The Pop Culture Cafe


2014’s Hidden Gems by Grant R. Markham

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Here we are. The New Year. 2015.  Which means another year has come and gone, and another mountain of movie gems were buried by blockbusters, misguided Hollywood big wigs, bigger budgets, and bigger name movie stars. Or just poor marketing. Sadly this happens each and every year. Movies that deserve a wider release and larger audiences are relegated to a small handful of theaters, VOD, and/or various streaming services. Such is the business of making movies. It’s always a crapshoot. But fear not! That’s why I’m here! I have been asked by The Pop Culture Cafe’s “Chief Barista” JohnGMBurke to help dig out the buried treasures and put them on display for you to track down and watch.

While this list is not the end all be all of hidden gems for 2014, (do you know how many movies were released in 2014?!) it is a great way to discover films you most likely missed because they simply didn’t have the exposure or word of mouth that other films had.  To wit, if you’re a cinephile and you watch as many movies as I do, some of these will not be hidden gems to you. This list is intended for the average movie watcher, not the above average movie lover. Because, let’s face it, if you love movies, you’ve seen a lot of what’s on this list!

Rather then do a write up of each one, I have linked trailers and descriptions from “Wild About Movies” for your perusal. I avoided RottenTomatoes, IMDB, and other sites that rate and provide possible spoilers. Seeing other peoples ratings/scores tend to instantly skew your perception of the films merits and quality. It’s enough to just say I enjoyed these films. So without further ado…

  1.  Open Grave (starring Sharlto Copely) –
  2.  Big Bad Wolves (starring Lior Ashkenazi) –
  3.  Enemies Closer (starring Jean Claude VanDamme so bad he’s good) –
  4.  The Returned – (starring Anne Consigny) –
  5.  Stalingrad (starring Thomas Kretschmann) –
  6.  In Fear (starring Allen Leech and Ian DeCaestecker) –
  7.  Grand Piano (starring John Cusack, Alex Winter, and Elijah Wood)  –
  8.  Bad Words (starring Jason Bateman) –
  9.  Better Living Through Chemistry (starring Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell) –
  10.  Cheap Thrills (starring David Koechner, Pat Healy, and Ethan Embry) –
  11.  The Day (starring Dominac Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore) –
  12.  Afflicted (starring Jason Lee) –
  13.  Joe (starring Ty Sheridan and Nicolas Cage) –
  14.  Hateship Loveship (starring Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce) –
  15. 13 Sins (starring Marc Webber and Ron Perlman) –
  16. Blue Ruin (starring Macon Blair) –  MY #1 PICK!
  17.  Walk of Shame (starring Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden) –
  18.  APP (starring Hanna Hoekstra) –
  19.  Chef (starring Jon Favreau and a lot of other people!) –
  20.  Cold In July (starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson) MY #2 PICK!
  21.  Age of Uprising (starring Mads Mikkelsen) –
  22.  Anna (starring Mark Strong and Taissa Farminga) –
  23.  Obvious Child (starring Jenny Slate) –
  24.  The Signal (starring Laurence Fishburn and Brenton Thwaites) –
  25.  Witching and Bitching (starring Hugo Silva and Carolina Bang) –
  26.  Jackpot (starring Kyrre Hellum) –
  27.  Premature (starring Adam Riegler and Alan Tudyk) –
  28.  Life After Beth (starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan) –
  29.  Frank (starring Michael Fassbender) –
  30.  The One I Love (starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss) –
  31.   Life of Crime (starring Jennifer Aniston, Will Forte, and Tim Robbins) –
  32.  The Longest Week (starring Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, and Billy Crudup) –
  33.  Honeymoon (starring Harry Treadway and Rose Leslie) –
  34.  The Zero Theorem (starring Christoph Waltz) –
  35.  This Is Where I Leave You (starring Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll,  and Tina Fey) –
  36.  Automata (starring Antonio Banderas) –
  37.  Housebound (starring Morgana O’Reily) MY #3 PICK!
  38.  Stonehearst Asylum (starring Jim Sturgess, Kate Beckinsale, and Ben Kingsley) –
  39.  Horns – (starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple) –
  40.  Jessabelle – (starring Sara Snook and Marc Webber) –
  41.  The Babadook (starring Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman) MY #4 PICK! –
  42.  A Long Way Down (starring Pierce Brosnan, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, and Toni Collette) –
  43.  These Final Hours (US release) (starring Nathan Phillips) MY #5 PICK!
  44.  Predestination (starring Ethan Hawk and Sara Snook) TIED FOR 5th PLACE!
  45.  Snowpiercer (starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton) –
  46.  The Guest (starring Dan Stevens) TIED FOR 3rd PLACE!
  47.  The Salvation (starring Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green) –
  48. I Origins (starring Michael Pitt and Brit Marling) –

There are many more films from 2014, especially from the horror genre (which puts out more films each year than any other genre), as well from the festival and indy circuits that I am sure to have missed or inadvertently omitted from the list. Please feel free to add your own or scoff at and debate the merits of ones I consider the hidden gems and buried treasures of 2014.

About Grant R. Markham: Podcaster. Photographer. Sarcastic Smart Ass. Hater of Ham. Dedicated Procrastinator. American Idiot. Lover of all things cinema related.

I have viewed each and every movie on this list and stand behind them all for various reasons. Which is not to say they are all perfect! I’m a movie lover not a movie snob. I love movies. I love watching movies. I sit through so many it’s silly really… I love movies like people love their children. Even when they stink a bit, I can find something to enjoy. I actively watch movies rather than passively. When I sit down, there are not computers, cell phones, bathroom breaks, or interruptions. I pay attention and try to absorb the entirety of the film before me. I love to debate movies and have friendly arguments regarding them. If you like OR dislike my list and wanna chat, find me on Twitter @insta_grants2


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