ScreenAnarchy's Top 10 Movies Of 2014

Asian Editor; Hong Kong, China (@Marshy00)
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And that's the end of that chapter. 2014 is running on fumes and all eyes are already looking to awards season and the behemoths of next year that threaten to decimate the box office. The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pixar's Inside Out and James Bond's latest, Spectre, are primed to take all our money in 2015. In between these pillars of popcorn entertainment, ScreenAnarchy's global team of critics and contributors will again be slaving away to dig up the juicy little gems from around the world, which may struggle to compete commercially, but which win the battle time and again as the most interesting achievements in the global arena of cinema.

This year, no fewer than 33 contributors submitted lists of their Top 10 films of 2014, and 142 films featured in this year's poll. A complete list of all those films can be found at the end of our countdown, but just to give you some idea of what our team has been watching, here is what fell just short of bagging a Top 10 slot, and placed 11 to 20:

11. Guardians of the Galaxy (dir. James Gunn, USA)
12. Why Don't You Play in Hell? (dir. Sono Sion, Japan)
13. Tokyo Tribe (dir. Sono Sion, Japan)
14. Birdman (dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, USA)
15. The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent, Australia)
16. Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher, USA)
17. The Lego Movie (dir. Phil Lord/Christopher Miller, USA)
18. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (dir. Takahata Isao, Japan)
19. The Tribe (dir. Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, Ukraine)
20. The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese, USA)

In any other year that list, including Scorsese, Fincher, Inarritu, Sono and Takahata, would make an incredibly robust Top 10 itself. However, Team ScreenAnarchy has deemed 10 other films as being even greater and more worthy of praise and plaudits than these. And so, without further ado, here is ScreenAnarchy's 10 best films of 2014:


Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Christopher Bourne, Kwenton Bellette, Todd Brown, Daniel Rutledge, Brian Clark, J Hurtado, Joshua Chaplinsky, Fernando Toste, Eric Ortiz Garcia, William Chandra, Ard Vijn, Peter van der Lugt, Ryland Aldrich, Michele "Izzy" Galgana, Jaime Grijalba Gomez, Stuart Muller, Peter Martin, Kurt Halfyard, Jason Gorber, Andrew Mack, Ben Umstead, Pierce Conran, Christopher O'Keeffe, Patryk Czekaj, Patrick Holzapfel, Jim Tudor, Simon Cocks, Hugo Ozman, Zach Gayne, Ernesto Zelaya Miñano and Loïc Valceschini contributed to this story.

Why the Birdman image you ask? Well, despite the film only coming in 14th in our official poll it just so happened to be my favourite film of 2014, and I'll be flying the flags of Team Keaton and Team Norton all the way to the Oscars.

Okay, now here's the poll results...

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Best of 2014BoyhoodForce MajeureInterstellarJodorowsky's DuneNightcrawlerOnly Lovers Left AliveThe Grand Budapest HotelThe Raid 2Top 10Under The SkinWhiplash

More about Interstellar

More about The Raid 2 Berendal

More about Only Lovers Left Alive

More about Jodorowsky's Dune

More about Force Majeure

More about Under The Skin

More about Nightcrawler

More about The Grand Budapest Hotel

Todd BrownDecember 22, 2014 9:30 AM

For the record, I didn't vote for The Raid 2. Heh.

Niels MatthijsDecember 22, 2014 9:43 AM

I liked The Grand Budapest Hotel a lot! Apart from that, many of the mentions here are in my flop/disappointment list. Under The Skin left a lot to be desired, Only Lovers Left Alive was bogged down by traditional arthouse clichés, Boyhood was overrated and a bit too American and The Raid 2 was better than the first one, but still fell a little short compared to other martial arts films.

Missing mentions for The Signal, Welp (understandable) and Crows Explode. Tusk and Aberdeen made my own list.

Todd BrownDecember 22, 2014 10:03 AM

Oh, man ... Crows Explode is crap. Beautifully shot, but crap. I had the chance to meet Toyoda (whose films I love) shortly after he finished this and even he couldn't be bothered to pretend it was anything other than a for-hire paycheck. Only thing he seemed happy with about it at all was how many of his favorite bands he got into it.

