Top 10 Films of 2014
1. Nightcrawler dir. Dan Gilroy (pictured)
A deeply unsettling character study that is never less than edge-of-the-seat thrilling, Gilroy has crafted the definitive portrait of the modern media complex, encapsulated in Gyllenhaal’s incredible performance as unhinged news gatherer Lou Bloom.
Emaciated to the edge of grotesque, Gyllenhaal inhabits Bloom with the empty charm of a serial killer, delivering pitch perfect Tony Robbins-esque life coaching mantras while dispatching rivals without emotion, gleefully revelling in his work with psychopathic fascination.
From the twisted American Dream of Bloom’s ascent to power, to the troubling sexual politics in his relationship with Rene Russo’s network news producer, Nightcrawler is kinetic, relentless, and fearless.
Like Bloom filming the twisted carnage of a car crash, I couldn’t look away.
2. Birdman dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu
A mediation on fame and the meaning of life, Birdman is hilarious, moving, and wonderfully-meta, with a career-best Keaton hamming his way through the play-within-the-film and spectacularly unravelling backstage. Norton, luminous in skin-tone and performance, is a lock for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel dir. Wes Anderson
The most ‘Wes Anderson’ of Wes Anderson films, which depending on your opinion of Wes Anderson films is either genius or pointless. No guessing which camp I fall into: Peak Wes Anderson, peak enjoyment.
4. Snowpiercer dir. Bong Joon-ho
As each carriage on the train unearths new levels of horror, truth, and startling weirdness, Snowpiercer side-steps expectation and offers a cinematic experience unlike any other this year.
5. The LEGO Movie dir. Phil Lord & Chris Miller
6. Guardians of the Galaxy dir. James Gunn
The most fun I’ve had in a cinema since that time I saw The LEGO Movie.
7. The Guest dir. Adam Wingard
The Drive-esque electronic soundtrack would be the best part of many other films, but Wingard and writer Simon Barrett are in their 80s-throwback element here; nods, winks, and hilarious quips all.
8. Edge of Tomorrow dir. Doug Liman
The most underrated movie of the year, this blew me away. A seriously incredible action film. Tom Cruise haters turn off your prejudice for 90 minutes and let this film blow your mind. In summary: Emily Blunt.
9. Mistaken For Strangers dir. Tim Berninger
Following The National on their High Violet tour, Mistaken for Strangers is most unselfconscious rock doc I’ve ever seen. Hilarious, sad, poignant, and hilarious.
10. Boyhood dir. Richard Linklater
You’ll never see another film like this, ever. And don’t just see it for the unique production, see it for the moving exploration of the complexities and wonders of adolescence.
(Honourable mention: Northern Soul, Interstellar, Finding Vivian Meyer. Yet to see: Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, Selma, Foxcatcher, Whiplash, Top Five)