2014 has been a superb year for genre flicks. There has been a wonderful mix of greatness coming out from almost all genres, from very bleak horror stories to mind boggling action movies to quirky comedies and grand science fiction spectacles. Here’s my very subjective list for the what I feel were the 10 Best Movies that I saw this year, I’m sure most will not agree with it. Yes I did rank Godzilla above Interstellar, but it’s my list, so do feel free to tell us yours. Sound off in the comments.
Honorary mentions : X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Lego Movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Chef, Edge of Tomorrow
10. The Babadook
Australian film-makers just know exactly what they want to portray on screen and their terrific vision, especially in the horror genre, has given us a few modern day horror auteurs like Sean Byrne(The Loved Ones) and James Wan(Saw, Insidious, Conjuring). Jennifer Kent is the latest to join this Aussie Posse with one of the creepiest movies that you will see in a long time. This bleak tale about a single mother and her troubled son is sure to become cult classic.
9. The Raid 2
Lives up to the byline of The Greatest Action Movie Ever Made. Die Hard has had a good run but it has to give way for this epic piece of art. Raid Redemption may have been light on plot but this is a fully fleshed out crime drama mixed in with the best Action Choreography and Camera work put to film till date. The camera almost feels alive with frenetic energy and manic editing. This is an example of how the Shaky Cam can be used to compliment the visuals, there is a single uncut shot where the camera is in the front seat of the car, it goes out of the car into another car that is trailing behind it, enters through the front window then goes to the backseat to zoom ahead to a goon carrying a shotgun in another car. Words cannot describe how badass that shot is. Also it has a cornucopia of badasses with matching names like Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man(Not kidding). Gareth Evans has outdone himself with this movie. Cannot wait for what he does next.
Nolan has become arguably, the most polarizing directors of all time. I do not recall any other director whose works have been under so much scrutiny by audience and critics alike. Nothing short of perfect has become an accepted benchmark for today’s semi literate movie going audience when it comes to a Nolan movie. That being said, I enjoyed Interstellar quite a lot, but I did have a few issues with it. Read my full review here.
From my Review,”Gojira is a force of nature and director, Gareth Edwards understands that and treats him just like one. Therefore you get to witness the events playing out in the film just like a natural catastrophe, in televisions sets, in second and third hand accounts of the events that are taking place but are rarely there in your face for the majority of this 140 minutes long spectacle. Edwards brings his Indie credentials and sensibilities into it and sparingly uses the Kaijus and the overall action in this movie which leaves the audience asking for more. This will become quite frustrating if you’re of the impatient kind and came expecting a standard summer blockbuster fare. This is one movie that, I can finally say, that just gets it, it gets the genre, it gets the long illustrious history, the political bleakness that goes along with this character and while acknowledging that, creates, mind the pun, a monster of its own. I do not remember getting as many goosebumps in the theaters, as I did while watching this movie. I’ve been a fan of this genre for a very long time and it is immensely gratifying that those sentiments are respected and visualised especially with the tiny nods like the filmmakers actually finding out a way to write: Godzilla- King of Monsters without making it cheesy.” Read my full review here.
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier –
It is a great genre flick with Super beings in it, quite like, what Nolan did with The Dark Knight, a great Crime Noir movie with The Bat. Simply put, it is a political thriller done right. The opening sequence so fantastic, most movies usually reserve such grand scenes for their closing chapter. Plot wise it is certainly the most rich till date, the socio-political statement is superb, honing in the NSA/Snowden/Drone angle to the setting, this reminded me of Captain America’s stand in the Civil War. The dialogues are sharp and the tone is just right to make it dark but not dreary.Marvel must be using The Eye of Aggamotto for choosing their directors, and this time too they chose the unconventional but the right people. The Russo Brothers, whom I was familiar only with their work on Arrested Development and the audaciously ambitious, Community. The very best moment for me was the re-introduction of Arnim Zola, played by the indomitable Toby Jones. A villain so hilariously cartoonish in appearance in the books only Marvel could pull it off with almost a perfect source to screen version. Hail Hydra.
Another Chris Evans starrer, but the true star of this movie was the director Bong Joon-Ho, known for his Korean classics The Host and Memories of Murder, both of which you must check out at the earliest. Adapted from a French graphic novel. Snowpiercer tackles Dystopia like none other. With a very over the top premise, the only survivors of the world live in a segregated train which keeps running endlessly, it is destined to fail at the hands of a lesser director, but this one soars way above its peers making it a a masterpieces in terms of set pieces and story telling. Also features one of the creepiest scene involving school children since Battle Royale. It is a MUST watch.
Richard Linklater’s magnum opus chronicling a boy literally growing up in front of you over a running time of 166 minutes. It also features some of the best performances you’ll see all year. Patricia Arquette deserves an Oscar nod for her portrayal of a mother trying to find her own ground while raising two kids. It is said that the scenes were sometimes written the night before the shoot, but such a wonderful narrative you’ll have difficulty believing that.
3. Gone Girl:
The movie which gave us one of the most terrifying villains in a long time. Fincher continues his streak in making the most visually stunning features, Atticus-Finch’s score is also one of the strongest this year, very subtle yet haunting. Easily the frontrunner for Adapted Screenplay during the Awards season. It features some of the best acting performances you’ll see all year from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, who should definitely win Best Actress and has brilliant offbeat casting choices like Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry, playing totally against their usual personas.
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel:
Wes Anderson’s visual style is one of the most distinct and easily recognizable in all Hollywood. His use of colors, Aspect Ratios in story-telling, trademark camera work and brilliant casting choices, no matter how small the role is, make this his most endearing feature film till date. Quirky is a word synonymous with his work, this is no different and Ralph Fiennes’ turn as M. Gustave the Manager for The Grand Budapest is one of the best characters Anderson has created in his Filmography. Fantastic, joyful and audacious, this movie is a joy to watch.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy:
Could it be anything other than this? I had impossibly, high expectations regarding this but after watching it, it had exceeded them all. James Gunn’s Space Opera featuring a thief, a murderer, an assassin, a talking raccoon and a sentient tree became one of the biggest hits of the year. Employing some great acting talent, superb CGI, terrific cinematography, witty dialogues and the best soundtrack to come out in years, aptly titled Awesome Mix Vol.1 it compels you to say, “Make Mine Marvel”. Read my absurdly lengthy review here.