Most Enjoyable & Most
Disappointing of 2014
are my lists of the most enjoyable and least enjoyable/most
disappointing/most overrated films I saw during 2014. The negative
category includes some films that, while not the worst, were
disappointing or overrated, or, while enjoyable, had huge flaws. The
positive category is just how much I enjoyed them, not rated as I would
rate an Oscarģ-winner. The "Most Disappointing" are listed by rank of
how much I loathed them with #1 the most loathsome.
Some Oscarģ nominees are not on my list. I didnít see Boyhood.
Iím no fan of director Richard Linklater and the idea of sitting through
a two hour 45 minute Linklater film is nauseating. I did see Wes
Andersonís The Grand Budapest Hotel, but to nominate this for a
Best Picture award is ludicrous, no matter how inventively filmed it is.
As to Birdman as Best Picture, get serious. The only thing
it has going for itself is the unique Oscarģ-quality cinematography. The
idea of considering any of these three as a Best Picture (I would be
stunned if Boyhood were anything enjoyable because whatís past is
prologue, but Iím willing to be proven wrong, just so I donít have to
see it) would have been laughed at in 1939.
Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allenís delightful comedy
rivals Midnight in Paris.
American Sniper: At the top of the list of best war movies
The Theory of Everything: Despite the soft soap, this is a
wonderful romance, even if itís not true.
Breathe In: A magical performance by Felicity Jones
highlights this film of steamy sexiness.
Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles: The
great man comes to life again.
What If: Zoe Kazan sparkles in this sweet, romantic film of
Rudderless: William H. Macy makes a smashing directorial
debut in this unusual film with a fine twist.
St. Vincent: Great performances by Melissa McCarthy and Bill
Murray in a fine, heart-warming movie.
Horrible Bosses 2: As good as the first, and thatís saying a
Wild: Pacific Crest Trail comes
close to stealing this film from Reese Witherspoonís Oscarģ-worthy
Imax Journey to the South Pacific: Spectacular photography.
The Judge: Bravura performances by Robert Downey, Jr. and
Life Itself: Touching documentary about Roger Ebertís last
days shines new light on the critic.
The Pretty One: Zoe Kazan again in another Indie that comes
close to perfection.
Beyond the Edge: A fine documentary about the first conquest
of Mount Everest.
Blended: Try as he does, Adam Sandler canít ruin this
charming comedy with an exotic, spectacular South Africa setting.
Big Eyes: Amy Adams makes this something special.
Into the Storm: Wonderful special effects in this film about
Jersey Boys: The best musical in years.
Le Chef: Worth seeing if only for the scene of Jean Reno and
MichaŽl Young when they invade a competitorís restaurant dressed as
a Japanese and his geisha.
The Railway Man: Basically the same story as Unbroken
but much better made, realizing that the story wasnít the agony of
imprisonment but the miracle of forgiveness which director Angelina
Jolie completely missed in Unbroken.
Edge of Tomorrow:
Tom Cruise makes this time-warp fantasy a winner.
A complex thriller that does not let the viewer relax one iota.
Realistic WWII movie.
Get on Up:
Chadwick Boseman lip-syncs to the voice of James Brown and the
result is a great story and wonderful concert.
Not as good as the book, but good enough.
Los Angeles and TV station KTLA co-star with Jake Gyllenhaal in this
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb:
A heck of a lot funnier than I anticipated and miles above the first
The annual Liam Neeson thriller, not as good as his others, but,
like Gone Girl, good enough.
The Purge: Anarchy:
A good script and fine acting elevate this above what one might be
Two Faces of January:
A simmering thriller that could have been made in the Ď40s; too bad
they donít make them like this anymore.
A terrific coming of age movie for a 29 year old with a fine
performance by Keira Knightley.
Rob the Mob:
This is a well-acted, fine-paced mob comedy, based on a true story,
up until about the last 15 minutes when it loses all its pace and
slows down to a plodathon.
Enough nonsense and phantasmagoria to make one bilious.
Another Seth Rogen vulgar F-ing idiocy with an equally idiotic f-ing
performance by Zac Efron.
Channing Tatum dragging Jonah Hill down to his level of incompetence.
Creator Stephen J. Cannell must be rolling over in his grave.
The three listed above have to be truly awful to be worse than this.
Melissa McCarthy takes a detour from excellence to stink this thing to
Rivals Camelot as one of the worst musicals ever made.
300: Rise of an Empire:
Not even a good performance by Eva Green makes this worth seeing.
Jude Law canít save this awful movie, but neither could a young Marlon
Brando or Jack Nicholson or any other human being.
A good performance by Randall Park is completely wasted in this typical
Seth Rogen vulgar nonsense.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit:
So superficial and flimsy that it has to resort to every clichť known to
So puerile, so full of plotholes, so unfunny, so hackneyed that it would
have been rejected as a B movie back in the Ď40s.
Thereís a good reason why it was untold.
Exodus: Gods and Kings:
Historical silliness about men in skirts.
Writer/director/star John Turturo is no Woody Allen and he hires Allen
as an actor to prove it to him!
Even if new director Gareth Edwards had ever heard of the word ďedit,Ē
and had the perspicacity to cut an hour from the film, the remaining 60
minutes would still have been too long.
Ingmar Bergman would be proud of his protťgť, Liv Ullman, because this
is as long and boring as anything Ingmar ever produced.
Under the Skin:
Even though Scarlett Johansson bares all and several men are shown in a
state of sexual excitement, which normally calls for an NC-17 rating,
this is a film with no point and no reason to see.
It really takes talent to make a movie this bad with Emma Thompson and
Pierce Brosnan leading the cast.