We have revealed our Games of the Year, but the celebrations continue! This week, we bring you some of our non-gaming favourites of 2014. Today, our editor and cinematic sadist Liam Merrick presents his favourite films of the year.
As part of the Game of the Year series, our web editor Don asked me to write about my top five films of 2014. I wrote down my top ten and tried to cut it down to just five. It could not be done. There were just too many films that I want to recommend to you, dear reader. So here, in full, are my top ten films of the year. I think each of these films are worthy of your time and I, for one, certainly enjoyed all of them.
10. 12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen has a unique take on film. His films are always visually stunning while being rather confronting. They’re never an easy watch, nor very fun; at times they’re more art than entertainment. 12 Years a Slave told the tale of Solomon Northup, a black man kidnapped and sold into slavery. It was harrowing experience that stayed with me the entire year.
9. Eternal Zero
This was my pick of the Japanese Film Festival. It told the story of a brother and sister as they investigated the life of their grandfather, a kamikaze pilot during WWII. The film flashed between the present and the past well as we explored the life of a complicated man during wartime. A very moving film.
Snowpiercer was the little sci-fi film that could, a post apocalyptic film set on a train charging through the snow. It was an action film that also explored class warfare, while still keeping a breakneck pace. Despite watching this on a plane, I still found it a cinematic experience.
7. Gone Girl
David Fincher is a great director, and Gone Girl is the perfect example of this. It was a thrilling whodunit that dared to change its point of view halfway through the film. It had me on the edge of my seat as we slowly explored the dark and grimy intentions and plans of our main characters. As much as I enjoyed it, I don’t want to watch it again; I feel like it’s the sort of film that loses it’s magic on repeat viewings…or maybe I’ll catch a different perspective — I wouldn’t put it past Finch.
Chef was a joyful film about food, about self discovery, an underdog story, a film about fathers and a road trip film, all in one. The film was a fantastic comeback for Jon Favreau on the back of Cowboys and Aliens and Iron Man 2, two not very good films. I should also mention the food porn — the glorious, dirty, hot food porn. Just writing about it makes me want a Cuban sandwich.
So it turns out that Jake Gyllenhaal is a pretty good actor. Here in Nightcrawler, he played a weird but incredibly driven man who starts to film car crashes and crime scenes for the news. This movie was incredibly tense while still having some lighter (and quite funny) moments. It really ramped out towards the end.
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen Brothers made a film about folk music, so of course it’s on my list — I’m just surprised it’s not higher. There’s a saying that directors just remake the same film over and over again, and for the Coen Brothers, it’s an adaption of the Book of Job. They love to torture their flawed main characters and Inside Llewyn Davis was no expectation. Great acting, interesting characters and a killer soundtrack (if you like folk music).
This is the Star Wars film we wanted and we won’t get in The Force Awakens. Guardians had the huge task of introducing a bunch of characters and explore the wider Marvel universe. It did all that while still remaining a fun and action packed ride. This is how Hollywood blockbusters should be made. Director James Gunn did not disappoint.
Also, “I am Groot”.
The Raid 2 was an incredibly brutal and fast paced action film that managed to do something Hollywood action films fail to do: Move the camera back and let us watch the action. Each fight somehow topped the last one. The Raid 2 was visually impressive but also more ambitious than its predecessor, telling a much grander tale while still having some unbelievable fight scenes.
I walked into Whiplash without knowing anything about the film. It blew me away. It’s about a jazz drummer in an elite music academy with a hard arse teacher that pushes his students to greatness — pushes them hard. The story about the personal push to greatness was a simple one, but it really got to me. I’m not really into jazz, but the music had me hooked.
This film really impressed me and for that, I give it movie of the year.
So that is my Top Ten. If you haven’t seen any of the above, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not watching them. So get cracking!
Come back tomorrow for more GOTY 2014 Bonus Round, or catch up on our 2014 Games of the Year