Metascore: 68 Neighbors seems like just another crude, raunchy comedy, but underneath the condom-eating baby is a sly look at the never-smooth transition to adulthood. Seth Rogen is his usual funny self as new dad Mac and Zac Efron successfully sheds any remnants of High School Musical with his layered douche-y frat bro Teddy, but the movie's secret weapon is Rose Byrne. Already the highlight of Bridesmaids, she once again steals the show from the boys, who can only try to keep up with her brand of mischief. Beware when Mama Bear attacks.
Metascore: 70 Bridging old-school '70s espionage intrigue and 21st-century superhero thrills, The Winter Soldier not only fits seamlessly into the Marvel film canon, but works excellently as a standalone adventure. Besides, its HYDRA twist basically salvaged/rebooted the fledgling Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season.
Metascore: 68 Eschewing big-budget superhero tentpole flicks, director, writer and star Jon Favreau went minimal with a semi-autobiographical midlife crisis tale about Carl Casper, a renowned chef-turned-food truck owner. And like comfort food, Chef is warm, enjoyable and goes down easy, even if the road to reignite the passion you lost sight of might not be. And you saw the food porn, right?!
Metascore: 82 Where, say, Transformers fails at being more than a Michael Bay-plosion, The Lego Movie is a big-screen toy story done right. With playful gags for kiddies and witty one-liners for those 18 and older, the imaginatively retro yet fresh film is the rare movie that appeals to all ages. Everything is awesome!
Metascore: 83 Stellar performances notwithstanding, perhaps the best way to describe Foxcatcher is what isn't said. Based on the tragic 1996 murder of Olympic champion wrestler Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) by the mentally ill John du Pont (Steve Carell), who also coached Dave's gold medalist brother Mark (Channing Tatum), the drama traffics in silence -- icy, hushed beats that illuminate the emotionally detached characters' psyches and build a foreboding sense of doom. Ultimately an observation of American greed and obsession, it leaves you with a chill you can't quite wrestle off.
Metascore: 72 Yes, The Theory of Everything is a Stephen Hawking biopic, but it's also a bittersweet portrait of a beautifully complicated marriage between the astrophysicist and his first wife Jane. It wouldn't work, though, without the brilliant turns by and palpable chemistry between Eddie Redmayne, completely lost in the role, and Felicity Jones, whose steely Jane gives her husband everything and then some in the face of unimaginable obstacles.
Metascore: 74 Just a year after Gravity, Christopher Nolan uncorks his own awe-inspiring, ambitious space spectacle. Visually astounding and topped by a moving performance from Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar is both breathless in scope and thought-provoking in its attempt to test the limits of space, time and the immeasurable constant of love.
Metascore:75 "Abortion comedy" doesn't sound like a great idea, but in debutante director-writer Gillian Robespierre's hands, it's an affecting, witty combo. Jenny Slate delivers a winning performance as Donna, a struggling standup comedian who discovers she's pregnant, as she reconciles her onstage clarity and offstage hot mess of a life. And the abortion? The subject is broached with a hardly seen candor and zero judgment.
Metascore: 71 Tidy and accessible, the other British genius biopic -- about mathematician Alan Turing who cracked the Nazis' Enigma code -- takes all its conventions and molds it into an engaging, well-crafted tale via its trifurcated structure. While it crackles with its motley crew of code breakers, including a magnificent Keira Knightley, it's Benedict Cumberbatch's hypnotic portrayal of the unique, tortured and closeted war hero on which the film rests.
Metascore: 88 Arguably Wes Anderson's best film since The Royal Tenenbaums, the frenzied whodunit mixes the auteur's highly stylized vision -- no space goes to waste -- with escalating dark screwball humor. The cherry on top is its magical ensemble cast, which includes Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe and Tilda Swinton, led by a wickedly superb Ralph Fiennes, secret comedian. Who knew?
Metascore: 87 "There are no two words in the English language more harmful than 'good job,'" music teacher Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) says in Whiplash. And so begins an electrifying, volatile battle of wills and psychological warfare between the tyrannical instructor, who also hasn't heard of "going too far," and drum major Andrew (Miles Teller), who burns to be great-with-a-capital-G. Simmons and Teller are demonically ferocious, but the taut, assured movie's pièce de résistance is its pulsating, agonizingly grand finale that ends the film on a perfect note.
Metascore: 89 Like its jaunty jazz drum score, Birdman is a magnetic, fluid tour de force you don't want to end. And in some ways, it doesn't. Edited as one long take, the absurdist black comedy -- about Riggan Thomson, Hollywood's former Birdman superhero, attempting a comeback on stage -- satirizes showbiz, society and ego with a bite that cuts deep and true. Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis are dynamite, but it's the mercurial Birdman himself, Michael Keaton, who truly shines in his long-awaited third act.
Metascore: 79 An ideal marriage -- no pun intended -- of material and directorial style, David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling murder mystery is a surgical, twisted pulp thriller that entertains and eviscerates (the media, that is). Backed by a strong supporting cast, including Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens and comic relief Tyler Perry, Ben Affleck deploys his smarm charm to great effect as suspected hubby Nick, while Rosamund Pike's chilly controlled chaos in Amy is, yes, amazing.
Metascore: 100 Filmed over 12 years, Richard Linklater's coming-of-age passion project could've been a gimmick that went terribly wrong. Instead, Boyhood is a poignant, profound time capsule of youth. Ellar Coltrane, who was 7 when production started, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are all achingly raw, infusing the film with heartfelt naturalism as little cloud-gazing Mason grows up before our eyes. Life, as it reminds us, crawls slowly and goes by in a flash, but Boyhood's story is timeless.