Monday, January 05, 2015

34 Movies I Missed Seeing from 2014

It's time again to run through and rank all the movies from last year that I saw. I'll be doing that over the next couple of weeks, but first: here's the traditional post of movies that I wanted to see from last year, but haven't yet. That's partly to explain why some movies didn't make it into the rankings, but it's also to build a watch list for myself.

This year, work was crazy during the fall and leading up to the holidays, so I didn't get out to the theater as much as I usually do. The Missed List typically has around 20-30 movies on it, but this time there are 34 that I need to catch up on in 2015. I still saw more than I missed though, so I'm happy about that. We'll start on those in the next day or two.

For now, here's the Missed List, more or less in the order that the movies were released:

1. The Wind Rises

Hayao Miyazaki's last film. I'm a fan of Miyazaki and have seen all his feature films since Castle in the Sky, but I'm not a superfan and The Wind Rises is different enough from his fantastical stuff that I didn't rush to see it. Going to correct that soon though.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

I experience mixed results from Wes Anderson, but I very much enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom and what I hear about Grand Budapest Hotel makes me think it's even more in my wheelhouse from its cast and setting to its themes and the way it's shot. I love hotels and stories set in them, but there's also that whole Upstairs Downstairs/Downton Abbey angle of telling stories of both the servants and the served.

3. Joe

I would love to like Nicolas Cage in a movie again and if I can't get National Treasure 3, this seems like the way to do it.

4. Locke

A couple of years ago, I wouldn't have been the least bit interested in a movie that's set entirely in a car with a dude on the phone. But I do dig Tom Hardy and I'm curious about the mystery of where he's driving to.

5. Chef

This is mostly about the cast and Favreau as a director, but I also love some nicely shot food porn.

6. God's Pocket

Hasn't gotten good reviews, but I saw a trailer that caught my interest and I miss Philip Seymour Hoffman, so I'm seeing it.

7. Snowpiercer

I was more interested before I heard how whackadoo and borderline nonsensical it is, but I'm still curious if for nothing more than that cast.

8. Boyhood

Just need to see for the technical achievement of filming the same group of actors growing up over a period of 12 years. Hoping there's more to it than just that.

9. Hercules

My disinterest in Brett Ratner movies is overcome by my love for this character and The Rock.

10. Magic in the Moonlight

Woody Allen is another hit-or-miss writer/director for me, but Colin Firth and Emma Stone are always hits. I'm also super attracted to the theme of finding wonder and magic in reality.

11. What If

Basically, I just dig Daniel Radcliffe and want to see him in a romantic comedy instead of another fantasy/horror movie.

12. The One I Love

If you don't know the premise, I won't spoil it for you, but it was spoiled for me and I'm intrigued by how it will use that premise to talk about romantic relationships.

13. God Help the Girl

I'm going to pretend my interest is about how the film uses music to tell its story, but let's be honest: it's all about Emily Browning.

14. Frontera

Didn't even know this existed until preparing this list, but it's a Western starring Ed Harris and that's all I need to know.

15. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

I'm even more drawn to the experimental structure of this/these movie(s) than I am to Boyhood. Writer/director Ned Benson shot a double-feature, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her, with each movie telling the story of a relationship from the exclusive point of view of one of the characters. I want to see the movies that way as opposed to the mashed-up and edited-down version The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them that was released in 2014.

16. The Guest

I like Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) and hear that the movie is a fun, wild hybrid of actiony genres. Looking forward to it.

17. Tusk

I'm curious about Kevin Smith's making a goofy horror movie on a bet, but I'm even more curious to catch up with Haley Joel Osment.

18. The Boxtrolls

Not super fascinated with the premise, but it's Laika, so I'm in.

19. The Judge

The plot sounds like a billion different films I've seen before, but not with these two actors together.

20. Dracula Untold

I love me some Luke Evans, but was totally disinterested in this prequel/origin story until Universal made the calculated and cynical marketing move to tack on a last-second epilogue that ties it into their upcoming, Marvel-style "universe" of monster action movies. They got me and I am clearly part of the problem.

