My top 10 2014 releases so far

With UK release dates not quite lining up with US releases I have decided to stick with my favourite films I’ve seen in the theatre in 2014 based on US release date and then sometime around the end of the first quarter I’ll do a second round based on films I’ve seen in 2015 that were 2014 US releases. So here goes!

xmen

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman
From my review:
Days of Future Past focuses again on the relationship between Charles and Erik and their fundamentally different ideals with Charles believing in the essential goodness of humanity and Erik convinced that human nature is to destroy anything different. With this as the central theme of the film, while the effects are pretty spectacular it’s more about making a connection with the characters, which is what makes Days of Future Past something that much better than the average superhero film.
“Professor X: Charles.
Charles Xavier: Charles.
[looks around]
Charles Xavier: Is this what becomes of us? Erik was right. Humanity does this to us.
Professor X: Not if we show them a better path.
Charles Xavier: You still believe?
Professor X: Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Sometimes, we all need a little help.
Charles Xavier: I’m not the man I was.
Professor X: You’re afraid. I remember.
Charles Xavier: All those voices… so much PAIN.
Professor X: It’s not their pain you’re afraid of. It’s yours, Charles. And as frightening as it can be, that pain will make you stronger. If you allow yourself to feel it, embrace it, .it will make you more powerful than you ever imagined. It’s the greatest gift we have: to bear their pain without breaking. And it comes from the most human part of us: hope. Charles, we need you to hope again.”

Pride

Pride
Starring: Ben Schnetzer, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy
From my review:
All too often you hear someone describe a film as being the total package or suggesting that you’ll laugh and cry and get angry and be uplifted all in one film but when it comes to Pride this all really is true, as is the actual story. Schnetzer is an absolute stand-out as the extremely inspiring Mark and is Jessica Gunning as Sian, a miner’s wife awakened to her potential as a leader. An instant classic and a must-see.
“Steph, Stella, Zoe: [to the Tune of “Solidarity Forever”] Every woman is a lesbian at heart/Every woman is a lesbian at heart/Every woman is a lesbian at heart…
Reggie: You can’t possibly say that every woman is a lesbian.
Zoe: Why not?
Reggie: Because they’re not! Esther Rantzen isn’t a lesbian. My mum is not a lesbian.
Stella: How do you know?
Reggie: How do I know my Mum’s not a lesbian?
Ray: What he’s trying to say is, you can’t make grand, sweeping generalizations. It’s not acceptable.
[beat]
Steph, Stella, Zoe: [Resumes Singing] Every woman is a lesbian at heart/Every woman is a lesbian at heart/Every woman is a lesbian at heart/Including Reggie’s Mum!”

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Rene Russo
From my review:
I will come straight out and say that I loved this film. Gyllenhaal gives a career-defining performance that is absolutely mesmerising. While the true nature of Lou’s character unfolds slowly throughout the film, there is an immediate feeling that there is something off about him, something which is dark and unsettling, adding to a film which manages to be thrilling and occasionally surprisingly amusing.
“Lou Bloom: Now I like you, Nina. And I look forward to our time together. But you have to understand, fifteen thousand isn’t all that I want. From here on, starting now, I want my work to be credited by the anchors and on a burn. The name of my company is Video Production News, a professional news-gathering service. That’s how it should be read and that’s how it should be said. I also want to go to the next rung and meet your team, and the station manager, and the director, and the anchors, and start developing my own personal relationships. I’d like to start meeting them this morning. You’ll take me around, you’ll introduce me as the owner and president of Video Production News, and remind them of some of my many other stories. I’m not done. I also want to stop our discussion over prices. This will save time. So when I say that a particular number is my lowest price, that’s my lowest price and you can be assured that I arrived at whatever that number is very carefully. Now, when I say that I want these things, I mean that I want them and I don’t want to have to ask again. And the last thing that I want, Nina, is for you to do the things that I ask you to do when we’re alone together in your apartment, NOT LIKE THE LAST TIME. So, I’ll tell you what. I have the van crash on Moorpark tonight. It was a couple of stringers actually. That could lead by itself on an average night. I’d be willing to throw that in for free. So what do you say, do we have a deal?”

HTTYD2

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Starring (voice actors): Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler
From my review:
How to Train Your Dragon was one of those very few animated films I actually liked so I was anxious to see how the sequel would pan out and I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. The animation, particularly for the flying scenes, is dazzling, the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless is wonderful and getting to see so many new and interesting dragons is awesome.
“Hiccup: [to Valka, about the dragon sanctuary] This is where you’ve been for twenty years?
[Valka nods]
Hiccup: You’ve been rescuing them. Unbelievable.
Valka: You’re not upset?
Hiccup: I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to wrap my head around, to be frank. It’s not every day you find out your mother is some kind of… crazy, feral, vigilante, dragon lady.
Valka: [laughs as Cloudjumper helps her down] Oh. Well… At least I’m not boring. Right?”

