Insert a comment stating that 2014 has been a great year in film. Follow up that statement by mentioning the continued growth of comic book movies and how Marvel is beginning to shape the industry. Mention something about Hollywood taking bigger risks on reboots and franchises. Continue on a rant about the lack of originality in 2014. Remind readers of the importance of filmmaking and what makes a great, compelling and memorable film. Insert a few examples of films that have broken box office records but don’t capture any of the magic of a good movie – ie. Transformers: Age of Extinction, X-men: Days of Future past, and Step Up: All In. Add a disclaimer that the following top 10 is made up of the best films (the most emotional, thought provoking and moving – best sculpted, written and directed works), not the most entertaining, most epic ones. Don’t forget to mention that only movies shown in South African cinemas (or available online) this year qualifies – no Birdman or Inherent Vice unfortunately.
That’s usually how these article intros go. But you don’t want to hear all that, you want to get straight into the top 10. Here they are…
Although Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar was only shown in South African cinemas for a short period, due to a lack of interest by cinemagoers, fans will argue that it was one of the best blockbusters of the year. Those who have the strength to sit through the 3 hour running time will discover a film filled with emotional ups and downs. It’s not just science fiction for the sake of science fiction. Interstellar is moving, haunting and entertaining.
Snowpiercer is awesome. On the surface the film might seem like it’s a simple story, but thanks to the great plot twists the film grows into so much more. Although they might be in the same vein, Snowpiercer is a much better adventure story than The Hunger Games, Maze Runner and The Giver.
08. Under The Skin
Under The Skin is incredibly haunting and weird – the artsy weird. Scarlett Johannsen plays an alien who seduces young men to her bedroom/lair only to murder them and remove their skin. The visuals are stunning and the soundtrack is chilling – a great combo for a film that totally transports the viewer.
Targeted as a strong Oscar contender this year, Boyhood is a remarkable coming-of-age film shot over 12 years. With rave reviews, including a 99% Rotten Tomatoes score, it has been declared as a landmark film by critics around the world. It is an amazing look into the lifespan of a young boy who becomes a man. Along the way he is forced to deal with every day issues like divorce, heartbreak, peer pressure, life choices and love.
06. Dawn of The Planet of The Apes
There simply wasn’t a better blockbuster this year. Dawn of The Planet of The Apes continues the journey of Cesear, an ape with super intelligence. Here he must confront a human threat and keep his ape family alive. What follows is a surprisingly very relatable story of struggle, family, endurance, trust, love, hope and justice.
Enemy hits the mark as a strange, tense thriller. When a lecturer discovers his own lookalike after watching a movie, he begins to stalk the actor. This results in a number of bizarre circumstances. But what is real and what is happening in his mind? Jake Gyllenhaal does a terrific job as both. Enemy will leave audiences puzzled and haunted for days. What are the spider metaphors about?
04. Only Lovers Left Alive
How could a film about bored vampires be so engaging? Tom Hiddleston and
Tilda Swinton deliver their best work here. A bizarre poetic lovestory, it’s an offbeat film better seen than described. Gloomy and slow, yet so masterfully put together!
Jake Gyllenhaal has proven himself to be one of the finest actors working today. Neo-noir film Nightcrawler is witness to just that. The actor gives a riveting performance as a young man, desperate for work, who is attracted to filming accidents and crime scenes. He sells the footage to a popular news station, gaining a rep for his violent pieces. Soon things spiral out of control and he is unable to control his greed to be the best. Nightcrawler is gripping stuff!
02. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson has mastered his art and style with his recent films. The Grand Budapest Hotel continues the charm and wonder of Moonrise Kingdom. The cast delivers perfect performances, with popular A list actors making brief cameos throughout. The Grand Budapest Hotel is heartwarming escape into the world of a young lobby boy named Zero. He is mentored by a strange devoted concierge who takes on a journey of discovery and loss.
01. Gone Girl
David Fincher does what he does best in Gone Girl – mystify, shock and deliver a strong story. Painted in shades of dark shadows and a palette of greens, Gone Girl couldn’t have worked in the hands of any other director. Despite the over-the-top storyline, the film never looses grip with reality and never feels implausible. It follows the complex story of a husband who becomes the prime suspect when his wife goes missing.
Biggest Disappointment… Dumb and Dumber To
Biggest Disappointment still worth seeing… Godzilla
Best Sequel… Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Worst Sequel… The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Most Unnecessary Sequel… Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Best Reboot… Robocop
Worst Reboot… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Worst Movie Based on a Video Game… Need for Speed
Best Comedy… 22 Jump Street
Worst Comedy… Blended
Most Versatile Actor… Andy Serkis
Best Ending… The Grand Budapest Hotel
Worst Ending… Tusk
Most Confusing Ending… Enemy
Worst Comeback… Wesley Snipes
Best Comeback… Matthew McConaughey
Biggest Flop… Horrible Bosses 2
Worst Movie… Step Up: All In / The Single Moms Club / A Haunted House 2 / Left Behind (Pick any one of them)
Best 3D Movie… The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies / The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Worst 3D Movie… I, Frankenstein
Best Surprisingly Good Movie… 300: Rise of an Empire
Best Horror… The Babadook
Best Thriller… Gone Girl
Worst Screenwriting… The Expendables 3
Best Action Movie… John Wick
Favourite Character… Groot
Best Coming-Of-Age Movie… Boyhood
Best Director… David Fincher
Worst Director… Tyler Perry
Best Romantic Comedy… Begin Again
Worst Romantic Comedy… Blended
Best Science Fiction… Interstellar
Worst Science Fiction… Automata
Worst Death… Pompeii (everyone)
Best CGI… Transformers: Age of Extinction
Worst CGI… I, Frankenstein
Best Comic Book Movie… Guardians of the Galaxy
Most Epic Movie Moment… X-Men: Days of Future Past (Quicksilver slow motion run)
Weirdest Movie… Tusk
Most Haunting movie… Tusk / Predestination
Most Offensive Movie… Bad Johnson
Most Hyped… Interstellar
Most Over-hyped… Godzilla
Most Overlooked Movie… Enemy
Most Surprising Performance… Nicholas Cage (Joe)