21. St. Vincent

(See: The Judge)

22. The Book of Life

Love how it seems to capture the colors, themes, and flair of la Dia de los Muertos. I'm actually more excited about this than any other animated movie from 2014.

23. Exists

There are some concepts that catch my attention no matter how questionable everything else about the movie is. Bigfoot is one of those.

24. Big Hero 6

I will watch this until the very last end credit hoping against all hope for even a throwaway, Easter Egg of a reference to Alpha Flight (the birthplace of these characters). I'm prepared for crushing disappointment on that level, but also prepared to love the rest of it if all of humanity can be trusted, because that's who else seems to enjoy it.

25. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Mockingjay was the darkest and my least-favorite of the Hunger Games books, but worth reading for its perfectly satisfying conclusion. So getting the dark, least-favorite parts without the bit I like? Not all that exciting for me. Think I'm gonna wait and catch this at home before Part 2 comes out.

26. The Imitation Game

Four words. And they're all right above the title in that poster.

27. The Babadook

When people ask me if I like horror movies, I always hem and haw. I enjoy being scared, but it takes some real talent to do that. Showing me someone's guts or having a cat jump out of the closet aren't scary things and so, no, I don't like most horror movies. But every once in a while a movie like The Ring or the first Paranormal Activity or The Conjuring comes out and everyone says that it's awesome and truly frightening and then I get extremely excited. The Babadook is apparently the next one of those.

28. The Pyramid

(See: Exists. Substitute "Bigfoot" with "Mummies".)

29. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

There's no bigger testament to how crazy busy this holiday season was than my not making it to see this yet. It's first on my list to see in theaters in 2015. I very clearly see the flaws in Jackson's Hobbit movies so far, but I understand why they exist and I love the whole endeavor in spite of them.

30. Annie

Sad that some of the songs have been cut, but I'll be happy to hear updated versions of the ones that are still there. And Jamie Foxx is awesome.

31. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

I enjoyed the previous two, but I'm feeling like this is probably going to be one too many. Still: any chance to see Rebel Wilson.

32. Into the Woods

Never seen the musical and don't even know that much by Stephen Sondheim (except for Sweeney Todd, which doesn't really do it for me). But fairy tales are cool and I'm interested by everything that I've heard Sondheim does with them in his play.

33. Selma

I'm a sucker for movies about race relations in general, but especially about MLK and his approach to them.

34. Big Eyes

I'm very eager to support a Tim Burton movie without Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter in it.

So that's what I need to catch up on. Knowing me, I'll probably tackle them in more or less the order they're listed above, but let me know what I should be most excited about. Or let me know which ones you haven't seen yet, but are also anticipating.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

How timely. We're recording an episode of Geek Fallout tonight about "Nerd Year Resolutions" and I have a few movies I haven't seen in the past year either.

Oddly enough, The Wind Rises is at the top of my list as well, although that was technically a December 2013 release.

I'm noticing a lot of these titles are winter releases, when things get busy and there isn't a lot of time to go to the theater. I suppose it livens up the spring DVD releases when there isn't much to watch at the theaters just yet.

Paxton said...

You knew it was coming. Some of my thoughts on your list:

Joe - Looks pretty good. I want "good" Cage again, not "crazy" Cage. And I also want National Treasure 3. MAKE THAT HAPPEN DAMMIT!

Locke - Looks interesting, but it's another one of those gimmick movies like Phonebooth and Buried I have trouble believing is any good.

Chef - Is great! I loved it. And the cast is stellar.

Snopiercer - Ahem, well, it's BLEAK, I'll tell you that. I really liked it, but it's also a bit much. The ending reminds me of the Architect scenes at the end of Matrix Reloaded. I wouldn't necessarily watch it again.

Hercules - It's everything you want it to be. And I mean that in a good way. My wife even liked it.

Magic in the Moonlight - I don't like Woody Allen. However, I like one or two of his movies. And it seems like I keep seeing movies hoping it'll be as good as Midnight in Paris. None of them are. This has that potential though.

