2014 Year in Review: How did I do?

At the beginning of 2014, I posted about all the movies I was looking forward to in the coming year. At the end of 2014, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at all the movies from that original post, and see how I did. So, here they all are again, with IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes scores as well, just to give you an idea of what the overall consensus was on these.

The Monuments Men

IMDb – 6.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 31%

2014 movies monuments men

Well, this one was…uh…it was a movie. Yep. It was. It exists. Just…ugh. Look, I’m not gonna lie: this movie sucked. I was really looking forward to it, but it was just…bad. The tone was completely off, the plot was scattered and disorganized, the characterization was thin at best, it was just…really not good. A huge disappointment all around. Let’s just…move on.

RoboCop

IMDb – 6.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 48%

2014 movies robocop

This one got mixed reviews, but that’s pretty much inevitable when you’re remaking a movie as beloved as the original RoboCop. I thought it was a pretty fun sci-fi flick, solid performances, good special effects and, like the original, didn’t take itself too seriously. The remake isn’t the classic the original was, but I still enjoyed it.

Non-Stop

IMDb – 7/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 60%

2014 movies non-stop

Liam Neeson returns to ass-kicking mode! I thought this was one of his better recent action flicks, the plot is a bit far-fetched and there are some clichés along the way, but it’s a solidly entertaining thriller.

300: Rise of an Empire

IMDb – 6.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 42%

2014 review 300

I really liked this movie. It’s heavily stylized and extremely gory, but if you enjoyed the first 300 film, you’ll probably enjoy this one. It’s certainly no masterpiece, but I got a kick out of it. Call it a guilty pleasure. And Eva Green certainly seemed like she was having a lot of fun playing the villainess Artemisia.

Divergent

IMDb – 6.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 41%

2014 movies divergent

I thought this movie was pretty solid, it wasn’t fantastic but I thought it was still pretty good. Not as good as the Hunger Games movies, but it was a solid franchise-starter, and it did well enough at the box office that the sequel will be in theaters in March I think, less than a year after the release of the first film.

Noah

IMDb – 6/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 77%

2014 review noah

This one got an extremely mixed reception, which is hardly surprising, since Biblical stories are always controversial. Some people really loved it, some people really hated it, but it did decent box office, so call it a mixed success.

The Raid 2

IMDb – 8.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 79%

2014 review raid 2

This movie…was insane. It’s overlong and the plot is a bit overcomplicated, but holy CRAP, the action sequences in this movie have to be seen to be believed. No words I can use can really do them justice. There are maybe 8-10 fight scenes in this film, and all of them are TRULY epic. The VERY high level of violence makes this a film that will definitely not be for everyone, but for those who can stomach it, by all means check it out. A cult classic in the making, for sure. With characters like Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl, how could it not be?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

IMDb – 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 89%

2014 review cap

This movie was a hit, and deservedly so. One of Marvel’s best films, it boasted a twisty, complex plot, great acting, top-notch action sequences, and one of my favorite cinematic villains. It was well-received by critics and audiences alike, and was a great movie all around.

Sabotage

IMDb – 5.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 19%

2014 movies sabotage

Oh, God. This was the worst movie I saw all year by a long shot. It was so horribly unpleasant that I don’t want to even think about it. Read my review of this one (titled “A Slasher Movie Disguised as an Action Flick”) if you want more details, I’m not going to think about this dreadful movie ever again.

Transcendence

IMDb – 6.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 19%

2014 review transcendence

This one was one of the bigger flops of the year, bad reviews and bad box office pretty much sunk it. I haven’t seen it and don’t have much desire to. It’s too bad, considering the talent involved, but this one has been largely forgotten already.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

IMDb – 7/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 53%

2014 review spider man

Of Marvel’s four major releases this year, this was the only one that was a bit of a misfire. I didn’t think it was a total loss, but it’s a very mixed bag. It’ll be a while before The Amazing Spider-Man 3 comes out, in the meantime Sony is going to make a movie based on Spider-Man villains, so who knows how the hell that is going to turn out.

Godzilla

IMDb – 6.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 73%

2014 review godzilla

This was another controversial one. A lot of people disliked director Gareth Edwards’ stylistic choices, which is understandable in some ways, but I still got a kick out of the movie. Not quite as much fun as last year’s Pacific Rim, but I still enjoyed it and am looking forward to the already-confirmed sequel.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

IMDb – 8.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 92%

x-men dofp poster

This was a heck of a great movie. One of my favorite of the year, in fact. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out ASAP. It was a hit both critically and commercially, and with good reason. I thought it was the best X-Men related movie since X2, which came out all the way back in 2003 (man that makes me feel old).

