Its safe to say that what you should probably be watching this weekend is all the San Diego Comic Con footage, which includes a new Batman v. Superman trailer, because the new releases this weekend aren’t much to speak of.

The Minions prequel to Despicable Me is mostly fun, but leaves much to be desired. Ryan Reynolds’ new film, Self/less has an intriguing plot, but is poorly written and lacks the punch needed to make it a hit. And The Gallows is found footage horror that was better off lost.

Unsurprisingly, especially for this year, the Film to Catch this week is a limited release movie: What We Did On Our Holiday. Starring Rosamund Pike and David Tennant, it freshens up the standard “family-is-falling-apart-because-of-a-difficult-divorce” plot with clever comedy and solid acting.

Another limited release film of note is Boulevard, starring the late Robin Williams.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: What We Did On Our Holiday

Ok: MinionsBoulevard

Stay Away: Self/less, The Gallows

Where do They Come From?

Only wide release films count towards these numbers.

  • Minions: Prequel in Despicable Me franchise.
  • Self/less: Original, written by David and Àlex Pastor
  • The Gallows: Original, written by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing

Original: 33

Adaptation: 15

Sequel/Prequel: 16

Remake: 1

Oscarwatch

These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. This weekend’s releases not included.

They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films are not included until the end of year if Oscar potential exists.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.

4) ’71

The Blockbuster Report

2015 is halfway gone, and the movies…well, have been mostly underwhelming. But no worries, as you celebrate this 4th of July, you can also count on TWIC to guide you to the best films! Which are actually in short supply this weekend.

We continue 2015’s blast from the past as Terminator Genisys joins us, and its mostly meh. Arnold has some good bits, but this one is going to join the ranks of ill-advised (or at least ill-written) sequels. Magic Mike XXL is in theaters as well this weekend, and its more of the same tripe.

The films in limited release are certainly much better bets this weekend. Some great music documentaries lead the way. Amy (about Amy Winehouse), and A Poem is a Naked Person (about Leon Russell) are insightful glimpses into the lives of musical icons. Cartel Land and Stray Dog look at two vastly different parts of American life, the former showcasing the chaos of international drug trafficking, and the latter painting a portrait of an army-vet biker who has a heck of a life.

The remaining films are varied. Faith of Our Fathers is another film in the vein of Christian films that feature atrocious acting and not much in the way of plot. (Is it really that hard to make a good Christian film? I’m embarrassed.) Stung is an indie-horror creature feature that fans of the genre should find enjoyable, and Jackie & Ryan stars Ben Barnes and Katherine Heigl in a romance drama driven by music.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: AmyA Poem is a Naked Person, Stray Dog

Ok: Terminator GenisysCartel Land, Jackie & Ryan, Stung

Stay Away: Magic Mike XXLFaith of our Fathers

Where do They Come From?

Only wide release films count towards these numbers.

  • Terminator Genisys: Sequel in Terminator franchise.
  • Magic Mike XXL: Sequel to Magic Mike

Original: 31

Adaptation: 15

Sequel/Prequel: 15

Remake: 1

Oscarwatch

These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. This weekend’s releases not included.

They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films are not included until the end of year if Oscar potential exists.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.

4) ’71

Marvel-Comics-Vision-Crying

I’m Catholic. I’m used to people saying I’m silly for believing things that no Catholic actually believes. Being Catholic, I have a deep love of truth. Its both sensationalist, and foolish, to spread lies or misinformation based on an incomplete picture. I’m used to people doing this to my beliefs. I’m not used to Catholic priests doing this to my favorite comic book characters, which is what just happened.

Upon seeing The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Fr. Barron declared it a Nietzschian parable. Director Joss Whedon is a proud atheist. And of course, when an artist does their job properly, they do embed, in their work, an imprint of themselves, to varying degrees. On the surface, the claim that Whedon has injected atheism or nihilism into this film is not a ludicrous one. If one knew nothing about the film itself, it might even be an easy conclusion to jump to…without the facts.

Father Barron’s central tenet, the point upon which his entire argument rests, is that the Vision, upon erupting into existence and being asked for his name, replies: “I am.”

Father Barron points out that, in declaring himself “I am” and proceeding to set himself up as a god, the Vision, who is essentially the engine of victory for the heroes, establishes himself as Joss Whedon’s version of Nietzsche’s “ubermensch.” This is dangerous. After all, this is a highly popular franchise, and with the Vision and Ultron spouting off Nietzsche-like concepts, its something that good Christian folks would not want their youngsters to pick up on. This view is problematic.

No, I’m not talking about Whedon’s. I’m talking about Father Barron’s.

You see, Father’s Barron’s entire article falls completely apart once you actually realize what the Vision means when he’s saying “I am.” Don’t get me wrong, Father Barron is a good shepherd, who frequently unlocks the deeper meaning of scripture and the Catholic faith. Yet here he is incorrect. The Vision is not setting himself up as a messiah, not as a god. In fact, he’s not even saying “I am.” He’s saying “I am…” Those two extra periods are essential! The Vision is not declaring himself to be anything because he doesn’t even know who he is! He’s asked for a name and he can’t provide one, so he pauses. Instead of rushing to define himself, he stays quiet and lets his actions do the talking.

Now let’s stop and back up a second. Let’s see the full picture before jumping to conclusions, which is, unfortunately what Father Barron did. In writing this film, Joss Whedon tasked himself with bringing iconic characters to life. One of his strengths in both Avengers films is taking decades of comic book history and breaking it down to give his characters the essential parts of their personalities, the parts of their personalities that make the characters who they are, and keep them faithful to their comic book counterparts. We see this in Captain America’s leadership, we see this in Bruce Banner’s anxiety, in Stark’s pride, in Scarlet Witch’s frailty. So why wouldn’t we see it in the Vision? We would. And we do.

