Thursday, December 25, 2014

BEST OF 2014

2014 has come and gone. Here are my top 10 movies for the year

Click on the links for A full review where applicable

1. Edge of Tomorrow

Based on the Japanese novel "All you need is Kill", EDGE OF TOMORROW is a gripping character focused tale that gives a fun fresh edgy spin to a tried and true sic/fi premise. An alien species called the Mimics have landed. Inhumanly fast, vicious and able to outsmart human attack plans at every turn, Mimic forces threaten to overwhelm the world. A massive counteroffensive on the coasts of Europe which ends disastrously for former PR officer turned forced conscript William Cage (Tom Cruise).......until he wakes up 24 hours before the invasion at the start of his conscription.
Edge of Tomorrow is a lot smarter than it seems at first. It deconstructs cliches and may even be seen as a parody of an audience's expectations when they see a movie. In playing against type, Tom Cruise shines as the cowardly Cage whom we discover is all brave talk and no action. His performance is earnest and nuanced, lending weight to the more tragic scenes of Cage experiencing the deaths of those close to him over and over again.Watch this, savour this, and repeat. 

Native 3D: No


2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Ten years after a deadly diseases wiped out most of humanity, a colony of smart genetically enhanced apes, led by Ceasar, have made the forests of San Francisco their home. There they thrive until their peace is broken by a group of humans searching for an hydroelectric dam. Fear and paranoia mounts of both sides, with trust and friendship constantly hanging in a fragile balance. Threats mount from within as dissension slowly builds. Social commentary and political musings pepper this deep science fiction film as Andy Serkis brings his award winning performance to the character of Ceasar, leader of the apes.

A smart, vicious, and throughout provoking sequel.

Native 3D: Yes


3. Godzilla

In shaping Godzillas future, the creative team look back on the big G's past, digging deep into the earlier, darker themed Showa era godzilla movies and combining the best elements of 60 years worth of sequels. Like the first 1954 original, the monsters' appearance is teased and glimpsed through the human focused tale. This is slow build up and reveal calls back to classic monster movies like JAWS, ALIEN, and the original GODZILLA. Yet director Gareth Edwards successfully builds the tension right up to the big payoff clash of titanic proportions.
Fans of all action monster mash ups like GODZILLA FINAL WAR or DESTROY ALL MONSTERS would no doubt find the slow burn build up boring. But fans of the 1954 classic and the more serious Showa era movies would have much to cheer about. With a nostalgic score by Alexander Desplat clearly inspired by the late great Akira Ifukube, GODZILLA serves as a harrowing metaphor of nature's supremacy over mankind. Where the 1954 classic was an analogy for the atomic bomb, 2014's movie brings to mind the tsunamis and nuclear plant meltdowns that shocked the world. A clever, emotionally engaging and powerful tribute to 60 years of Godzilla.

Native 3D: No

4. Big Hero 6
BIG HERO 6 is good. It is colourful, action packed and simple enough for kids and inner children. Yet it packs a significant emotional wallop and some mature themes for those willing to dig deeper into the narrative. Visually, it is a fine piece of work to look at and just take in the details in the wonderful animation. Accompanied by a rousing electronic score by WRECK-IT RALPH'S Henry Jackman, BIG HERO 6 looks set to obscure its own middling comic book source material, (which is not entirely surprising since there was hardly any reprint of the comic aside from the hard-to-get single issues). Big on thrills, big on heart, big on technical achievement; that is BIG HERO 6. Oh and big bucks for disney's merchandising department.

Native 3D: Yes

Buy BIG HERO 6 on Blu Ray

5. Robocop

ROBOCOP retains many elements of the original, while updating the premise for contemporary audience. It got the satire down very well, firstly in the form of extreme leftist show host Pat Novak (Samuel L Jackson), then among other things, the revelation that the "all American" Robocop was made in China. Although not as dark a dark comedy as the original movie, the satire here works, as with many of the subtle changes. Our new Robocop, played magnificently by Joel Kinnaman, is sleek, fast, he's strong, plus he does not just stand there and get shot at. Best of all, he retains his heart and struggles with his humanity.The film deals with the consequences of being turned into a commercial product, where every change in your life is dictated by focus groups and monetary decisions. Choice is no longer your own and you are duped into the illusion of free choice. If the public thinks your emotions are getting in the way of your professionalism, your emotions have got to go. Slowly but surely, everything that made you human is slowly drained away. Then once the company decides to "pull the plug", are they just terminating an asset? Or is it attempted murder?

Native 3D: No

Buy ROBOCOP 2014 on Blu Ray

6. Maze Runner

His name is Thomas. That is all he knows. He has been sent via the mysterious "box" into a contained colony of boys called "the glade". Nobody knows why they are there, only that they cannot leave. Around the glade lies the maze where only the fastest and bravest among them, dubbed "maze runners", get to explore in the hopes of finding a way out. Thomas' arrival causes a schism among the boys and strange incidents start happening one after the other. As the perfect peaceful society of the Glade is slowly torn asunder, Thomas must unravel the secrets of the maze and confront the horrors within. I admit to not having read the original book so I would not know how close it is to the source material. On its own, MAZE RUNNER is The grandchild of LORD OF THE FLIES and TV's LOST. It combines tried and true story beats sieved through an intriguing premise and a decent mystery (despite being almost undone by the ill advised flashbacks). It avoids many mistakes other adaptations of young adult novels make, like lingering on romance subplots, and leaves a decent sequel hook that leaves you wanting more.

Native 3D: No

Buy MAZE RUNNER on Blu Ray

7. Lego Movie


Native 3D: Yes

Buy LEGO MOVIE on Blu Ray

8. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Native 3D: Yes


9. Interstellar

Native 3D: No

10. X-Men Days of Future Past

Native 3D: Yes


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