Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Film Watch List Of 2014


This film was far more than I expected it to be. It made me want to travel to Greenland and Iceland, the landscapes are amazing. Walter Mitty is a quiet guy who works at world famous (actually real) magazine called LIFE, that actually did shut down in 2000. He takes care of all the negatives, the photographs and has built up a friendship with famous photojournalist Sean O'Connell through his work that he sends to the magazine. Walter is shy and has a crush on temp worker Cheryl. After the magazines plans to turn to digital everyone is under threat of losing their jobs. The managers have decided to have the cover of the magazine be Sean O'Connell's photo but its missing. This spurs Mitty on to search for Sean and the missing negative. It is such an inspiring film, with mixture of daydreams and reality that doesn't come across as tacky or annoying and well thought out and feels right. I was surprised to see that Ben Stiller not only stars as Mitty but also directed, I think I can give Stiller a lot more credit than I had in the past. 4/5


A love story by Spike Jonze, an  winning story, is a beautiful thing. Known for adaptions or making Charlie Kaufman films, this is a beautifully crafted story, so simple and yet so deep and although you never see the other person in this love story, it does matter, you really feel the emotion. The power of voice. Spike Jonze was the director who made me cry in the cinema after years, not joking, years. But that was Where the Wild Things Are. Her made me smile and feel hope, plus I would stare intently at any screen where Joaquin Phoenix was. He is perfect as Theodore, the lonely writer of hand crafted letters he is the author of but writes on other people's behalf. A simple story, man falls in love with his computer operating system would sound like a comedy but after seeing this film, I can't think of anything more serious and in parts, romantic. And by the way I usually steer clear of romantic films. 5/5

It's a sensation. Wes Anderson's films have never been in the cinema this long with this much praise. Also I don't think I've known one of his films to have been seen by this many people, it's very exciting.

The film, as I expected, was perfect. The layered plot surrounding a suspicious death and the theft of an expensive painting was utterly brilliant, Wes Anderson has out done himself and if he caught people's attention with Moonrise Kingdom, this amazing film will surely bring him further recognition. It deserves all the praise its been getting and more. It was out loud funny, the characters were so well executed, the setting so unusual and you literally cannot tear your eyes away from the design.

Gustave H, is a marvellous invention, the legendary concierge of the hotel and the central character of the story. He starts off being a pompous ececntric but becomes a hero and true friend, especially to Zero, the other hero, slightly sidelined, of the story and is the one who tells his tale to 'The Author' who then in turn tells us the story. The various characters, no matter how small a role they played, all had a purpose in the story. The fact that war is looming over everyone but life still continues in the hotel, as well as the scandals, murders and mayhem, just makes this film perfect. 5/5


I loved this film so much when I saw it at the BFI Film Festival last year I had to see it on the big screen one more time. This time I couldn't get the soundtrack out of my head so of course I went and bought it. The Double is based on the novella of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and tells the story of a man who's doppelganger appears and slowly ruins his life.

Set in a unknown city that seems reminiscent of the landscapes or buildings found in Brazil. The dank, dark buildings, the yellowing office walls, the plain colourless clothes and there is barely, if any sunshine seen throughout the whole film. Described by one reviewer as a 'warped, alternative version of post-war America' although most of the supporting cast is British. That doesn't matter in the grand scheme of the slightly dystopian feel to the old damaged exteriors and interiors. 

Simon James (Eisenberg) is an ordinary guy who works for an organisation that doesn't really specify in any industry, all we as the audience know is that the Colonel (James Fox) is the face and all knowing leader. Simon is a person that most forget, talk over, push around and generally are rude to him, no matter where he is. Things start to change when James Simon, the exact double of Simon James appears. He is charismatic and at first exciting but things go wrong when he makes Simon's life a misery. He gets him in to trouble at work, he steals Hannah, (Mia Wasikowska) the girl that Simon is in love with and takes over his home. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Apart from the fact this is a brilliant story with an excellent cast, right down to Paddy Considine's amusing cameo, I was enthralled by the photography and the unusual but mesmerising design of the film.  I definitely fell in love with the design. The 50s and 60s style clothing blended with the 80s style technology mixed with a kitsch decorator, especially for the restaurant and ball scenes. Everything was fine tuned down to the creases in Simon/James obviously-too-big-for-him suit. A fantastic film that, in my opinion, didn't need to spend time explaining the strange occurrences that happened in the film, the mystery of the double makes it stand out from other mystery stories or any film, involving a double. 5/5


Mutants fighting human oppression. It's a theme used throughout all the X-Men films in some way. Mutants trying to kill all humans is also a familiar theme. Someone complained that this is all the film ever follow. I disagree. As well as the those main themes that feature, it's also about evolution and of course friendships between the mutants and how they cope with their own abilities. There is a wider picture that should be looked at. There was a big hype about the film and for me it paid off, even though it basically cancels out most the events in The Last Stand, thank god. People have moaned about this too. I think it's a good thing. People have also moaned that the mutants don't get a lot of screen time. Who cares!!! It's great to see them all there. My favourite mutant doesn't even feature in the film at all but I still loved the damn film. Now I have a new favourite, Quicksilver.

