Maybe I forgot to find Frank a place on the list, maybe I wanted to add a bit of tension before we got to number 1 - I will never tell. Frank is one of those random films that appeared in the listings without prior notice and gave me an excuse not to see Godzilla on opening weekend. It is very much worth a look and proves that the Gleeson talent did not skip a generation.
Sunday, 28 December 2014
The Most Memorable Films of 2014
Now that 2014 is almost over everyone is compiling their obligatory lists for best/worst films of the year and heaven forbid I don't jump up and drive the bandwagon. I am far too lazy to write two separate lists so I have combined them and created, for your pleasure, a list of my most memorable films whether they be good or bad.
As a general FYI Oscar Season doesn't kick off here until January so expect to see any memorable Oscar baiting films in next years list. Exciting stuff. I am sure it will be worth the wait.
10 – Fury
Despite the fact that Brad Pitt dresses up as "Brad Pitt in WW2" and phones in the only performance he is capable of giving Fury is a pretty good film. Pitt may be the A-List cast member but Fury is the story of Logan Lerman’s young Norman Ellison. Fury is the first time I have seen Lerman in an adult film and he more than held his own against Brad Pitt although it wasn't much of a challenge. The chemistry between Pitt and Lerman was strong but every time Pitt stared intently at Lerman I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was trying to figure out a way to adopt him. Fury was a solid, action heavy war film which more than deserved its viewing in the cinema.
9 – Noah
2014 seems to be the year when Hollywood decided to go all biblical on us and force feed tales from the Old Testament down our throats. Noah was first out of the gate and this was enough to earn it a place on the list over the equally horrific Exodus: Gods and Kings. Watching Russell Crowe’s Noah stomp around the ark like a raving lunatic was not pleasant viewing and let’s not forget the creepy scene when Jennifer Connelly wanted to marry off two new born girls to her teenage sons. An awful, awful film.
8 – The Judge
With another cast The Judge would have been a perfectly good film but casting Robert Downey Jnr to play the lawyer version of Robert Downey Jnr was the laziest choice of 2014. RDJ finally morphed into a caricature and he has become so bloated by his own ego it has become impossible to watch him on screen without feeling immense hatred.
7 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
I hated Brian Singer for leaving the X-Men franchise and I wasn’t willing to forgive him until I saw Days of Future Past. I finally got the X-Men of my childhood. The only criticism I have would be that Ian McKellen got short changed on screen time. Bring on Apocalypse!
6 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
There was nothing but negative press surrounding the latest remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a dodgy trailer did nothing to pique my interest, and yet, by the time the film arrived there were rumblings of it being not too bad. Chalk it up to nostalgia or chalk it up to Will Arnett, either way, I had a great time. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is probably the most surprisingly entertaining film of the year. It was by no means perfect but going along to see the next instalment doesn’t feel like too much of a chore. A job fairly well done.
5 – Gone Girl
A much hyped film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel. This is one of those rare occasions when I had read the book before the film was announced. I knew the story well enough to hate the casting of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. My hatred was misplaced as Gone Girl was an engaging film despite my having read the book twice. Gone Girl is one of those films that was watched, enjoyed and then instantly forgotten about. David Fincher was the right man for the job and keeps up his near perfect streak of making films that I love yet only feel the need to watch once.
4 – Lone Survivor
I finally blew the dust of my Lone Survivor DVD and watched it for the first time quite recently. I was blown away. Lone Survivor was an amazing film which had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The only problem was that the film lacked a few big emotional punches but it saved them for the closing credits by honouring the fallen soldiers who were killed in action. It could have been a cheap ploy for manipulated tears but it was well handled, poignant and any tears that I shed were genuine. I so desperately want Peter Berg to become one of my favourite directors and he always gets so close but then cranks out a Battleship or Hancock to slide him back down the rankings.
3 – Deliver us from Evil
The only horror film to make it onto the list this year purely because The Babadook got such a limited release in the cinema it was impossible to see it. Deliver us from Evil could have been a familiar tale of possession and exorcism but it switches up the format by playing out like a grimy thriller on the streets of New York. It is a bit dry in parts but the biggest problem with Deliver us from Evil is that it is a film – It would have made an excellent tv show.
Imagine tuning into this every week.
Deliver us from Evil also introduced me to Joel McHale and Community which in turn has saved me a small fortune in DVD’s this year as I have been watching Community on a loop for the past six months. It’s always nice when a film I like introduces me to a hidden gem. Director Scott Derrickson has joined the Marvel team which bodes well for Dr Strange although I wouldn't be unhappy if he treated us to a sequel in the interim (provided it isn't called Deliver us from Evil Again.)
2 – Calvary
A couple of years ago John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson brought us The Guard which is one of my all-time favourite films. In 2014 they teamed up again with Calvary, the story of a Priest who is given one week to live before he is murdered. Rather than go to the police and save himself Father James sets about getting his house in order and attempts to reach out to his parishioners. Although there is some black humour the film is a dark drama and gives Gleeson an opportunity to show that he is one of the finest actors around. Gleeson has already picked up some awards for his performance but I expect the film to be too quiet to pick up any Oscar traction. This is Oscar’s loss.
1.5 - Frank
1 – Pride
The top spot was a toss-up between Calvary and Pride but Pride stole it by a whisker. Right from the trailer I knew that Pride would be a film that I would enjoy. Pride is set during the 1984 miners’ strike when a group of friends set up the GLSM to provide relief to the struggling minors. There is plenty of humour and heart which makes it easy to fall in love with the characters. It is a perfect, feel good film, which made a dismal year in the cinema worth it.
This is hardly the most inspiring list of films but it is what it is. Hopefully 2015 will be a much more successful, movie watching year. I don't think it could get any worse!
And there is always this to fall back on: