Reel News Daily’s Top Summer Movies of 2014

TopSummerMovies2014At one point the Summer Season was depicted by the film’s released between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, but the time’s have changed and so has Hollywood. Summer tent-pole films are being released earlier and earlier to avoid the cluster of blockbusters being released weekly to capitalize on the lack of competition which of course means more money. So we’ve decided to expand our scope and include April into out Top Summer Movies of 2014…buuuuut we’re also cutting off the last 2 weeks of August…so sue us!

Jeremy‘s List

10. Fort Tilden
9. Obvious Child
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
7. Calvary
6. Life Itself
5. Bluebird
4. Snowpiercer
3. Boyhood
2. Under the Skin
1. Only Lovers Left Alive

Liz‘s List

10. Neighbors
9. Chef
8. Coherence
7. Filth
6. Dom Hemingway
5. Frank
4. About Alex
3. Boyhood
2. Snowpiercer
1. Only Lovers Left Alive

Michael‘s List

10. Edge of Tomorrow
9. Filth
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
7. Nymphomaniac
6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
5. Guardians of the Galaxy
4. Only Lovers Left Alive
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Snowpiercer
1. Boyhood

Melissa‘s List

10. Coherence
9. Godzilla
8. Locke
7. Dom Hemingway
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. Filth
4. Frank
3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
2. Only Lovers Left Alive
1. Snowpiercer

Michael’s List

10. Edge of Tomorrow – in theaters
The Tom Cruise bubble has all but burst in Hollywood but that doesn’t stop the man from continuing to put our quality films. A film about a reluctant soldier who gets caught in a time loop during a battle with an alien race. A sci-fi version of Groundhog Day if you will. Edge of Tomorrow is a fantastic film that deserved a lot better fate.

9. Filth – rent or buy online
James McAvoy’s finest performance as a corrupt policeman in Scotland who, through deplorable acts, tries to secure a promotion and win back his wife and daughter. A film base on the  novel by Irvine Welsh. A must see for film enthusiasts.
Check out Melissa’s Bluray review

8. X-Men: Days of Future Past – rent or buy online
Attempting to fix X-Men universe after the abysmal X-Men: Last Stand, Bryan Singer returns with the best film in the franchise to date.

7. Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 and 2 – FREE on Netflix Instant, rent or buy online
Lars von Trier returns with his finest, and most controversial, film to date. This two-part film is an emotional, erotic thriller offers many twists and turns and truly shows the greatness of von Trier brings to cinema. A true masterpiece.

6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – in theaters
What more can be said about Andy Serkis and his amazing talent? A man who is beloved by all those who appreciate the art of motion capture but dismissed by those who vote for awards each year. Serkis leads an ensemble cast in this truly awe-inspiring sequel. Oscar should stand up and take notice of this gem.
Check out my review

5. Guardians of the Galaxy – in theaters
The surprise hit of the summer is a phrase use often but definitely appropriate in the case of Marvel’s Guardian’s. A property gamble for the movie studio titan but one that paid off with the 3rd biggest opening of the year and the biggest opening of any film in August in history. Not bad for a bunch of misfit, unknown comic characters.
Check out my review

4. Only Lovers Left Alive – rent or buy online
A truly epic love story portrayed by two amazing actors, Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as told by one of Hollywood’s most unusual and well respected directors, Jim Jarmusch. Everything about this film is as haunting and beautiful as you would expect. Oscar would be wise to take notice of this one.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan are fantastic in this action thriller sequel to last year’s Avengers and the original Captain America film. Simply put, the best Marvel movie to date.

2. Snowpiercer – in theaters & rent or buy online
The surprise movie of the year hands down. A film set in the future after the earth’s climate has been decimated and the only survivors travel on a train around the globe where each car on the train depicts your social class. The premise does not do the end product justice. One of the best sci-fi dystopian films ever created. Too bad most of you missed it as you went to see Transformers. Each one of you owes us penance.

and the best movie of the summer…(and all year for that matter)

1. Boyhood – in theaters
Filmed over 12 years, the film that tells the story of Mason Jr. and his journey from 1st grade through high school and the challenges and changes each step takes on a growing child. Everything about this movie is perfect. The cast is phenomenal and the movie should and will win every award known to Hollywood. One of the finest films in American cinematic history and a true treasure. Everyone should run out right now and see it. Go on…shoo…

Melissa’s List

10. Coherence – rent or buy online

Taking improvisation to the ultimate extreme, this is brilliantly original and mind-bending.

9. Godzilla – rent or buy online

The perfect summer blockbuster. Nothing fancy, just big monsters and lots of explosions.

8. Locke – rent or buy online

Tom Hardy is captivating as a man trying to keep everything together after losing everything. The catch? The entire movie follows one car ride where you never see anyone but him.

7. Dom Hemingway – rent or buy online

Jude Law stretches his acting muscles as a bloated, loud-mouthed ex-con. It’s a fun ride at every corner.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy

Sci-fi, fantasy, action, drama and of course, comedy. It really is the new Star Wars and I’m 1000% O.K. with that.

5. Filth – rent or buy online

Living up to it’s title, James McAvoy is unrecognizably despicable and you’ll never be the same.

4. Frank – in theaters

Sweet and gripping. Michael Fassbender can emote without even showing his face. The music is raw and infectious.

3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 

The sequel to the re-imagining of Planet of the Apes is just as well done, if not better.

2. Only Lovers Left Alive  – rent or buy online

The emotional intensity between Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton is unmatched. Combine that with Jim Jarmusch writing and directing and it’s mesmerizing.