Niels MatthijsDecember 22, 2014 10:28 AM

I didn't find too much difference with the first two films really. Not up to Toyoda's standards for sure, but the same could be said about Miike and the first two films in the series.

I did read a lot of angry fanboy messages about the third film not following the manga, but I don't really care about that. I'd be happy to watch a fourth film if they keep the quality on the same level as this third film.

marshy00December 22, 2014 10:31 AM

For the record, I found the first CROWS ZERO film a snooze and never bothered with the others.

marshy00December 22, 2014 10:31 AM

More importantly, why didn't you vote Niels?

marshy00December 22, 2014 10:32 AM

Sure, but you paid the rest of us in sacks of gold so that we would. Or you threatened to fire us if we didn't - I forget which.

Niels MatthijsDecember 22, 2014 11:00 AM

Oh I really like the setting. A very strange combination of action, 60s rock vibes and highschool antics. Usually these films lack a decent budget, so it's nice to see some decent-budgeted films from good directors in this niche for a change.

Joshua ChaplinskyDecember 22, 2014 11:18 AM

(Pleasantly) surprised how represented "Only Lovers..." is on this list. I really enjoyed the film, but wish it had a stronger ending.

Also surprised how way-obvious and boring choices like "Grand Budapest" and "Interstellar" beat out more deserving films. Methinks some Twitchers aren't getting out and seeing as much as they should... winky face.

Niels MatthijsDecember 22, 2014 11:19 AM

I kinda postponed, then forgot, then found out I was too late about 3 hours after you closed the vote :D

But these year-lists aren't really my kind of thing either way. I watch a lot of Asian cinema but don't do much film fest AND keep to the production year. So I have films like Boxtrolls and [rec] 4 in my actual 2014 list ... fun films imo, but not really toplist-worthy. I will watch the best 2014 films in 2015, per usual.

I could've helped out Aberdeen and The Grand Budapest Hotel, that's about it :)

GuestDecember 22, 2014 11:52 AM

Agree with you, Joshua. While our list has some good, little-mentioned titles, there are far too many similarities.

I have yet to understand why everyone thinks BOYHOOD and UNDER THE SKIN are so amazing.

Shelagh M. Rowan-LeggDecember 22, 2014 11:55 AM

I like that our list has some unusual choices we're not seeing in other end of year lists, such as THE RAID 2 (though I wasn't a big fan) and FORCE MAJEURE.

But I don't think I will ever understand the popularity of either BOYHOOD or UNDER THE SKIN.

Joshua ChaplinskyDecember 22, 2014 12:04 PM

I thought UNDER THE SKIN was visually beautiful and had some interesting stuff going on. It didn't make my list, but I understand why others like it.

marshy00December 22, 2014 12:30 PM

Essentially what happened is that a lot of people voted for plenty of smaller obscure films in their individual lists, which no one else voted for, while also including a couple of heavy hitters. Ultimately everyone seemed to fall back on the same big titles, so they came out on top.

A man with a knifeDecember 22, 2014 12:32 PM

World of Kanako, Winter Sleep and Leviathan.
(As for list: Jodorowsky, Scarlet and Raid, rest of it pretty mediocre at best.)

marshy00December 22, 2014 12:47 PM

Just to give you some perspective, out of the 142 films featured in the poll, 88 of them only received 1 vote each. If anything, we are too diverse in our tastes.

CJDecember 22, 2014 1:10 PM

No SNOWPIERCER anywhere, huh?

Todd BrownDecember 22, 2014 2:05 PM

Snowpiercer would probably drop in around 15 or so on my personal list. Very good but not mind blowing.

Eric OrtizDecember 22, 2014 2:10 PM

Snowpiercer was one of the films that got most mentions as best film last year. It's also in this year's complete list.

BenUmsteadDecember 22, 2014 3:47 PM

I've actually seen FORCE MAJEURE end up on a lot of lists (some that do a top 20 where it's 11 or something), but this one is becoming far more common than I thought.

Joshua ChaplinskyDecember 22, 2014 5:04 PM

This was the one film I missed that I really wanted to see.

Gopal NatarajanDecember 22, 2014 5:40 PM

Can't believe "Guardians of The Galaxy" was even mentioned. Such a dreadful movie. Can't understand why it gets rated so highly. It's not even a 'fun,' 'stupid' movie.

