With the Academy Awards just around the corner I have finally been able to watch all the movies nominated for Best Picture to do my top 10 of the year. It was a tough list to put together and I still feel I have left out some really good ones, but these are my final top 10 favourite movies:
Let’s be honest, Andy Serkis is the master of motion capture. This movie has taken to a whole new level the amount of emotion you can portray through a CGI character. But the outstanding special effects are not the only thing that make this movie a perfect sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The story itself has more social relevance and depth than you would initially expect to find in a movie like this, proving that not all summer blockbusters have to be mere pop-corn movies to be entertaining. Review.
#9 The Grand Budapest Hotel Director: Wes Anderson Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton
Wes Anderson’s unique style flows from every single shot of this film. Charming and gorgeous, it not only has a spectacular cast, extravagant and quirky characters where even the cameos are a delight to watch, but it also tells a great story that doesn’t stick to one genre and the dialogue is in itself a masterpiece. The Grand Budapest Hotel and Wes Anderson’s vision are a breath of fresh air in today’s filmmaking. Review.
When this movie was first announced a lot of people started wondering if this could be the time Marvel bombed. Centering the story around a group of characters that hardly anyone had heard about, amongst which there were a talking raccoon and a walking tree, and making the BSO consist of 70’s hit songs, Marvel took the leap of faith and, with James Gunn’s corky style, made one of the most successful and funny movies of the year. At this point, can Marvel do anything wrong? Review.
Another sequel that was a step up from an already fantastic movie. How to Train your Dragon 2 took a more mature approach than its predecessor and showed that animated movies can tell an epic story, with unforgettable characters, still having a lot of heart and not being afraid to get a bit dark, which makes them perfect, not only for kids, but for adults too. Hiccup and Toothless are a duo that I will never get tired of seeing on-screen. Review.
It might not be the most cinematic experience of the year but the story behind it is so fascinating and Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Alan Turing is excellent. The Oscar for Best Actor this year is clearly a two-horse race between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne but at least he, as well as Keira Knightley, are getting the recognition they deserve. Review.
A beautiful love story that tells the story behind the myth that is Stephen Hawking and his ex-wife Jane, that is not afraid to show that their relationship in real life was complicated, challenging and full of self-sacrifice, but nonetheless inspiring. Just for Eddie Redmayne’s performance, this is a must-see film. It’s breath-taking watching the way he transformed himself into Stephen Hawking. Could he win the Oscar this week? Review.
The X-Men are back! This movie could have been a mess with so many characters and timelines but Bryan Singer handled it perfectly, mixing the old cast and new. The cast is amazing and so talented but Days of Future Past is not only an epic, fun adventure, it also got rid of the events in X-Men: The Last Stand and that alone is quite an achievement… Also, Quicksilver kills it. Review.
I found this movie so mesmerizing. Full of twists and turns it keeps your attention during the two hours and a half and it’s impossible not to be constantly wondering what is going to happen next. Rosamund Pike gives one of the best performances of the year, portraying such a complex and disturbing character. It keeps the intrigue and the tension going until the very last second with a shocking ending. Review.
Comic book movies can also be great espionage thrillers and, without losing the spirit of who Captain America is, The Winter Soldier and The First Avenger couldn’t be more different. Full of great action sequences, a major improvement from The Avengers in Steve Rogers, the movie also did a great job at focusing on characters that in previous Marvel films we haven’t seen much development for, like Black Widow, Nick Fury and Maria Hill. In addition, the introduction of the Falcon and an extraordinary “villain”, the Winter Soldier, make for a fantastic movie. Anything else? Yes, Robert Redford is in it. Review.
No other movie has kept me in the edge of my sit like Whiplash did. The tension builds up throughout the whole movie to culminate in what probably is the best climatic ending scene of the year. The movie is elevated by its two main characters, a raw performance by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons who is so intimidating and demands your attention in every scene he is in. There is no doubt he will win a very well-deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this year. Review.
Honorable mentions Boyhood: Such an achievement in filmmaking and the story catches live perfectly. Chef: Food porn. Big Hero 6: Cute, funny and epic. It’s Marvel. Snowpiercer: Weird, horrific and beautiful at the same time. Wild: An inspiring story, a self-discovery journey and an amazing performance by Reese Witherspoone. Edge of Tomorrow: or All You Need is Kill or Live. Die. Repeat., or whatever is called now. Emily Blunt is a badass. Locke: 80 minutes of Tom Hardy driving a car and talking on the phone. Begin Again: Wonderful soundtrack. The LEGO Movie: It’s awesome. Only Lovers Left Alive: Don’t worry, these are not sparkly vampires and the chemistry between Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston is just brilliant.