THE 20 BEST FILMS OF 2014 * PART ONE

 

SO HERE WE ARE . . .

The best (or better) ones of this mediocre year. My criteria mainly focused on the ones that surprised, intrigued and entertained me. And boy, it was tough. Many have been watchable. Okay at best. What was harder was condensing my 20 WORST films. BUT there were diamonds in the rough sea of bilge that polluted the movie screens this year.

I have had to endure endless entries of mindless drivel regurgitating the same old plot, clichéd characters (even in their 3D wrapped foils) and excruciating acting or dreadful dialogue and to be honest, it’s killed my enthusiasm a little bit.

Now some entries you may question and unfortunately release dates are always different. My argument is films I’ve seen this year. Some may have been released at the end of 2013 but I didn’t see them until early January BUT that sums up my argument if they’re in here.

I won’t go on too much about each film. That’s what the other posts are for but a quick two cents if you like. Some I hope you will nod in approval. Others you may scroll back and forth hoping that this is a joke. BUT my criteria is based on surprise, entertainment and engagement. So God knows what lies in store.

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1. The Dallas Buyers Club

What? Let’s not forget this wasn’t released in the UK until February. A film that certainly surprised me. I went in not knowing what to expect and was rewarded with a different story and engaging characters that were done to justice by two actors that had seemed to be pushed into the movie wilderness. McConaughey was launched back into the limelight and rightly so, beating Ejiofor to the Oscar. I still couldn’t believe Jared Leto’s supporting role. More to him than just a singer from an emo-rock-pop band.

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2. Gone Girl

I went in expecting the worst and was rewarded with a brilliantly acted and well written piece of drama. I may have called the twist but the unravelling changed everything and made this an unexpected treat. A film with enough going on to justify it’s three hour length. Peter Jackson, I’m looking at you. The cast were superb. But the main scene stealer was Rosamund Pike. Remarkable. *Cough* Oscar *Cough*. Can Fincher do no wrong? (No, Alien 3 is awesome!)

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3. 12 Years A Slave

A visceral and haunting film that delves into the human condition of one man’s plight into slavery. Steve McQueen certainly delivered one of his most ambitious, if slightly overhyped, projects to date. A harrowing story expertly acted by a fantastic cast. Ejiofor was unlucky not to win but he has certainly proved he can handle the leading role. This was all helped by an Oscar-winning supporting turn from newcomer Lupita Nyong’o and a sinister one from Michael Fassbender.

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4. August: Osage County

An underrated drama. A perfect showcase in acting. Meryl Streep proving yet again why she keeps getting those Oscar nods. A simple story revolving a family feud. But with a family of well written characters with a huge ensemble of talented characters made this one to watch for me. Its abrupt ending may have lost marks but it didn’t ruin great performances. Shame none of the contenders won this time round.

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5. The Book Thief

Now I will admit that I haven’t read the book but if the film is anything to go by, then I really want to read it. An endearing, if slow burning war drama that is shown through the eyes of a little girl who finds solace in stealing books. A great performance by Sophie Nelisse. It’s always a gamble with kid actors, especially when they are the main characters. But a great performance that is aided by a fantastic supporting cast consisting of Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson made this an engaging and highly watchable affair with an inevitable but emotional ending.

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6. The Imitation Game

Fantastic. A suspenseful and intriguing look into the troubled genius that was Alan Turing as he helps crack the Enigma code during the Second World War. Benedict Cucumber Batch was outstanding. *Cough* Oscar *Cough*. A powerhouse performance. It helped being assisted by a stellar British supporting cast consisting of the likes of Charles “Game of Thrones” Dance, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and that chauffeur guy from Downton Abbey. Compelling, enthralling and sombre viewing by the closing moments.

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7. The Guardians of The Galaxy

Another Marvel movie is unleashed. But what a film. James Gunn manages to make an enjoyable romp of a space opera with the same old predictable guff of intergalactic rogues turned superheroes spiel. However, I actually cared about these rogues and cannot wait for another inevitable sequel. This is all helped with a great script, fantastic cast and an awesome soundtrack. So good I saw it twice.

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8. 22 Jump Street

My name is Jeff! Yes, conforming to the masses but if when a blockbuster is this funny, who cares? Hill and Tatum are back pretty much doing the same thing which worked the first time round to better and bigger results. I laughed from start to finish. The very purpose of a comedy for me. It’s big, dumb and stupid but so funny. Invest.

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9. The Inbetweeners 2

Speaking of dumb and stupid. The boys are back but this time they’re going down under. If you’re a fan then expect the same old dirty smut that still manages to have you heaving and laughing all the way. They may be reaching their thirties but the cast were still very much on form, making this installment surpass the first movie but falls first of the iconic TV series. Get on it, my movie fwends. Fwend, aww.

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10. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Bryan came back! And brought with him another relentless X-Men sequel that restored my faith in the franchise. A little plot device allowed the director to do a little spring cleaning. A fusion of the old with the new made something completely different and very entertaining. Even the introduction of more new faces helped rather than hindered this time round. Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, I’m looking at you. There were numerous things I wanted to see more of as the film drew to a close. But all little teasers for a resurgence that I for one cannot wait to see. Plus McStewart vs. McBender in an act-off. Who can do deliver the best Magneto/Xavier? You decide.

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