Grand Budapest

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Tony Revolori
From my review:
Fiennes and Revolori have magnificent chemistry and you can absolutely buy the idea that these two “alone in the world” characters have formed a weird little family of their own. Pair this up with some vintage action, a bucket load of quirky characters, a hilarious script and a star-studded cast and how could you possibly go wrong. For me, without question my favourite Wes Anderson film yet.
“Zero: [Reading a letter from M. Gustave] “My dear and trusted colleagues…”
M. Gustave: I miss you deeply as I write from the confines of my regrettable and preposterous incarceration. Until I walk amongst you again as a free man, the Grand Budapest remains in your hands, as does its impeccable reputation. Keep it spotless, and glorify it. Take extra-special care of every little bitty bit of it as if I were watching over you like a hawk with a horse-whip in its talons, because I am. Should I discover a lapse of any variety during my absence, I promise swift and merciless justice will descend upon you. A great and noble house has been placed under your protection. Tell Zero if you see any funny business.
Zero: [Finishing the letter] “Your devoted Monsieur Gustave.””

Fury

Fury
Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBoeuf
From my review:
I am a bit of a sucker for a war film and this one really does not disappoint. While it might be pretty straightforward in terms of plot development it’s got heart, tension and real power without shying away from the devastation and senselessness of war.
Wardaddy: I started this war killing Germans in Africa. Then France. Then Belgium. Now I’m killing Germans in Germany. It will end, soon. But before it does, a lot more people gotta die.”

Frank

Frank
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domnhall Gleeson
From my review:
Frank is in equal parts hilarious, touching and very sad, exploring mental illness in a sensitive and engaging manner. I loved the parallels between Jon and Frank’s home lives and the idea that the difference between mediocrity and genius could just be a touch of madness but that touch could also mean the difference between success and anonymity.
“Don: You play C, F and G?
Jon Burroughs: Yeah.
Don: You’re in.”

Edge of tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
From my review:
I wasn’t expecting to like this movie because I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise’s at the best of times but Edge of Tomorrow is actually really entertaining, despite a couple of plot holes, it’s fun watching Cruise play a character that needs a lot of pushing to develop his heroic side, Emily Blunt is as radiant and fierce as ever and the two have great chemistry. Even my sci-fi connoisseur husband liked it.
“Griff: Why would we follow him into combat?
Lt. Col. Bill Cage: I don’t expect you to follow me. I expect your to follow her.
[Rita Vrataski steps into the scene]
Griff: That’s the Full Metal Bitch.”

Dawn of Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman
From my review:
Not only is the motion capture so incredibly impressive that you almost instantly forget that you are not watching real apes but the theme of two leaders just trying to do the right thing is universal. I found the decision not to push the audience to side with the humans or the apes refreshing and it makes it truly about the characters.
“Caesar: War has… already begun. Ape started war. And human… Human will not forgive. You must go… before fighting begins. I am sorry… my friend.
Malcolm: I thought we had a chance.
Caesar: I did too.”

Boyhood

Boyhood
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette
From my review:
There isn’t anything particularly special about Mason’s life. This doesn’t matter though as his experiences are so relateable and the use of the same actors creates a connection that I don’t believe would be possible if the characters were played by several different actors. I also loved the realism within the film and the way the characters changed and grew or devolved the way real people do.
“Mason: So what’s the point?
Dad: Of what?
Mason: I don’t know, any of this. Everything.
Dad: Everything? What’s the point? I mean, I sure as shit don’t know. Neither does anybody else, okay? We’re all just winging it, you know? The good news is you’re feeling stuff. And you’ve got to hold on to that.”

17 Comments

  1. Beautiful list. You’ll need to see The Guest if you haven’t yet….

    …and I’ll need to see Pride…

    …but otherwise this is spot on to what I’d call top films as well.

    1. Abbi

      I haven’t seen The Guest. I couldn’t talk my husband into it but I am hoping it will make its way to Netflix or Amazon soon.

      I hope you do get to see Pride because it’s great!

  2. I haven’t seen any of these except Grand Budapest…time to get to watching 🙂

    1. Abbi

      I think there are definitely some on this list that you would enjoy.

  3. jmount43

    It is no surprise to me that 2 Fassbender films made the list. The man is a fantastic actor.

    1. Abbi

      I am a big fan!

  4. Although my picks are slightly different I an imagine almost all of these movies appearing in my top 20. It was a great movie year, wasn’t it?

    1. Abbi

      It really was! Let’s hope 2015 is just as good!

      1. I hope it is. Just put up my own post if you’re interested in seeing my picks.

  5. Happy New Year, Abbi 🙂

    1. Abbi

      And to you, Cindy!

  6. Lots of great movies on your list! Just saw Boyhood yesterday (so late, I know!) and I’d rank it on my top ten list no doubt now! X-Men: Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow, Nightcrawler . . . so many great movies on your list!

    1. Abbi

      It was a great year for cinema. So glad you got to see Boyhood!

  7. Great list! Loved X-Men, Budapest, Edge of Tomorrow and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Still have so many films to catch up on.

    1. Abbi

      It was a great year for cinema, which made it really hard to choose!

  8. We have a very different top ten! Isn’t it annoying how we don’t get stuff the same time as America?? 😉 I hate that! I really need to see Frank.

    1. Abbi

      It makes trying to do this kind of post really challenging! Frank is brilliant. I hope you get to see it soon.

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