The Best Movies of 2014

A most excellent year

From a 350ft Godzilla to wormholes in space and time, via robots, aliens, superheroes, apes, vampires, cannibals, Welsh miners and a weapon-wielding racoon; 2014 had it all. Looking at the high standard of this years crop, its clear that were enjoying a new golden age with a glut of distinguished titles. So here we turn our misty eyes to the past 12 months. Enjoy its one for the archives.

50. Maleficent

The TF Verdict: Sleeping Beautys wicked witch gets a big-screen fantasy update in a fairy-tale of feminist revenge. Star charisma roaring, Angelina Jolie upends Disney clichs (motherhood, morality) with sly, wry humour.

49. We Are What We Are

The TF Verdict: Composed and classy, Jim Mickles US horror remake improves on the Mexican original. WAWWA sees a family of cannibals struggle to survive in a bleak Southern backwater. Its unnerving and moving in equal measures.

48. Noah

The TF Verdict: Let there be rock monsters, sayeth Darren Aronofsky, reimagining The Bible. Russell Crowe rediscovers his mojo as the ark knight aided by Aronofsky playing God with a $125m budget.

47. Cold In July

The TF Verdict: Michael C. Halls family man turns true detective in Jim Nickles 80s-set neo-noir. Also on board are Texas locales and Don Johnson as a pig-farming PI with a brick-sized portable phone. Whats not to like?

46. Fury

The TF Verdict: Brad Pitt tanks into Second World War-fare. Pitts weathered lead and Logan Lermans green rookie ground the experience. Loud, intense, violent, relentless, Fury doesnt stop until the credits roll, thanks to David Ayers cracking direction and a committed cast.

45. Nymphomaniac

The TF Verdict: Charlotte Gainsbourg shares her sex-capades in an art-grot two-parter that requires close attention and an open mind. Mixing filth and philosophy, Lars von Trier delivers maximum provocation in his friskiest picture for years.

44. Exodus: Gods And Kings

The TF Verdict: Ridley Scott returns to the swords-and-sandals epic as Moses leads 600,000 slaves out of Egypt. Scott operates on a suitably Biblical scale (huge practical sets mixed with CG) and grounds the spectacle with a rock-solid turn from Christian Bale as Moses.

43. Godzilla

The TF Verdict: Brit director Gareth Edwards breathes new life into Japans galumphing gecko. The original Godzilla design is lovingly recreated with CGI, while Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are central to set-pieces that bring the awe.

42. Stranger By The Lake

The TF Verdict: Sun, sex, psychosis, skinny-dipping: it sounds like genre tat, but Guiraudies dark, droll study of a risky attraction upends expectations. Love and death feature in the great outdoors, as a gay hangout becomes a murder scene.

41. 22 Jump Street

The TF Verdict: Undercover idiots Schmidt and Jenko go to college in a raucous sequel that deconstructs sequels. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill once again pump up the bromance as the cops sent to investigate a drug pusher at a local college. Roll on 23!

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