Yesterday I brought you my list of the worst movies 2014 had to offer. Today however, it is time for me to give you a rundown of the best twenty movies of the year. 

2014 has offered a variety of truly memorable movies and these are the twenty that, for me, made the year that little bit more special. I have had to make some sacrifices to narrow it down to twenty so I would just like to give an honourable mention to the following movies for playing their part in making 2014 a great one for movie fans:

  • Her
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • American Hustle
  • Blue Ruin
  • The Guest
  • Fury
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Starred Up
  • Locke
And now time for the main event...

20) The Babadook

I am not just including The Babadook to make sure horror is represented as a genre in my list. Personally I think most modern horrors are rubbish and guilty of following the same patterns and using the same scare tactics. However, The Babadook is genuinely a very good movie and a very well made one at that, director Jennifer Kent majorly impressing on her debut. With a fantastic lead performance from Essie Davis, Kent creates a psychological horror that takes a look at grief in the form of Mr Babadook. If reports were true and Kent has refused to sell the rights on for an American remake then she definitely earns my respect... Take that America!!!

19) Godzilla 

The King of Monsters made his much anticipated return to the big screen in 2014 and what a return it was. Granted the film had dull human characters and Godzilla himself doesn't get the most screen time but when he appears, he does in some perfectly executed set pieces from director Gareth Edwards. The excellent finale itself was worth the admission price alone and Edwards proved that to go big you don't always have to go dumb.

18) Chef

The feel good movie of the year was just a delight to watch from start to finish. Jon Favreau both wrote and directed the movie as well as starring in it, bringing together an impressive cast to have as much fun making the movie as I did watching it. Just a reminder to make sure you eat something before viewing or you will regret it.

17) Dallas Buyers Club

The McConaissance showed no signs of faltering with this brilliantly acted and quite moving drama about AIDs patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into America to help fellow patients get the treatment they were missing. Matthew McConaughey won the coveted Best Actor award at the Academy Awards for his magnificent portrayal of Woodroof with Jared Leto picking up the award for Best Supporting Actor.

16) Frank 

There were not many movies out there this year as quirky as Frank. Its subject matter could polarise an audience but I was completely taken in by it. The mix of goofy comedy and heartfelt drama works a treat and the cast, led by Michael Fassbender complete with a paper mache head, all contribute to make a great independent movie that I hope gets the wider audience it deserves.

15) Edge of Tomorrow

I like Tom Cruise as an actor and I like sci-fi movies so to hear me say I was cautious about this movie before its release may seem a little odd. Edge of Tomorrow is quite simply a fantastic sci-fi movie that absolutely nails the use of time travel and manages to tell the same story over and over while managing to remain fresh to its audience. 

14) The LEGO Movie

Wonderful animation, unbelievable amounts of imagination and fantastic voice work all come together to make The LEGO Movie (you guessed it) awesome! Kids will love it but this movie once again proves that animated movies are just as much for adults as well. I just can't get that song out of my head now!!!

13) X-Men: Days of Future Past 

The biggest X-Men movie to date had a lot to live up to after First Class did such a good job of reintroducing us to familiar characters. Days of Future Past was nothing but a roaring success bringing together the new cast with the old guard of Hugh Jackman and co. in a story that, on paper, had the potential to go horribly wrong. Bryan Singer returned to the director's chair and it felt as if he had never left. Expect things to get even bigger and better in 2016 with X-Men: Apocalypse.

12) Under the Skin

The Marmite movie of 2014 in the sense that you will either love it or hate it, Under the Skin is a movie that will leave you in a trance for most of its runtime. I don't see it as the masterpiece that some claim it to be however it is a very good movie that really gets you thinking. Scarlett Johansson is hypnotic as the alien stalking her prey and the eerie score from Mica Levi adds to an atmosphere that will leave a lasting impression on its audience.

11) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes combined wonderful special effects with brilliant motion-capture performances from Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell to wow audiences around the world and become one of the most critically acclaimed summer blockbusters of all time. Apes riding on horses while firing machine guns you say? I'm sold!!!

