For the first time this year I have kept a record of all the films I have watched, coming to a total of 114. I have enjoyed the vast majority of them but that’s made it harder than usual to come up with a list of favourites.
Here’e the first part of my Top Ten Films of 2014. Let me know what you think. Lets get to it!
Next Goal Wins follows the American Samoan Football Team as they try to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Who cares right? If you had heard of American Samoa it’s likely it would have been because they were the bottom team on the FIFA world rankings after being spanked around by all and sundry including the supremely demoralising 31-0 loss to Australia. This match set the world records for largest victory in an International Football match and the most goals scored by one player in 13 to Archie Thompson.
We catch the American Samoan squad at their lowest ebb as they reach out for help to the wider football community for help that will not only stop them from being the FIFA laughing stock but gain them some respect, victories and, hopefully, a place in World Cup 2014.
OK we know they don’t make it to the World Cup but they give it a good go! Football has fallen by the wayside for me over the past few years and I haven’t really missed it. It was rare and great to witness the audience at the cinema screening shouting and getting into the story as well as the passion that American Samoa had as a team unit reminded me why I used to love watching the beautiful game. Now football is full of nobheads. Fucking Suarez….
Wes Anderson is one of my favourite directors. I’m actually a Wes Anderson completist, having seen all his films and rating them all well above the standard guff that litters the charts. I’m a huge fan of Grand Budapest Hotel but have to warn you that this is Wes Anderson turned up to “11” so maybe not for the newbies. The levels of whimsy incorporated into the Grand Budapest made me think that at times this was a cumulative pastiche of all his works.
Grand Budapest tells the story of the Head Concierge “Monsieur Gustave”, played by Ralph Feinnes, who tries to prove his innocence after being implicated in the death of one of his elderly lovers. The every member of the ensemble cast are superb, with particular note to Willem Defoe as the J.G Jobling who is easily Anderson’s creepiest villain.
In Grand Budapest we have shootouts, chases, symmetry, changing aspect ratios and deaths, but most of all we have the humour. The silly, daft, clever laughs are present all the way through. If you Google Image the picture “Boy with Apple” you’ll see what I mean.
The title “12 Years A Slave” lets you know that you will not be in for an action comedy thrill ride. I can confirm that this is the case. 12 Years is one of the hardest films to watch and this is key to its importance and greatness. With Brad Pitt…
The film is based on the true story of a free black american man, Solomon Northup, who was educated and respected and lived with his family in the North Eastern parts of the United States where slavery was illegal. The problem was that slavery was still legal in the southern parts of the US and this meant that there was a market in the kidnapping of freedmen to feed the labour requirements.
Solomon, played by Chiwitel Ejiofor, is kidnapped and and sold into a life of slavery.
One telling aspect about “12 years” is that the film finished most of audience were stuck to their seats. as if unable to move and weighed down by the nastiness of what humans are able to inflict on each other.
Its not an easy watch, but it’s highly rewarding and recommended. 12 Years A Slave came out at the start of 2014 and some of the scenes have stuck with me, as clear as day, for all that time.
What We Do In The Shadows is a documentary based around vampires that live in a flat share in New Zealand. It was written and produced by the team behind “Flight of the Conchords” and stars Conchords alumni Jemaine Clement and Rhys Darby.
The film follows vampires throughout their daily lives as they try and go out to the clubs, find blood and fight their mortals enemies the werewolves. During the documentary filming we learn the mundanities of life as a vampire in the modern era. It turns out that they are much like us. Some of them are nobheads, some are great guys, some are great lovers and some are just plain weird.
We also meet those recently formed vampires as they come to terms with their newly found powers. How do you ingratiate yourself? Can you still hang out with your old mates? Do you have to drink blood? All these questions are answered in absurd comedy fashion and it’s just great!
Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter known as “a master of light” in that he propagated an ultra realistic form of drawing that was unprecedented at the time and is hard even for modern artists. His pictures were so advanced that even modern art scholars don’t understand how he did what he did.
I was aware of the picture “The Girl With the Pearl Earing” after seeing a print of at Vermeer’s museum in his home town of Delft in The Netherlands. Im not an art critic, I know nothing about art so the best I could say was that “it looks like a nice picture”.
Where Tim’s Vermeer excels for me is the way in which it gives you the artistic background that you need to understand why Vermeers paintings are so damn fine. The film follows an ultra talented super nerd the eponymous “Tim” as he initially muses over the brilliance of Vermeer and then hits upon a eureka moment.
What Tim posits is that Vermeer may not even have been able to free draw well enough to produce the pictures that he did. Tim himself cannot draw very well before he sets on his mission to recreate one of Vermeers most complex paintings.
I found myself engaged and geeking out from start to finish of Tim’s Vermeer. Truly one of the best documentaries of 2014.
Highly Commended Films
So that’s the first part of my Top 10 Films of 2014. As I said I saw and loved a lot of films this year – below is a list of other ace films along with a mini review and links to get them from Amazon.
The Guest – Badass creepy guy comes to stay. Killer Soundtrack