Thursday, 18 December 2014

Review Of The Year

As 2014 comes to a end, I wanted to look back over a great year of cinema with a few personal highlights beyond my own Top Ten Films Of The Year (which you can read here).

Actor Of The Year - Chris Pratt

2014 was the year that Chris Pratt became a man... a leading man to be exact.
Alongside scene-stealing turns in the likes of Delivery Man and Her, he proved he could carry a movie with a great vocal performance as Emmett in The LEGO Movie and dancing onto the big screen as a fully formed action hero as Peter Quill aka "Star Lord" in the best superhero movie of the year Guardians Of The Galaxy.
It's no wonder he is in such high demand, with his name being attached to every franchise going and 2015 should be just as big with a role in Jurassic World.

Actress Of The Year - Scarlett Johansson

It has been a very good year for Scarlett Johansson, who at one point could have been in half of my top ten films of 2014, with career best performances in Her, and Under The Skin, a cameo in Chef alongside leading the push for a solo female superhero movie with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and beating The Rock to the top of the box office with Lucy.

Best Male Performance - Tom Hardy in Locke & Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Ultimately I couldn't pick between these two as they are both terrific and for different reasons.
Tom Hardy does an incredible job of carrying an entire movie which consists of him talking on a phone while driving a car. He provides just enough backstory throughout his conversations to create a fully realised character and earns bonus points for his spot on Welsh accent and concrete has never sounded so interesting.
Jake Gyllenhaal's Lou Bloom is a cross between Patrick Bateman and Travis Bickle who does whatever it takes to achieve his warped perception of the American Dream. Many critics focused on his weight loss and gaunt appearance but it is much more than that as he disappears into the character to create a wolf in sheep's clothing that can flash that killer smile.

Best Female Performance - Essie Davis (The Babadook)

Scarlett Johansson might have received the MVP Award for 2014 but the single best female performance of 2014 was Essie Davis's incredible turn in Australian horror film The Babadook.
Playing a woman trying to cope with the grief and sense of loss following her husband's death whilst trying to take care of her son who begins to act out when he discovers a mysterious pop-up book, which may or may not have summoned an evil spirit, Davis superbly executes a fine balancing act between fragile mother and deranged lunatic that evokes memories of Belen Rueda in The Orphanage and Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Poster Of The Year - Under The Skin

Best Fight Scene - The kitchen fight in The Raid 2

Quite frankly if I had done a top ten fight scenes of 2014, the majority of the entries would have been from The Raid 2, but the cream of the crop was the kitchen fight between Rama and The Assassin which was six minutes and thirty seven seconds of the most amazing and brutal choreography that caused me to break out into a round of applause in the cinema screen and cemented Gareth Evans as the greatest action director of his generation.

Best Horror Film - The Babadook

It wasn't a great year for horror with a lot of duds like Devil's Due, Annabelle, etc however there were two welcome exceptions.
Oculus was very good but taking the top spot was The Babadook.
What really makes the film stand out from other horrors this year is the story and characters are as three dimensional as the pop up book which proves the catalyst for this terrifying tale.
So take my advice. Just take one look. You'll be thrilled and wowed by The Babadook

Best Song - Everything Is Awesome

Honourable Mention - Please Mr. Kennedy

The catchiest ear worm of a song in 2014 could be nothing other than Everything Is Awesome from The LEGO Movie because it is simply... awesome.

Please Mr. Kennedy from Inside Llewyn Davis must get a mention as not only a great song but for now having the ironical standpoint that two of the three people who were singing about not getting sent into outer space are now starring in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens!

Best Score - Under The Skin by Mica Levi

Unsettling, otherworldly, haunting, creepy, beautiful and utterly unique.
An integral part of the film that elevates it to one of the most interesting cinematic experiences of the year.

Soundtrack Of The Year - Guardians Of The Galaxy

The best soundtrack of the year is one made up entirely of songs from the seventies and eighties.
From Redbone's Come And Get Your Love to Hooked On A Feeling, it is full of classics that are given a new twist and spin thanks to their use in the film.
Also it gave us one of the year's best moments with baby Groot dancing to the Jackson 5.

The Best Film You Didn't See - Snowpiercer & The Guest

People are probably sick of me banging on about how great Snowpiercer is and you only could have seen it if you happened to be at the Edinburgh Film Festival or imported the DVD from America or France.

Instead I've picked the best film that most people missed at the cinema this year and it is The Guest.
Featuring a terrific performance from Dan Stevens, it is so much more than the trailer suggested, taking some deliciously dark and twisted turns along the way and delivering a house guest that won't outstay its welcome on DVD.

Worst Film Of The Year

Tough decision as I have seen over 200 films this year and 37 of them received 1 star ratings.

Non-Film Event Of The Year - Hans Zimmer Revealed & Empire Magazine Podcast Live In Edinburgh

Easily the best love concert I have ever attended, one of my all-time favourite composers Hans Zimmer played over two hours of his greatest tracks with a live orchestra and choir.
Every song and theme was fantastic but highlights included Man Of Steel, a Pirates Of The Caribbean medley, The Dark Knight and The Thin Red Line which produced the odd tear down my face.
Hans down one of the best night's of my life.

In June as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival, Empire magazine hosted a live podcast recording and I made sure to attend (despite being hospitalised mere days earlier with kidney stones).
It was a very entertaining couple of hours as Chris, Helen, Phil and Ali provided the usual levels of film criticism, gags and spot prizes along with a great interview with Elijah Wood who got incredibly excited when he spotted a bottle of Irn Bru I had given the team as a welcome to Scotland present.

Favourite Cinema Marketing Campaign - The Grand Budapest Hotel

My personal favourite campaign that we did at the cinema this year was turning the foyer into The Grand Budapest Hotel for the film's opening weekend, complete with our own concierge Dallas K. and a Grand Budapest Hotel version of Guess Who.

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