Award season will soon be upon us and whilst re-runs of Elf, Frozen and Home Alone will mostly be occupying us over the festive period, our resident film buffs will also likely be cracking open their DVD stash to re-watch some of this years’ greatest films.
As every December for the past bajillion years, the year is finally closing with a little bit of Tolkein. The third installment of The Hobbit: Battle of The Five Armies has arrived and sets to draw a conclusion for Bilbo Baggins on his quest to slay Smaug and reclaim the Dwarven homeland… yet our eyes have been glued to the silver screen all year round with plenty of action, romance, horror and adventure.
This year we’ve been loving Frank, the semi-biographical film based on Jon Ronson’s account of touring with Frank Sidebottom and The Freshies. Starring Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal, this madcap comedy-drama by Lenny Ambrahamson followed our stories protagonist Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) as he tries to keep up as keyboard player of Soronprfbs – the band of the enigmatic paper mache head-wearing Frank who has locked away his comrades to create the greatest album of all time. With an original soundtrack, quick-witted script and stunning visual mood, Frank merges together to create on of the surprise cinematic hits of the year.
Indie fans were also treated to Australian horror The Babadook in October, Calvary in August and Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel which sees Ralph Fiennes (who has just been nominated for his performance at the Golden Globes) as the eccentric Monseir Gustave H; the curator of a fine hotel whose adventure with the hotels’ lobby boy Zero to rescue a prized painting ends in offbeat comedy hi-jinks typical of Anderson’s signature style.
Under The Skin, Blue Ruin, Nightcrawler and Locke also led the way of the low-key arthouse titles this year with Under The Skin taking the gong for ‘The Strangest Film We’ve Seen All Year’ whilst Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, 12 Years A Slave and thriller Gone Girl have picked up countless acknowledgements – from ourselves AND the Academy – for their brilliance.
Families, comedy fans and action lovers instead had the pleasure of more playful rip-roaring summer popcorn-fests in the form of The Lego Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One and 22 Jump Street to enjoy (Phew! That is a lot of good movies!) – not to mention Christopher Nolan’s long-awaited blockbuster Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey.
However, our favourite film of the summer has to be Marvel’s latest offering Guardians Of The Galaxy with its’ brilliant ’70s and ’80s soundtrack and laugh out loud action packed sequences. It has to be said that this less popular comic and not-exactly-hotly-anticipated movie completely snuck up on everyone as the funniest and most impressive on-screen venture of 2014 yet with a star-studded cast of unlikely heroes battling it out in space, Guardians truly shone and still shines on a second, third and fourth watch. Guardians’ may be not be the Avengers V.2 but Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautiste and Vin Diesel certainly have a bad-ass attitude which h makes them way more fun and way, WAY cooler.
Ralph Fiennes in Wes Andersons’ ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘
Scarlett Johansen in Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under The Skin‘
Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Fassbender in ‘Frank‘
The luscious 1970s stylings’ of ‘American Hustle‘ starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper
Guardians Of The Galaxy – our Number One Film of The Year!