10) Snowpiercer 

Snowpiercer is a beautifully shot action movie full of perfectly choreographed set-pieces from director Joon-ho Bong. I wasn't really expecting to like it as much as I did but when you can sense the amount of effort and care that went into making the film then you really just have to sit back and fully appreciate it. 

9) Interstellar

Christopher Nolan takes us on a journey through space and the result is something quite spectacular. I am surprised that this isn't higher on my list but that just goes to show how good a year it has been for movies in 2014. I love Nolan as a storyteller and when you combine that with an ensemble cast led by Matthew McConaughey and a soaring score from Hans Zimmer, it really does start to feel more like an experience than a trip to the cinema. Just don't try and make me explain the science behind the movie...

8) Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel gets the David Fincher treatment and quickly becomes the most tense 150 minutes you will ever sit through in your life. Ben Affleck silences many of his doubters with a fine performance and Rosamund Pike nails the role of Amy, surely leading to some awards recognition come February. The twist in the tale was screaming for a director like Fincher and he brilliantly brings it to life with his signature style.

7) The Grand Budapest Hotel 

Wes Anderson has his own style and it is one that brings The Grand Budapest Hotel to life with such perfection it is actually quite scary. Every scene is so intricately shot that you can't help but see Anderson as a perfectionist. The movie has a wonderful array of characters that are brought to life by an impressive cast, led by the brilliant Ralph Fiennes. Quirky has never been this good before.

6) Nightcrawler 

Jake Gyllenhaal really stakes a claim as one of Hollywood's finest actors with Nightcrawler. He is creepy as Lou Bloom but it is such a good performance that you can't help but keep your eyes on him throughout. This is a tale of obsession and how far some will go to realise their dreams and Nightcrawler will really leave you shocked at how far Lou Bloom will go to be the best. 

5) Guardians of the Galaxy

Without a doubt the most fun I had at the cinema in 2014. Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel's way of expanding their cinematic universe and what a way to do it. The worry was that people wouldn't take to these new set of characters but director James Gunn did such a great job in bringing them together that you can't help but like them. Chris Pratt leads the cast that makes this such a joy to watch and with stunning visual effects and one of the greatest soundtracks to ever grace a movie you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride. Guardians of the Galaxy is a summer blockbuster that doesn't take itself too seriously and sets about to have fun, something more of the tentpole summer movies should take note of.

4) The Wolf of Wall Street 

Never in a million years did I ever think I would find myself howling with laughter while watching a Martin Scorsese movie. The Wolf of Wall Street is an absolute riot based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort with an electric Leonardo DiCaprio in the form of his life to deliver an unforgettable performance. You couldn't imagine anyone else in the role and you couldn't see anyone other than Scorsese brave enough to take up the challenge of bringing this story to the big screen.

3) The Raid 2 

The Raid was one of my favourite action movies ever made but then The Raid 2 took everything great about the first movie and improved on it to become a true action masterpiece. There is a true crime epic feel to the movie with the story being told and because of that, the action really does have more of an impact. Its predecessor felt like an adrenaline shot but then The Raid 2 feels like four or five adrenaline shots all delivered at the same time. Seriously the last forty-five minutes of this movie are so action packed that they are now thinking of introducing seat-belts at cinemas around the world.

2) Boyhood

Richard Linklater's Boyhood is a remarkable feat in storytelling and will live long in the history of cinema for a long long time. What's so fascinating is the filmmaking method that Linklater decided to adopt for this project. He decided to use the same actors over a twelve year period meaning we see the likes of Mason literally grow from a six-year-old boy into an eighteen-year-old man in front of our very eyes. It's a coming-of-age-drama the likes of which have never been seen before and quite simply, an astounding piece of cinema.

1) 12 Years a Slave 

Well here it is. My number one movie of 2014 is the emotionally powerful 12 Years a Slave. I adore everything about this movie as a whole with the harrowing story of Solomon Northup's journey from a free man to a slave handled with such care by director Steve McQueen that you can't help but feel moved throughout. This was one of the only times I have ever seen an audience at the cinema stunned into silence due to the raw emotion of the movie they were watching. It's very rare to watch a movie where every member of the cast is giving their all and in 12 Years a Slave, the cast all perform phenomenally well. I cannot fault this movie at all and that is why it stands out as my number one movie of the year. 


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