When the Vision makes his first appearance in the pages of The Avengers comic books, he’s created by Ultron to destroy the Avengers. During their first meeting, Hawkeye asks him “Who are you fella?” The Vision’s response: “You need not believe me archer, but, in truth, I do not know.” (The Avengers #57).

In the next issue, when the Vision’s origin is revealed, he cries in anguish to his creator, Ultron: “You’ve told me only what powers I possess – not what I wish to know! Who am I? What name is mine?”

So why does the Vision say “I am…” in Age of Ultron? Its because he doesn’t know who he is.

This is from Avengers #57, after Ultron's first defeat. The Ozymandias poem perfectly sums up Ultron's mentality.

This is from Avengers #57, after Ultron’s first defeat. The Ozymandias poem perfectly sums up Ultron’s mentality.

I certainly don’t expect everyone to have read through every comic book issue ever published before they watch a film, but before they spread lies about someone’s intentions, they should be informed. They should do their research. Could it possibly be that Joss Whedon was simply trying to bring the Vision to the big screen in a manner faithful to the source?

Of course, the real issue here is that Father Barron offered an uninformed version of the film to his readers, and now those readers are irate. Some are calling Whedon “despicable” and accusing him of infusing the film with hate. Interestingly enough, these are likely the very same people who lauded the Whedon-written Captain America line “There’s only one God ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that”, and plastered it all over their Facebook walls.

When one has a following like Father Barron does, its important not to jump to conclusions. Writers like Joss Whedon and Father Barron have a duty to the truth, but now a decent chunk of public perception has been steered away from the truth by an article that was written without having the full picture. Father Barron’s entire argument, in this case, is based on a falsehood. Without the atheistic “I am” that Father Barron hears, the entire remainder of his analysis falls apart. If the Vision does not fancy himself a god, then his opinion that chaos and order are both part of humanity becomes simply an observation, not a declaration of dogma. And it turns out that the marble statue shown over the end credits, which Father Barron says is “a neo-classical sculpture of all of the major figures in the film locked in struggle, straining against one another…in complete conformity with the aesthetic favored by Albert Speer, Leni Riefenstahl, and the other artists of the Nazi period” is actually just a marble statue (not even designed by Whedon) of good guys fighting bad guys.

Father Barron says that Age of Ultron promotes a certain attitude. An attitude that maintains that humans need to move beyond good and evil, like Nietzsche’s supermen. He says that the Vision embodies this attitude, because he “was brought about by players on both sides of the divide, by both Iron Man and Ultron. Like Nietzsche’s superman, he is indeed beyond good and evil.” This is Whedon’s whole point, according to Father Barron. Except it isn’t.

What’s the first thing the Avengers do when the Vision emerges? They test him. Is he good or evil? Only the good can pick up Thor’s hammer, which Vision does. Vision expresses that he has no desire to kill, but realizes Ultron must be destroyed. How is this different from Captain America’s declaration in his debut film that he “doesn’t like bullies?”

It is Ultron, not the Vision, that teaches us about nihilism. And guess what? He’s the bad guy. The only way for there to be peace is human extinction. Its Ultron who thinks he’s beyond good and evil, not the Vision. Where the Vision pauses to discover what is truly good -existence, friendship, kindness- Ultron acts without thought. Ultron declares himself the messiah. “I’m going to save the world,” he says. He’s a machine, utterly focused on his programming. Upon a rock of destruction will he build his church of death. Father Barron thinks that the Vision is presented as the herald of Nietzsche, that Joss Whedon is covertly trying to turn us into nihilists. Ultron is the herald here, and he sows and reaps destruction. He also loses in the end, and I’ve yet to see a scenario where losing attracts people to a cause.

When Ultron becomes self-aware, he processes everything at once. His purpose: “to save the world” is processed at the exact same time as every bad thing the Avengers have done. Does he stop and think about right and wrong? No. He interrupts and disconnects JARVIS, declares himself a savior, and starts a wave of destruction. “Ultron?” Banner asks. “In the flesh!” is the instant reply. The Vision bursts on the scene, and his first action upon getting his bearings is to stop and look at the beauty of New York City. He stops to process the wonder of humanity, stops to ponder man’s achievements, stops to declare that he is on the side of life and that Ultron is wrong, and must be stopped. This is who the Vision is. A powerful, thoughtful, innocently naive individual who clearly sees right and wrong because he has taken the time to look at them. Before anyone knows his name, they know what he stands for. His name is not important. Its not even important to the Vision that he can lift Thor’s hammer. This is not a figure with a messiah complex who considers himself above everyone else. “Who are you?” they ask. “I am…” he pauses…he doesn’t know. This is the power of putting the mission first, this is the power of seeing something going horrendously wrong and acting to end that wrong, this is the power of the selfless giver. This is the power in a pause.

Little-Boy-e1418221376940

“I was incredulous that the main motif of a film is a narrative thread linking Little Boy, an innocent child, with the name of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima…Without the clumsy link between the child called “Little Boy” and the first atomic bomb used in war, there is simply no story. I am unable to wrap my brain around ever thinking this was a good idea. But that someone has linked them and made a movie about it and filled it with unfulfilled themes that may attract Catholics, well, this is what should make us cry.” – Sister Rose Pacatte, Pauline Center for Media Studies

This weekend I’ll intentionally be staying away from the movie theaters, and a few of my friends might be a bit surprised by that. You see, I’m not staying away due to some scandalous film that makes fun of things I hold dear, or because I find a certain film highly offensive. Wait, I take that back. I am offended. I’m offended that Christian filmmakers keep churning out films with little desire for artistic merit. I’m offended that if I want to see a well made film that promotes solid values and provides heroic examples, I need to wait for a secular studio to release it.

