Top 20 Movies of 2014

2014 world events had ups and downs, as did the collective art and media of our time. However, if you love movies as much as many others and I do, or simply are looking for engaging escapism to immerse yourself in, there actually were plenty of options to choose from. At the end of every year and the beginning of the next everyone from serious critics to the random passerby begins to form a “top list” of the movies they had seen. It is a celebration of the movies we enjoyed and a fun means to bring certain works to the attentions of their peers or to compare and contrast each experience they had at the movies. It’s not so much that these lists are some deep evaluation, but rather an entertaining way to group the stuff we like or rather what I liked.

So, here are the 20 films from 2014 I experienced & enjoyed and hope others check out:

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INTO THE WOODS – Pretty Little Ditty (and nothing more)


Director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Nine) is probably the best active filmmaker doing film adaptations of musicals. In his film version of Chicago, Marshall combined staginess w/ the storytelling tools of cinema to create the best of both worlds: flashy musicals brought to life by cinematic inventions. In Into The Woods, Marshall teams up with Disney for his third movie musical, based on a Steven Sondheim stage show and the material has Marshall integrating the music into the action, with characters who really do sing to each other in a story that doesn’t require clunky excuses for them to do so. It probably also helps that the narrative is set at an intersection of classic fairy tales (some have already been adapted by Disney) where singing doesn’t feel quite so out of place, even for musical-averse audiences. The story follows a witch (Meryl Streep) who informs her neighbors, a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), that she can break a family curse if they can retrieve certain objects for a spell. This sends them into the woods (hey, just like the title!), and toward familiar faces playing bit roles in more well known tales like Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), and Jack (Daniel Huttlestone), of beanstalk-climbing fame. With masterful direction and an impeccable cast, Into The Woods is a delightful trip through stories many of us are familiar with…for the most part.

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THE INTERVIEW – Dumb & Offensive Comedy or Demented & Irreverent Satire?


Despite making a career of playing the same manchild, Seth Rogen (together with longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg) has consistently used his broadness as a vehicle for laughing at the stuff that makes us uncomfortable: cancer (50/50), the apocalypse (This Is the End) and even Zac Efron’s abs (Neighbors). All kidding aside, Rogen & Goldberg written & produced films have always been unafraid to go places that most people won’t and The Interview marks the first time he goes to a place that most people actually can’t: North Korea.

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