Sierra’s Top 10 Movies of 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, ChristCore.net cordially invites you to check out our choices for top releases of 2014. Also, be sure to check out Anthony’s and Bryce’s picks for Top 10 Movies of 2014. Don’t judge and don’t be hatin’! Here is what I found to be most entertaining and/or thought provoking in the film industry out of the 15 or so films I saw this year.

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Photo Credit: Moviepilot.com
Photo Credit: Moviepilot.com

With heart, humor, heroics, danger, espionage, betrayal, friendship, and redemption, Captain America: The Winter Soldier really has it all. Also, one of the few movies where I find certain aspects of the movie adaptation better than the books. Terrific writing, directing, acting, and cinematography, Winter Soldier was my favorite film of the year. If you haven’t seen it, do so as soon as possible. (The PG-13 rating for excessive violence is no exaggeration. Take extreme caution with younger viewers.) 10/10

2. Guardians of the Galaxy
Photo Credit: Tumblr.com
Photo Credit: Tumblr.com

This film comes in at a close second; Marvel has shown us time and time again they are cornering the hero movie market with their outstanding interpretations of comic book lore. GOTG has shown us that we can be totally enthralled by the adventures of spacemen and miscreants, with very little grounding in reality. They really gave us a ragtag group of wonderful characters who may not have been heroes from the start, but by the end of the film, were among our favorite A-listers. They made us laugh, cry, and sing along to arguably the best soundtrack of the year. See this film repeatedly. (PG-13 rating for violence and language. This reviewer recommends sticking with rating suggestion.) 9.5/10

3. The Monuments Men
Photo Credit: Monumentsmenmovie.com
Photo Credit: Monumentsmenmovie.com

Based on the true story of the brave men and women determined to stop Hitler and his armies from eradicating artistic masterpieces as the Reich fell, The Monuments Men was a standout film in its paradox of both simplicity and complexity. Simply put, this film was shot sublimely and contained some of the most beautiful pieces and replicas of art. The complexity of the film is in showing the viewer why these things even mattered and why anyone would risk their lives to save them. George Clooney and Matt Damon always work splendidly together. Cate Blanchett is one of the best female leads of our times. John Goodman and Bill Murray, for all their comedic genius, give brilliant performances as well-rounded characters and not just comic relief. A terrific film that should not be missed! (PG-13 for violence, mild language and sexual content, a small amount of nude artwork, and some drinking and smoking.) 9/10

4. Big Hero 6
Photo Credit: Gameit.es
Photo Credit: Gameit.es

My favorite animated film of the year, Big Hero 6 has heroics, fun, drama, mystery, and heart. This film shows us that being smart is cool, friends and family make us stronger, revenge does not always pay, and being kind and caring are often what we need most. In a fast paced, harsh world, Baymax is a gentle, heart-warming character with whom we can all fall easily in love. Stick around for a super rad after-credits cameo too! (PG rating for intense and dramatic moments, as well as a creepy villain. May frighten or upset kids under 6.) 9/10

5. The Lego Movie
Photo Credit: Fandango.com
Photo Credit: Fandango.com

This movie was smart, funny, and brilliantly rendered. So much tongue-in-cheek, showcasing so many ways to laugh at itself, finding meaningful ways to inspire kids to believe in themselves, and a surprise ending that really hits you in the heart, this movie was fantastic! Legos have been an American standard for decades and this movie ignited the creative sparks in many imaginations! Spaceship! (PG rating for some potty humor, a few gags that will go over young viewers’ heads, and mild violence, this movie is pretty safe for all.) 8/10

6. 22 Jump Street
Photo Credit: Huffingtonpost.com
Photo Credit: Huffingtonpost.com

While not a family film and certainly not a film for everyone, 22 Jump Street was just as hilarious as the first film. Totally self-aware with the running joke of the plot being EXACTLY the same as last time, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are crass comedy gold! I can’t fully explain what made either of these films work: Good writing? Charisma and chemistry between actors? The fact that it never takes itself too seriously? Whatever the reason, it was the funniest film I saw this year, however inappropriate. Stick around for the ridiculous montage at the end of the film as well. (Rated R for pervasive language and sexual/crude joking.) 8/10

7. A Fantastic Fear of Everything
Photo Credit: Chicagotribune.com
Photo Credit: Chicagotribune.com

While released in the UK back in 2012, this quirky, odd little film was released in the US straight to DVD in February 2014. This is one of those films you stumble upon on Netflix and because it has such a wonderful lead, you watch it. Now honestly, I am a bit biased because I adore Simon Pegg. He is smart, cheeky, heartfelt, and someone with whom I’d love to spend a day in a comic book shop. A Fantastic Fear of Everything is black comedy, nearly horror film that is so ludicrous, it’s endearing. I liked this film more than I thought I would from the start. Its uniqueness and gritty ridiculousness all add to its charm. It is definitely not a film for everyone and I likely would not have watched it if my husband had not been the one to turn it on, but I am most glad he did. (Rated R for pervasive language and horror violence.) 7.5/10

8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Photo Credit: Moviepilot.com
Photo Credit: Moviepilot.com

Not the best film in the franchise, not the worst either. Time travel always makes things a bit complicated and does not automatically explain why some things changed in the past affect things in the future. I think that was what was missing in Days of Future Past. With solid performances from Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender however, this film took us to the edge of the abyss of our own fear of that which is different and taught us about tolerance. Providing action spectacles worthy of any blockbuster film, this installment was probably the darkest superhero film of the year. Beware a grotesque scene between Wolverine and Magneto towards the end. (PG-13 for violence, language, a nearly naked, painted Mystique, and once again, Hugh Jackman’s naked backside.) 7.5/10

9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
Photo Credit: Comicsonline.com
Photo Credit: Comicsonline.com

The first part of the final installment of <'em>The Hunger Games packed a wallop! Jennifer Lawrence, the ever tough Katniss Everdeen, delivers an emotional punch to the gut in so many scenes, it’s hard to recover between them. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives one of his last stellar performances as Plutarch Heavensbee, a leader in the revolution. Donald Sutherland as the depraved President Snow is absolutely heinous, and I can’t wait for this film series to end just to be rid of such a revolting man! However, cliffhanger endings leading to the sequel and two-part finales are really wearing thin. So, this film doesn’t score quite so high on my list. Go home, Hollywood… You’re numbers drunk. (PG-13 for violence and some shocking imagery. No bad language whatsoever. No more kids killing kids, but definitely war.) 7/10

10. How to Train Your Dragon 2
Photo Credit: fullmovie2k.com
Photo Credit: fullmovie2k.com

This film was so beautifully animated and the details were unbelievable! The fabulous cast from the first film all returned to provide strong and fun performances. Toothless is as adorable as ever; I want one. It was really a decent second shot and had enough heart to see it through. The potential in one of its new characters was sadly not fully realized. This film could have given us a well-rounded female hero from start to finish, but instead had her step aside to let the boys do the heroing in the end. Oh Dreamworks, good try. (Rated PG for violence, mild language/potty humor, and some raging teenage hormones.) 7/10

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Sierra O'Loughlin
I am a wife (sixteen years), mother (fourteen & eleven years), and believer (eighteen years). I love reading, movies, Superman, baking, and writing. I have over 1500 comic books and forty-eight superhero t-shirts. It's a small obsession. I have worked as a teacher's aide for six years at a small private school, and am currently working only as a substitute to spend more time with family and to do more writing. I am truly blessed.