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 🙂

Rapid Review: Interstellar (2014)

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interstellar poster

“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
– Cooper

SYNOPSIS: In the near future Earth has been devastated by drought and famine, causing a scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen their lifespan. A group of explorers must travel beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage, into the unknown. Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race.- via IMDB

interstellar

GRADE 8.5This has, undoubtedly, been my most anticipated movie of 2014. I have talked my other half’s ear off about how I cannot wait for it, so naturally I had to go the minute it pitched up here. I was not going to waste a second of my time waiting to get to it seeing how Gone Girl aired for only thirteen days in my useless cinema. If I missed this, someone was going to burn. So, what with all my excitement and anticipation, how did it stack up? I must say that I was extremely impressed. Visually it was absolutely gorgeous, though I didn’t expect anything less on that front. A solid cast carried this story for us, and I thought the performances were great all round. Initially I was not over the moon to see Anne Hathaway in such a large role for it, but she managed to not irritate me to the end. I was thrilled to see Matt Damon, I do so thoroughly enjoy the man, and McConaughey was fantastic as the lead, Cooper. The casting of the actors to play the children (Mackenzie Foy and Timothée Chalamet) was wonderful, and I was especially pleased to see Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck play their grown counterparts. They fit the bill and were realistic and believable. I know that some people have complained about the dialogue being clunky, and also silly at times with explanations (such as explaining to an astronaut about a black hole in space), but I did not find this to be the case. I enjoyed most of their conversations (though at times it did get a little convoluted), and I was grateful for the explanations sprinkled throughout the movie, and the way it was done. It did not feel like Nolan was treating the cinema-goers like idiots, but rather just ensuring we were all on the same page, and I appreciated that. Naturally Hans Zimmer created a fantastic score to accompany the film, building up tension and emotion in all the right places, and coming in as nothing short of complementary. Interstellar manages to recreate some exceptionally sad emotional scenes, many of them stemming from the tapes that the astronauts are receiving from home in space. There was some humour in this film, which was lovely, but was certainly focused more on the dramatic aspect. I thought the multi-purpose robots were extremely cool, and I felt for Cooper, trying to be the best dad that he could. John Lithgow, as always, plays a wonderful fatherly/grandfatherly figure, and I always like seeing him, no matter how small his part. I do feel that Michael Caine could have been used more, but I understand that there were a lot of characters and time constraints. Interstellar is a long movie, but it is certainly a wonderful journey, even with the flaws that it has – as much as I have sung the praises, there are things that fall a little short of the mark, but were definitely not enough to cripple and ruin this movie for me. Interstellar was well worth the wait, in my opinion, and is a really good movie overall – most importantly, it is an experience. Christopher Nolan has, once again, delivered another stunning film, though this will certainly not be in a high running for taking over and outranking some of his other works.