10. The Death of Thorin Oakenshield, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The final Hobbit film was a rather disappointing effort, but you can’t deny that Peter Jackson and company nailed the film’s pivotal scene as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) says goodbye to his journey’s leader, Thorin (Richard Armitage). Armitage nails the moment and Freeman delivers an honest and heartfelt moment that is up there with the best acted moments in Jackson’s entire Middle-earth saga.
9. The Final Fight, Godzilla
Nothing made me happier in film this year than Godzilla’s atomic breath aided victory over the MUTOs.
8. Inside the Blackhole, Interstellar
What could have come off as a corny twist was anything but in the hands of Christopher Nolan as his construction of the Tesseract was wonderfully realized. Matthew McConaughey also delivers a strong performance in this emotional scene that connects everything together.
7. Kitchen Fight Scene, The Raid 2
Never has a fight between equally matched opponents been so realistic and gritty than in this film. Gareth Evans consistently finds a way to keep the momentum going as the fight seems to go on forever while still finding new ways to up the ante.
6. Birdman Takes Over, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Birdman was a very good film heading into its final act even if it did have a slight feeling of “been there, done that”. In its third act, though, the film really takes flight (no pun intended) as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu finally begins to take some major risks. As the film becomes more inventive with the filmmaking process rather than just with the dialogue, the film begins to feel as if it was co-directed by a reborn Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick. That is a good thing.
5. 23 Years Have Passed, Interstellar
Interstellar has received a lot of acclaim for the emotion that it has on display. A lot of that acclaim comes from this scene in which Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) realizes that he has wasted 23 years on a planet that he was exploring. With a top-notch performance from McConaughey and two great introductions (Casey Affleck and the haunting Jessica Chastain) this is a scene difficult to forget.
4. “Do We Seize the Moment or Does the Moment Seize Us?”, Boyhood
The final quote from Richard Linklater’s masterpiece is the kind of life question that he loves exploring in his films. In a way, that quote comes across as a perfect summation of Mason’s entire journey throughout the course of the film.
3. The “I Thought There Would Be More.” Monologue, Boyhood
It’s the line delivery of the year as Patricia Arquette devastatingly delivers one of the most honest and saddest monologues you will ever hear.
2. Race to the Endurance, Interstellar
Cooper and Brand’s race to get back to the Endurance before Mann can hijack it and the ensuing aftermath is the type of scene that IMAX was made for. It’s a stunning, breath-taking sequence that makes the most out of the format.
1. The Ending, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
I’ve heard more than ten people express their opinion on what happened at the end of Birdman, and every single one has been different. It’s not often that you get that from an ending, and despite the ambiguity of it, there is more than enough resolution for the characters for this to work as well as it does.