2014 in Words & Stuff

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Everything has a ‘best of’ round up now. It’s honestly getting tired, cliche and mostly irrelevant… so without further ado here’s my top 10 list of films from 2014!!

This is based on the films I’ve personally seen and based on UK release dates. There are a couple of films that I didn’t see that I wish I had such as ’71 and Boyhood but hey I am a one man band here doing this in my spare time. Also, you may notice that the top 10 included films I rated lower than other films that I have omitted from the top ten and that’s because you need time to properly reflect on what a film is and how much impact it has on you. Who knows, if I were to write this list next year it may be wildly different.

Anyway, special consideration goes to:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier; I had this in my top 5 but after watching it again I noticed some of the flaws – you need to have watched some of the other Marvel films to properly understand the films nuances. That said; it is still the Cap film you always wanted and I still love it.

Chef: An original concept with a great soundtrack but didn’t pull at myheartstrings enough to be top 10.

Dallas Buyers Club: Great performances all round but is not a film I could see myself watching again, at least not in a hurry.

Edge of Tomorrow: A surprise hit with Tom Cruise putting in his best performance in many years, and interesting concept and great visuals – feels like a computer game.

Godzilla: Another surprisingly well done film but a bit too slow to be considered for the top 10.

Lone Survivor: Yes Lone Survivor. If not for the brutality of it then definitely for the brutality of it. Did I mention it’s quite brutal?

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Idris Elba portrays Nelson Mandela. Need I say more?

Paddington: One of the most charming films this year which is superbly animated but a bit too much of Disney family film vibe to creep into the top 10 for me.

Pride: A powerful rallying drama displaying the downtrodden nature of LGBT and mining community during Thatcherite Britain

The Raid 2: You haven’t seen epic fight scenes until you have seen the Raid 2. Although there is not much more to the film it is absolutely an instant cult classic.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Manages to merge all previous X-Men films with surprising grace. Also the slow motion scene with Quicksilver is my possibly my favourite scene of any film this year.

10. The Imitation Game

This film is no way near perfect but it’s a lovely eulogy to a man who practically invented the thing that I am tapping away at right now: the computer. Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing is supremely good and it’s so sad to learn about the ingratitude and lack of appreciation for such a brilliant man.

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel

A fantastically quirky and bizarre independent movie. Crammed full of charm and clever dialogue it’s one of the weirdest movies I’ve seen this year. It’s a film that should be a B movie but truly punches above it’s weight. Supported by an impressive cast this novel film is worth a watch.

8. Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal is transformed in one of the freakiest portrayals of humanity displayed on the big screen for a long time. You are made to feel like a voyeur as you witness the pathalogical drive of Gyllenhaal’s character impose himself on those around him whilst lacking any empathy. th scary thing is that he is also a clever man, someone who truly is a dictator in the making given half a chance!

7. How to Train Your Dragon 2

I’m almost tempted to put this at number 3 I love this movie so much. It’s the story of a boy and his overgrown puppy trying to defend defending their family from a bunch rottweilers. If you swap ‘puppy’ with ‘cool ass dragon’ and ‘rottweiler’ with ‘massive bloody dragons’ that perfectly sums up this film. It builds on the first film to make a perfect sequal but also manages to walk the line between kids film and adults film. The animation and actions scenes are a joy yet still finds time to reflect on family values, love, friendship, morals and instincts. It really is good.

6. 12 Years a Slave

Oh boy. What a film. It’s so powerful I would have walked out as angry as the incredible hulk if it wasn’t for the fact that I was emotionally battered for a couple of hours. You don’t need me to tell you that the acting, production and story is superb because it won numerous awards from last year – it was released in the USA in November of last year. Perhaps it’s a little cheeky adding it to this year but, hey I saw it in January and it’s damn good.

5. The Lego Movie

I like this film less than How to Train Your dragon 2 because it’s like being inside the fever dream of a schizophrenic. The thing is, it’s such a novel idea that the premise alone earns it extra kudos – then of course, there is the Everything is Awesome song! The film somehow manages to bundle up the imagination and joy of your youth and represent it flawlessly on film whilst bringing such a wide range of eccentric characters to life. It’s awesome!

4. Gone Girl

I don’t want to say too much about this film if you haven’t seen it. What I will say is that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. It turns what you expect from a thriller on it’s head and it does the same with gender stereotypes. My mouth was never wider in 2014 than when I was watching this film!

3. Interstellar

Christopher Nolan does science fiction. That’s that fully justified!

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

No film in this list merges visuals and story with music and audio as well as Guardians does. It’s not so much a superhero movie as it is a sci-fi film but it has all the charm and hooks of the original star wars trilogy. If you don’t fall in love with Rocket or Groot then your parents never loved you. Mix in a domineering villain, open questions about character histories and motivation and you are left feeling that 2 hours simply isn’t long enough. Roll on the sequel and long may Marvel’s winning streak continue.

1. Wolf of Wall Street

Choosing between this and Guardians is like trying to choose between winning £10 million on the lottery and being given £10 million by an anonymous donor! I think the reason I love this so much is because it’s like listening to your best friend recant his best stories from University. Surely… surely these things didn’t happen? But they are based on a true story. Some may argue that we shouldn’t glamourise the life of someone who screwed people out of money – sure, perhaps – but as a film it’s not stop entertainment. The pacing, cinematography, acting, lighting, story, charactisation etc etc is sheer perfection. This is a rare 5 out of 5 movie for me.

There you have it. Some super awesome films. Of course not every film has been super awesome, there has been some pond slime thrown at multiplexes in the hope of collecting dollar money:

Grudge Match: They may of well have gone full retard and called the main characters Brocky and Jack La Moto because this was clearly made by someone with a hard on for Rocky and Raging Bull. If this was handled in a similar manner to The Wrestler then it might have worked but it’s more like a teen drama starring 60 year olds.

Noah: If there is any film that makes you want to go medieval and round up all the bibles and burn them in a pagan ceremony then this film is it. Actually that’s not fair it’s a film about a deranged c-unit of a man who built a boat and survived when he should of drowned in the first 20 minutes of the film to spare us from the tsunami of bullshit that was this film.

The Guest: I feel kinda bad for hating on this film as it started off quite good. It could have been Drive part 2. Trouble is it turns into a Scooby Doo mystery with a soundtrack that can only be described as ‘broken down car in the 80’s’.

Tammy, Sex Tape, A Million Ways to Die in the West in fact almost every comedy this year: I love comedies. There is something so primal about laughing your tits off and even more so when doing it around other people it brings hours/days of joy. With that in mind I was a miserable bastard this year. I was overwhelmed with how many underwhelming films there were this year. Sure, none of them sank to the shambolic depths that was Grown Ups 2 last year: “hahahaha a deer pissed on his face! herr de herrr de heerp”. No. Kill yourself. I don’t care how you do it but you shouldn’t be laughing at such wretched imagery that is akin to ocular roadkill. Rant over. Most of the so-called comedies this year were OK as films, nothing particularly awful… just not that funny!

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