This weekend, Little Boy is being released in theaters around the United States. Its Rotten Tomato rating currently sits at 8%. I don’t have a lot of faith in Rotten Tomatoes to accurately predict how much I’ll enjoy a film, but a film has to be pretty bad to sit at 8%. And before you start insisting that its only getting negative reviews because its a Christian film, let me point out that we’re talking 8% here. That means that only 8% off all reviewers nationwide would give this film three stars or more. For comparison, The Passion of the Christ sits at 49%, Bella at 44%, and Fireproof and The Second Chance at 40%. So even if a decent chunk of critics tend to bash Christian films, we’re looking at “good” films dragged down to “average” range, not “good” films dragged down to “worst of the year” range.

“No amount of fine acting can save Little Boy from the empty catharsis of its ending, which again treats faith like a blank check waiting to be cashed.” – A.A. Dowd, the AV Club

Other films in recent memory that have garnered a TomatoMeter score of less than 10% are Taken 3 (9%), Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2%), Vampire Academy (9%), and The Legend of Hercules (3%). So let’s just face it. Little Boy is not a good film.

Admittedly, there is more than one reason to see a movie. Maybe you want mindless fun, or maybe you want to support the filmmakers. That’s all fine and good if that’s what you want, but we should be asking ourselves why we want to support filmmakers who make bad art. Honestly, gone are the days where you can’t make solid films without a ton of money. Of course it helps, but its not the determining factor. Boyhood and Whiplash, two films well represented in last year’s Oscars, were made on budgets of $4 million and $3.3 million, respectively. Little Boy had a budget of $20 million.

In the most preposterous scene, Pepper’s desperate arm-waving attempt to prove that faith can move mountains coincides with an earthquake, earning him the awe of the bigoted, credulous townspeople, who cheer when news arrives of the bombing of Hiroshima. – Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Admittedly, I have high standards, but no, that’s not a bad thing. My goodness, what is it going to take for movie studios to stop banking on the Christian population going to see films that aren’t worth seeing? What’s it going to take to stop producers from pouring money into a film that will be in the Wal-Mart $5 bin or at a Dollar Store? I’ve refused to watch films like The Da Vinci Code or The Golden Compass because I don’t want to give my money to films that misrepresent my faith. I’ve refused to watch films like The Interview or every Adam Sandler comedy made in the last five years because I don’t want to give my money to films that are childishly silly. Why on earth should I give my money to a film that gives a bad name to Christian films?

I pay a lot of attention to film buzz. This isn’t just reading reviews and looking at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. I use insider information and mathematical data to determine film quality before I see them, or suggest them to others. You know what the most common reaction is to a “Christian” film being released? Instant mockery. Films with religious themes are nearly always brushed off, but its not because of their message and their Christianity. Its because the acting is bad, the script is weak, and the plot contrived. Stupid juvenile comedies get the same treatment.

“The movie is hopelessly simple-minded, with corny fantasy sequences, slathered-on folksiness and a plot twist that it would take a miracle of self-delusion not to see coming. At least the movie’s heart is in the right place, if you think a heart belongs at the bottom of a bottle of syrup.” – Kyle Smith, New York Post

Some of my friends might be angered by my approach, but I’m not going to blindly accept a poor production just because someone plastered a Christian label on it. There are plenty of young Christian writers and actors out there who have great ideas that would offer true art to those who are actually interested. And yet, the Christian masses blindly follow the media trail to the next sub-par misrepresentation of our faith. What good is it doing? Its not reaching anyone because it alienates non-Christians, so we’re left with a Christian film industry that has closed in on itself. The money you spend on Little Boy will go to filmmakers who will just make more of the same. If you’re ok with that, then fine, but I’m going to stop feeding the hamster, maybe then it will stop running in circles.

With the Academy Awards taking place this Sunday, everyone is making their predictions. Why should you listen to mine? Well, rumor has it that certain folks in Hollywood bring my picks around to Oscar parties and win really great prizes with them. Of course, I never see a dime of these prizes, but who cares? This year could be the year that I do poorly. Things are really close in so many categories that aside from a few locks, there’s a lot up for grabs. That is sure to make this year much more exciting than last year. So, here we go. Tell me if you agree or not. I’ve ranked them in the order of likelihood of winning.

Best Picture 

  1. Boyhood 
  2. Birdman
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. Whiplash
  6. Selma
  7. American Sniper
  8. The Theory of Everything

This is pretty much a two horse race right now. I’ve had Boyhood penciled in as the winner since July of last year and I’m not about to change that now.

Best Director

  1. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
  2. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  4. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)
  5. Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

Gosh this one is hard. Linklater did something amazing with Boyhood. But Birdman was masterful as well and the DGA gave their award to the latter’s helmsman. I’ll go with them.

Best Actor

  1. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
  2. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  3. Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  5. Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

I thought Keaton for a long time, but Redmayne is a little better, plus he plays the same character for a lifetime.

Best Actress

  1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  2. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  3. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  4. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
  5. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

This one is a lock.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
  2. Edward Norton (Birdman)
  3. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  4. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  5. Robert Duvall (The Judge)

This one is a lock as well.

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  2. Emma Stone (Birdman)
  3. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
  4. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  5. Laura Dern (Wild)

Even though I would vote for Emma Stone, Arquette is bringing home the award.

