The Ones That Got Away:
There are a fair few films that I missed from last year that I am slowly getting around to watching and some I already have so I’m just going to pick the ones that I still haven’t seen. The top of which list is; Inside Llewyn Davis, Only Lovers Left Alive, Under The Skin, The Double and Frank, all of which could be considered of the indie genre and unfortunately when they are their longevity in cinemas is sadly very short-lived. Also on that list are Belle, Mood Indigo, The Guest, Maps To The Stars, The Babadook, Mr Turner, Nightcrawler, The Skeleton Twins, What We Do In The Shadows, and Big Eyes. They all have various reasons, Maps To The Stars because I’m a big fan of Julianne Moore and so must be pretty much every person whose ever watched a single one of her films: and a lot of them are just that I missed them in the cinema and have heard good things and will eventually get around to ticking them off the list. Two others which I wanted but have yet to see are ’71 and Unbroken, to anyone who has followed even the tiniest bit of Jack O’Connell’s career in recent years will have realised that he’s one to watch and quite probably has a great future ahead of him. Seeing O’Connell in films like Tower Block and Starred Up may not have shown us characters straying far from his usual but they have shown the potential he has and I am hoping that he continues to live up to that.
The Ones I Loved:
The ones that I loved were for the most part the obvious hits of the year given their reception and the results of award ceremonies throughout the year. Firstly, Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club; both films were huge moments for their leading and supporting actors, DiCaprio, McConaughey, Hill and Leto all had fantastic years on the back of their respective films. Other obvious and maybe even a little clichéd choices that I really enjoyed are Lego Movie, Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow, Gone Girl and Guardians of the Galaxy. Lego Movie I enjoyed mostly because it’s nostalgic and actually surprisingly funny and definitely one of the best animated films to come out in recent years being something a little different. Gone Girl and Edge of Tomorrow are fantastic in the parts they have for women, Rosamund Pike being the scarily smart and mental lead and Emily Blunt giving us a kick arse action heroine, it is ridiculously too little that we see a woman in this role that is constantly left to men; there is hope in Gal Gadot helping pick up the slack as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batman vs Superman but we will have to wait and see. Godzilla and Guardians I don’t think really need to be explained they were fun blockbusters, one dark and exciting, the other funny and action packed; who didn’t have a huge smile on their face when *spoiler alert* baby Groot dances to Jackson 5 at the end of the movie?
The ones that weren’t as widely advertised and talked about that I enjoyed were Pride, Locke, and Horns. With its DVD release Pride has hit a second wind and become more talked of and rightly so it is a fantastic very funny and quite honestly lovely film. Locke is one you might either love or hate, it’s quite understandable that a film about some bloke in his car driving down the motorway for the entirety would not be everyone’s cup of tea; but I found it to be gripping watching elements of someone’s life completely change or fall apart with a few simple phone calls, and to not have the other person actually in the scene rather than on loudspeaker did not take anything away from it. Locke is seriously underrated and if you can stand to watch someone in a car for around 80 minutes you should definitely check it out. First off to say about Horns is yes Daniel Radcliffe is doing an American accent and yes it is quite possibly not the best one ever done (whereas Andrew Lincoln’s accent in Walking Dead is pretty damn convincing) but to enjoy this film you have to ignore that. Horns’ decency as a film comes out of the fact that it is dead weird, it’s a pretty crazy concept to begin with, a man growing horns which cause him to be able to persuade people to do things, and for some reason also control snakes, but when you simply just embrace the crazy parts and the weird goings on it becomes fantastic; it’s like watching horror films and laughing at the violence, you just have to applaud the imagination.
Lastly two I didn’t expect to enjoy that much but did were Paddington and They Came Together. Simple and sweet Paddington turned out to be extremely funny with a well put together cast and it works, for all ages and I’m looking forward to if there’s a sequel. They Came Together is one I’ve watched recently and I would give any film a watch so long as its got Amy Poehler, being a massive fan of Parks and Rec I trust that if Poehler’s around it will be worth it. Now I can understand why this film is maybe not loved by everyone and under-appreciated, it is ridiculous but in a good way. It takes the romance genre and completely turns it on its head and points out all the flaws and unrealistic coincidences and everything that you let go when watching a film because it’s about love. It’s one of very few films I’ve watched recently that has actually made me laugh out loud and not just think “that’s funny” so I recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of Poehler and Paul Rudd’s other work, you won’t be disappointed.
And my overall favourite of the year which I believe is a sentiment shared by many, many people is The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’m a huge fan of Wes Anderson and this was by far one and possibly even the best that he has made to date, despite the obvious notes of his style it was a film to be enjoyed by everyone and not just people already aware of Anderson’s films. The cast can’t compare, mixed with regulars of his films and others it made a fantastic ensemble, the writing was hilarious; it’s a fast paced film that keeps you with it the whole way through and doesn’t disappoint at any turn.
The Ones I Wish Had Gotten Away:
That just leaves the films that I wish I had left alone and not bothered to go see. First is 12 Years a Slave, now it is an amazing story of a very strong and deservedly admired man, it has a fantastic cast but it is horribly scored and directed and just not easy to watch. At one point when Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character is being basically hung at lack of a better explanation, the music that we hear gave me the impression that the Terminator or Optimus Prime was going to jump in and save him, it had no place whatsoever in a film based over 100 years ago and other instances like that just ruined the entire film. It does however fit in with the old theory that films that generally win the Oscar for Best Picture tend not to actually be the best film of the year and in this case it was far from the best. The other films I wish I hadn’t seen are obvious choices just simply because they were poor films: Transcendence, Hector & the Search for Happiness and The Giver. Each of those films were just not well made, didn’t have great stories and are generally disappointing. Unfortunately having a great cast does not always make up for the rest of the shortfalls.
And that is pretty much my year of films for 2014, of course there are plenty more I have watched and not mentioned here but these are my highlight and downfalls of the year. 2015 however has been extremely promising and the first half of the year has brought some great films with more ahead.