Top 20 Movies of 2014: Part 2 (1 – 10)

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So I gave you Part 1 earlier this week, counting down my top twenty films for the year from 20 – 11, and today I will share the big ones, the ten films I enjoyed the most in 2014!

Again, we are still waiting on some of those massive releases most of the world got already, but no matter. These are the ten films this past year that made me think, or just thrilled me endlessly, flaws and all.

10. The Babadook

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Another independent budget flick, and another goodie to be sure. The Babadook sure provided some thrills and chills, and I thought it was a wonderfully crafted horror movie. I have not seen one this good in a really long time. The acting was quite solid, the pacing was good, the story was something different, and it gives you something to think about when all is said and done. Not to mention, when that freaking thing opens it’s mouth to speak, that’s just scary as hell! Absolutely great work here, and well worth looking into!

9. Coherence

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Mind games all the way, Coherence is another small budget film with a small cast, minor effects and all that, but with a story that will just shatter your mind. It is a simple plot that draws you in, even though it is a slow start, but when it gets going, you have to keep your wits about you. Fantastic concept and one of the more fresh films I have seen in years, Coherence proves that sometimes less is certainly so much more.

8. Interstellar

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Absolutely amazing to look at, visually, with some solid performances, Interstellar was an epic space journey. It was my most anticipated movie of 2014, and, as always, Nolan delivered the goods with this one. Going in you sort of think you are ready for what is about to happen (yeah, right), and by the end of it you know that you have been owned. Wow, that is all I can actually say. I know there has been a very mixed reaction with this, but I am firmly in the impressed camp.

7. X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Here’s another superhero film and all of that, for sure, but this turned out to be even better than I expected. Trust me, my expectations were pretty high for this as is. A solid story, fantastic performances, and awesome effects? This was definitely going to make it. An interesting plot, plenty of humour and plenty of drama, this movie was incredibly well balanced and benefited from a phenomenal execution, X-Men: Days of Future Past demonstrates clearly what one expects when going in for a film of this caliber, and delivered on each and every front.

6. Snowpiercer

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I went in for this not really knowing what was going to come. Then I had my mind blown. This movie was fantastic. I was incredibly shocked at how well it worked, especially considering the closed environment should have (in theory) crippled it. Instead, it told a crazy story. The cast was brilliant for this, and the performances they gave were amazing. I was a big fan of Chris Evans’s portrayal of Curtis, too, he just dominated that role, reminding the world that he is so much more than just Captain America.

5. Filth

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Well, this was another movie just to prove to me why I am a James McAvoy fan. Truly his finest performance to date, in my opinion, Filth rocked my socks on so many levels. The movie starts off all fun and games, albeit a little dark, and soon is this descent into sheer lunacy, dragging you along for a really bad trip, the whole time wondering where the hell you are. The cast worked so well, the plot was solid, the execution fantastic, and features one of the best twists I have seen in ages (truly damn near brought me to my knees). Definitely worth the watch, I thoroughly enjoyed this!

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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This movie boasted some of the most amazing CGI and effects I have seen in ages, and touted some serious emotion and some excellent action. An incredibly successful follow up for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this movie brings so much to the table, and should be noted for it. While maybe not completely perfect, it was plenty more than enough fun, and was extremely well put together. Andy Serkis is the motion capture king for a reason, and I think he worked phenomenally well with Toby Kebbell, who brought a whole different element to the fore here.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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This movie just… wow. I loved it. It came together so well and thrilled me, and the more I thought about it after the fact the more I liked it. I got totally obsessed with it. The Winter Soldier was a great villain, the action was fast, fun, and brutal, the cast all played off each other brilliantly, it was shot beautifully and it was paced well. I missed the period feel that Captain America: The First Avenger offered, but I felt that this movie carried itself without that setting. Captain America remains my favourite Avenger, and this movie once again demonstrated why. Slick, fast, spy thriller feel? So there!

2. The Guest

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I went into this hoping it would be something I would enjoy, not expecting it to turn out to be something that I would love. I mean I had to rearrange my whole top ten for this film! The Guest is excellent, perfectly balancing out characters and actions, deliberately building up a story and then exploding into an action/thriller type thing. The Guest is bold, wonderful to look at and boasts a mean score. There is so much to love here, especially Dan Stevens’s performance, and it definitely ticked all the necessary boxes for me!

1. Fury

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This might not surprise all of you (seeing as how I gushed about it), but Fury was incredible. It has stunning cinematography, a solid cast that delivered all the goods, some terrifying and realistic situations and effects, a score that just drives everything home and is an emotional roller-coaster. Fury just astounded me endlessly, and I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. It keeps you engrossed and at the edge of your seat, and is undoubtedly raw and gritty, one of the best war movies in a really long time.

Well, there you have it. The twenty films I enjoyed the most this year 🙂

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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“If we go to war, we could lose all we’ve built.”
– Caesar

SYNOPSIS: A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. – via IMDB

GRADE 8.5finally got to see this movie, and I have been excited about it for the longest time. Ironically, I know, I was über sceptical about its predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but after seeing it I was transformed into a fan, no to ways about it. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen since Caesar led the apes away from imprisonment, into freedom. I wanted to know what would happen after that ALZ-113 spread, that virus that makes the apes exceptionally smart but kills off the people. Let me tell you, the watch was well worth the wait.

The effects were simply amazing for this film, the CGI was something else. It was just gorgeous. The portrayals, too, were phenomenal, and Andy Serkis again simply owned the show in his role of Caesar. Again, the friendship between him and Maurice is so cool, they are such great friends. Caesar and the apes truly did build their little piece of happiness, their own home, settling into regular roles, very humanlike. Koba was a brilliant character, and his hatred and motivations are completely understandable, even though they are totally opposite from Caesar, whom we can also understand on the other end. It shows that each and every experience is subjective. Jason Clarke was great as Malcolm, though I must admit I was disappointed by how small a role Gary Oldman actually helmed at the end of the day.

The movie also managed to balance some complex and dramatic material, but also had a few things to smile at and laugh about throughout the film, which lightened it from time to time. The relationships and how they change between the humans and one another, the apes and one another, and then both groups towards each other is quite something. I feel that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes gave a good look at both the humans and the apes, and both their sides and their feelings. They each had nice characters, and both had nasty characters, so no party was purely innocent or completely wrong, and it is bad to see what some people will do with some power.

The emotions that were put forth were complex, delving into many different aspects, from the humans side as well as the apes, and you can identify with both sides, though there is no doubt that the perception is almost skewed more in favour of the apes. Koba’s character was extensively used, and properly so. The movie was shot well and beautiful to look at. The scenes were the apes go to war, ultimately, captured the essence of confusion and fear perfectly. This movie was excellent, and well worth the praise it receives, it came together wonderfully.