Best Original Screenplay

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Birdman
  3. Boyhood
  4. Foxcatcher
  5. Nightcrawler

The more I think about it, the more I think this is close to a lock. Budapest was so clever, and so well told. There’s an outside shot for Birdman or Boyhood.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Imitation Game
  2. The Theory of Everything
  3. American Sniper
  4. Whiplash
  5. Inherent Vice

This one is up in the air. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the top four win.

Best Animated Feature Film

  1. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
  4. The Boxtrolls
  5. Song of the Sea

The Lego Movie. Seriously…I’m still befuddled at the lack of a nomination, which paves the way for a Dragon win.

Best Documentary Film

  1. Citizenfour
  2. Last Days in Vietnam
  3. Finding Vivian Maier
  4. Virunga
  5. The Salt of the Earth

Life Itself was the only film that could have challenged Citizenfour. And it wasn’t nominated.

Best Foreign Film

  1. Ida
  2. Leviathan
  3. Wild Tales
  4. Tangerines
  5. Timbuktu

An outside chance for Leviathan or Wild Tales here.

Best Cinematography

  1. Birdman
  2. Mr. Turner
  3. Unbroken
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Ida

Birdman in front, with the rest in a pack.

Best Costume Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Into the Woods
  3. Maleficent
  4. Mr. Turner
  5. Inherent Vice

I never saw Into the Woods. A lot of folks were claiming it would get a Best Picture nomination, which was just silly. However, I am surprised that its not getting more love for Costume Design, which should lead to a win for Budapest.

Best Make-up and Hair

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Foxcatcher

This one is so, so close. Being a Marvel fan, I want Guardians to win, and really, think about all the characters that had make-up: Gamora, Nebula, Thanos, Ronan, the Broker, the Collector, Howard the Duck (just kidding).

Best Production Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Into the Woods
  3. Interstellar
  4. Mr. Turner
  5. The Imitation Game

Should be a lock.

Best Film Editing

  1. Boyhood
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. Whiplash
  5. American Sniper

Should be a lock here as well.

Best Visual Effects

  1. Interstellar
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Another one that is so close. Hugo beat out the last Apes film, so I’ll go with the Nolan bus here.

Best Original Score

  1. The Theory of Everything
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Interstellar
  4. Mr. Turner
  5. The Imitation Game

I am hoping for a Budapest win here, but I noticed that no soundtrack Grammy winner has ever won an Oscar. And Theory does have a great score.

Best Original Song

  1. “Glory” (Selma)
  2. “Everything is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)
  3. “Lost Stars” (Begin Again)
  4. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me)
  5. “Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)

Should be a sure thing.

Best Sound Editing

  1. American Sniper
  2. Birdman
  3. Interstellar
  4. Unbroken
  5. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

As usual, I’m mostly guessing here, although my top two here both sounded amazing.

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Whiplash
  2. Birdman
  3. American Sniper
  4. Interstellar
  5. Unbroken

See above comment. I can see any of the top three winning here.

Best Live Action Short

  1. Boogaloo and Graham
  2. The Phone Call
  3. Parvaneh
  4. Aya
  5. Butter Lamp

No. Flipping. Idea.

Best Animated Short

  1. Feast
  2. The Dam Keeper
  3. A Single Life
  4. The Bigger Picture
  5. Me and My Moulton

Bah. Feast is a really fun film. Probably the winner.

Best Documentary Short

  1. Joanna
  2. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press One
  3. Our Curse
  4. The Reaper
  5. White Earth

Once again, no clue. Crisis is the popular pick, but I’m leaning away.

After finally seeing American Sniper last night (my friend will apologize later for making me wait so long), I’m ready to put the lid on 2014 (Oscars aside of course) with my 10 Favorite Films of 2014. And so, without further ado…

#10) Selma

vIMLJ7Z-_400x400

There were some really great things about this film, the best being David Oyelowo, who was one of the few true Oscar snubs this year. It would be higher if the story was a little more driven. The film is pretty much Point A to Point B, which is fine, but it doesn’t feel propelled forward. Plus Tom Wilkinson is pretty unbelievable (in a not so good way) as LBJ. His performance is great, but he doesn’t look a thing like the former POTUS.

#9) Coherence

coherence-movie-poster-2013-large-fantastic-fest

A little-known indie flick available to watch on Amazon Prime, this is a true sci-fi thriller. And by sci-fi, I mean actual science fiction, with actual science. It is amazing what some great editing and a small, tightly-knit cast of actors can do. I love being drawn into a film and experiencing what the characters are, and this film accomplishes that in spectacular fashion.

#8) The Grand Budapest Hotel

TGBH-launch-quad-1024x768

What a work of art by Wes Anderson. This is the most beautiful picture of the year, with great set pieces, make-up, and costumes. The cinematography was incredible as well. This is storytelling at its cinematic finest. Ralph Fiennes is perfect in his deadpan quasi-humorous lead, and the rest of the cast follow suit.

#7) American Sniper

american-sniper

I’m not really sure what all the controversy is about. Oh, gosh, Middle Easterners are depicted as evil people…well that’s what happens when all the good people get out of town because the aren’t terrorists and don’t have interest in staying in a war zone. Were they supposed to throw a few Australians or French folks in there to make it more fair? Anyway, this is truly a masterpiece from the heart of Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood. Of course, with the trial of Chris Kyle’s real-life murderer beginning today, this story is still being written.

#6) The Lego Movie

the_lego_movie_2014-wide

Yes, I’m a bad person for putting this above American Sniper, but this film was just a blast of fun. A hilarious script, wonderful animation, and a good story as well. It would have been so easy to go the “do whatever you want and break all the rules” route, but this film actually shows kids that there are certain instructions that need to be followed, and from there we are free to let our imaginations roam.

