Justin Leff and Sawyer Kroll
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street revolves around investor Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), who successfully manages to create an empire of fraudulent brokers. In the process, they make loads of money, do drugs on yachts, and get several women. While this movie was very controversial, as some claim it glorified greed and stealing money, the film was very entertaining with non-stop action and humor.
2. American Hustle
American Hustle combines the stars of The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, creating an all-star cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale. David O. Russell, the director of The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, epicly portrays the adventures of two con-artists forced to work for the FBI as they try to bust mafia members and corrupt politicians. American Hustle hustles its way into award season with outstanding performances and a great story.
3. 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave, a biopic about Solomon Northrup—a free African-American kidnapped into slavery—brilliantly captures an impactful, yet brutal look at the horrors of slavery. While 12 Years a Slave is not an easy watch, this overpowering true story is definitely important to see. Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers a stellar portrayal of Northrup, along with many top-notch performances from a star-studded cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt. The gripping film is a front-runner for Best Picture and numerous additional Oscars.
In this dark, gripping thriller, a man searching for his kidnapped daughter decides to take matters into his own hands. Prisoners, masterfully crafted by director Denis Villeneuve, features superb acting from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal and more than a few shocking plot twists. This film had me on the edge of my seat for all of its disturbing two and a half hours. Prisoners is, in my opinion, the most underrated movie of the year. Due to its early release date, it has stumbled into awards season with little to no recognition.
5. Anchorman 2
As I entered the movie theater to see Anchorman 2, I was worried that it would not live up to the high expectations laid out by Anchorman and its excellent ad campaign. Not only were my expectations met, they were surpassed. Anchorman 2 had just as many laughs as its predecessor, with incredibly quotable lines and hilarious cameos. This included the dramatic tale of Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), Brick (Steve Carrell) and Chani’s (Kristen Wiig) romance, and another battle of the news teams. The movie was jam-packed with stars, including Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell.
6. Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks is the captivating true story about the creation of the Disney classic, Mary Poppins. Armed with excellent acting from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, as well as a fantastic screenplay written by Sue Smith, Saving Mr. Banks is sure to excite. This interesting and powerful film charges into award season with possible Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress.
7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Though The Secret Life of Walter Mitty received much criticism from some critics, this film is still really good. Walter Mitty is a heartwarming movie worth seeing. Based on stories published in The New Yorker by James Thurber, this film stars Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig, as they spark during this romantic comedy. The plot revolves around a man who lives a boring life and resorts to day dreaming, but then work forces him to start living.
8. The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby, is back in theaters, but this time, with one of our favorites: Leonardo DiCaprio. The Great Gatsby truly soars with a first-rate cast including Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, as well as visually dazzling and ambitious cinematography. The film features a bold soundtrack featuring A-list artists including Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, and Jack White, highlighting the high life of the Roaring ‘20s. The movie portrays the book almost perfectly and the cast will steal your heart.
Alfonso Cuaron delivers a captivating visual spectacle in Gravity, a film about a woman stranded in space and her treacherous journey to return home. While the plot is lacking, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney both give solid performances and the incredible cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki is a technical achievement. Gravity effortlessly takes you into a beautifully terrifying new world. The film enters award season with likely Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography. By the way, it also won Best Director Golden Globes.