Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board
Sign in to follow this  
New Blood

Top First Time Watches of 2014

Recommended Posts

It's that time of year again.  What is everyone's favorite film first time watches of the last year?

 

My Top 30:

30. Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan [1997]

29. The Last Emperor [1987]

28. Universal Soldier: Regeneration [2009]

27. Paprika [2006]

26. Fright Night [1985]

25. Coogan's Bluff [1968]

24. Natural Enemies [1979]

23. Bohachi Bushido: The Code of the Forgotten Eight [1973]

22. Eye of the Tiger [1986]

21. Incident at Oglala [1992]

20. Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky [1991]

19. Scorpio Rising [1964]

18. We Were Here [2011]

17. How to Train Your Dragon [2010]

16. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy [2010]

15. Millenium Actress [2001]

14. Charley Varrick [1973]

13. Ghost in the Shell [1995]

12. Road Games [1981]

11. Soldier Blue [1970]

10. Valhalla Rising [2009]

9. Wise Blood [1979]

8. The Incredibles [2004]

7. Senna [2010]

6. Grave of the Fireflies [1988]

5. Anatomy of a Murder [1959]

4. Shane [1953]

3. Brokeback Mountain [2005]

2. Trick R Treat [2007]

1. Lone Wolf and Cub Film Series

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking out everything from 2013 and 2014 eliminates everything I watched from like mid-July onwards.  Here's a top ten, though.

 

10. The Secret Lives Of Dentists (2003)
9. Manic (2003)
8. A Lonely Place To Die (2011)
7. Videodrome (1982)
6. In My Skin (2002)
5. The Man On The Train (2003)
4. Lake Mungo (2009)
3. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
2. Fargo (1996)
1. Psycho (1960)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not including stuff released in 2014?  

 

Uh... I guess I'll limit it to movies I actually liked.  No reason to stretch this fucker out long enough to decide if I hated the I Spit On Your Grave remake more than The Crow 3

 

 

 

25. Knights of Badassdom (2013, Joe Lynch)

24. Man of Steel (2013, Zack Snyder)

23. Hondo (1953, John Farrow)

22. The Wolverine (2013, James Mangold)

21. Chimes at Midnight (1965, Orson Welles)

20. Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001, Shusuke Kaneko)

19. Die, Monster, Die! (1965, Daniel Haller)

18. Jane Eyre (2011, Cary Fukunaga)

17. The Big Bird Cage (1972, Jack Hill)

16. Machete Kills (2013, Robert Rodriguez)

15. The Dead 2: India (2013, Howard Ford & Jonathan Ford)

14. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963, Stanley Kramer)

13. Labor Day (2013, Jason Reitman)

12. Snowpiercer (2013, Joon-ho Bong)

11. 3:10 to Yuma (1957, Delmer Daves)

10. Hamlet (2009, Gregory Doran)

9. Lured (1947, Preston Sturges)

8. Wuthering Heights (2011, Andrea Arnold)

7. Under the Skin (2013, Jonathan Glazer)

6. In a World... (2013, Lake Bell)

5. Conan the Barbarian (1982, John Milius)

4. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007, Jake Kasdan)

3. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013, Jim Jarmusch)

2. Her (2013, Spike Jonze)

1. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Sergio Leone)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No real order except 1-5.

 

15) High Fidelity (2000)

14) Up to His Ears (1965)

13) One Armed Swordsman (1967)

12) Daimajin (1966)

11) The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (2013)

10) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

9) Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

8) Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

7) The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (1966)

6) For a Few Dollars More (1965)

5) That Man From Rio (1964)

4) Il Sorpasso (1962)

3) Do The Right Thing (1989)

2) Fargo (1996)

1) Merry Christmas, Mister Lawrence (1983)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you just want the list with no comments, jump down to the spoiler box below.