#5) Boyhood

Boyhood

This film is more of an experience than a movie. I don’t think any other film has captured what growing up is like as well as Boyhood does. Its an emotional ride, a journey through a life. You can really see the American experience through the lens of this film. Broken families, broken hearts, triumph over adversity, mistakes, successes, wonderful coincidences, its all here in a tapestry of humanity.

#4) Captain America: The Winter Soldier AND Guardians of the Galaxy

la_ca_0102_Captain_America

I really felt it wasn’t fair to everyone else that Marvel is doing so well, so I’m putting both of their films here. What a year for Marvel Studios (again)! In a year where all other comic book films were either awful (Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe Amazing Spider-man 2, and Sin City and 300 sequels) or members of the “The-Effects-Are-So-Good-I’m-Not-Gonna-Think-About-How-Lame-and/or-Nonsensical the story actually is (Big Hero 6X-Men: Days of Future Past) Marvel Studios released two more gems. Can’t wait for their 2015 work, including Avengers: Age of UltronAnt-Man, and their new Daredevil Netflix series.

#3) Birdman

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Its true, some people just don’t understand this film. I think its because they are looking for a straightforward story, but this is more of a parable, just like Gravity last year. You know how in the Bible, Jesus always is explaining his parables to his apostles because the general public seem clueless as to what they mean? I used to think that perhaps people just were dumber back then, but now I know that isn’t true. Most people seem to have a lack of ability to see past the base foundation of a story. In the case of Birdman, people see a story about a washed up actor who kinda goes crazy. They miss the internal warfare between fame and art, the mirror within a mirror of this film. Its brilliant, it really is.

#2) The Imitation Game

Quad_BC_AW_[26237] Imitation Game, The

I love puzzles, I love problem solving, and Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favorite actors. He’s uncanny in this film, and so is the story. A great biopic with a sad ending, every American and Englishman should see this film and learn about the man who saved thousands of lives and helped halt Adolph Hitler’s reign of terror.

#1) Calvary

CALVARY_Poster_50-992x387

Another parable-like film that some people couldn’t wrap their heads around. Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd carry this film, which is possibly the most painful film of the year. Its hard to watch, but it perfectly encapsulates the current tumult afflicting the Catholic Church. But this isn’t a film shaming Catholics, or the Church, or victims, this is a film about sacrificial love from a person who is deeply flawed himself. Its not a crime-thriller, but it does solve the mystery of the priesthood, and why so many men are still around, still following God’s call, still standing up for truth. The priesthood isn’t convenience, its about sacrifice, down to the bitter end.

Bonus Round – My 10 LEAST Favorite Films of 2014 (#1 = Least Favorite)

The gang's all here!

So disappointing…

  1. The Interview
  2. Noah
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  4. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
  5. Fury
  6. Muppets Most Wanted
  7. Magic in the Moonlight
  8. Dear White People
  9. Locke
  10. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Its been a week since 2014’s Oscar nominations were rolled out. This was a surprising year for most of us Oscarologists, with some significant surprises. Still, I predicted 73% of the nominees correctly (and that includes the short films, which NOBODY gets right). Before we get into category by category, lets look at the main films I got correct, and the main picks I totally missed.

Where I Was Right

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1) The Grand Budapest Hotel

With nine nominations, this film was one of the nights big winners. Its hard to imagine that just two or three months ago, experts were bemoaning the fact that this film “came out too early” to be considered for a Best Picture nomination. I wasn’t one of them, although its doing better than I expected in November. I got all nine of its nominations correct. Perhaps people should remember that as long as the film is good enough, it doesn’t matter when it was released.

2) Ida

Everyone knew Ida was getting nominated for Best Foreign Film. I went with my gut and picked it to garner a Best Cinematography nom as well, which made me a perfect five out of five in that category.

3) Unbroken

This was listed by many “experts” as a front runner for a Best Picture Oscar at the start of the year. I never bought the hype. I prefect facts. And while I was hoping the film would be better than it actually was, some people seemed to be picking this to win awards based on the fact that it used to be considered a favorite, a consideration made entirely on hype. It did get nominations for cinematography and sound editing and mixing, which it deserved, and yes, I picked all three.

Where I Was Wrong

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1) American Sniper

I really don’t understand the love this film got. I can see Bradley Cooper, but not ahead of David Owelowo, who was snubbed. We’re talking a decent film that got nominated here, and worse things have happened, but I feel its Best Picture nomination was a little bit based on luck. This year we had seven solid contenders: BoyhoodBirdmanGrand Budapest HotelThe Imitation GameSelmaThe Imitation Game, and Whiplash. With potentially three more nominations to give out, voters were met with a bunch of films all very close in quality: NightcrawlerAmerican SniperGone GirlFoxcatcher, and A Most Violent Year. Best Picture voting is always a little crazy and hard to follow, but American Sniper probably had the most “viewer friendly” source material of the bunch. Four crime dramas, which aren’t everyone’s cup of tea in the first place, may have canceled each other out, while most people love hearing patriotic stories about real life heroes. The fact that only eight films were nominated indicates that the other films didn’t have appeal across the board, which is too bad for them.

2) Gone Girl

I picked this one to get a Best Picture nomination, and while I wouldn’t consider the lack of one to be a snub. I’m very surprised that it was left out of Best Adapted Screenplay. The film translated well to the big screen, and there were no points where I felt lost without the book. Only one nomination for this film; it went to Rosamund Pike for her chilling performance.

3) A Marvel Trifecta

Augh. I let myself be talked into something, and that something was that the voters wouldn’t be willing to nominate more than one Marvel Comics film for any given category. Based on last year’s snub of Pacific Rim, which seemed to have been canceled out, I thought this was a reasonable assumption. But again, basing an prediction on something completely arbitrary will only get you in trouble (or a wrong answer), as not two, but three Marvel films were nominated for Best Special Effects: Guardians of the Galaxy (which I did predict), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and X-Men: Days of Future Past (which I did not predict).

