The following list is all about my top ten personal favourite films from 2014. This is all subjective and do please feel free to let me know your favourites in the comments below.
A quirky love story about a man struggling to find solace in the humdrum monotony of life. The light in the darkness comes in the form of a sophisticated operating system. The connection between Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and his A.I. is a touching exploration of a man’s withdrawal from humanity, and yet the film isn’t really about the love story between a man and an inanimate object, instead it is about Theodore journey back to connecting with society.
9) Gone Girl
Fincher’s dark, twisted and funny film delves into the concept of marriage that might just make you re-think not only hitching yourself to someone for the rest of your life but even just getting to know another human beings.
Affleck and Pike put in excellent performances that really anchor the film and provide an excellent level of darkness that makes Gone Girl stand out in a year of quite good films.
8) Edge of Tomorrow
Ok so Edge of Tomorrow was not the most well received of films this year, mostly due to a below par marketing campaign that was more confusing than anything else.
Still anyone who did see past that and actually watched the film found an enjoyable sci-fi film that managed to mix humour, action and repeated scenes and dialogue into a great science-fiction film that really should be watched. Just think of it as a science-fiction version of Groundhog day and you’re pretty much there.
7) Early Bird
This small British indie film is a brilliantly dark comedy about the trials and tribulations of sharing a house with someone you barely know. Moving from nice comedy to shocking darkness Early Bird is a brilliant indie film that really deserves greater recognition.
The acting is top notch, with all the characters being fully realized and brilliantly brought to life by an excellent cast which takes this interesting concept to an even greater level.
6) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
We were first introduced to The First Avenger in 2011, he was subsequently shaped and strengthened as a character in Avengers Assemble, with The Winter Solider though Marvel has given us a film that has taken Steve Rogers to the next level. Chris Evans is once again on top form as the charming cap while Falcon is a winged badass that’s just a joy to watch.
Giving Johansson a bigger role here was also a genius move, allowing them to flesh out the Black Widow character and delve into her relationship with everyone’s favourite man out of time.
Common People is one of the most heartwarming films I’ve seen this year. This sweet charming tale interweaves numerous stories and connects them all together in the hunt for a lost pet bird last seen in a park in London. It’s a beautiful tale that is both funny and heart-wrenchingly poignant.
With an outstanding performance by the late great Sam Kelly, Common People is an excellent look at everyday life, there’s no action no visual effects and no gut blasting set pieces here, this is a film all about the characters, all about the people that inhabit each frame, and it brings those people to life in as authentic a way as I have seen this year.
As I said in my review it may not be a flawless piece but it is still one of the most moving films I’ve seen all year.
Boyhood is an interesting coming of age film that mirrors the lives most of us will have experienced, we all live in a life of small moments that create bright but fleeting memories.
The film is about a boy and his fragmented family and how they all grow and evolve over an 11 year period, it may sound like more of a gimmick but in reality it is a heartwarming masterpiece that shows just what cinema can do when it’s at its best.
The casting of young star Ellar Coltrane was a brilliant move. He’s able to play off acting veterans Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke in a suprising and entirely realistic fashion.
The LEGO Movie may not be a deep meaningful drama and yes it may be an elaborate advert for children toys but goddamnit I love it anyway. I’ve watched this film numerous times this year and I will no doubt watch it many more times over the coming years, it has a way of getting right into your heart and just taking all your love whether you want it to or not.
The movie may be based upon toys but it’s so clever and so chatchy (Everything is Awesome is possibly the best dystopian anthem ever) and so damned gorgeous that you cannot help but want more. At it’s heart though this is a tale about the power of imagination and the ability of storytelling and adventure to bring people together. It teaches us that we have to do something, we can’t just show up and expect a great life, we have to go out there and make it happen ourselves.
2) The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson brought a great paintbrush of bright cheery colours to this sad and wistful story. The depth and emotion found within The Grand Budapest Hotel is heartrendingly beautiful and shows that Anderson is still far above those who seek to emulate him.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is more than just artistically brilliant though, it is filled with brilliantly written dialogue and excellent characters, above all though it’s the shockingly melancholy tale about fascism, harsh fates and near forgotten story that puts The Grand Budapest Hotel on this list.
Oh and it was a brilliantly well acted piece let’s not forget that.
1) Guardians of the Galaxy
This was a film that really shouldn’t have worked. I mean a talking raccoon and a semi-talking tree couldn’t have been the easiest sell for the studio to accept, though I guess when it has the Marvel logo on it they’ll pretty much go for anything nowadays.
Anyway, Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of the most successful films of the year, and rightly so. Mixing some excellent humour with kickass action and one of the best soundtracks ever Guardians is hands down one of the most entertaining films I have seen, and for me personally it is my favourite Marvel film by some way.
It’s also rocketed Chris Pratt to the top of the pile and given him another franchise in the form of Jurassic World. This was a gamble by Marvel that paid off big time.
“In Pratt we trust.”