30. Free Samples (Gammill, 2012): Slacker sister has to work a free sample ice cream truck shift for her sister and trades barbs with the customers.  It's not a great movie, really, but I enjoyed most of Jess Weixler's performance and one-liners.
29. Dances With Wolves (Costner, 1990): Kevin Costner's sensitive epic about the plight of the Native American was maybe a little by-the-numbers, but those sure were some pretty sunsets!
28. The Omen (Donner, 1976): I always thought this movie was going to be really cheesy, probably because I saw it parodied so many times but didn't realize it's actually particularly creepy film about a couple raising the devil's son.
27. Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (Lowry, 1983): I appreciated the balls-out stupidity of this one, along with its ridiculous stunts and the way it clearly was going to be one film, then quickly re-shot an changed it completely until it really doesn't make sense.  Also had a solid soundtrack.
26. Hell Up in Harlem (Cohen, 1973): Fascinatingly dumb blaxploitation that plays like the inspiration for 'Black Dynamite'.  Fun action scenes, entertaining dialogue and a great score.
25. This Is England (Meadows, 2006): Thoroughly sad film about an outcast kid in 1980s England who ends up finding friends amongst the skinheads.
24. Teddy Bear (Matthiesen, 2012): Neat little Danish film about a bodybuilder who takes a vacation to Thailand in order to find himself a wife.
23. Jaws (Spielberg, 1975): Still effective even after all the years of parodies and imitations.
22. Freaks (Browning, 1932): Thoroughly upsetting and exploitive movie about the lives the people populating a circus freakshow.
21. Cutthroat Island (Harlin, 1995): Silly and overblown pirate action movie full of ridiculous stunts and quite possibly the finest onscreen explosion ever recorded.
20. Carnival of Souls (Harvey, 1962): Bizarre indie film about a woman who is the lone survivor of a car accident and finds herself haunted by mysterious visions and circumstances.
19. Burden of Dreams (Blank, 1982): Insane documentary about the making of Werner Herzog's 'Fitzcarraldo' which features death, war, weather and money problems. Oh yeah, and Klaus Kinski.
18. All About Eve (Mankiewicz, 1950): A straight-up acting clinic with Bette Davis as a fading stage actress who finds herself being usurped by a new actress, her former protege.
17. What About Bob? (Oz, 1991): Massive Bill Murray comedy performance in this comedy about a patient who tracks down his psychotherapist (Richard Dreyfuss) and manages to charm everyone around them while driving the therapist nuts.
16. Top Gun (T.Scott, 1986): I thought this would come across silly after so many years and parodies but I actually thought this was as effective as any air combat movie I've seen in conveying the sense of speed and danger involved.  Plus, Tom Cruise just has 'it', even at an early age.
15. Samsara (Fricke, 2011): I believe this was referred to as a 'trance film' or some such thing, and it's really just a series of staggering images set to some pretty music.  I had to skip the part where they processed the animals for eating purposes because I'm a huge softy for stuff like that, but there are some genuinely stunning and amazing imagery in this.
14. Pretty in Pink (Deutch, 1986): This was one of the few John Hughes teen flicks I hadn't seen, mainly because the previous time I tried to watch it, I got extremely annoyed with Ducky (Jon Cryer) and never went back to it.  But he/it won me over.  It's about the always unpopular Molly Ringwald, who has a crush on the class hunk, while avoiding the romantic advances of friend Ducky.  This actually had some good romance stuff but also some interesting takes on class differences.  Also James Spader as a creepy rich dude.
13. Goon (Dowse, 2011): Seann William Scott as a bouncer who becomes a hockey player because he's good at fighting.  It was pretty funny (In spite of Jay Baruchel's obnoxious character who I could have really done without) and actually had a surprising amount of heart.
12. I Wish (Koreeda, 2011): Hirokazu Koreeda is fast becoming one of my favourite directors, I don't think I've seen a film of his that wasn't pretty much amazing.  This one is about two brothers who are split up when each goes to live with a different parent.  One brother hears that if he makes a wish as the two new bullet trains pass each other, it will come true, so he takes some new friends and gets his brother to meet up with him and head to where the bullet trains meet to cast their wish.  Really wonderful heartfelt and occasionally funny stuff.
11. Red Heat (Hill, 1988): With Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Soviet police officer who comes to America and teams up with schlubby cop James Belushi to track down a Russian criminal who killed his partner.  Just a good old-fashioned action film with high body counts, bullets galore and a freakin' bus chase!
10. The Slams (Kaplan, 1973): Intense and entertaining blaxploitation flick with Jim Brown as a criminal who stashes $1.5 million before being sent to jail and works to get out and get the money back while being pursued by gangsters in the prison.
09. JFK (Stone, 1991): I wasn't really expecting this to be this good, thought it would be mainly a vehicle for various conspiracy theories, but what it actually was was a wonderful vehicle for an amazing array of actors (Gary Oldman, Walter Matthau, Ed Asner, Jack Lemmon, John Candy, Vincent d'Onofrio, Sissy Spacek, Wayne Knight, Joe Pesci, and Tommy Lee Jones) to strut their stuff.
08. Jack Reacher (McQuarrie, 2012): Super stylish and exciting flick about a military homicide inspector who turns up to investigate the case of a sniper who kills five random victims.  Tom Cruise is great in the lead (I've never read the books, I don't care how short he is) and there are tons of great action pieces and car chases and Werner Herzog is such a great menacing villain.
07. Highlander (Mulcahy, 1986): Kind of silly action flick that's augmented by an extraordinary soundtrack from Queen.  I put it this high because it's one of the films I'm mostly likely to end up watching again and again and again.
06. Caddyshack (Ramis, 1980): Every time I tried to watch this TV, I'd come in right during one of the scenes with the caddies and quickly grow bored and turn it, so I made myself sit down and watch it this summer and totally loved it.  I mean, it kind of drags whenever one of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield or Ted Knight isn't onscreen, but when they are...forget about it! I think I actually enjoyed Chase's performance more than anyone else.
05. The Lost Boys (Schumacher, 1987): This somehow snuck through the cracks of stuff I never got around to before this year but I totally loved it.  Lots of sexy vampires, good 80s style, Gooniesesque humour and nice creepy vibe.  One of the things I genuinely liked about it was the POV shots for the flying because they knew they couldn't make it look good, so they left it up to your imagination.
04. Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012): I've owned this movie for over a year and a half, so there was really no excuse for not watching it earlier, but I finally did.  I'm a sucker for stuff about people doing deep detective work (Like in 'The Wire' or 'All the Presidents Men') so I dunno why I put this off for so long.  Amazing Jessica Chastain performance in the lead and tons of little great supporting performances around her (Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Harold Perrineau, Chris Pratt, Joel Edgerton,  James Gandolfini) and there last part of the film is so incredibly intense and chilling in the clinical way in which they take down Bin Laden.
03. Point Break (Bigelow, 1991): This was a surprisingly hard film for me to track down (Then two weeks after I finally found and watched it, I found a copy in a Wal-Mart for $4 that I really should have bought!) but it's great with Keanu Reeves as a young FBI agent who goes undercover with a group of surfers led by the pretty awesome Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) who might be a gang of bank robbers.  Tons of great action sequences, fun performances around Reeves (Who's a little....ehhhh) from Swayze, Lori Petty and Gary Busey.  Oh yeah, and the surfing footage is incredible. 
02. No Time For Sergeants (LeRoy, 1958): Andy Griffith stars as a dopey country bumpkin drafted into the Air Force who gets into a series of misadventures that gets everyone around him into trouble.  I thought the last third of the film was a little sketchy, but the previous 2/3rds were among the best comedies I've seen.  Just really silly, hilarious stuff delivered as only Griffith could do. 
01. 13 Assassins (Miike, 2010): Incredible samurai film about a group of samurai who decide to kill one of their lords.  There's about an hour and a bit of set-up as they recruit the various assassins and prepare for their mission that culminates in an insane final 40 minute battle sequence that is bloody and amazing.  I loved it.
 

