I didn't actually see that many movies this year--only 11, as in 2012--which makes my list very easy to write. No, it’s not as epic as my very comprehensive and well-thought out (if I do say so myself) list from 2013, but I also kinda cheated by watching a whole bunch of movies from 2013 in the first couple months of 2014, which I shan't do this time. Again, the numbers here reflect ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic for comparison’s sake.
Movies I've seen (rated from best to worst):
1. Boyhood – 99% RT / 100 Metacritic
Well done, Richard Linklater, and all others involved in this epic of a coming-of-age film. To be totally honest, I kinda forgot what happens during the movie because I saw it back in August and let's be real, a ton happens, but I remember watching it and being in awe. And any movie that can make you feel that is pretty dang good.
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel – 92% RT / 88 Metacritic
Having seen all of his films, I think I can safely say that Wes Anderson is more Wes Anderson-y than ever with this film. And yes, that's a wonderful thing--this movie is a beaut.
3. Gone Girl – 88% RT / 79 Metacritic
Although I was a little skeptical about this whole book/movie franchise, I was blown away by the film. Rosamund Pike is just brilliant here: in turns cool, callous, comedic, psychotic, and sympathetic. It would've been a meaty, breakout role for any actress, but she absolutely killed it... hehe... I'm funny...
4. Dear White People – 91% RT / 79 Metacritic
A surprisingly insightful and hilarious debut film from Justin Simien. (Although this is so not the point of the movie, Sam White, as played by newcomer Tessa Thompson, is too cool! Such enviable hair and style.)
5. The Imitation Game – November 21 84% RT / 71 Metacritic
It was all a little too "amazing white guy triumphs over the seemingly unsurmountable odds" for me (see: The King's Speech, The Theory of Everything, every other biopic ever made, etc.), not to mention the whole "Hollywood brushes over the not-so-happy parts like when the man DIES TRAGICALLY" aspect, but I can't deny it was superbly well-acted and nicely scripted. Who knows, Benedict Cumberbatch's excess of tears might even win him an Oscar!
6. Into the Woods – 79% RT / 71 Metacritic
I'm a sucker for musicals and clever re-tellings of old stories... so yeah, of course I was going to like this. Plus, Emily Blunt! And Anna Kendrick!
7. Begin Again – 83% RT / 62 Metacritic
I think I had the songs from this movie stuck in my head for a good month after seeing it. And as we all know from Inside Llewyn Davis last year, I am easily biased by a decent soundtrack.
8. The Theory of Everything – 81% RT / 72 Metacritic
See comments for The Imitation Game, above. This movie could have been way darker and therefore way more interesting, but instead it was fairly light and fluffy and that was alright, too. Plus, Eddie Redmayne (who portrays Stephen Hawking with amazing physicality) and Felicity Jones (who is highly underrated in general) are adorable, together and apart, so that helps, too.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy – 92% RT / 76 Metacritic
Everyone say hello to the next big movie star, Chris Pratt. From 2014's Lego Movie to GotG to 2015's Jurassic World, it's clear we wouldn't be able to get away from him even if we wanted to. (He'll always be the lovably chubby Andy Dwyer to me, though. Sorry, Chris Pratt.) Also... Baby Groot! <3 Now there's the origin story we all want and need.
10. X-Men: Days of Future Past – 91% RT / 74 Metacritic
This was kind of forgettable, to be honest, but it was better than #11 so it snuck onto the list. For me, the highlight of the movie was Evan Peters as the fast-talking, super speedy Quicksilver -- let's give him a solo spin-off, shall we?
Finally, loser #11 which did not make it into this list: You’re Not You – 27% RT / 56 Metacritic. It was just bad. Let's not talk about it.