Top 10 Films of 2014

For quite some time now, talk of film release in 2015 has generated a big deal of excitement yet so many have under appreciated the quality of movies the past year has produced. 2014 has been much more than just a stop-gap towards the ‘Year of the Blockbuster’, it has delivered an eclectic array of delightful surprises, creative innovation, and unpredictable powerhouses. It has been a very difficult task compiling a list of the best 10 film’s of the year but after much thoughtful deliberation and painful decision-making (nobody was physically hurt in the making of this… psychological torture only… to yours truly), I believe this to be the best competitive representation.

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10 – Frank

An oddly humorous and endearing film held together by a fantastic central performance from one of Hollywood’s present finest, whom of which spends almost the entirety of the film donning a giant papier-mâché head. It solidly delivers on a comedic level but at the same time is also a very heartfelt social commentary on mental illness in the music industry.

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9 – The Babadook

By far the best horror movie of the year. In a genre which has become horribly infested with either found-footage fodder or jump-scare generators, it was extremely refreshing to witness a ‘real’ horror film that relies on creating an unsettling and uncomfortable experience for the viewer opposed to one that has you hopping around in your seat every five minutes like you’ve just discovered a scorpion crawling around your nether region. It’s also proof that horror can be as good as it was in the 1970’s and 80’s with most obvious comparisons drawn towards The Shining, and The Exorcist.

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8 – Guardians of the Galaxy

Prior to watching the film, my knowledge of the ‘Guardians‘ concept or back-story was very sparse. However, I knew how popular the comics were so I anticipated that there must have been something interesting to come from it all. And I, along with pretty much the rest of the world, did not expect the colossal fun-packed thrill-ride it turned out to be. James Gunn has done an exceptional job of representing a selection of unorthodox characters in a typically routine but nevertheless electrifying adventure. Easily the best Marvel film so far.

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7 – The Lego Movie

I’m sure when it had been announced that one of the world’s most popular international toys would be brought to life on the big screen, many people were eagerly awaiting its arrival but at the same time slightly ‘bricking it’ (sorry) considering toy to movie adaptations like Battleship and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra had critically flopped. Fortunately, The Lego Movie blasted everyone’s fears into oblivion with one of the most infectiously funny and entertaining children’s films of all time. The animation is colourfully brilliant, the story daft with a heartwarming charm, the voice-over work is a treat and all the characters are fantastic. Rest assured. Everything is awesome!!!

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6 – Gone Girl

As stylishly sharp, intelligent, and dark as you’d expect from a David Fincher movie. He has at times fallen short of his masterful directing potential with the likes of Alien 3, The Game and Panic Room but Gone Girl is most definitely on par with his best work. I still believe Se7en and Fight Club to be his best films but his latest thriller can sit proudly behind them in the pecking order.

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5 – Under the Skin

Utterly original. It’s often quoted but rarely an accurate comment, although when watching Under the Skin, I couldn’t ignore how completely different and original the film is. The cinematography is visually stunning displaying imagery of mundane everyday content and transforming its appearance to seem exquisitely sensual; all powerfully accompanied by Mica Levi’s haunting score. The non-verbalisation of the screenplay is immensely effective leaving vast room for interpretation; very similar to how 2001: A Space Odyssey is open to interpretive analysis. Scarlett Johansson gives the performance of a lifetime with a very subtle but mesmerising turn. This film is definitely not for everyone but for those seeking something different to anything you’ve ever seen then I highly recommend following Scarlett into the unknown.

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4 – The Grand Budapest Hotel

By a mile Wes Anderson’s best film. Finally, unlike most of his previous work, the quality and depth of style is very much equal to the film’s substance. The attention to detail is immaculate with a rich depth of intricate design in everything from storyline to characters to set design to even the framing itself. The performances all round are very impressive but the most remarkable has to be from the man on his Anderson debut, Ralph Fiennes. An incredibly heart warming and hilarious showing from someone we’re not used to viewing in a comedic light. I really hope he continues, to not only work in comedy, but to team up with Fantastic Mr. Anderson again. A truly grand spectacle.

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3 – Nightcrawler

A gut-wrenchingly raw powerhouse of a film from debut director Dan Gilroy. The style is deliciously sleek with a powerful neo-noir peculiarity which is brought to life by Gilroy’s screenplay and Jake Gyllenhaal’s chilling portrayal of Lou Bloom; without a doubt his best performance to date. One of the most intelligently enthralling blockbusters for a long time. I can’t wait to see what Gilroy has next in the pipeline.

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2 – Boyhood

This really is the closest thing we can get to a theatrical feature representing reality. Many viewers have complained how nothing really happens in the film and it doesn’t come to a conclusion. Well, I beg to differ, a great deal of events occur in Mason’s life, they just happen seamlessly at a gradual realistic pace (much like the speed that life moves at) and conclusions don’t necessarily occur in real life as even after death our stories will perpetually continue much like Mason’s story will after the cameras stop rolling. It’s not the epic we’re used to witnessing onscreen but it truly is one of the most reflectively modest epics in cinema history.

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1 – Interstellar

I thoroughly believe this film deserves top spot considering it is genuinely monumental in every way. Christopher Nolan pushes the boat of ambition out just a little bit further than before yet this time all aspirations are well and truly met. Visually impeccable and grandiose, the score is astoundingly moving (as you’d expect from a Zimmer/Nolan collaboration), and Matthew McConaughey is gracefully heroic. It triumphantly accomplishes binding the power of compassion within the vast enormity of universal time and space.

by Simon Garganera Price

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