30. Free Samples (Gammill, 2012):

29. Dances With Wolves (Costner, 1990): 

28. The Omen (Donner, 1976): 

27. Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (Lowry, 1983):

26. Hell Up in Harlem (Cohen, 1973): 

25. This Is England (Meadows, 2006): 

24. Teddy Bear (Matthiesen, 2012): 

23. Jaws (Spielberg, 1975): 

22. Freaks (Browning, 1932): 

21. Cutthroat Island (Harlin, 1995): 

20. Carnival of Souls (Harvey, 1962):

19. Burden of Dreams (Blank, 1982): 

18. All About Eve (Mankiewicz, 1950): 

17. What About Bob? (Oz, 1991): 

16. Top Gun (T.Scott, 1986):

15. Samsara (Fricke, 2011): 

14. Pretty in Pink (Deutch, 1986): 

13. Goon (Dowse, 2011): 

12. I Wish (Koreeda, 2011):

11. Red Heat (Hill, 1988): 

10. The Slams (Kaplan, 1973): 

09. JFK (Stone, 1991):

08. Jack Reacher (McQuarrie, 2012): 

07. Highlander (Mulcahy, 1986):

06. Caddyshack (Ramis, 1980): 

05. The Lost Boys (Schumacher, 1987): 

04. Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012):

03. Point Break (Bigelow, 1991):

02. No Time For Sergeants (LeRoy, 1958): 

01. 13 Assassins (Miike, 2010)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

28. The Omen (Donner, 1976): I always thought this movie was going to be really cheesy, probably because I saw it parodied so many times but didn't realize it's actually particularly creepy film about a couple raising the devil's son.

It's actually my favorite supernatural thriller with Satanic themes. Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist were a bit less melodramatic and more grounded in the real world, sure, but for my money The Omen does religious horror better than them all. It's got a truly world-class sense of atmospheric dread, with the washed-out Gothic visuals and the haunting soundtrack all working together with the unsettling plot undertones that suggest that maybe God just doesn't give a damn about any of us. The evil feels so incredibly impersonal in this one, an inescapable apocalyptic force that views human beings as little more than cockroaches to be stomped on. Also, it did Final Destination's gimmick better than that series ever did (and twenty years earlier, too).