Anyone who is familiar with the various X-Men story lines you already know about sentinels that kill mutants. In the future, these sentinels are hunting mutants in Barron wastelands, the few X-Men that are left are travelling from place to place to avoid capture. They decide to send Wolverine back in time to the 70s to convince younger Charles and Erik to join together and stop Mystic from ruining everything basically. Not everyone from First Class makes it back in the film. Which is annoying but realistic. New mutants are introduced, even non speaking ones. It's great to see more mutants appearing, the variety is better. Can't say much more as it would be spoilers, apart from the Quicksilver scenes are the best. The word is he will be back for Age of Apocolyspe, which is excellent news.  4/5

Just like the trailer says, 'how would you describe Frank?' It's a part comedy, part serious drama about mental illness and musical adventure and coming to terms with loss. It's a beautifully amazingly made film. A group of oddball musicians, each with their own strange habits and characteristics who cling together to make an album that never gets made. The story is linear but in a way isn't. The cast is brilliant and are willing to go crazy and weird, especially Michael Fassbender who plays Frank covered up by a plastic head throughout the film. He is a brilliant actor as he conveys Frank's emotions without a face. The ending is really sad but works so well coming full circle. I highly recommend you listening to this awesome song featured at the end of the film: https://soundcloud.com/frankfilm 4/5


Looking over my film list for that month, there didn't seem to be any worthy, stand out films so I decided that, June, would not have a film. That's why there are double for a few other months.


How to train your Dragon snuck up on people when it was first released. My sister and I wanted to see it because it dragons in it and of course we liked the story. We fell in love with the film, as did many others. In fact HTTYD is Dreamworks animation's most successful films (rating wise mostly), this is even after all the Shrek rubbish that they've churned out and the Madagascar films too.

Based on the successful children's books series by Cressida Cowell, the second film the planned trilogy, takes place 5 years after the events after the first film, all the main teen characters are all grown up. Excellent sign that there is already character development. Berk has fully embraced dragons and all is well, except there is trouble on the horizon in the shape of Drogo who commands a dragon army (in chains) and has set his sights on conquering the dragon master (Hiccup) and all the dragons on Berk. Oh and if you've seen the trailer, Hiccup's mother makes a dramatic entrance. Its a beautiful film. I hate to say it but the sequences between mother and son flying are (sorry I said this) breath taking. Everything about this film ticks all the boxes, the characters are brilliant and as I've said, they actually developed. The dragons are amazing and all unique, each with their own quirks and secrets. The film even goes dark which is brilliant but I can't say more than that. Only down side, Cate Blanchet's accent is the worst I've ever heard. Hint, its meant to be Scottish. That aside its an amazing film. If Dreamworks keeps producing films like this, Pixar AND Disney better think of something decent quick, no darn Planes crap and run of the mill safe Frozens. 5/5


Not ashamed to say it, I absolutely love this film. I think its the best Marvel film so far and I even think it beats Avengers, its really that amazing. The lead up to this film from rumours to the first trailer, everyone was saying that this was going to be Marvel studios' big risk. Having smashed the US and UK box office, that risk paid off, ten times over. Unlike the other Marvel superhero films, GotG is different, not only is there only one human in the film (technically) but its the most sci-fi and set entirely (except the first scene) in space, meaning, not on Earth. It is also set apart from all the other films, which is refreshing, apart from the orb bit that sort of connects to the others, but I don't want to give anything to those who like surprises. Peter Quill (the always likeable Chris Pratt) is abducted as a child and raised an thief, basically. Apart stealing an orb on what he thinks is your average job, he meets and gets arrested with Gamorrah, an assassin daughter of Thanos (look him up, he's s big player in the Marvel universe), Groot a planet like alien and Rocket, the result of an illegal genetic experiment, thugs for hire. In prison they meet Drax the Destroyer, a maniac. That rounds up the gang. Outside of this, Ronan the Accuser wants to blow a planet. There reasons behind it but if I explain anymore of the plot, it might take the fun out of watching the film. The film is directed by James Gunn and he's made the most entertaining film I could have hoped for. I should mention the soundtrack as it is very different. Songs from 70's and 80's feature and they are perfectly out of place it works so well. The soundtrack also plays a part of Peter Quill's character as the tape he listens to was gift from his mother who died at the start of the film. To summarise, the film is better than anything I expected, its a true sci-fi movie that just happens to be part of the Marvel universe. 5/5

I discussed a theory with my brother in law as to why GotG has been so successful and why everyone loves it and agreed with this. The story is about a team, a group, all with back stories and they are all very different. The team are given equal screen and story time and they even all progress, with hope for the future. As a team they can play off each other and actual dialogue is exchanged. There is not a wasted moment in the film. This also explains why Avengers was so successful too, it wasn't just all your favourite superheroes hanging out, it was a team working together, playing off of each other with great results. More GotG please! 5/5


