DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Darkmatters Top 10 Films of 2014


Top films of 2014

This year has been decent for cinematic viewing - and here are the (in my view) the ten best films to grace the big screen - so from 10 to 1 here they are... (also read on below for the amazing Tom Wade's alternative top 10 with additional 'just outside films too' !?)


10. Exodus: Gods and Kings
Biblical epics don't come any bigger or more epic than Ridley Scott's Exodus-em-up. Big screen plagues will disturb and make you think about the mind of God, heart-pounding massive scale chariot battles will make your jaw drop and Batman Bale as Moses shows you that the Almighty can work through dangerously unhinged individuals... Even out 'bibles' the spectacular Noah by a margin.


9. The Double
"I don't know how to be myself. It's like I'm permanently outside myself. Like, like you could push your hands straight through me if you wanted to. And I can see the type of man I want to be versus the type of man I actually am and I know that I'm doing it but I'm incapable of what needs to be done..." Richard Ayoade brings a playful edge to Fyodor Dostoevsky's brilliantly brain melting mystery.


8.  The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson unleashes the madcap adventures of Gustave H, legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. So mental, so funny and utterly beguiling, this is a marmite flick but I was in a state of over-excitement throughout!


7. The Wolf of Wall Street
A dirty, frantic and crazed epic from Martin Scorsese, which brings laugh-out-loud black comedy of the darkest kind along with an overdose of seriously dubious morals. This isn’t as nasty as Goodfellas or Casino but it does form the final part of his loosely theme linked trilogy. Highly entertaining and exquisitely made, boasting a AAA cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio on dazzling form as Jordan Belfort.


6. Chef
Reconciliation and redemption expressed through the art of food moved, inspired and motivated me to be a better father to my boys as a direct result of seeing this. Overall Chef is a excellent, feel good comedy that works on many levels, just be sure not to go on an empty stomach as you could well be drooling long before the credits roll.



5. Her
Director Spike ‘Being John Malkovich’ Jonze delivers something truly amazing with ‘Her’ – downloading the top 8 matches for you:
- a unnervingly powerful drama
- a laugh-out-loud comedy
- a make you cry tragedy
- a spiritually charged exploration of humanity
- a techno-future cyber sci-fi
- a haunting exploration of loneliness
- a delve into the inner workings of relationships
- a love letter to love itself…


4. NightCrawler
Nothing can adequately prepare you for the dark heart that throbs throughout this film. Not for the faint of heart, there are disturbing scenes and violence and adult themes throughout but if looking for a powerful thriller that will blow you away, there isn’t anything else out there like this. I can honestly say that the climactic 20 minutes of Nightcrawler are potentially the tensest I’ve experienced, I left the cinema with sweaty palms and a grin on my face.


3. Interstellar 
The real ‘stars’ of the show are the stars themselves, well, stars, planets, space vistas and black hole event horizons. The visuals conjured up here are some of the most impressive ever to hit the big screen – and should be seen at the largest (IMAX if possible) cinema you can find. Plus props to my favourite character – TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) - a marine robot who packs lots of handy functions and a gleefully sarcastic humour setting. It is TARS that comes out with lots of the film’s best lines.


2. Guardians of the Galaxy
“I come from Earth, a planet of outlaws. My name is Peter Quill. There's one other name you may know me by. ‘Star-Lord’.” An insanely fun and highly entertaining two-hours which every comic book fan on the planet needs to see. It’s really rare that a film lives up to the hype but Guardians of the Galaxy sets new standards for superhero-em-up adventures – and is destined for immediate cult-classic status.


1. Boyhood
Distilled adolescence in the form of a road trips and family dinners, birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent - there is just so much to BoyHood – laughs, pain, romance and grief which you’ll get to empathize with and probably leave reminiscing over. Boyhood is something unique. A film that takes the everyday experiences of growing up and tracks one young man over 12 years, shooting scenes from each of his years from age 6 to 18. It’s an incredible feat of cinematography that will resonate with every parent on the planet and invoke memories of their childhood for every male.