 

19. Burden of Dreams (Blank, 1982): Insane

and Klaus Kinski.

'nuff said

 

14. Pretty in Pink (Deutch, 1986): This was one of the few John Hughes teen flicks I hadn't seen, mainly because the previous time I tried to watch it, I got extremely annoyed with Ducky (Jon Cryer) and never went back to it.  But he/it won me over.  It's about the always unpopular Molly Ringwald, who has a crush on the class hunk, while avoiding the romantic advances of friend Ducky.  This actually had some good romance stuff but also some interesting takes on class differences.  Also James Spader as a creepy rich dude.

Ducky fuckin' killed this movie for me. Just one of those characters which made me wish it were possible to physically reach into my TV screen and strangle a fictional person. And that bullshit ending certainly didn't help, it had "reshoot!" practically tattooed on its forehead. Also: how the hell is Ringwald supposed to be POOR, since when is any family that owns two cars and lives in a two-story house in a nice suburb and appears to have no money problems somehow suffering from shameful poverty?

 

08. Jack Reacher (McQuarrie, 2012): blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and Werner Herzog is such a great menacing villain.

...godDAMNit Tom Cruise, why can't you STOP making movies that I end up really wanting to see? Grumble grumble guess I'mma donate a few more bucks to Scientology grumble...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I might as well put some commentary on my picks:

25. Knights of Badassdom (2013, Joe Lynch): this movie's infamous behind-the-scenes problems do leak onto the screen every now and then, with some jarring tonal shifts and rough pacing and unfinished-looking special effects. Summer Glau spends most of the film with a "what the hell am I doing here?" look on her face, and fans of Peter Dinklage and especially Danny Pudi will probably be real pissed off at how little those guys are actually in this movie, considering how heavily billed they are. But all in all, I still liked this films DIY spirit and grungy charm. We get too damn few non-amateur insider films about geek culture, and this movie manages to celebrate the joy of LARPer culture even while mercilessly satirizing it.

24. Man of Steel (2013, Zack Snyder): "Waaah, Superman isn't supposed to KILL General Zod, waaah!" Except, of course, all those times he totally killed General Zod. He's done that at least twice in the mainstream-canon comics, total deliberate premeditated murder. Also, did y'all whiners just totally forget Christopher Reeve smugly tossing Terence Stamp to his death at the end of Superman 2? Anywho, this was a tolerable reboot for the franchise; not a great one, but it was at least trying really hard to do something different from the previous films. An overqualified cast brought a sense of dignity to the proceedings, and I appreciated the film's attempts to dig deeper than usual into Kal-El's personality.

23. Hondo (1953, John Farrow): nowhere near John Wayne's greatest Western, but interesting enough. It's the first of Wayne's films to actually have some Indians who have their own distinct personalities, rather than just being seen as a horde of anonymous savages. The middle part of the film deals with some legit interesting complications, with the Duke being mighty uncertain about what to do in situations where gunfire might not solve everything so simply. Too bad it tosses it all out the window with a bewilderingly abrupt third act that resolves absolutely nothing.

22. The Wolverine (2013, James Mangold): well, it's a hell of a lot better than the LAST two X-men films before this. It's sort of a Greatest Hits highlight real for everything Wolverine's known for doing in Japan. It's got nowhere near the depth and soul of Bryan Singer's entries in this franchise, but the action is decent enough and it doesn't fuck anything up too bad, which is good enough for government work.

21. Chimes at Midnight (1965, Orson Welles): Welles doing Shakespeare is often a mixed bag; he usually had nightmarish productions which even Terry Gilliam would have balked at, shooting these films in bits and pieces over the course of several years. This film is basically The Life Of Falstaff, sewn together from selections of five different Shakespeare plays. The result is uneven as hell (John Gielgud appears to have had his lines dubbed over by, well, not John Gielgud, which is outright blasphemy) but at least we've got Welles acting his fat ass off as the drunken old knight, and the cinematography is just as spectacular as you'd expect from perhaps history's greatest visual master of moving pictures.

20. Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001, Shusuke Kaneko): a damn weird little film. How weird? Godzilla is the heel, and fuckin' Ghidorah is the babyface. Yes, seriously. THAT takes some getting used to; especially since Gojira is particularly sadistic in this movie, seemingly going out of his way to kill as many people as he possibly can. Still, this movie has better-than-average monster fights and FX work, which is always greatly appreciated. And for once the damn Japanese army isn't completely useless, a nice change of pace from normal.

