Fraley 2014 Movie Guide

2014 MOVIE GUIDE

 

4 STARS

“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

 

3 STARS

“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

 

2 STARS

“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

 

1 STAR

“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:

2017 MOVIE GUIDE

2016 MOVIE GUIDE

2015 MOVIE GUIDE

2014 MOVIE GUIDE

2013 MOVIE GUIDE

2012 MOVIE GUIDE

2011 MOVIE GUIDE

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