Greetings and salutations, I hope this Christmas season finds you well. What a crazy year it has been. In the course of one year, I have found myself not only travelling abroad but also studying a second language. It's been pretty hectic if I do say so myself. But, unfortunately, my attention to this blog of mine has fallen by the wayside. I just haven't had the time to write for it. But that doesn't mean I have stopped watching films. Far from it in fact.
I have seen a ton of films this year. Some good and some downright terrible. Two weeks ago I counted down the Ten Worst Films I had seen in 2014. Now we're counting down the 20 Best Films I've seen this year.
10.) The Editor
"The Editor is an entirely loving lampoon of all things Giallo bought to you by the guys over at Astron-6.
The intentional bad dubbing, the convoluted screenplay, the third rate performances and the overall look of the film are completely spot on in lovingly parodying the genre. If you're a fan of Giallo then, The Editor is entirely for you."
09.) Tokyo Tribe
"And the award for the coolest film of the year goes to Tokyo Tribe. If I had to sum it up in three words, those words would simply be: Hip-Hop Opera. One night in the heart of Tokyo, five distinct underground gangs collide in a heated battle orchestrated by a major Yakuza boss.
Be it the glorious overacting of Riki Takeuchi, the insanely catchy hip-hop beats, the numerous martial arts battles or even just the dazzling and stylish camera work that floats from scene to scene with ease. Tokyo Tribe is never anything less than entertaining. Think The Warriors mashed with Japanese Hip-Hop culture and you have Tokyo Tribe in a nutshell. And it's cool as all hell. Tokyo Tribe is an instant cult classic. Tokyo Tribe, never ever die."
08.) The Babadook
"Ba Ba-Ba Dook! Dook! Dook! Ba Ba-Ba Dook! Dook! Dook!
In a year that has been less than flattering for the horror genre aren't we completely thankful for The Babadook? The genre has become so littered with films that rely too entirely on cheap jump scares and found footage gimmicks. So imagine how refreshing it was to see a classically structured horror film that opts to rely on establishing mood through the power of suggestion.
The scares are never spoon fed. Instead, the film relies entirely on that underlying sensation of dread and helplessness. Bolstered by a stand out performance from Essie Davis as a deeply destroyed mother attempting to raise her son under such circumstances, The Babadook is a brilliant horrific fairy tale for the modern age."
"In the span of three hours, Richard Linklater perfectly captures the very essence of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Not only is it a truly stunning technical achievement, but it is also a sincere, heartfelt and soulful portrait of one's coming-of-age. Proving once again why Richard Linklater is one of the finest filmmakers working in America today."
06.) The Raid 2: Berandal
"The expectations for the set pieces to surpass those of The Raid were understandably high. The Raid 2 surpasses those expectations and then some. Every set piece in this film decimates those of the first film with incredible ease.
From a muddy prison to several people being decimated with the use of a baseball bat and a pair of claw hammers. Or how about a fantastic car chase and the final fight scene that will leave you breathless from its intensity and insanity. The Raid 2 has everything an action junkie could ever want."
"Nightcrawler is the type of film that hinges entirely on its lead actor's ability to lull the audience into a false sense of security. Thankfully, Jake Gyllenhaal is perfectly cast in this taut neo-noir thriller. Gyllenhaal embodies the suave bravado of American Psycho's Patrick Bateman. With his slicked back hair and fast talking confident in his words attitude, he is the very definition of a shameless huckster.
Led by a career-best performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, Dan Gilroy's directorial debut Nightcrawler is a wickedly funny and at times downright disturbing social comment aimed entirely at our ever increasingly obsessed media culture. "
"Featuring an all-star cast including the likes of Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer is a brilliantly entertaining dystopian epic. By the halfway point, so much has been packed in, and yet it never becomes an over-abundance. Snowpiercer is a film that could theoretically be dissected and discussed over countless essays for years to come.
Director Joon Ho Bong is at the top of his game. Snowpiercer is that rare breed of Sci-Fi Blockbuster. It treats its audience with respect for their intelligence. It also just happens to be one hell of an exhilarating ride from beginning to end."
03.) Gone Girl
"Gone Girl is exactly what I look for in cinema. A smart, emotionally rattling and all-together gut wrenching cinematic experience. With a hefty runtime of 149 minutes, it never once outwears its welcome. From minute one, it grabs you by the throat and never once loosens its grip. Part murder mystery, part character study, part satire of the mainstream media and part exploitative thriller. But most importantly it is all together brilliant. Gone Girl is nothing short of a true return to form for David Fincher."
02.) The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
"It may have taken 14 years to get another film from acclaimed director Isao Takahata, but the wait has been entirely worth it. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is an exceptional piece of work from a truly gifted filmmaker. The minimalist animation technique employed is nothing short of stunning. It looks like an old Japanese Ink wash painting brought to life.
The minimal art style perfectly compliments the folklore tale. If the rumors are true, and this is to be the final film from Isao Takahata, then he is bowing out on an exceptionally high note."
01.) Guardians of the Galaxy
"Man, didn't it feel wonderful to feel like an eight-year-old child again discovering the simple joys of a pure unadulterated popcorn flick? That's the exact feeling that best describes my experience watching Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians of the Galaxy is an exceptionally well-crafted comedic Sci-Fi romp through the galaxy.
Led by the brazenly confident Chris Pratt as Starlord, who has all the charm of a young Han Solo, this ragtag gang of misfits is nothing short of endearing. I smiled, laughed and cheered all the way.
Guardians of the Galaxy left me walking out of the theater completely overblown with joy and a huge smile plastered on my face. Now that's how you make a Summer Blockbuster.