John’s Top 10 of 2014


Greetings readers! I am back. Where have I been? Well, I have been enjoying being a parent to the force of two and doing bugger all, really. Pop that in your pipe and smoke it.

Not to be outdone, I have decided to come out of the shadows and give you my top 10 of 2014. Yes, that’s right, I made a list. Shall I collect my medal from reception?

As years go, 2014 wasn’t exactly a zinger, but it had genuine moments of brilliance, but more about that later.


10. Godzilla

Nowhere near as good as it should have been – or could have been had Brian Cranston been the lead role, rather than Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a walking block of wood who claims to be able to diffuse bombs but shows no evidence of this skill. However when Godzilla does let loose it is wonderful cinema – eventually. To be honest, I am putting this in just to make the list to 10.


9. X Men: Days of Future Past

While it wasn’t quite the barnstormer it looked to be in the trailer, it was still not too bad and featured one of the best and most inventive moments of the year with Quicksilver’s slow motion rescue.



8. The Lego Movie


Billed as a kids’ film, but it was so much more. Packed full of great jokes and real laugh out loud moments. A real gem of a comedy, only slightly let down by the last 20 minutes.

7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I had very low expectations for this and was very pleasantly surprised by its great storytelling and superb direction. Loved that the apes were more interesting than the humans and loved the performances of Serkis and Toby Kebbell. If only all rebooted franchises were treated this respectfully (looks at Terminator: Genisys). Can’t wait for the next one.



6. Edge of Tomorrow

A genuinely innovative (sort of) blockbuster that treated audiences with respect and had the perfect balance of intelligence and humour. Failed at the box office – speaks volumes.


5. Snowpiercer

A love letter to Terry Gilliam’s obsession with steam-punk bureaucracy (with one character even named “Gilliam”). Visually stunning and containing yet another good performance from Chris Evans (who I really want to be Indiana Jones should they reboot it soon). The story is a simple class analogy, but handled so very well as to not be suffocating.


4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

On its own this film would be special, but when you add Ralph Fiennes on this form, it goes through the roof. He is quite simply electrifying in this film and has such fine comic chops that it makes you wonder why only Wes Anderson and Martin McDonagh have noticed. As with most Wes Anderson films there is the usual great ensemble cast, but Fiennes totally eclipses them all with his turn as Gustave.



3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel grows up and does Goldeneye. Someone had told me that they had read a review that it was a “game changer”. I took this with a pinch of salt – well a quarry of salt. However, by the end titles I was in love with this film. It was everything that I wanted from the first Captain America. It was fun, funny, it was heavy on action and it had a bad guy who actually seemed like he may present offer sort of  resistance and not just a CG event before the end credits.

Up until I saw the next two in the list, this was far and away my favourite of the year. It felt so rough and action packed, nothing like any other Marvel film, that all somehow seem to exist in another reality.  It made me wish that it was a Bond film as it reminded me of what has been missing from 007 for a long time, lots of great action and a villain who can really match the hero. Bravo, Marvel. More please.

I reviewed it here.


2.Guardians of the Galaxy

Talking of surprises, James Gunn’s superb space adventure blew us all away. I spent most of the year worrying that it would go the way of Edge of Tomorrow and be critically accepted, but commercially rejected, however it was a smash hit in both areas. The cast was superb, especially Chris Pratt – who is so hot right now, and the writing was excellent. It would seem that people were waiting for an adventure in space with actual characters that were fun to watch. Who would have though it? Let’s hope The Force Awakens also surpasses expectations for Disney.


1. Interstellar

The moment that our heroes travel into the wormhole in IMAX was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had while watching a film at the cinema in over 30 years. It felt like a rollercoaster that n looping the loop while also teetering on the edge of the track. With Zimmer’s breathtaking score and the simple, yet beautiful design of the NASA robots, it all felt like a big love letter to the kind of 70’s sci-fi we all grew up watching. This was an incredible achievement in cinema and with Matthew McConaughey lending his textbook deeply memorable performance there is no doubt that in years to come this will be remembered as a classic film.



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