Edge of Tomorrow

IMDb – 8/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 90%

2014 review edge of tomorrow

This was a really awesome movie that unfortunately underperformed at the box office. This makes me sad, because it’s a smart, original, action-packed, and darkly funny sci-fi movie. It was one of my surprise favorite movies of the year, by which I mean that I wasn’t expecting to like it nearly as much as I did. I think it has a bright future ahead of it on home video, and I can easily see it becoming a cult classic in the near future.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

IMDb – 5.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 18%

2014 review transformers

This movie on the other hand, was just really, really bad. Nearly three hours of mind-numbing robot smashing. Not even robot dinosaurs could save this soulless husk of a film. An endless, exhausting experience, although that didn’t stop it from cleaning up at the box office. Expect more of these in the near future; it is inevitable I’m afraid.

Guardians of the Galaxy

IMDb – 8.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 90%

2014 review gotg

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. This was my favorite movie of the year, hands down. A fantastic mix of action and humor, great characters, gorgeous special effects, groovy soundtrack, this movie has it all. It was also the highest-grossing movie of 2014, which restores some of my faith in humanity. Or to put it another way, I am Groot.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

IMDb – 6.0/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 22%

2014 review tmnt

The surprising thing to me about this movie was that, well, I didn’t actually hate it. I expected to, but I didn’t. I thought it was actually…kinda fun. Not a masterpiece by any stretch, but I thought it was a decently entertaining summer popcorn flick. I’ve certainly seen worse popcorn movies (looking at you, Transformers 4). And yes, the sequel has already been confirmed.

The Expendables 3

IMDb – 6.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 33%

2014 review expendables

To me, this movie wasn’t really bad so much as it was just very mediocre. It flopped at the box office, which some people attribute to the fact that the movie was leaked online prior to its theatrical release, and others chalk up to the simple fact that it was just not very good. Mel Gibson was a great villain, but the movie as a whole was very, very forgettable.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

IMDb – 6.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 44%

2014 review sin city

It took so long for this movie to be made (the original was released in 2005) that two of the actors from the first film (Brittany Murphy and Michael Clarke Duncan) died during the intervening years between the two movies, which is really sad. Unfortunately, the movie itself was not great. I thought it was still pretty entertaining, but even though the violence and sexuality are every bit as over-the-top here as they were in the first film, for whatever reason none of it really had the same impact. The movie got mixed reviews and tanked at the box office, so a third film is looking pretty unlikely.

Gone Girl

IMDb – 8.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 88%

2014 review gone girl

I feel bad that I haven’t seen this one yet, since it got great reviews and was a box office hit. I’m a big fan of director David Fincher, and his latest was a big success this year, which is cool. Looking forward to picking this one up when it comes out.

Interstellar

IMDb – 9/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 74%

2014 review interstellar

This was one trippy movie. I’m still not entirely sure what was happening in the last half hour or so, but maybe it’s more about the journey than the destination. Regardless, Interstellar is a well-made, beautiful, and brilliantly-acted film. It may be a bit too big for its britches at times, but it’s hard to fault director Christopher Nolan for being too ambitious in this day and age. This is a movie that everyone should see. Love it or hate it, you certainly won’t forget it.

Fury

IMDb – 8/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 78%

2014 review fury

Haven’t seen this one yet either, but it got better reviews than director David Ayer’s previous effort in 2014, the dreadful Sabotage. It did well in theaters and was positively reviewed, and is another addition to my list of movies to catch up on when they come out on video.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

IMDb – 6.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 29%

2014 review exodus

Yet another one that I haven’t seen yet, Ridley Scott’s latest was very poorly-received. Again, Biblical epics are always going to get a mixed response, but some of the reviews for this one were downright toxic.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

IMDb – 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 66%

2014 review mockingjay

The penultimate Hunger Games movie got mixed reviews since it’s basically a movie without an ending, but I still really liked it. It was (I think) the second-highest earning film of the year, so don’t expect the trend of breaking up individual books into multiple films to end anytime soon.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

IMDb – 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 60%

2014 review hobbit

Speaking of breaking up books into multiple films, the final film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy got a pretty good reception. I’ve been lazy in my moviegoing over the last couple months so this is another one I haven’t seen yet, but it sounded to me like Jackson managed to give Middle-Earth a pretty epic sendoff. Side note: the above poster is totally radical and I want on my wall.

So there you have it. I think 2014 was a pretty good year for movies, there were a couple of duds along the way but overall I enjoyed myself at the movie theater this year, and I hope you did as well. My resolution for 2015 is to try to be more regular about posting, I’ve got a list of movies I’ve been wanting to write about for a while now and there is no time like the present, so hopefully I’ll be able to get to some of those soon. 2015 is going to see the release of a lot of big-franchise movies (little movies you might have heard of like Star Wars and The Avengers, among others) so there is plenty to look forward to.

I’ll see you there!

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2014: The Year in Villainy

Another year, another roundup of cinematic evil. Join me, won’t you, on this delightful whirlwind of dastardly deeds, evil acts, and cinematic scumbaggery.

Artemisia in 300: Rise of an Empire

2014 villains artemisia

One of my two favorite villains of the year, Artemisia was smart, tough, and determined. Hell hath no fury, as they say, like a woman scorned, and Artemisia is ample proof of that. Eva Green played her with ferocity and more than a little charm, which made her somewhat likable in spite of being evil. She’s the kind of villain you love to hate, and she’s my pick for best villainess of the year. It was a good year for Eva Green playing sultry comic-book villainesses, she was also deliciously evil in the new Sin City movie, so give her an honorable mention for that one too.

The Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2014 villains winter soldier

Few movie characters in 2014, good or evil, were as straight-up BAD ASS as this sonuvagun. Holy CRAP he was cool. A kind of Darth Vader to Captain America’s Luke Skywalker, he’s a cybernetically-enhanced super assassin who’s skilled, fast, and lethal. The fights between him and Chris Evans’ Cap were some of the best cinematic fights of 2014. Actor Sebastian Stan is under contract for (I think) nine films with Marvel, so you can be almost sure that he’ll show up at some point in the future. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing him again.

Jeanine Matthews in Divergent

2014 villains jeanine

You don’t usually see Kate Winslet being evil, but I thought she was pretty good at being bad in Divergent. You knew she would turn out to be evil (especially if you read the books), but she didn’t overdo it, which I thought worked to the film’s advantage. Expect to see her again soon, since the film did well enough at the box office that the sequel was fast-tracked to March of 2015.

Electro, Rhino and the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

2014 villains spiderman

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffered from a bit of Spider-Man 3 syndrome, in that it had maybe one too many bad guys. Although only two of them had character arcs, since Paul Giamatti’s Rhino was basically a glorified henchman, but still, the film as a whole was definitely a bit overcrowded. And I guess that some of their motivations for being evil were maybe a bit thin, but…oh, well. At least Electro’s flashy blue-white bolts of electricity were cool to look at. Sony is planning on making a whole movie devoted to Spider-Man baddies, so who knows what we’ll see from Spidey’s colorful rogues gallery in the future.

The MUTOs in Godzilla

2014 villains muto

I didn’t think of Godzilla as the bad guy in the latest movie that bears his name, he’s more of an antihero. The real villains were the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms, otherwise known as MUTOs. Godzilla stops them from mating and making horrible horrible MUTO babies, which is something I think we can all be thankful for this holiday season. Thanks, Godzilla!

The Sentinels in X-Men: Days of Future Past

2014 villains sentinel

I debated with myself a bit over who the real villain was in the latest X-Men flick. Was it Magneto? Mystique? Bolivar Trask? You could make a case for any of them, but for my money the only indisputably evil characters in the film were the Sentinels, which were so badass and so good at their job of mutant-killing that they pretty much ended the world, and it doesn’t get much more evil than that.

The Mimics in Edge of Tomorrow

2014 villains mimic

How do you defeat an enemy who can simply reset the day to prevent itself from being defeated in the first place? That’s the question posed by Tom Cruise’s latest sci-fi epic. The Mimics in Edge of Tomorrow were frightening and very, very original in appearance and design. Kind of like giant, robotic-looking, time-manipulating squid-creatures. I thought they were very cool, and they had a lot to do with making Edge of Tomorrow one of my favorite movies of 2014.

Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy

2014 villains ronan

Ronan the Accuser is an evil blue space warlord. Even if I had left out the word “evil” in that description and juts said that he was a blue space warlord, I’m sure you would have been able to fill in the “evil” part on your own. One of the things I liked most about Ronan was his Alan Rickman-esque way of saying things…very…slowly. I guess he’s not really all that much different from other cosmic warlords you may have seen in other sci-fi movies, but if you’re evil enough that it takes five protagonists to bring you down, then you’re doing something right. I mean, you know, from an evil perspective.

Conrad Stonebanks in The Expendables 3

2014 villains gibson

Say what you will about Mel Gibson as a person, I still think he’s a damn fine actor, and he looked like he was having a great time being evil in the third Expendables movie. I thought the movie as a whole was a bit dull to be honest, but Gibson was easily the best part of the movie for me. With a name like Conrad Stonebanks, your career options are pretty much limited to either professional wrestler or professional supervillain. Conrad Stonebanks made the right choice in Expendables 3, and we connoisseurs of cinematic villainy can be grateful for that.

President Snow in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part One

2014 villains snow

Donald Sutherland’s President Snow deserves a shout-out for being reliably evil for three movies now. He seems to delight in inflicting psychological torture not just on the heroine of the movies, but on the nation he lords over as a whole. I always think he looks like a white-haired Satan, I mean just look at those arched eyebrows!! Downright devilish.

Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

2014 villains shredder

The Michael Bay-produced 2014 version of TMNT was certainly no masterpiece, but to be honest I still thought it was pretty damn entertaining, and I really liked the knife-shooting shredder. There was some evil plot to disperse some kind of chemical weapon over New York which was pretty inconsequential, I watched the movie yesterday and I’ve already forgotten the details, but hey, I can appreciate a cool character design when I see one, and I thought that Shredder was really fricking cool.

So there you have it, the cream of the crop of cinematic skullduggery in 2014. There are a lot of big-franchise movies due out next year, so we aficionados of evil have a lot to look forward to.

See you then!