1. Snowpiercer – in theaters & rent or buy online

High intensity action with an emotional center. It’s perfectly paced and full of surprises.
Check out my review

Liz’s List

10. Neighbors – rent or buy online 

I’m not even going to apologize that this movie made me laugh out loud the entire time. I never tire of seeing Seth Rogen naked, Rose Byrne is a comic genius (who knew) and Zac Efron looks so physically perfect, it’s disgusting. And by disgusting I mean delicious.

9. Chef – rent or buy online

This is foodie porn, downright comedy, and heart all in one film. Jon Favreau does not disappoint, both in front and behind the camera.

8. Coherence – in theaters & rent or buy online

This is such an incredibly stellar sci-fi indie. Joe Swanberg should take a page out this playbook. This is how you do low budget and no script. This will haunt you.

7. Filth – rent or buy online

James McAvoy never looked so good playing bad. This is an intense ride down the rabbit hole of drugs and corruption in the police force. 

6. Dom Hemingway – rent or buy online

Jude Law like you’ve never seen him. Beefed up, breaking the fourth wall, vibrant, over the top, and getting business done. 

5. Frank – in theaters

Fassbender is pure joy. I wanted to hug him at the end of the film. I felt like a proud momma in the audience. It’s so weird and off the wall, you cannot help but adore it.
Check out my review

4. About Alex – in theaters & rent or buy online

When you get an enormously talented ensemble cast in a cabin, sometimes magic happens. Generationally speaking, this film is spot on. Funny, heartbreaking, and very real, seek this out.

3. Boyhood – in theaters

Yes, it’s all true. The rumors are totally validated. Linklater‘s 12 year masterpiece is just that. it’s never been done outside the world of documentary. Oscar for Best picture. Calling it now.
Check out my review & press junket coverage

2. Snowpiercer – in theaters & rent or buy online

I went into this film totally blind. I walked out amazed. The sheer lushness of the sets, the acting talent, and the crazy sci-fi/warning story of a script! I didn’t even know it was Chris Evans until 30 minutes into the film. He is gritty and raw. Also starring John Hurt, Jaime Bell, Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, along with the added drama of The Weinstein VOD decision. This movie could change how the industry looks at distribution. One can only dream. 

1. Only Lovers Left Alive – rent or buy online

Besides having two of my favorite actors of all time, Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, this movie is best described at a “Pop Culture Volcano”. Vampires done by Jim Jarmusch are the most elegant and classy thing since… well… ever. Odd, romantic, engrossing, you cannot take your eyes away from the screen. Find it, watch it, then watch it again. You’re Welcome.

Jeremy’s List

10. Fort Tilden – not released yet

I immediately fell in love with this film about two misguided young Brooklynites attempting to meet up with two boys they are interested in at the beach. A hilarious portrait of entitled Millennials, Fort Tilden hits all the right notes, both comedic and dramatic. RUN to see it if the chance presents itself.
Check out the full review

9. Obvious Child – not released yet

An absolutely spot on story about a comedienne’s decision to have an abortion after she finds out she’s pregnant after a one night stand. In an absolute star turn, Jenny Slate sizzles on screen, bringing the funny but also showing the depth of her acting ability.

8. X-Men: Days of Future Past – in theaters

Simply the best superhero movie of the summer. This incarnation of the X-Men story has so much more bite than the first trilogy although I wish Matthew Vaughn had stayed on to direct. This is a can’t miss superhero film and shows why the Marvel Universe is infinitely more interesting than that of DC.

7. Calvary – in theaters

In the best performance of the year thus far, Brendan Gleeson plays an Irish priest who is told he’s going to be killed in a week for the indiscretions of the all of the priests who committed them despite him not being guilty of any. Poignant and incredibly well-written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, no other film hit me on an emotional level as much as this one. Check out the Girls on Film podcast

6. Life Itself – in some theaters & rent or buy online

Documentarian Steve James tackles bringing film critic Roger Ebert‘s memoir to life, following Ebert just as he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Touching and heartfelt, Life Itself pulls no punches in showing Ebert‘s last days as well as detailing his life in the movies. Check out Liz’s review

5. Bluebird – not released yet

Writer/director Lance Edmands‘ study of a small logging town in Maine, a family living there and the repercussions of one mistake made by the mother (Amy Morton) is engrossing and mesmerizing. Can’t say enough good things about this film. Here’s more coverage

4. Snowpiercer – in theaters & rent or buy online

Like my colleagues here on Reel News Daily, I adored this movie. A fantastic look at post-apocalyptic class division on a self-sustaining, perpetual motion train that holds the only known survivors on Earth. This movie has it all – revolt, intense and gory close quarters combat, a mysterious drug with Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans at their finest. What more could you ask for?

3. Boyhood – in theaters now

It’s hard to not put this one at #1 as it is epic in its scope and maybe has the best depiction of coming of age ever put on the screen as it literally follows Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from elementary school to college, shot over 12+ years. I agree with Liz that this is a Best Picture lock at the Oscars next February and rightfully so.

2. Under the Skin – rent or buy online

Easily the most visually stunning film of the year, Under the Skin is a fantastic return to the cinemas for director Jonathan Glazer picking up where he left off with the underrated Birth in 2004. Centered on an beautiful alien (Scarlett Johansson) who seduces men for nefarious purposes, Under the Skin is a puzzle of a movie and one that keeps you guessing long after its credits roll. Simply amazing in every sense of the word.

1. Only Lovers Left Alive – rent or buy online

I would argue that this is the best vampire film ever made. No one makes cooler films than Jim Jarmusch and this one is no exception. Two vampires lament the state of the world as the quality/untainted blood supply of the world dwindles leaving them scrambling. Meditative, chock full of incredible performances and perhaps the best ending of a film this year, there was no better film that I saw this summer than Only Lovers Left Alive.

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