Note: I completely forgot about "Frozen," which is clocks in at number 8 on my list. "Homefront" is kept as an honorable mention.
Honorable Mention. Homefront. This is a good old fashioned action movie, only with more depth than is commonly associated with action movies. The bad guys aren't as bad as they seem, and when things get tough, they act in ways that we don't expect them to.
10. Oblivion. A visually dazzling sci-fi mystery with strong performances. Although inferior, it bears mention to last year's Top 10'er "Looper." Unfortunately, it doesn't bear well to repeat viewings.
9. Gravity. This one needs to be seen in 3D and in the biggest screen possible. Unfortunately, it's out of theaters by now, but I was fortunate enough to see it in IMAX 3D. It's a beautifully made film with two great performances.
8. "Frozen." One of the year's most delightful musicals. An interesting, although imperfect, story, fun characters and some great songs ("For the First Time in Forever" and "Let it Go" are my favorites from the movie)...it's no wonder the film made it to my Top 10 list.
6. The Wolf of Wall Street. For the most part, comedies wear out their welcome after 90 minutes. "The Wolf of Wall Street" bucks the trend by making a movie that had me laughing out loud on a fairly consistent (and frequent) basis for the better part of three hours. Martin Scorcese, you've done it again.
5. Kick-Ass 2. No one seemed to like this movie as much as I did. Oh well, that's happened before, and it's bound to happen again. Everyone's opinion is different, after all. Regardless, "Kick-Ass 2" mines the new territory that was neglected in the first one. And it does so in a fashion that equals the freshness and brilliance of the first one.
4. Rush. Emotionally complex, strongly acted and at times unbearably suspenseful, this is one of the better racing movies to come along in quite some time. Both Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl deserve the Oscar nominations that they will not get (Bruhl got a Golden Globe nod, but it'll take an act of God to get him in the final five at the Oscars). The movie did not do well at the box office, probably because of a lackluster marketing campaign. Pity. This is a movie people should see.
3. The Way Way Back. One of the best coming of age stories to come along in years. It literally had me standing up and applauding at the end of it. I'm not kidding. Like the two stars in the aforementioned "Rush," Sam Rockwell and especially Steve Carrell deserved Oscar nods. This is definitely an under-the-radar gem that is worth seeking out.
2. Star Trek Into Darkness. I didn't like this movie as much as I do now when I first saw it. But the more I watch it, the more I like it. I appreciate the strong story and the emotional depth of its characters. It's got more depth than we get from most action movies. Plus the action scenes are spectacular too.
1. Captain Phillips. I nearly put "Star Trek Into Darkness" at the top spot. But I decided against it. While "Star Trek" is more fun, this is an overall better movie. It's also thoroughly exhausting and draining. Expect this to score more than a few Oscar nods.