At first, the trailers annoyed me. It felt and sounded like a predictable story. Funny woman, loses man, has a one night stand becomes pregnant now her life is ruined. I don't understand why most stories about women 'going through something' have to involve them either getting pregnant or their wedding being put off. Those seem to be the two choices, but saying this, Obvious Child is not so obvious. Yes, Donna (Jenny Slate) is a stand up comic where her gigs are at one place and she loses her job in a bookshop after it closes down and yes, he boyfriend has been cheating on her but after she has a one night stand with an adorable guy, she finds out that she is pregnant. She decides on the spot that she wants an abortion and its not a big deal. This is why I think this film. It gets on with life. It is a romantic comedy but its a clever and bearable one and feels more realistic. Not once did I say out loud, 'as if'. When I went to see it, the woman who severed me said 'oh, you do know what its about right, it's been difficult to explain it to people.' The film doesn't centre on what would sometimes be the plot of the whole film and its really about Donna trying to come with a new routine and telling the adorable guy she's having the abortion without the awkwardness. 4/5


Gone Girl

I had been waiting for ages to see this film. Yes, it was one of those. And I was not disappointed. From the best selling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, is the story about a marriage. Nick and Amy's marriage begins like a fairytale only to end up like reality horror show. When Amy disappears, Nick is left to deal with the devastating consequences, resulting in him being accused of her murder. Questions are posed, if there is no body, how can this be a murder? Also, did he actually commit the crime? This film, story, plot is beyond brilliant. I am a big fan of David Fincher and he creates such a brilliant view of this marriage. Hi specialty seems to be crime related films, not always traditional, like his adaptation of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'. The approach in that film was by a victim and a journalists. In this film, its the husband and too an extent, his sister as well. The leads, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were perfectly cast. Affleck impressed even more. I'm worried now, with all this goodwill he's slowly created over the years will be destroyed by his Batman outing but you never know, Christian Bale is still respected. Back to Gone Girl. The film is a mix of a crime thriller and domestic tale and has a few horrific shots that are shocking at first glance but actually express the characters inner psycho. Those who have seen the film can probably guess the scene I mean. A brilliant film and it lives up to the hype. 4/5


When I was telling others about the film, they asked 'is it a true story?' its not, but it feels like it is which just makes it more terrifying. It is not a horror story, its about how cruel and detached humans can be and the lengths they will go to succeed and THAT is terrifying. Louis Bloom is both a hideous person and one of the most compelling characters in the film, this year at least. Jake Gyllenhaal has been receiving praise from all over and he does deserve it. I blinked twice when I saw him on screen, it really does dig deep into this character. The story is about Louis, a thief who buys camera equipment and a police scanner and stalks the streets of LA waiting for a possible accident or crime to film then sell to cable news shows. He does this after watching a van pull up alongside a car crash, Bill Paxton, a nightcrawler for years, jumps out and films the police save a woman trapped inside. Louis is inspired. He begins selling his 'moral questioning' footage to a low rated Cable news channel, building a reputation. He sons makes bigger demands and even blackmails a producer. But when a huge murder story breaks, things seem to get worse and I don't mean for Louis. Creepy, barely describes the film and the characters actions. But despite the horrible things happening, its not gory nor scary its human nature at its worst and its hard to look away. A brilliant and very chilling thriller. 4/5

'Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight

In the hanging tree'

Like others, I was very annoyed that the last book was being split in two. My favourite book in the trilogy is Catching Fire and Mockingjay least, but the film, was amazing. The film stays close to the book, obviously adding the much needed interludes from the Capitol and scenes of rebellion from some of the other districts. It's a cliche, but its an emotional rollarcoaster from start to finish, its not wonder Katniss goes s little crazy in the book, they show less of her breakdowns in the film though, this speeds things up and makes her a stronger character. The book is all told from Katniss' point of view and a lot is lost there, but the film is structured perfectly, introducing characters are story goes smoothly along, not bombarding the audience with them unnecessarily. Another welcome change is Effie Trinket. In the book Katniss' prep team have a larger role but Effie is substituted in, replacing them and another character which was understandably cut out. 

Changes aside. This film is a lead up to the fight in the Captitol, showing us how they rally the districts into rebellion and fighting. This idea makes far more sense then everyone just fighting. For a YA book, its very bloody and violent but that may be part of the appeal. This is also the film where Katniss and Peeta are separated. They are used against one another but they share a connection. Peeta, no spoiler here, is being tortured, obviously and still protecting Katniss, while Katniss is refusing to help District 13 in fear Peeta will be harmed. The two of them are most definitely the heart of the film, even though Peeta has far less screen time. The use of the book's song 'The Hanging Tree' is brought to life in the most beautiful yet tragic moments in the film. I may be making a bigger of this film, but it truly is a Hunger Games dream. Only problem, waiting for part 2. 5/5


My previous post and comments of the 'Defining Chapter' are here - 4/5


  1. There are still so many 2014 movies I want to see! But I always fall behind in movies. You have a great list here!

  2. Thank you! I too didn't watch all the great films of last year but I am slowly catching up. Any films on this list that you missed?