When I’m not playing massively multiplayer games or trying to work my way down my Steam library, I like to watch films. I try to watch at least one per day with my wife as well as a couple of Episodes of whatever paticular series we happen to be watching at the time. I think 2014, as a whole, has been a brilliant year for commercial cinema and television series’. It’s one of the few years where most of the blockbusters turned out to be pretty awesome. Here’s a list of my favourites.
3D stop motion is without question one of my favourite things in the entire world. Like Coraline or Corpse Bride, Box Trolls uses it to wondrous effect. Not only is the film beautiful and eye wateringly detailed but there’s something tactile about this type of film method that cannot be recreated using standard CGI. Box Trolls tells the story of Eggs, a human boy raised by trash-collecting trolls, as he attempts to save them from Archibald Snatcher, a pest exterminator. It’s a simple enough story but one that is both funny and effortlessly watchable.
I would have to place Babadook into my top three horror films of all time. While it’s unquestionably tense and at times frightening it’s one of the first horror films I’ve ever watched that’s after something more than cheap scares. Babadook tells the story of a widowed mother and her difficult young child and how their strained relationship from the death of her husband sees them both dealing with difficult issues: change, loneliness and being different. Above anything else, the Babadook theme is incredible. I would imagine many cinema goers would likely miss much of the films subtlety and that is a real shame because this is a gem of a horror that deserved much wider release.
Interstellar is one of those films that comes along every so often that blew me away. I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan and although I’ve loved all his previous works and Interstellar divided some critics, I have to say it’s his best yet. What I loved so much about it was the fact it so was epic. From the musical score to the desolation on earth or the alien planets, nothing was done on a small scale. Despite some of the subject matter also being heavily science based, I don’t think it bogged the film down in any way and as a blockbuster romp it’s the best I’ve seen in years.
Available on Canadian Netflix or BBC iPlayer, The Fall is a television series starring Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson. As a psychological thriller it follows both individuals as hunters: a serial killer and a Detective drafted in from Scotland Yard to find him. Jamie Dornan, now of 50 Shades of Grey fame, puts in an incredible performance while Gillian Anderson is unquestionably mesmerising.
Sons of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy has been going for a while now. We’re up to the seventh and final series which concluded in December. Having only recently begun watching the series, I’d have to place it alongside Breaking Bad, The Killing and House of Cards as one of my top 5. If you’ve never heard of it, it follows a motorcycle gang known as the Sons of Anarchy and their criminal enterprise in a small town called Charming. Similarly to the Sopranos or Breaking Bad, it’s heavily character driven to the point where you can’t help but love and loathe those you see on screen. It’s never too late to pick up a new series and I’d highly recommend that you plough through this one.
A South Koren science fiction action film, Snowpiercer is based on a French graphic novel La Transperceneige. An ice age has forced humanities last survivors to life their lives on an enormous train that circles the earth. Its star, Chris Evans (that’s Captain America to you and I) will do everything he can to lead a revolt to rid the train of the class divide. As a fan of anything post-apocalyptic, I bloody loved this film. The premise, while a little far fetched, is brilliantly handled and the cast includes Tilda Swinton and John Hurt: that can’t be a bad thing.
Guardians of the Galaxy
I never watched Guardians of the Galaxy at the cinema. I’ve no idea why because having watched it this week, it’s an incredible film. I’d also argue it’s the best Marvel film ever made. Part of the reason why I loved it so much is because it’s acutely aware of how ridiculous its setting is yet it utilises it to great effect. This is a film that’s both serious and slapstick at the same time, that somehow manages to pull it off without appearing cheesy. Although I loved The Avengers I thought the chemistry between the cast and the script were exceptional here.
Hannibal originally aired in 2013 but its second season arrived on Netflix the following year. It helps that I’m a little bit in love with Mads Mikkelsen, but it’s easily one of the best series’ I’ve ever watched. I’d go as far as to say I enjoyed season 2 more than Breaking Bad and that isn’t something I’d say lightly. Visually it’s a masterpiece and although I won’t spoil anything here, I promise you’ll have never experienced anything like it elsewhere.
This is probably going to be very left field for our American readers, but Frank really is worth watching. It’s a comedy drama that follows the life of Chris Sievey who was an English musician that fronted the band, The Freshies. He also had a comic persona called Frank Sidebottom where he wore a large papermache head (complete with a peg on his nose, under the mask, to make his voice funny). The history of Frank Sidebottom is a sad, but heartwarming story and I’d recommend anyone to not only watch the film, but read a little about his life as well. My parents were big fans of his back when I was child and I can now appreciate why.
Under The Skin
I think you’ll either like or love Under The Skin. My wife hated it but I really enjoyed it. Scarlett Johnason plays an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland. The whole concept and plot is wholly bizarre but at the same time feels very art-house. Considering it only opened in a handful of cinemas in America and England, it struggled at the box office to make any money. I think that’s a real shame because films such as this need supporting.
- Captain America Winter Soldier (I hated the first but loved this sequel)
- Boyhood (Just incredible film making)
- Lego Movie (Everything is awesome here!)
- Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (I was never a fan of Tom Cruise, this was a delight to watch)
What were your favourite films or TV series from 2014? Let us know!