And now, onward to the nominations. Let’s see how accurate my picks were. Accurate predictions are in bold, while wrong predictions are crossed out and replaced by the correct nomination. I also list snubs. You’ll notice there are not very many. Snubs, in reality, don’t happen that often. The Oscars are for the Best of the Best, not just “good” films.

Best Picture 

  1. Boyhood (Mark it down now, Boyhood will win Best Picture)
  2. Birdman
  3. Selma
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. The Theory of Everything
  7. Whiplash
  8. Gone Girl American Sniper

With only eight films nominated this year, my 9th and 10th picks are left out (Nightcrawler and Foxcatcher)

Best Director

  1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  2. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
  3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  4. Ava DuVernay (Selma) Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
  5. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Best Actor

  1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  2. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
  3. David Oyelowo (Selma) Bradley Cooper (American Sniper)
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  5. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

Snubs: David Oyelowo (Selma)

Best Actress

  1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  2. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  3. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  4. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
  5. Jennifer Aniston (Cake) Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

Best Supporting Actor

  1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
  2. Edward Norton (Birdman)
  3. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  4. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  5. Robert Duvall (The Judge)

All correct! Yay!

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  2. Emma Stone (Birdman)
  3. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
  4. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  5. Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year) Laura Dern (Wild)

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Boyhood
  2. Birdman
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Selma Foxcatcher
  5. Nightcrawler

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. The Imitation Game
  2. The Theory of Everything
  3. Gone Girl Inherent Vice
  4. Whiplash
  5. Wild American Sniper

Snubs: Gone Girl

Best Animated Feature Film

  1. The Lego Movie The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. The Boxtrolls
  4. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  5. The Book of Life Song of the Sea

Snubs: The Lego Movie. Seriously…how the heck does this NOT get nominated?!?

Best Documentary Film

  1. Citizenfour
  2. Life Itself Last Days in Vietnam
  3. The Overnighters The Salt of the Earth
  4. Virunga
  5. Finding Vivian Maier

Snubs: Life Itself

Best Foreign Film

  1. Ida
  2. Force Majeure Timbuktu
  3. Leviathan
  4. Wild Tales
  5. Tangerines

Best Cinematography

  1. Birdman
  2. Mr. Turner
  3. Unbroken
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Ida

All correct! Yay!

Best Costume Design

  1. Into the Woods
  2. Maleficent
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Mr. Turner
  5. The Imitation Game Inherent Vice

Best Make-up and Hair

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. The Theory of Everything Foxcatcher

Best Production Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Into the Woods
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. Birdman Mr. Turner
  5. Inherent Vice Interstellar

Best Film Editing

  1. Birdman American Sniper
  2. Boyhood
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. Whiplash

Best Visual Effects

  1. Interstellar
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  3. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy
  5. Godzilla X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Original Score

  1. Interstellar
  2. Gone Girl Mr. Turner
  3. The Theory of Everything
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song

  1. “Glory” (Selma)
  2. “Everything is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)
  3. “Lost Stars” (Begin Again)
  4. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You (Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me)
  5. “Mercy Is” (Noah) “Grateful” (Beyond the Lights)

Best Sound Editing

  1. Interstellar
  2. Birdman
  3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
  4. Unbroken
  5. American Sniper 

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Into the Woods Birdman
  2. Interstellar
  3. Unbroken
  4. Whiplash
  5. American Sniper

Best Live Action Short

  1. Carry On Butter Lamp
  2. The Phone Call
  3. Aya 
  4. Boogaloo and Graham
  5. My Father’s Truck Parvaneh

Best Animated Short

  1. Feast
  2. Duet The Dam Keeper
  3. Coda A Single Life
  4. The Bigger Picture
  5. Footprints Me and My Moulton

Best Documentary Short

  1. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press One
  2. The Lion’s Mouth Opens The Reaper
  3. Joanna
  4. Our Curse
  5. One Child White Earth

Ok, now that I’ve sucked you in with that headline, let me clarify. Nobody needs to be fired, just reassigned, away from the job they have now, which is supposed to be telling us who the frontrunners are for the Oscar nominations being announced tomorrow morning.

You can find my predictions here. Variety published a rundown of the films they thought to be Oscar favorites. Yes, this was back in November, but still, what were they thinking? This is shoddy. As a major news source, you can’t rely on hype, or you’ll get things wrong, but that seems to be about all that they did, just pick films with lots of hype and/or special effects, with no interest in actual film quality.

There are the films they listed as Oscar favorites:

American SniperBig Eyes, Black or White, Boyhood, Calvary, The Fault in Our Stars, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Foxcatcher, Fury, Gone Girl, The Homesman, The Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, Into the Woods, Nightcrawler, Mr. Turner, Selma, Rosewater, Still Alice, St. Vincent, The Theory of Everything, Unbroken, Whiplash, Wild.

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Now again, I’ll let it slide a bit because these predictions were made in November. But the fact remains that, even in a list of 27 films, there are some that belong nowhere near a list like this.

Black or White isn’t even eligible for an Oscar, Big EyesExodus, and Unbroken were hyped for months but none of them delivered; The Fault in Our Stars is blatant sucrose for your tear ducts and films like The Homesman and Rosewater have never been on anyone’s radar. So how many of these films will garner even a single nomination? Furthermore, with Variety insisting that these are Oscar frontrunners, how many will get any above-the-line nods? Not many. Here’s a breakdown of my predictions by film nominations.

