Review: The Best of 2014’s First Half

game-of-thrones-season-4-dragon-hboReview: The Best of 2014’s First Half

2014 is halfway over and we’ve already seen some great stuff. It’s really difficult to single out what’s best in any category. So we’ve given our picks for the Top 3 movies, shows, and video games.

First Place

3027812-inline-i-6-adam-stockhausen-grand-budapest-hotelFilm: : The Grand Budapest Hotel

Metacritic: 88
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” had a limited release on March 14 after receiving a strong word-of-mouth from the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival back on February 6th. Critics raved about it use of style to express emotional ideas, many called it Wes Anderson’s most mature film to date. The film is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray, so you should definitely check it out.

game-thrones-season-4-episode-3-oathkeeperTV: Game of Thrones – Season 4

Metacritic: 94
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

“Game of Thrones” just completed its 4th season two weeks ago. Season four is its highest rated season on MetaCritic. In addition to being widely regarded as a great show, it is also right behind “The Walking Dead” as the most popular show currently on television.

dark-souls-2Video Game: Dark Souls II

Metacritic: 90 on PC, 91 on PS3, 92 on Xbox 360

“Dark Souls II” is a difficult game to say the least, but the more difficult the challenge the greater the reward. Critics and gamers have been raving about this sequel, many state that it vastly improves upon the original. It may not be the top discussion at the water cooler, like “Mario Kart 8” or “Titanfall,” but it’s still the strongest game of 2014.

Second Place

art_w_lego2_1302-620x349

Film: The Lego Movie

Metacritic: 82
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

“The Lego Movie” could’ve easily been a commercialized mess, but co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller helped create a film where the animation is aesthetically coherent to a “Lego World,” the jokes are consistently hilarious, and the voice acting is energetic and spot-on. “The Lego Movie” sets the bar ridiculously high for any future animated films of 2014.

True-detective-1x02-7TV: True Detective – Season 1

Metacritic: 87
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%

Novelist Nic Pizzolatto wrote and created a crime show that isn’t like the other billions of crime shows on television. “True Detective” separated itself from the pack a style and vision that tackles head-on much darker and complex themes in regard to the criminal mind. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson both give brilliant performances that help drive the narrative home.

2633175-b00dc7g2w8_finishline_lgVideo Game: Mario Kart 8

Metacritic: 88

Nintendo’s new generation console hasn’t faired well. That doesn’t stop the company from doing what they do best and making some of the greatest party games. “Mario Kart 8” improves on the franchise with great playability, great new track designs, and all the madness and chaos that comes with the battle to the finish line.

 Third Place

Snowpiercer-2013-2Film: Snowpiercer

Metacritic: 83 Still Counting
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Still Counting

“Snowpiercer” made its limited release just in time on to make this list on June 27th. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where a failed global-warming experiment kills of most of the life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine. “Snowpiercer” is significantly better than your run-of-the-mill action blockbuster. Raved about for its stylistic approach to the imaginative world both inside and outside the train.

Hannibal - Season 1TV: Hannibal – Season 2

Metacritic: 88
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

Season 2 of “Hannibal” vastly improves upon its first season. It’s twisted, beautiful, stylish, and even at times funny. The way “True Detective” redefines the crime genre, “Hannbal” redefines the serial killer genre. Especially with the help of a strong cast including Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Laurence Fishburne.

South-Park-3Video Game: South Park: The Stick of Truth

Metacritic: 85 on PC and PS3, 82 on Xbox 360

“South Park: The Stick of Truth” edges out “Titanfall” by a hair. Once the game is beaten there is little reason to keep on playing, but the time you spend getting through the game is more ridiculously fun than many games out there. The game is beautifully animated, and the RPG elements are spot-on with just enough action and plot to avoid becoming repetitive.

Alternates:

Film
Under the Skin
Locke
Edge of Tomorrow
Obvious Child
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Jodorowsky’s Dune
22 Jump Street

TV
Orange is the New Black – Season 2
Louie – Season 4
The Americans – Season 2
Silicon Valley – Season 1

Justified – Season 5

Video Game
Titanfall
The Walking Dead: Season 2
Child of Light

Wolfenstein: The New Order
The Wolf Among Us
Shovel Knight

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About Matthew Durham

Passionate about Film, TV and Video Games. BS in Film. Post-Production Editor for The Golf Channel and Writer for TheMedia10.com

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