Now read the eloquent and mostly awesome thoughts of @THINKWADE - who will hopefully be writing a bit more for Darkmatters in 2015! I endorse these 'films just outside both top tens':

The Edge of Tomorrow:
For some reason people pretend not to like Tom Cruise films - which is silly as he rarely makes a bad film. Edge of tomorrow is a great Groundhog Day style action film with some superb set pieces, laugh out loud moments and a terrific performance from Emily Blunt.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
A sequel better than the original reboot? Amazing CGI with Oscar worthy Ape performances? Sweet.

Godzilla:
Big monster stomps on a city and fights monsters. And there's characters you care about. Surprises all around.

X-Men Days of Future Past
An X-Man film that attempts to pretend a whole host of other X-Men films didn't ever happen. It largely succeeds - but what it most admirable is its sheer ambition.

The Raid 2
The Raid was awesome. The Raid 2 is more awesome. Yes some of the lengthy plot isn't welcome - but there's a whole host of fighting like you've never seen before. Like a lot of fighting.

Under The Skin
Scarlett Johansson delivers a creepy, unnerving performance that will leave you questioning what it is to be human for a long time afterwards.

The Guest
Trashy, blunt, formulaic - but those blue eyes are just too captivating to ignore.

Calvary
May well restore your faith in God, loose your faith in people and then reverse that belief several times.

The Lego Movie
This proved that everything can be awesome.

TOM'S TOP TEN

10: 22 Jump Street
This shouldn't be appearing on a top ten list surely? But when it comes to best films, why ignore one that left you holding your sides due to so much laughter? Plus it has the best end of credits sequence - possibly ever.

9: Next Goal Wins
The only time I've ever shouted out in a cinema was during this film. A superb documentary following the worst football team in the world. I'm not ashamed to admit I shed a tear.

8: What we do in the Shadows
Flight of the Conchords looses the music but gains vampires. Deliriously daft and unbelievably amusing. This is what vampires needed to be cool again.

7: Nightcrawler
A terrific study into the modern ethics of broadcasting. Tense, brutal and unforgettable.

6: Interstellar
No film comes close to match the sheer visual feast that Interstellar creates. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the ending, but when witnessed in iMax it is eye-poppingly stunning. Nolan has ambition like no other. Plus the soundtrack is organ-tastic.

5: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson manages to turn Ralph Fiennes into a comedy genius. The usual Anderson quirk is on full force and continues his near faultless record of celebration worthy films.

4: Gone Girl
A film that you'll enjoy if you've read the book due to the knowledge of what's coming and one that you'll enjoy if you haven't read the book due to more plot and character twists than a double jointed Twister enthusiast. Nearly everyone involved is on a career high - well played Mr Fincher.

3: Guardians of the Galaxy
A film that everyone knows shouldn't work (a largely unknown Marvel comic - a talking raccoon, a walking tree, a WWE wrestler etc) but it's also unashamedly the most fun film of the year.

2: Her
Scarlett Johansson delivers another creepy, unnerving performance that will leave you questioning what it is to be human for a long time afterwards. Her is a breathtaking exploration of human emotion, artificial intelligence and what it means to be lonely and in love. A fantastically beautiful bleak vision of the future.

1: Boyhood
Who on earth would have the mad idea to film a group of people over 12 years, watching a boy grow up - but not make it a documentary - and instead create largely improvised, largely uneventful (in the Hollywood scale of eventful) moments with a group of normal people? Thankfully Richard Linklaker did and his creation is unlike anything that cinema has seen before and probably unlike anything we'll see again. The brilliance lies in drawing us in and making us reflect on our own childhood along the way - a stunning piece of art on what it means to grow up - and by far the best film of the year.

Read Darkmatters Top 10 Films of 2013 (also has Tom's top 15)

1 comment:

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