19. Die, Monster, Die! (1965, Daniel Haller): please ignore that awful title. This should be probably called H.P. LOVECRAFT'S THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE, STARRING BORIS KARLOFF. Despite being somewhat loosely translated from Lovecraft's original story, it's still oddly one of the more faithful-in-spirit adaptations of his work. It's also one of the few not-produced-by-Roger-Corman movies that Boris made in the 60s that was actually pretty good.

18. Jane Eyre (2011, Cary Fukunaga): Michael Fassbender. Mia Wasikowska. Unrequited love in a gloomy Gothic mansion. What do you need, a road map? Made by the guy who directed the entire first season of True Detective. I hope I need say no more. This adaptation also thankfully spends much more time on some of the subplots and minor characters who usually go neglected in most filmed versions of Charlotte Bronte's novel, which is a nice change of pace from the typical Cliff Notes approach to adapting thick old books to the big screen.

17. The Big Bird Cage (1972, Jack Hill): one of the great sleazy women-in-foreign-prisons flicks of that era, starring no less than Pam Grier and Sig Haig. Yet underneath all the scummy grindhouse sexploitation and crass homophobic stereotypes, there's a shockingly well-made little thriller and ensemble character study about a bunch of people stuck together in a mutual hellhole and trying to make the best of it.

16. Machete Kills (2013, Robert Rodriguez): okay, what you've gotta understand about this movie is that it's actually NOT a live-action film. Oh yeah, it does seem to involve a camera being pointed at real live human beings. But it's really just a cartoon. This is practically a Road Runner short, stretched out to feature length and made gloriously R-rated. It's much loonier and more ludicrous than the first Machete, which I'd argue is a definite step up. It's also got one of the all-time great WTF bizarro-world casts: "and co-starring Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lady Gaga, and Antonio Banderas all playing the same character", believe it or not.

15. The Dead 2: India (2013, Howard Ford & Jonathan Ford): This followup to 2010's The Dead retains all the down-to-earth realism of that zombie movie, while working on a somewhat larger canvas. This is a thinking man's franchise but with a blue-collar theme to it, with situations that are way more plausible than the average zombie flick. You'll rarely (if ever) want to scream at the protagonists in these films for doing something dumb, as they try to quickly find rational solutions to unbelievable problems in a world gone mad.

14. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963, Stanley Kramer): one of those epic race-across-America movies they don't really make anymore. I'd say it's not as good as The Great Race, but better than any of Burt Reynolds's attempts at the same. See the DVDVRMC thread for more details.

13. Labor Day (2013, Jason Reitman): Reitman turns the volume down a notch in this gentle and sensitive not-exactly-a-romcom, making a film which is refreshingly less quirky and gimmicky than his previous efforts. Kate Winslet is a lonely single mom who is kinda-sorta forced into harboring a fugitive Josh Brolin. This is in some ways the world's most low-key thriller, with the main conflict being just how to hide this guy in a house for a week without anyone discovering him. It's got one of the most oddly sensual a-man-ties-up-a-woman scenes in history; oddly because it's done so that Winslet's character can claim to be a unwilling victim in case Brolin's presence is discovered, and sensual because the body language and the mise-en-scene make it very damn clear that this is the first time any man has touched her in long years and she's practically swooning at the simple primitive joy of physical human contact. It's a lot better than I'm making it sound, with great acting all around.

12. Snowpiercer (2013, Joon-ho Bong): I thought this one was mildly overrated by many (a score of 95% at Rottentommatoes seems a wee bit high), but it's still a cracking good action movie with social commentary to spare. An unrecognizable Chris Evans leads an international all-star cast in this postapocalyptic tale of humanity's last survivors, all stuck on a massive train which is ruled with a strict caste system. At times, this almost feels like a Jean-Pierre Jeunet production, all crazy steampunk production design and oddball misfit characters. But the director (same dude who did the Korean The Host) keeps things much more brutal and grim than most of Jeunet's stuff, and it's just as much a kung-fu flick as it is a dystopian parable. Tilda Swinton's incredibly weird performance is worth the price of admission all by itself, as she takes a part that was originally written for John C. Reilly and somehow turns it into a creepily sympathetic caricature of Margaret Thatcher.

11. 3:10 to Yuma (1957, Delmer Daves): the original version is much slower and less action-y than the 2007 remake; this isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it lets us get a much closer look at our two lead characters and doesn't waste any time on extraneous subplots. The bonding between the captured outlaw and his reluctant jailer is much more ambivalent in the original version; Dan Evans doesn't trust Ben Wade one little bit, and they don't become nearly as chummy as Christian Bale and Russel Crowe did in their more generic take on this concept. The story beats are all basically the same in both versions, but the minor details and the overall tone is very different. I think I actually like the old one better, even though it sadly features 100% less Alan Tudyk.

