It’s time for the wrap-up of 2014 where I give you the highs and lows of movies as well as my picks of anime, television and music of the year!
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
From the moment I left the theater, I knew Cap would be in first or second place in my list of the year. Captain America has always been my favorite Avenger and the movies he headlines have been no exception as each film ends up being the core of the cinematic universe. WS is the pivotal moment of Phase Two that will change everything for the movies and television to come. With its stellar fighting choreography, fitting political thriller genre, humor and fantastic tie in with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, this movie tickled all of my fangirlish glees. I also want to note that the writers specifically made this film with Honest Trailers in mind so it couldn’t be nitpicked!
Guardians of the Galaxy
I’ve a feeling this one will be on everyone’s list and it’s well deserved. Guardians proved that whether you are familiar with the source material, Marvel is capable of making a hit. Who knew a talking raccoon and tree could be endearing characters? Packed with gorgeous visuals of space and clever writing and wit, Guardians reminded us what it’s like to have fun at the movies.
2014 was the year Chris Pratt became a treasure. Released in February, one would assume the movie wouldn’t be a success as January-April tend to be the dud movie season. It did incredibly well and is still currently the highest rated movie overall on Rotten Tomatoes (that we saw). I went in expecting fun and laughs, and while I got that, I was also hit with a lot of emotions of self-belief. Never stop being an art, stop-motion.
Big Hero 6
Disney has a knack for making the trailers to be nothing like how the film actually is. I will see the yearly Disney movie regardless of anything and BH6 was marketed towards the boys, so lots of action and cheesy jokes. Well, I didn’t count on being attacked in the feels. Animation through the years has touched on the subject of dealing with grief and doesn’t always go much into it, cause hey this is supposed to be for children and it’s not like they have to deal with things, but I feel BH6 managed to have a reverent and real take on it. Certain aspects of the film were predictable, but I was too busy crying over the relationship between a boy and his surrogate brother robot and the animation to care.
Edge of Tomorrow
This one surprised me. Seeing the trailers I wasn’t all that interested in it cause it didn’t look like something I’d enjoy despite it being based off a Japanese novel and I don’t care for Tom Cruise at all as he always plays the same character. Although, Emily Blunt caught my interest. Then I saw reviews saying Tom Cruise dies. A lot. It’s morbid, but this made me a little more curious. Not only did he die a lot in various humorous ways, you got to see how he becomes a badass, rather than just being a pompous badass for no reason and you have to live with him being smug. Coward to hero. He and Emily Blunt have some good chemistry on screen and I’m a sucker for decent time travel.
The Book of Life
More people need to see this movie and it’s super important. With all the crying for diversity and respectful representation of cultures, this is for that purpose. I haven’t known much about the Day of the Dead, but with seeing this I feel more enlightened and was certainly charmed by the imagery that was presented in the stylized animation. I was also delighted to find it was a musical, with the cutest love song I’ve heard in a while. This is Channing Tatum’s best role, don’t argue with me!
While not as good as the first, it still had the emotional hook that gave the first one so much heart. A lot of new technology went in to the sequel and you can definitely tell in the four year gap of release and it is a gorgeous piece of art.
Into the Woods
Seeing this, I’m fairly content on not seeing the original play/first movie recording of it so I could enjoy exactly what I was watching. So much love for everyone in the cast and their surprising vocal ranges. I didn’t expect it to get sad!
This one almost didn’t see a theatrical release at all, and I’m grateful it got a little bit of buzz, though not even close to what it deserves. I really need to do a proper review of it, but basically the world has frozen over and the only life is on a train that now circles the earth for a full year rotation. On-board there are society classes and population control and anyone out of line is punished by the train military/government. An uprising ensues and basically it becomes Hunger Games on a train. It’s dark, yet fascinating and I was very impressed with the expositions throughout.
This movie was pretty much ignored. September is an odd time as it’s right in the middle after summer and right before holiday blockbusters. The book itself came out around the time as Hunger Games and has been lumped with it due to genre, but Maze Runner is much more hopeful. I haven’t heard if the sequel has been green lit or not, but it has been confirmed by the director it will stay the three book/three movie ratio! It’s a well done film effect wise and good use of no-name actors.
Dumb and Dumber To
Did this need to happen? No. Am I happy that it did? Yes.
I liked this better than the original – Deal with it.
Zach disagrees, but this movie was dull. The one character that made me care about anything that was happening died within the first fifteen minutes. All the humans were annoying. Ken Watanabe was only there to say “Godzilla” in iconic flare. Godzilla was hardly there.
I just… Yeah. In short: This took what I loved about the series and ignored the rules that were established in favor of OTP feels. Sigh. FUNimation will be dubbing this next year and I’ll still buy it, though.
I wanted to give this reboot another chance, but all it did was make me angrier. Of the three worst movies we saw this year, this was the least bad. I have lost all faith in Sony doing Spider-Man right and I really want them to just sell him to Marvel – I’d really like to have him in Cap 3.
Yes I love Turtles, but not these Turtles. I was generous in my review, but it was still an awful irreverent representation of something that I love.
Kill this with fire. I want it to burn. No I haven’t done a review because it hurts my soul too much.
ANIME TOP 5
The collaborated efforts make this a unique and enjoyable series. I want people to talk about this series for years to come, even if it’s just known as Cowboy Bepop on Drugs, cause let’s face it, it pretty much is.
Free! Eternal Summer
Yes, yes I know, I still haven’t written my review… I just know there will be a lot of words. The second season of Swimming Anime took over my summer and hasn’t stopped. Much more feelings were shared, much more things got real and I sobbed.
This gets the underrated award of anime from me. Why aren’t more people talking about this series?! It’s one I really hope Funimation picks up. It’s funny and touching and BONES animation so you know it’s gorgeous.
Rom-coms give me life. This series could go on forever and I would never get bored with it. I hope a season two comes soon as with these short OVAs I keep seeing appear. I suppose there is the manga, but comedy is so much more funny to me when it’s animated.
Ah look, another sports anime that has taken hold of my soul and I accidentally adopted, like, 50 children.
And as an honorable mention in the anime, that would be Silver Spoon 2. It’s not as strong as the first season, but it’s well worth continuing the world.
A proper review of this series is pending, but it sadly is suffering the same fate as Trophy Wife and has been cancelled. Fortunately ABC seems to be dumping the un-aired episodes on Hulu to finish watching and by then I’ll likely have a review with substantial reasons why I love it. Admittedly, it had a pretty terrible pilot episode, but it was just enough I wanted to watch another episode and gradually I opened up more to it and realized that the first episode really would turn off a lot of people to it. It’s littered with clever pop culture and goes to show how much social medias can ruin a person. It’s been fun to have Karen Gillan as the role, as I enjoyed her in Doctor Who, and she and John Cho play off each other so wonderfully.
I’m still super behind in Arrow and I really should fix that as Flash has had several crossover episodes in just its 9 episode run thus far. Currently on its mid-season break, we just got some answers and I’m freaking out! The kid playing Barry is a super cutie. But like Arrow and other CW shows a like, the relationship drama is played up and that gets annoying at times when more interesting things are happening. The effects are great and I like where it’s going.
AoS had an awesome finale in May. The second season started in September and it has been fantastic since the start. It is also now on its mid-season break and I will writhe around in anguish until March or so. But at least I have Agent Carter to tie me over for a bit 😀
Legend of Korra
Book 2 was sloppy, but Book 3 definitely picked up the slack and kept running with great momentum onward through the Book 4 series finale. Great animation and character developments and certain other elements will make Korra the talk for a while. My review of Book 4 is pending.
I haven’t done an album of the year in my posts before, but I’m going to say Switchfoot’s Fading West is my pick of the year. It came out early in 2014 and has been nonstop in rotation on my playlists and go-to when I want something good. And looking at my play count, well, yeah, it’s definitely had some love!
As I close the year out, I want to make a point to mention Robin Williams. Admiring celebrities isn’t anything new for me, but I didn’t realize how much the death of one would affect me. He was like the uncle I never had, a uncle that would always make me laugh and feel a certain magic. I will miss the smile lines at his eyes and how the blue always sparkled. I knew when we’d see Night at the Museum 3 I would cry. When he first appeared, my heart just ached. And then with his last words of parting at the end of the film, tears flowed. I know we lost a few iconic people this year, but Robin was the most important to me.
In conclusion, 2014 was a busy year! And as a special treat, I uploaded a playlist including movie and anime themes of things we watched, reviewed and enjoyed. You can find that over on my 8Tracks.
Happy 2015, everyone!