The year isn’t even over and already there is a clear list of the most popular movies 2014 has brought out. By most accounts the Transformers 2014 movie should have been number one on every list, but it got bumped back by two surprise hits with a broader age range appeal.
One thing that has helped make these movies popular is the increasing use of digital devices for viewing new releases. The best streaming for movies has gone from something only being available to the few with high speed and expensive connections, to being available to anyone with an unlimited data account on a smartphone or mobile device. With this ability to see new releases when you want and where you want, you can now pick from the best. Here is the list of the best movies of 2014 released so far. Some of them you can still catch in the theaters, but all of them can also be streamed online.
#15 – Xmen: Days of Future Past
- Director – Bryan Singer
- Cast – Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters
Easily one of the best movies out in theaters today, this installment of the Xmen is winning new fans and making old ones happy – except for the constant complaint that there should have been more Kitty Pryde on screen. It’s a standout in the Xmen chronicles for being well acted and full of action with enough backstory to keep the series moving along.
#14 – Transcendence
- Director – Wally Pfister
- Cast – Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman
One of the best new movies 2014 had to offer, Transcendence, was overshadowed on its opening weekend but is now gaining traction as a popular film. It explores the terrifying potential of Artificial Intelligence and smart devices.
#13 – Noah
- Director – Darren Aronofsky
- Cast – Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins
One of the best, and most controversial movies in box office opinions this year, Noah suffered most from the perception that this was a retelling of the biblical story in accordance with Christian thought. Instead, it is Aronofsky’s inspired story of a man chosen by God to exercises judgment on the world and its aftermath.
#12 – Borgman
- Director – Alex van Warmerdam
- Cast – Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Alex van Warmerdam, Tom Dewispelaere, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Elve Lijbaart, Dirkje van der Pijl
This Dutch film isn’t that well known yet, but it is the standout suspense and horror offering of the year. It centers around the story of a home invader who is creepily depicted as slowly unraveling until it culminates with one of the most disturbing and graphic murders in cinematic history. The acting is excellent, the directing is tight and it makes Fear Island look like a Disney film.
#11 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Director – Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
- Cast – Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson
There are two ways to watch this installment in The Avengers world. The first is to just enjoy the over the top action and special effects; the second is to read the political and social commentary that runs throughout the film. The Russo brothers managed to deliver a complex film that will satisfy everyone. Captain America is searching for the Winter Soldier against a post-apocalyptic background that makes for great action, and powerful story-telling.
#10 – Edge of Tomorrow
- Director – Doug Liman
- Cast – Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
This should have been the standout blockbuster of the summer, but it was released the same weekend as the runaway hit The Fault in Our Stars. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt deliver in this great looking, action packed film. The futuristic settings and tech suits used are unbelievable. It is both a full out action blast, and a funny movie. For those of you who aren’t fans of the Cruise, you will find yourself finally able to appreciate him as he goes from doofus to accomplished hero under Blunt’s tutelage.
#9 – The Double
- Director – Richard Ayoade
- Cast – Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Yasmin Paige, James Fox
This film gains its edge, and its place as one of the best movies of the year by its sharp, funny and surreal portrayal of everyman’s nightmare. The main character is an awkward office worker that nobody notices. Life gets complicated when the company he works for hires someone who is his exact body double – and everything he isn’t in life. It is sad, funny and slightly scary.
#8 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
- Director – Matt Reeves
- Cast – Jason Clarke, Andy Serkis, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, Nick Thurston
It is beyond rare to say that a movie sequel is good, but “Dawn” is going to go down in history as one of the best. The choice of Reeves to direct was brilliant, coming off complex hits like “Cloverfield,” he knows how to tell a story about the struggles that face humanity without getting heavy handed. The story focuses on Cesar and how the post-flu events shaped him. It is unbelievably well done and one of the best films of the year.
#7 – Godzilla
- Director – Gareth Edwards
- Cast – Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston
Godzilla makes the list, which may surprise some people. It was an international success, although not the blockbuster expected in the American theaters. What makes it stand out is how Edwards handled the story, and the monster. He opted for a more character driven story with only hints of the monster until the very end. The end was a big blow out of special effects that built upon the suspense he created and hearkened back to the original movies in this series.
#6 – The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Director – Wes Anderson
- Cast – Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalric, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Léa Seydoux, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Tony Revolori
The Grand Budapest Hotel is proving to be one of the most popular English movies online, echoing its success in the movie theaters. It features some of the best acting talent around today directed by one of the most entertaining minds of the century. It tells a basic murder mystery, but from enough vantage points you will be wondering what happened until the very end.
#5 – 22 Jump Street
- Director – Philip Lord and Chris Miller
- Cast – Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Wyatt Russell, Nick Offerman
They are in college now and this movie isn’t a remake, but an update to the series. There are lots of inside jokes that will keep you entertained. The action and comedy are solid enough so if you aren’t familiar with the old TV series you will get a jolt out of seeing this comedy. One of the best things about it is the screen time Lord and Miller give to Ice Cube, he was shortchanged in the last movie and gets his due in this one.
#4 – Guardians of the Galaxy
- Director – James Gunn
- Cast – Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Even before Guardians came out in theatres 2014 had already seen a number of big name hero films. It had to take a lot to make the list and it did it with style. This is another of the Marvel world adventure films and it came close to unseating Transformers as this year’s best comic adaptation – close, but not good enough.
#3– Transformers: Age of Extinction
- Director – Michael Bay
- Cast – Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor
Transformers the movies, have given rise to controversy and obsession the world over. This latest installment is sure to rev things up even more. Michael Bay may not be well liked, but he can pull performances and stage action like no one else. The end result is an exciting and daring film that is going to become the standard by which all sci-fi and comic genre adaptations are done.
#2 – The Fault in Our Stars
- Director – Josh Boone
- Cast – Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe, Mike Birbiglia, Lotte Verbeek
What just about everyone agrees is one of the best films 2014 has to offer is this moving drama about hope and love in a world where life is ending. Two love-struck teenagers suffer through their normal angst, but they also both have terminal cancer and their discovery of the meaning, and limits of love has touched audiences everywhere.
#1 – The Lego Movie
- Director – Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
- Cast – Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie
The best movie 2014 brought has to be The Lego Movie. It is an irreverent romp that has been masterfully crafted to speak to audiences of all ages. You can bring your kids with you and you all will see different movies. The story is simple, but the dialogue is multi-leveled. It can be funny and entertaining for everyone – with enough adult humor the kids will miss to keep it going. Outside of that, it is one of the tightest made movies of the year. The story is solid, the voicing is great and it is action packed too.