DAMN that took a while to write, I'll do the final top 10 later.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome lists from everyone!  I will try to do a write up of my picks this weekend.  I love doing this list a little more than than the year-end list as it's fascinating of what I've discovered over the year and I tend to forget about the new releases that I've seen after doing my list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

24. Man of Steel (2013, Zack Snyder): "Waaah, Superman isn't supposed to KILL General Zod, waaah!" Except, of course, all those times he totally killed General Zod. He's done that at least twice in the mainstream-canon comics, total deliberate premeditated murder. Also, did y'all whiners just totally forget Christopher Reeve smugly tossing Terence Stamp to his death at the end of Superman 2? Anywho, this was a tolerable reboot for the franchise; not a great one, but it was at least trying really hard to do something different from the previous films. An overqualified cast brought a sense of dignity to the proceedings, and I appreciated the film's attempts to dig deeper than usual into Kal-El's personality.
I think this would have been a Top 10 movie for me, if they had left the whole General Zod stuff for the sequel (And this coming from a guy who ALWAYS wants more Michael Shannon) and just made the entire movie about Clark going around the world anonymously helping people.  Just him trying to escape his responsibilities and realizing he has to help, it's just who he is.  I wouldn't even need a climactic end battle, but then the film would really bomb.  Still, I would be happy.
 

 

23. Hondo (1953, John Farrow): nowhere near John Wayne's greatest Western, but interesting enough. It's the first of Wayne's films to actually have some Indians who have their own distinct personalities, rather than just being seen as a horde of anonymous savages. The middle part of the film deals with some legit interesting complications, with the Duke being mighty uncertain about what to do in situations where gunfire might not solve everything so simply. Too bad it tosses it all out the window with a bewilderingly abrupt third act that resolves absolutely nothing.
I liked this movie, but I HATED the way the whole set-up was about how it was just him and his dog and how the Indians are noble, decent people, then they just abruptly kill his dog and Wayne is just kinda "Whatever".
 

 

22. The Wolverine (2013, James Mangold): well, it's a hell of a lot better than the LAST two X-men films before this. It's sort of a Greatest Hits highlight real for everything Wolverine's known for doing in Japan. It's got nowhere near the depth and soul of Bryan Singer's entries in this franchise, but the action is decent enough and it doesn't fuck anything up too bad, which is good enough for government work.
I actually preferred this to any X-Men related film period (Haven't seen 'Days of Future Past' yet).  I thought it had a certain depth to its storytelling and a sexiness you don't generally get in these kinds of films.
 

 

16. Machete Kills (2013, Robert Rodriguez): okay, what you've gotta understand about this movie is that it's actually NOT a live-action film. Oh yeah, it does seem to involve a camera being pointed at real live human beings. But it's really just a cartoon. This is practically a Road Runner short, stretched out to feature length and made gloriously R-rated. It's much loonier and more ludicrous than the first Machete, which I'd argue is a definite step up. It's also got one of the all-time great WTF bizarro-world casts: "and co-starring Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr, Lady Gaga, and Antonio Banderas all playing the same character", believe it or not.
Man I HATED this movie.  Just hated it.
 

 

12. Snowpiercer (2013, Joon-ho Bong): I thought this one was mildly overrated by many (a score of 95% at Rottentommatoes seems a wee bit high), but it's still a cracking good action movie with social commentary to spare. An unrecognizable Chris Evans leads an international all-star cast in this postapocalyptic tale of humanity's last survivors, all stuck on a massive train which is ruled with a strict caste system. At times, this almost feels like a Jean-Pierre Jeunet production, all crazy steampunk production design and oddball misfit characters. But the director (same dude who did the Korean The Host) keeps things much more brutal and grim than most of Jeunet's stuff, and it's just as much a kung-fu flick as it is a dystopian parable. Tilda Swinton's incredibly weird performance is worth the price of admission all by itself, as she takes a part that was originally written for John C. Reilly and somehow turns it into a creepily sympathetic caricature of Margaret Thatcher.[/quote[
Just for the record, this is eligible for 'The Best of 2014' poll!
 
11. 3:10 to Yuma (1957, Delmer Daves): the original version is much slower and less action-y than the 2007 remake; this isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it lets us get a much closer look at our two lead characters and doesn't waste any time on extraneous subplots. The bonding between the captured outlaw and his reluctant jailer is much more ambivalent in the original version; Dan Evans doesn't trust Ben Wade one little bit, and they don't become nearly as chummy as Christian Bale and Russel Crowe did in their more generic take on this concept. The story beats are all basically the same in both versions, but the minor details and the overall tone is very different. I think I actually like the old one better, even though it sadly features 100% less Alan Tudyk.
I saw this for the first time this year, as well.  Truthfully it should've been in my Top 30, but I wanted to highlight some of the sillier/stupider stuff I saw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Worst movie I saw for the first time in 2014 was the 2012 direct-to-DVD turkey Thanks for Sharing about a group of sex addicts whose lives intertwine at a New York support group.