  • 10 – Birdman
  • 9 – The Grand Budapest HotelThe Imitation Game
  • 6 – BoyhoodThe Theory of Everything
  • 5 – SelmaWhiplash
  • 4 – Gone Girl, InterstellarInto the Woods
  • 3 – NightcrawlerUnbroken
  • 2 – American Sniper, Dawn of the Planet of the ApesFoxcatcherGuardians of the Galaxy, IdaThe Lego MovieMr. TurnerWild
  •  1 – A Most Violent YearBegin Again, CakeGlen Campbell: I’ll Be MeGodzillaThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesThe Judge, Maleficent, NoahInherent ViceStill Alice, all other animated, foreign, documentary, and short films.

Of Variety’s films that I’m leaving out, Big Eyes and Fury both have outside chances at getting in. That leaves Black or White, Calvary, The Fault in Our Stars, Exodus: Gods and KingsThe Homesman, Rosewater, and St. Vincent to be placed on the “what the heck are they thinking?” list. That’s a good 30-40% of the films they picked as “favorites” that won’t get a single nomination. That percentage could get even bigger. Its possible that American SniperInherent Vice, and A Most Violent Year also will fail to get nominated. Not good enough if you’re Variety. Do better.

Of course, you can follow my Oscar predictions here and make fun of me if I’m wrong as well.

Oscar voting ends this Thursday, but with other award organizations announcing their nominations soon, I’m jumping the gun and releasing mine earlier. Remember, these are just Oscar NOMINATION predictions, not Oscar winner predictions. Read on for part two of This Year in Cinema – The Oscarwatch 2014. I’ve placed stars (*) next to nominees I consider to be locks, and they are listed in order of their likelihood to garner a nomination.

Best Picture 

Boyhood

Side note here – anywhere from five to ten films can be nominated for Best Picture. I always pick ten to cover them all, although this year we may only get nine.

  1. Boyhood(Mark it down now, Boyhood will win Best Picture)
  2. Birdman*
  3. Selma
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. The Theory of Everything
  7. Whiplash
  8. Gone Girl
  9. Nightcrawler
  10. Foxcatcher

On the bubble: UnbrokenWildA Most Violent Year

List of my Best Picture favorites can be found here. I’ll update an awards listing as the major awards are announced.

Best Director

Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

  1. Richard Linklater* (Boyhood)
  2. Alejandro González Iñárritu* (Birdman)
  3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  4. Ava DuVernay (Selma)
  5. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

On the bubble: David Fincher (Gone Girl), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

Best Actor

Michael Keaton in Birdman

Michael Keaton in Birdman

  1. Michael Keaton* (Birdman)
  2. Eddie Redmayne* (The Theory of Everything)
  3. David Oyelowo (Selma)
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  5. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

On the bubble: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)

Best Actress

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

  1. Julianne Moore* (Still Alice)
  2. Rosamund Pike* (Gone Girl)
  3. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  4. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
  5. Jennifer Aniston (Cake)

On the bubble: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

Best Supporting Actor

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.

  1. J.K. Simmons* (Whiplash)
  2. Edward Norton* (Birdman)
  3. Ethan Hawke* (Boyhood)
  4. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  5. Robert Duvall (The Judge)

Best Supporting Actress

Meryl Streep in Into the Woods

Meryl Streep in Into the Woods

  1. Patricia Arquette* (Boyhood)
  2. Emma Stone* (Birdman)
  3. Meryl Streep* (Into the Woods)
  4. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  5. Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)

On the bubble: Laura Dern (Wild)

Best Original Screenplay

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  1. Boyhood*
  2. Birdman*
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel*
  4. Selma
  5. Nightcrawler

On the bubble: FoxcatcherA Most Violent Year

Note (1/10): It was unexpectedly announced this week that Whiplash is considered an Adapted Screenplay. My predictions have changed accordingly.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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  1. The Imitation Game*
  2. The Theory of Everything*
  3. Gone Girl*
  4. Whiplash
  5. Wild

On the bubble: Unbroken

Best Animated Feature Film

the_lego_movie_2014-wide

  1. The Lego Movie*
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. The Boxtrolls
  4. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  5. The Book of Life

On the bubble: The Tale of the Princess KaguyaSong of the Sea

Best Documentary Film

citizenfour

  1. Citizenfour*
  2. Life Itself*
  3. The Overnighters
  4. Virunga
  5. Finding Vivian Maier

On the bubble: Jodorowsky’s DuneLast Days in Vietnam

Best Foreign Film

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  1. Ida*
  2. Force Majeure
  3. Leviathan
  4. Wild Tales
  5. Tangerines

On the bubble: Timbuktu

Best Cinematography

3ZH4ZZ8

  1. Birdman*
  2. Mr. Turner*
  3. Unbroken
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Ida

On the bubble: The Imitation GameInterstellar, Gone Girl,

Best Costume Design

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  1. Into the Woods*
  2. Maleficent
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Mr. Turner
  5. The Imitation Game

Best Make-up and Hair

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. The Theory of Everything

On the bubble: MaleficentFoxcatcher

Best Production Design

TGBH-launch-quad-1024x768

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel*
  2. Into the Woods*
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. Birdman
  5. Inherent Vice

On the bubble: InterstellarMr. Turner

Best Editing

Quad_BC_AW_[26237] Imitation Game, The

  1. Birdman*
  2. Boyhood*
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. Whiplash

On the bubble: SelmaGone GirlInterstellar

Best Visual Effects

godzilla-trailer-02-1

  1. Interstellar*
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes*
  3. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy
  5. Godzilla

On the bubble: Captain America – The Winter SoldierMaleficent

Best Original Score

unbroken-movie-review-108d6c03-ae8a-41ce-af7c-608d0db0ec78

  1. Interstellar
  2. Gone Girl
  3. The Theory of Everything
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel

On the bubble: Unbroken

Best Original Song

Im-Not-Gonna-Miss-You-CP

  1. “Glory” (Selma)*
  2. “Everything is Awesome” (The Lego Movie)*
  3. “Lost Stars” (Begin Again)
  4. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You (Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me)
  5. “Mercy Is (Noah)

On the bubble: “Split the Difference” (Boyhood), “Big Eyes” (Big Eyes), “Yellow Flicker Beat” (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)

Note: After “Glory” and “Everything is Awesome,” this is a crapshoot.

