30/12/2014

Ten films I missed in 2014

You may have noticed from my silence for about, oh, seven months that I haven't been very good at blogging this year. Come to think of it, I haven't been very good at watching films, either. So as it's the time of year when everyone churns out list after list, I'm doing the same in a slightly different way by looking at all the films I missed during 2014. The best film of the year is 12 Years a Slave, by the way.

10. The Grand Budapest Hotel
I have a real love/hate relationship with Wes Anderson. On one hand, I love that he has a very distinct style, but on the other, I sometimes hate that style. However when I saw Ralph Fiennes with his little 'tasche, Tilda Swinton with her old face and Bill Murray as Bill Murray, I instantly became interested. The sweary dialogue that seeped through before the release date and the wonderfully garish colours colliding all over the place also made me think this may be the Wes Anderson movie for me. And yet, I didn't see it. I should probably mention that I began watching it a few months back on DVD but fell asleep because I sometimes find it difficult to stay awake during films, which is a great skill to have when you're paid to review films.

9. Pride
GAYS! They're great aren't they? How fucking wonderful of them to support the miners' strike in 1984 when they had their own problems to deal with. To be honest, when this was released in September it looked just a tad corny and therefore not worth me paying £8 for at my local (or £5 if I'm in Peckham), but since then I've seen the error of my ways and realise I should've sought it out because not only is it getting showered with accolades (including BIFA's Best British Independent Film award), it apparently features Dominic West dancing energetically to disco. Why the fuck didn't they put that on the poster?

8. Lucy
Depending on who you speak to, Lucy is either amazing or utter shit, but the fact it has polarised so many (while earning shitloads at the box office) is enough to entice me. Sure, this felt like a huge step back in ScarJo's career after the critically acclaimed Her (more on that later) and fucking creepy Under The Skin, but at least now she can storm into Kevin Feige's office and ask why the fuck Black Widow isn't getting her own film. I have a thing for mental films that make no bloody sense and this is supposed to be batshit crazy, so I'll be first in line when it's on Netflix and I have nothing better to do. 

7. Dallas Buyers Club
Now dropping weight is a legitimate shortcut to getting attention and awards, I'm mighty bored by films featuring malnourished stars before I've even seen them. Especially when that weight loss and performance stands in the way of Leonardo DiCaprio getting an Oscar, but I'm still up for seeing skeletal McConaughey and sassy Jared Leto do stuff before the inevitable sad ending where they both die. They both die, right? I'm guessing they die. 

6. Paddington
It's genuinely terrifying to see Hollywood work their way through beloved toys, books and cartoons of our youth, and even though I don't give a monkeys about a Peruvian bear, the reaction to this film has stunned me. The weekend of the press screening I saw my Twitter feed explode with praise from the most miserable bastards and many genuinely proclaimed it one of the best films of the year. Critics and audiences love it, and it's one of those films so universally loved I feel like I've missed out on something. 

5. Chef
I like food.

4. The Imitation Game
2014 is the year I finally got Benedict Cumberbatch. Sure, I fully appreciated his reading of R. Kelly's 'Genius' and his Chewbacca ain't bad, but I still didn't get the insane fandom surrounding Pamela Parry's son. But after blitzing through every episode of Sherlock, repeated viewings of this, and the fact he has Tom Hiddleston's phone number, I've grown rather fond of the man my mum calls 'Benadryl'. So why didn't I see his big movie of 2014? Maybe because it seems like a bit of a history lesson. Maybe because I'm incredibly picky when it comes to what I pay to see. Or maybe I had something better to do the weekend it came out, like sleep. Either way, I better watch this quickly if I want to get involved with the inevitable arguments during awards season. That's the best part! 

3. Her
I have yet to hear a bad word about this. And, y'know, moustaches. 

2. Nightcrawler
Jake Gyllenhaal's career has been really interesting to watch. As I've grown up, I've seen him go from emo god to almost-Spidey via dodgy blockbusters and tragic romances, and he obviously needed to give his career a tune up after the disastrous year that was 2010. Enter Nightcrawler: annoyingly not a biopic of a blue mutant but a neo-noir about a Travis Bickle-like amateur crime journalist/weirdo. It's written by Dan Gilroy and stars Bill Paxton, so I can only hang my head in shame for not catching it at the cinema.

1. The Guest
I can't remember the last time I've been so eager to see a film. I saw posters for this all over buses and magazines but ignored them because who pays attention to posters on buses anyway? It only came to my attention once the deafening praise clogged my ears and friends began telling me that I would love it because it features everything I love in the world, including gorgeous topless men. 
But as this is a pretty small film starring someone who drove into a tree in Downton Abbey (Feel free to add Dan Stevens to my list of favourite actors, right between Hiddles and McAvoy.) and made $285,845 across the pond, just as I began to start trawling London cinemas for it, it upped and disappeared like Dan's clothes. Luckily we live in a world where films are released on DVD and Blu-ray about ten minutes after leaving cinemas so I don't think it'll take me long to scratch this one of my must-watch list.

UPDATE: About four hours after writing this I relented and watched The Guest. It's utter and complete tosh and I still have no idea what it was actually about or how "David" turned himself into a terminator in a hot body, but it's so endearingly aware of how shite it is it's impossible not to love.