My Top Ten Films of 2014

This past year I’ve been to the cinema 63 times so narrowing all what I’ve seen to my top ten has been a bit difficult to say the least. When I first went through my Films of 2014 list I narrowed it down to 16 – getting rid of six films from this list was hard so they are my honourable mentions.

Honourable mentions:
12 Years a Slave
Don’t get me wrong this film is amazing but I saw it January, it really affected me then but I have never felt like I wanted to see it again.
Tom Hardy is incredibly in Locke but it is a slow moving film.
The Purge: Anarchy
Frank Grillo is totally badass and awesome in this and it was the perfect audition to play The Punisher… if he wasn’t already Crossbones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is
Lilting is such a sweet yet heart-breaking film and both Ben Whishaw and Pei-pei Cheng are brilliant.
Fruitvale Station
It starts like a punch to the gut with the real footage of the incident on the station platform. Michael B. Jordan’s performance is brilliant and Fruitvale Station is all the more important and sad because what happened to Oscar Grant is still happening today in America.
Begin Again
The music’s wonderful (listening to the soundtrack on repeat got me through my dissertation), the characters are all flawed but ultimately likeable.

Now for the top ten, these are all very close and really they could probably be in any order but here we go!

10. Belle
Belle is a brilliant period drama that’s led by Gugu Mbatha-Raw who gives a great performance as a woman born into wealth and status but isn’t seen as one of the elite due to the colour of her skin. The supporting cast is also great and it’s a beautiful film.

9. 22 Jump Street
It’s very rare that a sequel is better than the first film, especially when it comes to comedy sequels, but 22 Jump Street is brilliant. I love the meta and how self-aware it is and Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the perfect duo.

8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
It’s political, it’s a family drama, it’s about survival and the performances and animation are incredible. (more…)

REVIEW: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler-PosterLou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is desperate for work and stumbles upon the world of LA crime journalism where he races to get to the scene of a crime to film the tragedy and then sell the footage to a morning news station. The line between spectator and participant begins to blur as Lou does more and more questionable things in order to get the best footage he can get.

Jake Gyllenhaal is phenomenal as Lou Bloom and it’s the best work of his I’ve seen in ages. Lou is an interesting character. He’s desperate for work so you feel sorry for him and want him to succeed but then as he does begin to have success by filming other peoples misfortunes it becomes clear that he has a warped sense of reality. He’s not a nice guy at all, he is manipulative and greedy but at some points he is oddly charming which really puts you on edge. Lou is a creepy guy that will go to extreme lengths to get what he wants and you can’t take your eyes off of him.

Gyllenhaal is backed up by Rene Russo as Nina, the TV news veteran who he sells his footage to and Riz Ahmed as Rick, Lou’s assistant. Both give great performances throughout and they both bounce off Gyllenhaal brilliantly. The moments where they both realise that there’s something not quite right with Lou and how he perceives the business are surprising in different ways.

Nightcrawler makes you think about the way in which we as a society consume the most violent crimes – but only certain crimes. As Nina says, the news desk only wants stories about “urban crime creeping into the suburbs”. That theme is something that Rick also picks up on but from the opposite side of things when he questions why he and Lou won’t report on a crime involving a black person as the victim.

Nightcrawler is a dark tense film with moments of dark humour. Thanks to the editing, music and performances it feels very restless like you have been up all night experiencing it. Gyllenhaal gives a fantastic lead performance as creepy but determined Lou and with the twists and turns Nightrawler is a thrilling film. 5/5.