 

Mark Ruffalo struggles to stay on the wagon while dating Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad gets fired from his job as an emergency room doctor after using sexually harassing his boss, and Tim Robbins struggles to keep his sobriety (he's both a sex addict and an alcoholic) while bonding with his drug addict son.

 

Apparently, everyone involved worked for scale and did the film as a favor to director Stuart Blumberg, who wrote Ruffalo's The Kids are Alright and Paltrow's Keeping the Faith.  They would have done him a bigger favor by convincing him not to make this film.

 

Blumberg's direction is slipshod at best, and his screenplay is full of unlikable characters.  If you ever told somebody: "I really want to watch a movie where Josh Gad jerks off to Internet porn, then takes a doughnut out of his trash can and eats it" then fucking run to your nearest Red Box or go to Amazon Prime and start watching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10. Hamlet (2009, Gregory Doran): this is probably my favorite BBC adaptation of Shakespeare that I've seen. David Tennant is an unusual Hamlet, bringing sort of a comedic warmth to the character which is often missing in other interpretations. He's more of a mischievous Everyman than he is a melancholy aristocrat. But right up there with him is Patrick Stewart doing the very best Claudius that I've ever seen (way better than his previous attempt at the role in the classic Derek Jacobi production), essaying the villain in a particularly introspective and tortured performance which truly gets across the point of how far this poor bastard is permanently stuck in his brother's shadow (brilliantly, the Ghost is also played by Stewart). The direction even manages to make this into a legit visually-rich movie rather than your standard Masterpiece Theatre bullshit which makes too damn many of the BBC's productions look like stage plays where there just so happened to be a camera in the front row.

9. Lured (1947, Preston Sturges): the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made. A pre-fame Lucille Ball stars as a streetwise dance-hall girl living in London, who is hired by the police to act as bait to draw out a Ripper-like serial killer. (Don't pay any attention to Boris Karloff's lead billing, he's only in for a delightful cameo as a hilarious red herring.) This one was way outside of Sturges's comfort zone, but it's a damn fine movie anyway. Like a bizarre hybrid of screwball comedy and Silence of the Lambs which somehow works.

8. Wuthering Heights (2011, Andrea Arnold): a daring, aggressive, passionate adaptation of the most fucking depressing novel in English history. This movie ups the ante by casting a black guy as Heathcliff, and then welding the camera to his POV in order to provide one of the most agonizingly personal onscreen portrayals of race/class warfare that I've ever seen. The story beats are all the same familiar old stuff, but the way Arnold directs it is breathtaking and truly original. This is one of those movies where, like thirty minutes into it, you realize "hey... there's been only a dozen or two lines of dialogue, tops, and yet that feels utterly appropriate".

7. Under the Skin (2013, Jonathan Glazer): let's shoot the elephant in the room first: yes, Scarlett Johansson does indeed spend almost half this movie full-frontal naked. But you'd have to be one stone-cold pervert in order to be aroused by the context of this nudity; I mean, it's so creepy that I could barely even masturbate to it. This is basically like an Ingmar Bergman version of Species, with Scarlett cast as an alien black widow who seduces and consumes various hapless men off the dreary streets of Scotland. And while I was annoyed that the movie ended up stumbling to the same unimaginative ending that practically every other "monstrous humanoid thing looking to mate and assimilate" movie ever does, the way everything is handled is incredibly unique.

6. In a World... (2013, Lake Bell): having been a semi-professional announcer myself, this one is probably my "pushes my personal buttons REALLY hard" ringer for the list. But still, Lake Bell's self-written/directed/acted opus about a scatterbrained young actress who wants to become a professional voiceover artist was really really REALLY good. Bell is a fun performer, but she's even better behind the camera; when's the last time you said "damn, I was really glad to see Geena Davis, I wish her part had been bigger"? And Eva Longoria and Cameron Diaz are the best sports imaginable when they poke HARD fun at their own personas in as-themselves cameos.

5. Conan the Barbarian (1982, John Milius): yeah, I'd never gotten around to seeing this all in one sitting until recently. "Holy shit it's awesome" is the short version. One of the best sword-and-sorcery fantasy flicks I've ever seen, maybe THE best R-rated one. James Earl Jones is a standout as Thulsa Doom, creating a villain who is actually even more complex and interesting than Darth Vader in his character arc.

4. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007, Jake Kasdan): sometimes I wonder, whatever happened to good Airplane!-style movie spoofs? Did the wretched Friedberg/Seltzer flicks kill this genre? No, no they didn't; the movies simply moved over a couple steps, and now are made by the extended Apatow family and have supporting casts of Saturday Night Live alumni. John C. Reilly mercilessly satirizes the entire 20th century of musical fads with his brilliant performance as dim-bulb superstar Dewey Cox, and as an added bonus the songs are actually good enough that you'll find yourself humming them afterwards.

3. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013, Jim Jarmusch): this is the vampire movie I've been waiting YEARS for. There's no bullshit melodrama, no silly emo brooding, no Grand Guignol scenes of gory spectacle. It's simply a typically Jarmuschian deadpan character study of what it might be like to be really, really old in the modern world. The sights, sounds, and performances all meld together into a movie which is so comfortable that you want to wear it like a soft flannel bathrobe.

2. Her (2013, Spike Jonze): A friend of mine on Facebook put it best: "That wasn't a movie, that was a goddamned force of nature." You probably need to be a similar sort of person to the antisocial wallflowers featured in this film to truly sync up with everything it's got to offer, but the film has ambition and style to spare as a frighteningly intelligent look at what it might be like to emotionally interact with artificial intelligence. Like a cross between Weird Science and Primer. And it's got maybe the single most brilliantly-conceived cinematic sex scene in history.

1. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Sergio Leone): Sergio Leone's best Western ever. Period. I'm amazed that I somehow care more about Charles Bronson's emotional pain here than I ever did for Clint Eastwood's in the MWNN Trilogy; but, well, here 'tis. Henry Fonda is cast deeply against type as a terrifyingly amoral villain, and for once we've got a female character in a Leone pic who is more than either window dressing or subplot motivation. This is probably my favorite "end of the West" anti-Western ever, with only an asterisk for Unforgiven and The Wild Bunch as real competition. Sorry, The Shootist and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Dances With Wolves, but this one outlasses you without even trying. Just a brilliant hurricane of art from start to finish.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go further.

 

It's the best Western ever.  Period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No real order:

 

Bug (2006)

The Book of Life (2014)

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

Into The Woods (2014)

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Troll Hunter (2010)

Big Hero 6 (2014)

 

Worst movies I saw for the first time last year, in order from worst to not-quite worst:

Descendents (2008)

Frankenstein Unbound (1990)

Leprechaun: Origins (2014)

Stitches (2012)

Let's Scare Jessica To Death (1982)

 

As you can tell: aside from binge-watching scary movies in October, I mostly just watch animated movies with the girls. The only movie my girlfriend and I went out to see on our own was Into The Woods, which I should've taken my ten year-old to. The rest of the time we are pretty just watching Gotham, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and @Midnight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

23. Hondo

I liked this movie, but I HATED the way the whole set-up was about how it was just him and his dog and how the Indians are noble, decent people, then they just abruptly kill his dog and Wayne is just kinda "Whatever".
Hell, I'd totally forgotten that part amid all the OTHER stuff they dropped and forgot like a Vince Russo midcard angle.

Why the hell did they introduce such a complex and intimidating Indian villain, just to kill him offscreen in such an infuriating "and oh yeah, that one guy died, I think" manner? Why did they do such a masterful job of setting up the moral dilemma of Wayne having killed the family's father, only to puss out on the resolution like it never happened? Why do they bring up the fact that Wayne's character is part Indian every once in a while, only to forget it and do nothing with it? And what kind of nonsense was that ending, a random battle that meant nothing and essentially ended on a countout, with our two leads not sharing a single kiss or line of dialogue or even the same frame together at the climax?

I've got no idea why this one has such a reputation as being one of the Duke's all-time best, when his true classics all piss on Hondo from a great height.

 

16. Machete Kills

Man I HATED this movie.  Just hated it.
Why? I could understand not getting into it, it's SO silly, but outright hatred seems a tad unexpected.

 

12. Snowpiercer

Just for the record, this is eligible for 'The Best of 2014' poll!
It is? IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and Wikipedia all list it for 2013.  

 

I'll go further.

 

It's the best Western ever.  Period.

I dunno if I could go THAT far; my utterly overwhelming markdom for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, High Noon, Blazing Saddles, and maybe Unforgiven and Tombstone just won't let me (at least not before some rewatches). But still, "by FAR the best Western ever made by the guy who also did The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is really all you need to say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

12. Snowpiercer

Just for the record, this is eligible for 'The Best of 2014' poll!

 

It is? IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and Wikipedia all list it for 2013.  

 

 

Rotten Tomatoes lists it as 2014, and that's the one that counts for the poll.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...