Frontera - I will always support any new westerns in theaters. ESPECIALLY starring Ed Harris who was last in Appaloosa which is amazing. However this also stars Eva Longoria which nearly zeroes out my interest.

The Guest - I really want to see this as well. Dan Stevens is awesome. Did you see him in Walk Among the Tombstones with Liam Neeson? GREAT.

Tusk - I like Kevin Smith as a podcaster, but it sort of feels like he's all over the place as a filmmaker in the last 10 years or so. Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma are really great. Even Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back is enjoyable (to a point). But after that, a whole lotta crap.

The Judge - AGREED.

Dracula Untold - I'm "one of those people" as well. Was sort of interested anyway, but when Universal started promoting this as the beginning of a series of Monster-verse movies, I was ALL IN.

Exists - I love Bigfoot stuff too. So is it a straight up film or a "found footage" type movie?

Big Hero 6 - I hear it's awesome but I'm firmly in the "MEH" category. We'll see.

Imitation Game and Babadook - AGREED.

The Pyramid - WHAT?! I'll have to research this a bit more.

Hobbit 3 - I really enjoyed the first one and I somewhat disliked the second. Sort of how I feel about the original LotR trilogy. Hopefully that means I'll like most of the third. It's evident that they split this up too much. Should've been two movies. AT MOST.

Annie - SIGH. I can't agree about Jaime Foxx. And Cameron Diaz as Ms Hannigan?! Seriously? You go from Carol Burnett to Cameron Diaz? No. Just....NO.

Into the Woods - Saw this a week or so ago. It's EXCELLENT. I had no idea it was based on a musical. Great performances in both acting and the music. Really loved this movie. Meryl Streep is AMAZING.

Big Eyes - Recently read an article about the story behind this movie which I'd not heard of until the article. Sounds interesting and it stars Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams?! Yes, please.


Siskoid said...

Okay the movies I HAVE seen this year are bunched up in the list of those you missed, it seems!

Budapest: Great fun.

Chef: Not revolutionary, but properly heartwarming and intelligent. I called it the Swingers for whatever age Favreau is now.

Snowpiercer: Well, it IS based on a high-concept French bande dessinée, so a very strange premise. Yes, bleak, but I enjoyed it a great deal.

Magic in the Moonlight: Amusing, some nice performances.

What If: Or as we got to call it here The F Word (you're such prudes, USA and UK!). A fun and sometimes irreverent comedy that was full of truth. Made me a Radcliffe fan overnight.

St. Vincent: Formulaic, but still works. Good performances.

Big Hero 6: The Awesome.

Mockingjay: The first 2 Hunger Games left me dead cold. #3 didn't. It deals with media and propaganda in such a way that it instantly hooked me, and is the most adult of the series.

The Imitation Game: Surprisingly funny, but except some cheesiness at the very end.

Hobbit 3: I love this series and I'm not ashamed of it. The book's purists can trash it all they want; I just don't care.

Into the Woods: Trouble in the third act where they cut too many songs probably, but this has got Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in the way he wasn't able to play it in the Star Trek movies - Shatner style!

Big Eyes: I was disappointed because Adams and Waltz are clearly not in the same movie.

I do want to see Locked, Boyhood (my DVD is in the mail), The Babadook, and Salma. We keep threatening to watch Tusk.

You might've sold me on Hercules and a few movies I hadn't heard of.

Michael May said...

Pax, I totally agree about not usually being interested in movies like Phone Booth and Buried. I've been avoiding them ever since they became a "thing." I even avoided Castaway for the same reason. It was Gravity that changed my mind though. It apparently IS possible for me to enjoy spending two hours with a single character. I've even added Castaway to my watchlist.

I wasn't sure if I'd like Walk Among the Tombstones because I keep getting mixed results from Neeson action movies, but I'll add it to my list. I forgot Dan Stevens is in it.

Don't know whether Exists is found-footage or not, but I'm gonna assume it is and be pleasantly surprised if it's not. The Pyramid is though. Sigh.

Siskoid, great to hear about What If and I'm encouraged about Mockingjay. You've made me more eager to see Into the Woods, too. That's probably next on my list. :)


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