Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Ten Films of 2014

Nothing happened the way it was suppose to happen this year. I was hurt, I was betrayed but on the up side I fell in love which was wonderful. Film-wise this year was pretty underwhelming. I made a total of 18 trips to the cinema which was less than I had planned, but I doubt it would have made much of a difference. The films I saw weren't bad, many of them just fell frustratingly short from being really good which I think is worse than a year fill of stinkers. So as you can imagine compiling this 'Top Ten' wasn't an easy task but thankfully for a few late contenders I made it across the line. However this list will subject to change between now and the end of January as there are still a few very promising titles on my radar that I'm yet to see, so until then I hope you enjoy my list of 'Top Ten Films' for 2014. 

1) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Anticipation was high and my expectations was greatly exceeded. I'm glad to have seen my No.1 pick in the comfort and luxury of a Village Gold Class cinema. 'Dawn' was an improvement over the previous instalment, filled with impressive but moderate CGI effects. The mind blowing quality of the use of motion capture animation for the cast of simian characters the sets a new industry standard. The film's premise aside its about the primal and mutual survival of two separate but civilised groups. This is balanced and well executed by having misguided individuals on both sides instead of the routine of two opposing forces fighting for dominance. Performance and raw and emotional across the board which further enhances the sense of desperation and the longing for peace and a new beginning. Fans new and old will enjoy this immensely and we should all be very excited for the next instalment. 

2) Gone Girl

Maybe it's just me but I'm starting to get the impression that David Fincher doesn't care a great deal for women. Anyone else feel the same? No? Gone Girl I think easily takes the prize for best film title; if you've seen it I'm sure you'll agree. It's a difficult film to talk about: the less you know about the plot the better. I'll just say that no film will plunge you so deep into mystery and intrigue quite like this. Gone Girl will entertain and infuriate you at the same time.

3) Jersey Boys

I'm still baffled as to why this has received such a negative reception and I think I will be for some time. Jersey Boys is an entertaining streetwise musical biopic that’s brilliantly adapted to the screen with the same explosive level of energy from the stage show that director Clint Eastwood captures with an exceptional cast of performers from both stage and screen. I've been listening to the soundtrack literally since it's release and believe me, it doesn't get old!

4) The Monuments Men
Made in the spirit of old fashion Hollywood war films which often had that fine blend of humour, intense drama and action. This remarkable true war-time story was one that clearly meant a great deal to the film's director and star Gerorge Clooney as the importance of protecting and preserving people's culture and history really pulls at the heart strings. It's a story that commands respect and gratitude to those who went above and beyond to save countless works of art and architectural splendour from the ravages of war.

5) Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Canon Films
Documentaries about films are amongst my favourite of the genre. This one is the unique and colourful story of two Israeli-born cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus who lived the American dream by making movies. Their conduct and behaviour was questionable and their films weren't Oscar winning masterpieces of cinema but that's beside the point. Electric Boogaloo is about the love of movies, movie-making and most importantly the desire to entertain audiences. If you decide to take the plunge prepare yourself for 90 minutes of cinematic nostalgia. 

6) Edge of Tomorrow
This was the biggest surprise of the year for me; so much so that I'm starting to like Tom Cruise again. Combing popular elements of the genre, Edge of Tomorrow (or whatever it's called now) is a well-executed modern sci-fi that's fast paced with impressive visuals whilst being very reminiscent  and offering interesting parallels of historical military campaigns and battles. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt play well off each other as the only two soldiers who hold the key to preventing the annihilation of human kind.

7) Grand Budapest Hotel
An absurd comedy taking place its own unique and perfectly odd little universe that's full of rich colours, characters and the most witty mismatched dialogue I've ever heard. Visually it's an impressive work of art. Every shot framed perfectly, each like it's own priceless painting.

8) Exodus: Gods and Kings
The grand spectacle of cinema captures the immense scale of the much loved biblical story in all it's beauty in addition to wowing audiences with awe inspiring visuals and commanding lead performances from a cast of diverse and established actors. Although overly long and somewhat flat in parts it was a real treat to see a modern film made in the tradition of a Cecil B. DeMille epic.

9) Fury
The most terrifying sight I've seen this year was of a tank shell bouncing off an incoming German 'Tiger Tank'. Seen through the eyes of a battle hardened tank crew, this shockingly brutal WWII blockbuster makes use of religious symbolism and human savagery to recreate the hellish atmosphere soldiers were faced with daily towards the war's end. I was really excited to see Fury as I had been longing for World War II film about the armoured divisions for years. Thankfully it really does deliver the goods action wise. Although perhaps a tad too much as the film's climax is very unrealistic in terms of the type of combat it's depicting, so suspension of disbelieve if paramount.

10) Tracks
A film that shows us how alive and hostile the great Australian desert truly is. The film's dreamlike and spiritual aura combined with the stunning photography makes for a very unique and beautiful cinema going experience. It's a remarkable journey in search of one's identity and place in the world. 

Honourable Mentions:

This very ambitious science-fiction adventure impresses with incredible mind bending visuals while striving for scientific accuracy and realism. The philosophical theme offers many thought provoking sequences although the plot becomes unnecessarily confusing during the final act.

As Above So Below
Clever use of visual trickery, camera work and the most haunting of sounds make for a mind bending journey deep into forgotten centuries old ruins beneath the earth. The historical basis to the plot further adds to the level of intrigue as well the underlining themes of past guilt and regret amongst the characters. Striking symbolic imagery to satanic lore, although not specific to any religion evokes an unsettling feeling of dread.

Deliver Us from Evil
Dark and confronting inner city crime and satanic lore are combined in what results as a genuinely scary supernatural thriller with an exceptionally appropriate soundtrack. Eric Bana is solid however there are moments of sloppy dialogue.

X-Men Days of Future Past
An emotional origins story with exceptional acting that offers an interesting slice of alternate history. The noticeable parallels to past events highlight the fears and anxieties of being different and living in fear of judgement and persecution.

A Million Ways to Die in the West
The unforgiving and fragile way of life in that in of old-west is portrayed hilariously, making excellent use of parody that takes jabs at the harsh realities and mindsets as well as clich├ęs of the western genre, whilst being a sweet little tale of love.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear it was a bit of a mixed year for you, Kevin. Let's hope next year brings you great fortunes!

    Awesome list. I haven't seen nearly as many movies from 2014 as I would have liked to, including several of these.