau) determined not to let his stature dwindle. That goes for his status as a respected California chef and his relationship with his doting preteen son (darling breakout star Emjay Anthony), with whom he sets out to start a bustling food truck. Their road trip takes them to Miami, Austin and New Orleans, giving us a mouth-watering cultural fusion that turns into a heartfelt look at familial bonds and midlife self-discovery.
3. “Beyond the Lights”
Fourteen years after its release, “Love & Basketball” had a bit of a resurgence this year (Roxane Gay and Lena Dunham are fans). Maybe it won’t take so long for director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s latest film, “Beyond the Lights,” to catch on with the zeitgeist. An old-school Hollywood romance that doubles as a modern investigation about how the music industry over-sexualizes female performers, “Beyond the Lights” was one of the year’s best love stories. It features what should be a star-making turn from Nate Parker (get him a Bond movie) and transformative work from Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
4. “The Fault in Our Stars”
If “Beyond the Lights” is the year’s best love story, consider “The Fault in Our Stars” its best weepie. This is a three-hanky movie, at minimum; an ugly-cry special for the ages. Based on John Green’s best-selling book, “The Fault in Our Stars” handles teenage love and terminal illness with an aplomb that is often absent from those classifications when each is translated to film. Ansel Elgort is our new Tom Cruise based on this one (he’s just so damn charming), while Shailene Woodley continued to prove she’s the Ally Sheedy to Jennifer Lawrence’s Molly Ringwald. There’s a reason Woodley graced every magazine cover this year that Lawrence did not.
5. “Inherent Vice”
Seeing “Inherent Vice” twice is the best way to experience a Thomas Pynchon adaptation. That’s not just pretentious lip service either: Because of an opaque plot, one that involves a missing real estate mogul, a cabal of dentists, a surf-rock saxophone player and a drug-addled detective named Doc (Joaquin Phoenix), audiences might get too wrapped up in connecting the dots on a first view. The second time around, things not only clear up — the plot does make sense in its own absurd manner — but fall to the wayside, leaving the joys of Anderson’s melancholy period piece to take center stage. Props to cinematographer Robert Elswit and composer Jonny Greenwood for helping Anderson realize this dusty vision, one that deals with loss of innocence and the meaning of brotherhood better than any other movie this year.
6. “Guardians of the Galaxy”
From the K-Billy Super Sounds of the ’70s soundtrack to the out-of-the-box casting choices (Chris Pratt as the hero, Bradley Cooper as a talking raccoon, Vin Diesel as a space tree) to Dancing Baby Groot, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was the closest we’ll ever get to “Star Wars” as directed by Quentin Tarantino. It’s a little bit of both: the best movie Marvel’s ever done and the most enjoyable summer blockbuster since “Star Trek.”
7. “Obvious Child”
Remember romantic comedies? They were a thing once, something “Obvious Child” helpfully reminded audiences this past summer. Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, “Obvious Child” is as charming as any Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan romp, while also being progressive in a way that feels, well, obvious. “Obvious Child” treats abortion like the safe medical procedure it is, and allows its protagonist, the loopy Donna Stern (a perfect Jenny Slate), to make her decision without any shame or proselytization (but with fart jokes).
8. “The One I Love”
What if your love story could start over? Would it do more good or harm? “The One I Love” tackles these questions through a premise so unusual we’d rather not explain it. Let’s just say that during a weekend away, a couple (Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss) stumbles upon a bizarre way to return to the glory days of their now-crumbling relationship. Its surreality makes “The One I Love” a comedy. Still, you’ll be surprised how long the movie’s quiet existentialism leaves you thinking.
A more emotionally honest portrait of growing up has never been put onscreen. That’s because Richard Linklater spent 12 years filming “Boyhood,” turning this little movie about a boy becoming a man into a directorial achievement on par with what Alfonso Cuarón did with “Gravity.” The way Linklater edits his literal years of footage is impressive, and his careful repudiation of big moments in favor small ones makes “Boyhood” feel akin to life itself. “Boyhood” is a time capsule for the audience, something Linklater expresses via music.
10. “Gone Girl”
Sometime after “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” David Fincher decided to become our preeminent director of books people read on airplanes. As long as the films continue to be as good as “Gone Girl,” we’re cool with that.
In translating Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel to the screen (with a tight script written by Flynn herself), Fincher has created a black comedy for the ages. “Gone Girl” is twisted and mean, a perverse dance between two duplicitous people who deserve each other more than most couples in the throes of true love.
As Nick Dunne, the bro with a wandering eye, Ben Affleck has never been better. He’s matched by Rosamund Pike, as Nick’s wife, Amazing Amy, who gives a performance that would have made Alfred Hitchcock nod in approval. The supporting cast is just as strong; shouts here to Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens and, lol, Tyler Perry because Fincher decided he could literally do anything in this movie.
“Gone Girl” proved to be one of the year’s most controversial films — oh, the think pieces it spawned! — but that just seems to reinforce its brilliance. Like the best films, “Gone Girl” is challenging, messy and leaves more questions than answers. In an era of giving audiences what they want, praise to Fincher for giving us what we can debate.