There were a LOT of good movies this year, and narrowing a personal list down to just ten selections is nearly impossible, never mind trying to take everyone’s picks and merge them into a single top ten list. So here are a few of our favorites, movies that made some of our personal Top 10 lists but missed out on the site-wide recognition:
Mainstream horror, that’s actually horrifying; a sad rarity nowadays.
– Erik Paschall
Thankfully, The Conjuring did well enough both in and out of theaters (Is there anyone who wasn’t watching it on Halloween?) that a sequel is now in the works. We can only hope it’s as good as the first.
Pacific Rim takes a very simple and easy to appreciate premise and brings it to the big screen in the best possible manner. The story is straightforward and well-paced, the movie introduces its characters and conflict, and builds up to the fights with minimal clutter weighing down the plot. The fights themselves are very well presented, the action is clearly visible and immensely fun to watch. Both the Jaegers and Kaiju have a great sense of presence, despite being creations of CG they feel like massive beings slamming into each other. Tying everything together is an uplifting plot about international cooperation in a world in which the best way to fight giant monsters is to build giant robots. It all sounds like simple stuff that any competent action director could pull off, but the staggering number of misfires this summer blockbuster season made me appreciate Pacific Rim all the more for doing so much right.
– Charlie Burroughs
Prisoners has a great director in Dennis Villeneuve, a great cast, starring Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard,Viola Davis and Paul Dano, and delivers a great modern whodunit spiced up for audiences grown numb to violence and trauma. Prisoners grips you in with its psychological manipulations and doesn’t let go.
Ron Howard’s Formula 1 drama has slipped in a little under the radar, it seems, perhaps due to its late September release in the face of such a packed holiday season. But there were a very few films this year that I found more self assured. From the acting, to the directing, to the cinematography, to the brilliant dual-protagonist, time cruising, mosaic structure of the narrative, Rush held me absolutely enthralled. This is going to sound odd, but the movie made me care about Formula 1 even though I hold to the notion that the movie isn’t really about Formula 1. It doesn’t matter whether you care one iota for motorsports or not, the cars and race tracks are merely a setting where an intensely satisfying character drama plays itself out.
– Tim Falkenberg
The World’s End
The conclusion of Edgar Wright’s so-called Cornetto Trilogy boasts one of Simon Pegg’s darkest and best characters. The brawling comedy also features one of the best fight scenes of the year – in a pub bathroom no less.
– Erik Paschall