KurtDecember 22, 2014 9:05 PM

Happily made my list at #4. It is a film that gets better and better (and better) with each subsequent viewing.

KurtDecember 22, 2014 9:05 PM

It was my #1 film ... of 2013, when I saw it.

marshy00December 22, 2014 11:14 PM

Couldn't agree more. Saw it 3 times last year (and it claimed my number 1 spot) and have watched it a couple more times in 2014. The Radius Blu-ray release is pretty damn good and very affordable.

william chandraDecember 23, 2014 2:33 AM

haven't watch more than half of the movie on the list :( must stop watching porn

Stephan PaquinDecember 23, 2014 3:00 AM

Where's Blue Ruin?

marshy00December 23, 2014 5:35 AM

It got 2 votes. Great film, but I saw it last year.

marshy00December 23, 2014 5:36 AM

I know, right? Incredible to think people might like the US' most successful film of the year. The mind boggles.

marshy00December 23, 2014 5:36 AM

Never stop.

Todd BrownDecember 23, 2014 8:07 AM

Well represented in 2013 from its festival run.

Joshua ChaplinskyDecember 23, 2014 8:50 AM

I didn't care for Snowpiercer.

J HurtadoDecember 23, 2014 9:18 AM

I was thoroughly underwhelmed by Force Majeure

soupcrusherDecember 23, 2014 10:56 AM

This is a solid list. I still need to see a couple of them but really enjoyed everything else. Good call on Nightcrawler. Should not be overlooked.

BenUmsteadDecember 24, 2014 1:41 AM

Yup, it appeared in my personal top twenty last year. And it may have actually squeezed into the top ten had I instead seen it this year in general release.

Gopal NatarajanDecember 26, 2014 11:56 AM

Good Box Office performance does not mean the movie is any good. If that were the case, the Transformers movies would be near the top of the cinematic pantheon. Someone who frequents this website ought to know that better than most. GoG is literally the worst of the modern crop of Super Hero movies (perhaps save for Ang Lee's Hulk movie).

Here is a perfectly spot-on explanation as to why GoG is so dreadful:
http://youtu.be/dOyJqGtP-wU

billydakingDecember 26, 2014 12:09 PM

Wow, Calvary didn't even make the top 20?

marshy00December 26, 2014 12:11 PM

You didn't like HULK? So why should I entertain any of your opinions?

marshy00December 26, 2014 12:13 PM

It came in 22nd. Sadly I don't think enough of us got to see it (I still haven't seen it yet).

Gopal NatarajanDecember 26, 2014 1:16 PM

You have just disqualified yourself from any further discussion on this topic. Good day, Sir! I said, Good Day!

Ard VijnDecember 26, 2014 7:41 PM

The French one is more beautiful though. ;-)

Ard VijnDecember 26, 2014 7:44 PM

It depended on the person; you got the threat, I got the bag of money.

Todd BrownDecember 26, 2014 8:58 PM

It does, however, mean that lots of people like the film, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Todd BrownDecember 26, 2014 8:59 PM

It got my vote as best of the year.

ToryKDecember 26, 2014 10:32 PM

Damn good movie. Whoever here didn't get to see it, needs to. And if we wanna compare the brothers, John Michael's sophomore effort was better.

CJDecember 26, 2014 11:28 PM

Gotta Put My Top Ten out there:

1. SNOWPIECER
2. THE RAID 2
3. GONE GIRL
4. EDGE OF TOMORROW
5. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
6. X-MEN:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
7. JOHN WICK
8. MISS GRANNY
9. THE ABCS OF DEATH 2
10. STARRY EYES

I admit I don't watch nearly as many movies as I should these days. It seems that podcasts have completely taken over my life. Every spare waking moment is taken up by those.

In this next year I will dedicate myself to watching at least three movies a week.

marshy00December 27, 2014 12:10 AM

On my own post? I don't think so.

Todd BrownDecember 27, 2014 10:49 AM

I completely agree. I absolutely think John Michael's film work is the stronger of the two.

Joshua ChaplinskyApril 2, 2015 11:15 AM

Finally saw this and kinda have to agree. Meh.