It’s that time of year again, where we bloggers wind things down with our guides to everything the past year in film has given us. With only two calendar days left in 2014, it is about time that we got round to picking our top films of the year. Much like last years list, I have perhaps missed a few films that would have otherwise made the list, but I just cannot get round to watching them all. Despite this minor misdemeanour, I believe I have come up with a solid list of films that showcase 2014’s best cinematic offerings.
Lucy is a mixed bag of a film. Sci-fi, time travel and drama all feature in Luc Besson’s OTT attempt at art as a Hollywood blockbuster. It won’t be for everyone, and its multiple stylings may put many off. But for those who are willing to go with it, Lucy provides, at the very least, a fun action flick with a great central performance from Scarlett Johansson.
9. The Lego Movie
The Lego Movie is one of those films that sounds absolutely preposterous, and could surely only ever be an excuse for the brick makers to print money. Well, it’s both of those things, but it was also a lot of fun. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie defied my expectations simply by not giving me a raging headache afterwards and providing some great laughs along the way too.
BiRDMAN is simply a fantastic film. It provides a great look at actors and their egos, and how they have to overcome that in the pursuit of art and entertainment. Michael Keaton does his best work in years in the lead role as a washed up actor making one last attempt to be relevant, while support is given by the likes of Naomi Watts, Edward Norton and the brilliant Emma Stone.
7. 22 Jump Street
22 Jump Street was by far the funniest film of the year and one of the most genuine. Jump Street did not hide the fact it was a sequel, and while the running joke of sequels having to be bigger and better did wear a little thin, it managed to be one of the most deliriously entertaining films of the year. Channing Tatum proves once again he can do comedy, while Jonah Hill brings a genuine heart to the film and directors Lord and Miller prove there’s nothing they can’t do.
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a fast paced action thriller from start to finish. The film proved a game changer for Marvel Studios and set up 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron perfectly. Joe and Anthony Russo brought a Cold War thriller vibe to the film, making the film feel more like a 70’s spy thriller than a modern-day superhero film.
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Apes on horses while holding machine guns! What more could you possibly want from a film? While Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was one of the more serious efforts to be released in 2014, it was also by far one of the best. It took the level of drama up a notch from its predecessor and gave us a film that truly defied expectations. There was tension from beginning to end, and admirably for a Hollywood blockbuster, the focus was on the apes and not the humans.
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past
It was great to have the X-Men back on our screens again wasn’t it? While Marvel and DC have cornered the market in superhero films, it seems that some of the original silver screen heroes have taken a backseat. Thankfully, with Bryan Singer returning to direct, the X-Men have become relevant again and the slate has been wiped, relatively, clean. 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse cannot come round soon enough.
3. The Babadook
Truly the most terrifying film I have seen in years, The Babadook did what many horror films forget to do, and scared the holy shit out of audiences. The Babadook’s supernatural and psychological scares proved a great mix, while the film truly left its mark on you at the end as you are left wondering if the monster was real or whether we create our own monsters in our darkest hour.
2. The Guest
The Guest was so close to being my top film of 2014, and if it were any other year then it probably would have been. Just like last years You’re Next, which was also directed by Adam Wingard, The Guest paid tribute to its genre stylings while sending them up by the sheer absurdity of them. Coming off as a mix between Halloween and The Terminator, The Guest is a fast paced action thriller with a magnetic central performance from Dan Stevens and features a hypnotizing soundtrack to boot.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
It just had to be didn’t it? Even if 2014 had been a golden year for film, which it wasn’t by the way, then it would have taken something truly special to knock Guardians of the Galaxy of its perch. Guardians was Marvel’s riskiest move yet, but one that proved founded when it blew audience members away with its Star Wars like space opera vibe, its ridiculously fun soundtrack and a cast of characters the likes of which we don’t get to see enough of these days.