Samstag, 3. Januar 2015

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2014

 Hello there puny humans,
and a happy new year! 2014 was a great year for cinema and as I already did with my podcast, I now want to look back at the films I've watched. So after lesser thoughts than I expected, I was able to make up my personal Top 10 List! Note that it is based on German release dates, so I simply couldn't include films like Whiplash or Birdman (but you just might find them on my "Top 10 Anticipated Films of 2015" list). It should also be mentioned that (unfortunately) I don't have the time to watch every movie ever made, so if you're missing one of your favourites, it might be because I didn't have the pleasure of seeing it yet. But now without further ado, I present to you the ten films that I enjoyed the most:

Number ten on the list is the picture that cemented Matthew McConaughey's position as a serious and incredibly talented actor. The story of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who works around the system to help other infected people get the medication they need, touches you on many levels. Not only does it deal with issues like a profit-grasping pharmaceutical industry or a whole societies homophobia, but it is an interesting character study at the same time. The Oscar-winning performances of McConaughey and Jared Leto make this film stand out even more, and give this film an overwhelming emotional power. 

9. HER
Cute, clever and oddly realistic, this science fiction romantic comedy-drama (or however you wanna label it) is ahead of its time. Looking at the scenario of operating systems getting so advanced, that you could actually fall in love with them, Spike Jonze's vision of our future doesn't seem so distant at all. A lot of film-makers have used artificial intelligence in the past, but mainly for thrillers or action-films, and so with Her we get a very different angle on the topic. It will make you question your definitions of love, personality, and partnership, and it no doubt deserved its Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Apes on horsebacks with machine-guns! Is there anything more I need to tell you? Well, yes there is. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a cinematic spectacle, and uses the best technology the visual effects industry has to offer, and yet it is more than just eye-candy. Next to the actors managing the difficult task of acting exactly like real apes, this film stunns you with a story about revolution, war, conflict, racism, and the clash of cultures. A very relevant film, that shows that the Planet of the Apes-franchise is far from being worn out. Read my review here! 

My number seven is a film whose protagonists are just as bold as Marvel Studios is for putting them on screen. The comic-book stories that hardly anyone had read, suddenly took audience's hearts by storm when its characters flew into our theaters, with spaceships, lazer guns and a ton of cool one-liners. Chris Pratt turned into a movie star over night, and Rocket and Groot into popculture phenomenons. Cheeky, funny, action-packed, and highly quotable, this space adventure with a Tarantino-esque Soundtrack was pure entertainment, and shouldn't be missed by any Marvel or Sci-Fi fan. Click here to read my review!

My previous pick was a film that showed Marvel's funny side, and ranked right above it in my list is the one that was probably the most serious within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before this film, Captain America had been heavily overlooked, both in The Avengers and even his own stand-alone film, but in April he redeemed himself with a bang. Being more of a political action thriller than a comic-book film, this movie gave the MCU a whole new level of credibility. Good writing mixed with some greatly constructed action scences made this film stay fresh in my mind ever since I first reviewed it. 

Now we are entering the top five, and kicking them off is one of the biggest surprises that year: Edge of Tomorrow (or Live.Die.Repeat. as it was renamed for its DVD release). This gritty sci-fi action piece took a well-known concept and completely made it its own. With its magnificent visuals, clever humor, awesome action and great characters, this movie stands out through an amazing overall atmosphere. In addition it features Tom Cruise playing a coward probably for the very first time, and Emily Blunt as one of the most bad-ass female protagonists since Ellen Ripley of the Alien-franchise. I praised it in my initial review and still stand by that opinion at the end of a great cinematic year.

I only caught this film on an additional screening after it had already stopped playing in theaters, and I am so very glad that I did. Wes Anderson has managed to excell himself with this British-German co-produced comedy drama. His unique style of directing gives this film an unmeasurable amount of charm, and the writing is sheer brilliance. With the perfect delivery of this all-star cast (including but not limited to Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum) and the kind of humor you'll laugh out loud about even after the third time you've watched it, make this movie an unforgettable heart-warming ride! Hopefully, it'll score at this year's Academy Awards. 

Number three on the list is Dan Gilroy's fantastic directorial debut, with which he created what I'd like to call a modern day Taxi Driver. Through excellent camera work and an exceeding Jake Gyllenhaal (who gives the best performance of his career so far) he tells the story of the stout sociopath Lou Bloom, and scene by scene uncovers the perversion of our main character, as well as today's media. A dark and unsettling crime thriller, that'll almost make you want to take a shower after watching it, and a film whose direction you could probably study in film school. Read my review to find out more. 

It was a tough call between second and third place, but Gone Girl comes out on top because of its multidimensionality. Thrilling and intense from start to finish, this film has so many things to offer: interesting characters, media criticism, the exploration of the construct of partnership, spine-chilling scenes and even a little bit of humor, all wrapped around a compelling mystery. Further, this movie stays unpredictable for all of its diverting two and a half hours, and the outstanding performances of the entire cast make this film more than worthy of your time. David Fincher's skill and Gillian Flynn's novel are a match made in heaven, although what their characters go through is anything but! Click here to read my review.

Roll your eyes and call me a fanboy, but Interstellar was my favourite film of 2014. This intergalactic story simply left me in awe, and generated such an interest for its content that it had me doing tons of research and watch many documentaries even weeks after first seeing it. It is superb if a movie can amaze you like that, and even the second time I watched it in theaters, it didn't lose any of its impact for me. A beautifully complex film with the perfect ballance of science and fiction, the most stunning visuals of the decade and an incredible family relationship at its emotional core: Christopher Nolan has left me speechless once more. Truth be told, it isn't a flawless film, but (as already stated in my review) it was a perfect movie going experience to me. I will buy the specialest DVD edition of this film that I will get my hands on, and I can only recommend this movie to everyone out there. 
By the way, an article called "INTERSTELLAR - Between Science and Fiction" is in the works as well, so make sure to stay tuned for that.

So, that was my personal Top 10 list for 2014. What were your favorite films? Where do you agree or disagree with me? Feel free to comment below, and get ready for an awesome 2015. I don't even wanna know how hard it'll be to do next year's list...

Your Cinemartian

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