Tim’s Top Ten Of 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy -Christmas It’s that time of year again. I’ve been making a list, checking it twice, finding out which films this year have been naughty or nice. Here are the ones I thought made the grade – I could equally make a list of seemingly great films I just didn’t get around to this year, as ever, but will no doubt catch up on at a later date. So pour yourself a baileys or other seasonal tipple of your choice, pull a cracker, and let’s get this over with, shall we?

1. Interstellar

interstellar coop cry gif I can’t stop mulling this one over, for me the greatest spectacle and immersive experience of the big screen this year. Christopher Nolan’s most emotionally engaging film to date. See my review here, plus a couple of other features on the film here , here and here. 

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

A close run contender for top spot. I haven’t always fully engaged with Wes Anderson’s whimsicality, but this was a sublimely crafted, hilarious and poignant sweet spot in the year’s cinematic firmament. As I watched Gustav swish down a ski slope, pursued by East European type goons, I thought to myself, “This is what I wanted Spielberg’s Tintin to be like.” Critic Matt Zoller Seitz recalls it warmly this short video essay below.

 

3. Gone Girl

GONE GIRL, from left: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 2014. ph: Merrick Morton/TM & copyright ©20th A superb adaptation by Gillian Flynn of her own caustic why-dunnit novel, directed in Brian De Palma mode at times by David Fincher, this was a brilliant dissection of a narcissistic marriage, where hardly anyone gets out clean. Darkly hilarious and creepy at the same time. Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck both on superb form. My kind of review here.

4. Edge Of Tomorrow

edge of tomorrow The best time-travel concept I’ve seen for some time, a hilarious Tom Cruise is a cowardly PR Major busted down the ranks and thrown into the beach assault from hell against an alien threat known as Mimics. Infected by their blood in the moment of death, he gets to “live, die, repeat” until, with the training of Emily Blunt’s hard-as-nails survivor of the same process, he attempts to turn the tide of battle. My review here.

5. ’71

71 run A brilliant thriller, set in the dark days of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, that posits the idea of a naive squaddie cut off in the unfriendly territory of West Belfast. Forgoing heavy handed politics, it captures the raw immediacy of his fate and the indifference of  the establishment towards cogs in the machine. The film recalls everything from The Battle Of Algiers to Escape From New York. My review here.

6. Guardians Of The Galaxy

guardians of the galaxy matt ferguson banner Marvel took a punt with a little known property, a leading man best known as the portly guy from a, let’s face it, niche TV comedy, and a belief audiences would embrace a walking tree and a smart-assed Raccoon with a propensity for blowing things up. This day-glo space opera was a massive success, the surprise hit of the year, and a fabulous stop-gap until next year’s Star Wars The Force Awakens. My review here.

7. Calvary

calvary Mis-sold as a comedy, this is, from my review, “a more grounded trial of transcendence, forgiveness, and redemption, in John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary. Here, Brendan Gleeson’s Father James is a good priest, a rural Babel’s own “personal Jesus” – “Someone to hear your prayer, someone to care.” Still very caustic in places.

8. Captain America The Winter Soldier

captain america gif Of Marvel’s usual staple of superhero films (Guardians Of The Galaxy is a thing apart), this really stood out as an excellent film that touched on wider issues in the world today, wrapped within the spandex context. My colleague John and I were in complete agreement, so here is his review.

9. Noah

noah gif 2 I loved Daron Aronofsky’s Noah. It was brave and bold, a fantastical retelling of an already fantastical tale, regardless of your faith, or dismissal of such. From my review: “By turns dusty, dirty, hallucinogenic and downright daffy, it retains a compelling, hypnotic power that draws the viewer into the granddaddy of all dystopian disaster flicks.”

10. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

dawn_of_the_planet_of_the_apes_header I struggled over a final entry for this list, finally settling for this. I did find it to be disappointing, in that the human characters to me were very much one-note, ill-defined cyphers. For a story that centres on the struggle for dominance in a post-disaster world, I needed more to root for. Every review raved about the expressiveness of the apes, led by Andy Sirkis’ Caesar, but it is telling that even the two largest selling film magazines in the U.K, Empire and Total Film, both had positive reviews from women, who quite rightly felt obliged to point out the weakly drawn (in the case of Caesar’s mate, barely there) female characters. A brilliantly crafted film, with some good points, that hopefully will be improved on in the next inevitable instalment.

And that’s it! Have a very merry Christmas, and an exciting 2015 of cinematic delights.

Originally posted 2014-12-21 12:22:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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