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)
Guardians of the Galaxy (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!