Best Sound Editing

guardians-of-the-galaxy-rocket

  1. Interstellar*
  2. Birdman
  3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  4. Unbroken
  5. American Sniper 

On the bubble: Into the WoodsGuardians of the Galaxy

Best Sound Mixing

american-sniper

  1. Into the Woods*
  2. Interstellar*
  3. Unbroken
  4. Whiplash
  5. American Sniper

Best Live Action Short

  1. Carry On
  2. The Phone Call
  3. Aya 
  4. Boogaloo and Graham
  5. My Father’s Truck

On the bubble: Summer Vacation, Baghdad Messi

Best Animated Short

  1. Feast*
  2. Duet
  3. Coda
  4. The Bigger Picture
  5. Footprints

On the bubble: Symphony #42The Dam Keeper

Feast is the only one I’ve seen, so pretty much anyone’s guess after that.

Best Documentary Short

  1. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press One*
  2. The Lion’s Mouth Opens
  3. Joanna
  4. Our Curse
  5. One Child

Let the end of the year wrap-up commence. Today is “Where Did They Come From?”, a recap of the year in film source material, and next week will be “Top 10 Lists” (the best of 2014 and hopefully 2015), and my official Oscar predictions.

Today we’re dealing with that ugly little monster that keeps saying that Hollywood is losing its creativity. Listen, its not the movie studios who are at fault if you choose to ignore films you’re not familiar with. Known commodities will nearly always win box office battles, because its easier to get people in the seats, but profit and box office receipts don’t equal quality, and in this age of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Redbox, there’s no excuse for not seeing the amazing new ideas out there. So…

Where Did They Come From?

There are four categories: Originals, Adaptations, Sequels (which include Prequels), and Remakes. I’m dropping re-releases this year, there are so few and they are usually pretty limited in scope.

To be fair, I’m only listing films that made it to wide release. If they have already announced wide release dates for early 2015, but have been out already in limited release, then they have been counted. If I counted limited release films as well, the original films would be the clear winner.

Originals

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Using the same qualifiers that the Academy Awards use, Original Films are films that are new screenplays, and not based on previously existing material such as novels, plays, television shows, etc. Basically, “Original” means not connected to any pre-existing work in print, screen, or stage. Films like Selma, based on events but not creative works, are still original films. Last year there were 50 original films released. This year, that number falls by one to 49.

The Top Five Original Films at the worldwide box office in 2014 were:

(* = still in theaters)

  1. Interstellar* – $648.9M (Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan)  
  2. The Lego Movie – $468M (Written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller)
  3. Lucy – $458.9M (Written by Luc Besson)
  4. Neighbors – $268.2M (Written by Andrew Cohen and Brandon O’Brien)
  5. Non-Stop – $222.9M (Written by Ryan Engle, John W. Richardson, and Chris Roach)

Adaptations

guardians-of-the-galaxy-rocket

Adaptations are all films based on already existing material, which can include novels (The Maze Runner), comic books (Guardians of the Galaxy), plays (Annie), TV shows etc.

Reboots such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are classified as adaptations because they are not sequels to existing material, but new versions of adapted material. Films like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One are considered adaptations as well. These are not actually sequels in the sense that Captain America: Winter Soldier or Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb are, but actually new adaptations of works that continue the story adapted in the first film.

With 50 total adaptations, they were the most common film in 2014. This is the first time in at least four years that there have been more adaptations than original films. Last year there were just 40. Its still important to note that most adaptations have never been adapted, so they are still new material, aside from the anomalies like Mockingjay.

The Top Five Adaptations at the worldwide box office in 2014 were:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy –  $772.5M (Adapted from the Marvel Comics comic book series)
  2. Maleficent – $757.8M (Adapted from the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty)
  3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1* – $671.9M (Adapted from “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins)
  4. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies* – $580.7M (Adapted from “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien)
  5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $477.2M (Adapted from the Mirage Studios comic book series)

Sequels/Prequels

la_ca_0102_Captain_America

In this category are films that are sequels or prequels to other films. Spin-offs like Annabelle are also included. Easy huh? There were 20 sequels in 2014, that’s an increase of two from last year.

The Top Five Sequels/Prequels in 2014 were:

  1. Transformers: Age of Extinction – $1.1B <— Yes, billion. How do these crappy films keep making money?!?
  2. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $746M
  3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $714.1M
  4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $709M
  5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – $708.3M

Remakes

Joel Kinnaman

This category includes all remakes of feature films regardless of their country of origin. There were only 3 remakes in 2014, here are their international box office totals.

  1. Godzilla – $525M (Remake of 1954 film Godzilla)
  2. RoboCop – $242.7M (Remake of 1987 film of the same name)
  3. About Last Night – $49M (Remake of 1986 film of the same name)

In Conclusion

graph

The majority of 2014 films are brand new to the screen, either by way of Original Screenplay or an Adaptation. In the next few years we’re going to be seeing a whole new slate of long term projects make it to the big screen. We have Deadpool, the continuing Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Comics big guns, new Star Wars films and even Lego getting amped up. I look forward to it. Hope you do as well.