Twenty-fourteen was not the best year for movies. By no means is that to say there weren’t some truly great ones, but there was more than the usual number of mediocre or simply good movies, and fewer masterpieces than in the past few years.
That having been said, while there may not have been as large an abundance, there were still 25 films that stood above all the rest. Comedy, sci-fi, drama, animation, romance, suspense, documentary, horror, and action make up these, the very best movies of the year.
Succinctly put, it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best movie in twenty years. Director David Ayer’s (End of Watch) graphic tale of a corrupt team of DEA agents being hunted down one by one is gripping, shocking, intense, clever, and only ten minutes too long for its own good. Schwarzenegger may have been out of the game for close to a decade, but Sabotage stands proudly as his best since 1994’s True Lies. (But fair warning: It’s not for the faint of heart.)
24. THEY CAME TOGETHER
An all-star cast of talented comic actors assemble for this quirky parody of romantic comedies. Filled with sharply clever moments and sublimely goofy gags, They Came Together rises above almost every other parody of the last decade. Rudd, Poehler, and Meloni are particularly in tune with the film’s tone, having all worked with director David Wain in 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer. It’s a rare gem of an oddity that’s idiosyncratic, droll, and skilfully absurd.
23. THE IMITATION GAME
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the father of modern computers, in this true story of how the Nazis’ Enigma code was broken, resulting in the turning of the tide for the Allies in World War II. Even though you know that Turing and his team of codebreakers will ultimately be victorious, The Imitation Game is such a solid thriller, you get too wrapped up in it to remember.
22. THE F WORD
The F Word follows the same path of post-modern romances like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and 500 Days of Summer, but still manages to keep one foot planted in the mentality of pre-‘90s rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally… and Moonstruck, creating a happy blend of the two styles that shouldn’t work but does. Even if you see where the plot is headed before the characters do, the palpable chemistry of Daniel Radcliffe and Zoë Kazan, the charming dialogue, and the hilarious supporting performance of Adam Driver come together to make one of the best romantic comedies of the last few years.
21. TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
Loosed inspired by the classic 12 Angry Men, the latest drama from the Dardenne brothers covers the titular span of one weekend, as Sandra (Marion Cotillard) tries to save her job. After a medical leave results in her factory discovering they can function without her, she returns to work to discover her entire factory staff of 16 is voting in just two days on whether to let her go and give the rest of the workers bonuses from her salary’s expense. Two Days, One Night follows Sandra as she visits each co-worker, and leaves no meeting or conversation out. By the time she’s about halfway through visiting people, you become incredibly invested in her mission. Some co-workers react angrily, some sadly, some with regret, some without remorse. It’s a fascinating look at the spectrum of human behaviour, as well as the strength of a person’s will.