Sunday, 4 January 2015

Ross Bishop's Most Anticipated Films Of 2015

2015 stood to be the biggest year in cinema history (at least in terms of expected box-office revenue) with pretty much all the major movie franchises releasing new instalment! The last time such a feat occurred was in 2012, when we saw the release of The Avengers, a Batman, a Spider-man, a James Bond film and new instalment in the Middle-Earth saga (as it’s now called). However, there have been a few noticeable films pushed back to 2016 which could stop it being quite as big as it initially expected: -

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Independence Day 2
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Finding Dory

But that’s no bad thing, it means we still have films to look forward to next year! Anyway back to 2015 and what films make my most anticipated list!

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Without a doubt my most anticipated film of the year, and with the hype built up now with all the previous Marvel films and how good the first instalment was I literally can’t wait.

Skyfall re-invigorated the Bond franchise, and with most of the same cast and crew returning for the 24th 007 adventure I’m hoping for great things!

3. Jurassic World
Another reboot/sequel, which has a interesting take on the premise. If it’s not a master-piece it should at least be a good couple of hours in the cinema!

4. Mad Max
I’m genuinely intrigued to see how this semi reboot/sequel turns out, and so far the trailers have all been bat-shit crazy and look very unique – so I’m excited! The fact the film was shot in 2012 also means they’ve had plenty of time to make sure this is a quality movie.

5. Ant-Man
It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out, but if Guardians of the Galaxy has taught us anything it’s that you don’t bet against Marvel.

6. Kingsman: The Secret Service
Matthew Vaughn doesn’t make bad films, they’re either very good or excellent, the fact he’s now playing in the action spy genre gets me extremely excited!

7. Fast & Furious 7
Ever since Fast Five re-ignited my passion for the series, I’ve been looking forward to the next instalment. Fast 6 wasn’t quite as good as its predecessor but it was still a fun ride, so looking forward this and hopefully in gives Paul Walker a fitting send off.

8. Inside Out / The Good Dinosaur
Pixar has lost it’s magic in recent years and they seem to focusing more and more on sequels, so a year when we get two original films from “once great” company is nothing to be scoffed at and is hopefully a return to form!

9. Mission Impossible 5
Ghost Protocol was a well-crafted and fun spy adventure – so I’m hoping for more of the same! Also, Tom Cruise doesn’t make bad films so I’m excited.

10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Look I’m not a huge Star Wars fan (I didn’t watch the originals when I was young enough to get caught up in them and the prequels are awful), but I can appreciate the gravity of a new instalment in the franchise – so that alone gets it on the list.

What are your most anticipated films of 2015?

Friday, 2 January 2015

Ross Bishop's Top Ten Films of 2014

When I wrote up my most anticipated films of 2014 list (almost exactly a year ago), I stated that 2014 was looking like a quiet year for cinema in comparison to the huge scale blockbusters coming in 2015. Although that is still the case, I would argue that in terms of quality 2014 ended up being one the best overall years in cinema for a long time! Which made deciding this list extremely difficult…

Just a bit of context, I don’t review films professionally so this is a top ten list comprised of films I’ve actually seen, and although I see as many films as I can I’ve not seen every single film released this year. Likewise this is MY top ten so it’s more my favourite films of the year rather than technically the best films (it’s just my opinion after all).

Also, as I live in the UK this is based on films actually released in the UK in 2014, so some of last year’s Oscar films are on my list this year as we get them later than the US! And with that said, here we go…

10. Gone Girl (9.5/10)
A very dark take on marriage and long-term relationships. On first viewing I though the film was very good, but it wasn’t until the days after when I couldn’t stop thinking about it that I realised how much it had got it’s hooks into me. Glad I hadn’t read the book beforehand as feel that would ruin the first half of the film if you’re just waiting for the twist.

9. Dallas Buyers Club (9.5/10)
Great performance from both the lead actors, not surprising considering they both won Oscars for them! However, despite its dark subject matter – the film is very enjoyable and somewhat uplifting primarily as a result of the great acting from the leads.

8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (9.5/10)
Another wonder of film-making, the fact the lead character (and most of the cast) are CGI yet are more believable than real actors in the majority of films just shows how well made the Apes movies are.

7. Fury (9.5/10)
At this stage we’ve seen a lot of WW2 films, but I felt Fury gave a different perspective focusing on tank warfare and during a time period  we rarely see in this genre (the last few days of the war). The battle sequences are incredibly tense and the performance by all the actors involved truly great.

6. Nightcrawler (9.5/10)
A dark and twisted look into the world of the media and late night news, with a stand-out performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. Highly recommended.

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (9.5/10)
In terms of the two Marvel movies released this year, Guardians of the Galaxy has probably got more buzz since its release and technically is the greater accomplishment in terms of introducing movie-goers to a whole new cast of characters, however sci-fi has never been a genre that truly grabbed me. Action espionage thrillers on the other hand… and Winter Solider delivers that in spades! Also, this film concreated Captain America as my favourite Avenger with a story that made the hero relevant in the 21st Century. My favourite and in my opinion BEST Marvel film to date.

4. The RAID 2 (9.5/10)
It didn’t quite surpass the original in terms of initial impact, but in terms of scale and ambition The RAID 2 delivers on all fronts – if the first film was compared to Die Hard, the closest you’d get for the sequel would be The Godfather. The best action you’ll see on film all year.

3. The Wolf of Wall Street (9.5/10)
It was my most anticipated film of the year and it didn’t disappoint, it may be 3 hours but I’d happily watch it over and over again. Leonardo Dicaprio once again showing why he’s the actor of his generation.

2. Paddington (9.5/10)
I didn’t see this coming, but this has to be one of the best and most uplifting family films of all time. The sheer love and care that is on screen makes it a joy to watch, it’s funny, clever and heart-warming. Truly magical film-making.

1. 12 Years A Slave (10/10)
Probably the most intense movie experience I’ve had in cinema ever, emotional and riveting story-telling – an absolute must-see!

As I said at the beginning of the post, in terms of sheer quality I thought 2014 was an awesome year for films so I had to include a runner-up list which consists of (in no particular order):-

Starred Up (9.5/10)
The Lego Movie (9/10)
All Is Lost (9/10)
Edge of Tomorrow (9/10)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (9/10)
Calvary (9/10)
Guardians of the Galaxy (9/10)
Locke (9/10)
Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 (9/10)
Exodus: Gods and Kings (9/10)

Here’s hoping 2015 also delivers a stand-out year for cinema!