2014’s been a fantastic year for films, filled with some of the best sequels and original releases we’ve seen in recent years, but as we move ever closer to the final days of the year and look forward to the plethora of exciting offerings 2015 has in store, we thought we’d take a look back at what this past year held with a look at our five favourite films of the past 12 months.
5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
After what we judged to be a bit of a slow start in the first film in The Hunger Games saga, Katniss Everdeen and her band of cohorts regained their mojo in 2013’s Catching Fire, which was one of our favourite films of that year. 2014 brought us Mockingjay, Part 1 which, admittedly, we thought was always going to be a bit of a ‘filler’ film, setting the stage for the final instalment in 2015. Whilst our opinion hasn’t really changed in that respect, we have to admit that we thoroughly enjoyed this third film, which was filled with heart, emotion and yet another spellbinding performance from Jennifer Lawrence, who never fails to bring her A-Game to each scene.
Peta’s descent into madness in the closing moments of the film was as thrilling to see visualised on the big screen as it was when we first read the novels and we’re already counting the days until the concluding part hits cinemas on November 20, 2015.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
Ah Guardians of the Galaxy… as self-confessed obsessors of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we were a little worried (albeit extremely excited) that a film which didn’t include favourites such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor et al. may fall a little bit flat, but director James Gunn absolutely blew us away with his direction for the film. The excellent cast, stunning visuals (made even more spectacular by an IMAX presentation – thanks, Cineworld Castleford!) and that soundtrack had us on the edge of our seats multiple times.
With a sequel already announced for May 5, 2017 and the promise of an accompanying Awesome Mix, Vol. 2, we can’t way to see what the Guardians get up to next.
3. The Maze Runner
Being huge fans of The Maze Runner trilogy of novels, we were thrilled when the announcement was made that the first in the series was being given the silver screen treatment, and the end result absolutely didn’t disappoint. Filled with action-packed sequences and a great story, which stuck to the book so faithfully – a definite rarity in today’s book-to-film adaptation market – The Maze Runner delighted us at every turn. Already fans of cast members Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf), Will Poulter (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, We’re the Millers), Kaya Scodelario (Skins), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones) and Joe Adler (The Mentalist), it was a real joy to see each individual come together to turn what we originally thought was a little-known series into a veritable movie blockbuster which left us wanting more.
After the unparalleled success of the first film, we’re really excited to see the second in the trilogy – The Scorch Trials – which is currently filming and on track for a UK release on 18 September, 2015.
2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Peter Parker’s not having a great time of late, after the recent Sony hack left his future uncertain, and plans to include the character in Captain America 3: Civil War fell through. Both The Amazing Spider-Man and its 2014 sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 were met with less-than-favourable reviews, but we’re fighting Andrew Garfield’s corner all the way, having loved the second film just as much as we expected to. Whilst the inclusion of Jamie Foxx’s Electro may have been a bit of a weak link, the relationship between Parker and Harry Osborn, played in the rebooted series by relative newcomer Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), was excellent. DeHaan played the latter’s slow descent into madness, culminating in his transformation into the Green Goblin in the latter third of film, to perfection, and we expect big things from him in the future.
Whatever happens to the franchise from here on in, we’re extremely glad The Amazing Spider-Man 2 saw the light of day, even if it was flawed and slowed by the inclusion of too many villains from comic lore. Hans Zimmer’s excellent score and the acting chops of Garfield and DeHaan, as well as Emma Stone (Gangster Squad) as the ill-fated Gwen Stacy were more than enough to shoot it up to the #2 spot in our 2014 review.
Could it be anything else? We raved about Interstellar when we first saw it back in October and have continued to be awestruck by its excellency on every repeat viewing we’ve seen. Another film which we absolutely recommend you see in IMAX if possible, Interstellar is Christopher Nolan at his best (let’s face it, though, when is he not?), crafting a piece of cinematic genius we’ve not seen in years. Interstellar mixes solid performances from Matthew McConaughey (True Detective, Dallas Buyers Club), Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Rises, The Italian Job) and Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Les Misérables) with stunning visuals and a truly impressive score, again from composer Hans Zimmer, which we reviewed last month.
What can we say about Interstellar, though, which hasn’t already been said? If you haven’t seen it, get yourself down to your local cinema right away and, if you have, go see it again. Now, when can we buy the Blu-ray?
Have we got it right with our top picks of 2014? Do you agree, or are there any of your own favourites which haven’t made the cut?