Fraley 2014 Movie Guide




“Boyhood” – Richard Linklater’s 12-year coming-of-age story is a one-of-a-kind time capsule

“Birdman” – Michael Keaton haunted by superhero past in stunning satire of Hollywood & Broadway

“Selma” – Ava DuVernay gracefully recounts Martin Luther King’s march for equal voting rights

“Life Itself” – Two Thumbs Up for this powerful documentary on the life of movie critic Roger Ebert

“Whiplash” – J.K. Simmons chills as an abusive New York jazz instructor in Sundance champ


3 1/2 STARS

“The Imitation Game” – Cumberbatch breaks Nazi code in bittersweet backstory of first computer

“Nightcrawler” – Jake Gyllenhaal creeps us out in sensationalist world of L.A. crime journalism

“Gone Girl” – Ben Affleck searches for missing wife in another unforgettable thriller by David Fincher

“Citizenfour” – Daring documentary offers amazing access to Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks

“Wild” – Reese Witherspoon takes ‘Wild’ hike of inspiration with ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ director

“Locke” – Tom Hardy delivers a one-man show behind the wheel in riveting one-location thriller

“American Sniper” – Clint Eastwood directs Bradley Cooper as deadliest sniper in U.S. history

“Force Majeure” – Family ski trip explores survival instincts in Foreign Language Oscar favorite

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” – Sci-fi reboot sequel ponders war & peace w/ Serkis as Caesar

“Foxcatcher” – Steve Carell shows dark side in true crime wrestling tale that’s a touch too cynical

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” – Past and present superheroes collide in time travel installment

“Snowpiercer” – South Korean sci-fi action thriller is the best kept secret of the summer

“Fort Bliss” – Michelle Monaghan stars as Army medic who has to win back the love of her son

“The Babadook” – Australian horror flick is freaky with depth to the real mother-son relationship

“Love is Strange” – John Lithgow & Alfred Molina play lovers separated by NYC apartment search

“Still Alice” – Julianne Moore’s portrait of Alzheimer’s should finally win her an overdue Oscar

“The Theory of Everything” – Eddie Redmayne & Felicity Jones shine in Stephen Hawking biopic

“Next Goal Wins” – Inspirational documentary follows soccer team from world’s worst to winners

“Ida” – Polish gem follows Christian nun-in-training who discovers the truth of her Jewish roots

“Exodus: Gods & Kings” – Christian Bale plays Moses in Ridley Scott’s spectacular biblical epic

“The One I Love” – Elisabeth Moss & Mark Duplass take couple’s retreat in year’s craziest premise



“Edge of Tomorrow” – Tom Cruise turns “Groundhog Day” premise into surprising sci-fi action fun

“Interstellar” – Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic isn’t stellar, but its heart is in the right place

“Under the Skin” – Scarlett Johansson plays alien seductress in experimental social commentary

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” – The quirky Wes Anderson delivers war-time farce with all-star cast

“Big Eyes” – Amy Adams & Christoph Waltz spar as painters in Tim Burton’s best since “Big Fish”

“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” – Award-worthy turns from Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy

“Into the Woods” – Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt star in Disney fairytale musical

“Begin Again” – Mark Ruffalo cuts records with Keira Knightley in tale of music’s “lost stars”

“The Judge” – Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall are dynamite in family courtroom drama

“Rosewater” – Jon Stewart makes directorial debut in true story of detained journalist in Iran

“Unbroken” – Angeline Jolie directs harrowing P.O.W. story of Olympian Louis Zamperini

“Guardians of the Galaxy” – Marvel’s scrappy new group of superheroes offers great banter

“Chef” – Actor/director Jon Favreau uses food truck as analogy for his own creative pursuits

“The Lego Movie” – Snubbed at awards season, this flick has unique visuals and a fun soundtrack.

“A Most Violent Year” – Chris Isaac and Jessica Chastain shine in J.C. Chandor’s modern crime saga

“Get on Up” – Chadwick Boseman is dynamite as the godfather of soul James Brown

“St. Vincent” – Bill Murray shines once again, here as a crotchety “Gran Torino” style neighbor

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – Freedom vs. security debate makes this one of Marvel’s best

“Actress” – Doc follows “The Wire” alum Brandy Burre’s return to acting after housewife hiatus

“Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1” – Third installment could be best, but we’ll have to wait and see

“Fading Gigolo” – John Turturro directs himself in modern-day “Midnight Cowboy”

“Draft Day” – Kevin Costner wheels and deals as underdog GM of the Cleveland Browns

“Maleficent” – Angelina Jolie is wickedly talented in this alternate take on “Sleeping Beauty”

“Bad Words” – Jason Bateman makes directorial debut as adult who enters a child spelling bee


2 1/2 STARS

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” – Seth MacFarlane’s western spoof is funny, but no Mel Brooks

“Noah” – The daring Darren Aronofsky builds moody Biblical epic, but with one unforgivable flaw

“Godzilla” – Bryan Cranston and the legendary lizard fade to the background in blockbuster spectacle

“Medora” – Small-town decay presented through Indiana high school hoops

“When the Game Stands Tall” – Story is better than storytelling in true high school winning streak

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” – Spidey sequel brings great romance, but too many villains

“Peabody & Sherman” – Time travel cartoon brings history lesson, but convoluted plot for kids

“Annie” – Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz star in remake of 1982 musical



“Jersey Boys” – Eastwood’s take on the Broadway smash is way too bleak

“Transcendence” – Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller starts strong, but falters down the stretch

“Monuments Men” – Clooney can’t decide between comedy or drama in WWII art rescue flick

“Labor Day” – Kate Winslet falls for Josh Brolin’s fugitive in rare Jason Reitman stumble



“Need for Speed” – Aaron Paul’s ridiculous racing flick quickly “breaks bad”

“The Other Woman” – Over-the-top Leslie Mann performance ruins a creative revenge premise

“Ouija” – Cheap scares as teens are haunted by a killer Ouija board

Review from Past Years:








Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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