The inevitable top five list

With 2014 drawing to a close I couldn't really resist taking a look at some of the best movies from the last 12 months. Of course this list is entirely subjective and down to my own personal preferences.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

This film was certainly one of the surprises of the year. One of the lesser known facets of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it took the box office by storm, and ended up the 2nd highest grossing film of the year. For me, this phenomenal success in down to the fact that Guardians pushed the boundaries of traditional “superhero” movies, of which we are subjected to so many of at the moment. Guardians successfully took the usual superhero film and stuck it in outer space, and it served as a breath of fresh air amongst the likes of Spider Man, Captain America and X-Men. Ultimately though Guardians was just downright fun. From the characters, to the humour, and THAT soundtrack, the Guardians of the Galaxy could soon be everyone’s favourite superhero team.

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

While I got negative vibes about this film from friends after seeing it, I still believe it to be worthy of a space in my top five. I loved 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes and in my eyes this sequel managed to surpass the original. This entry in the series had a new director, Matt Reeves who directed Cloverfield, and I think he brought a bit more of the grittiness and realism seen in that film. As always, the special effects are top notch, as is the motion capture work from Andy Serkis who is rightfully earning heaps of praise for his work in the field. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I really did find myself forgetting that the apes on screen were just computer generated. But what made Apes for me was that this technological achievement didn’t detract from the intelligent and poignant storytelling.

3. The Lego Movie

This time last year I would never have thought that a movie about Lego would be sitting in my top 5. But The Lego Movie completely took me by surprise. Like any great family film (and much like Lego itself!) the film succeeds in appealing to all ages. By not dumbing anything down, and not trying to be too clever, but simply being an honest and genuinely funny film, The Lego Movie is one of those kids movies that an adult should never be ashamed to say they enjoy! And even the most cold hearted of cynics can’t deny that the song “Everything is Awesome” is…well…awesome.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Perhaps it’s just me but it seems like well over a year since this Wes Anderson film hit cinemas but upon checking, it did indeed come out in 2014, and so it had to make the list. I actually hadn’t seen any of Mr Andersons work prior to this film (something I have since rectified) so was I was pleasantly taken aback by this films unique visual style. Usually I would take issue with a film that seemingly places so much more emphasis on style rather than substance, but in the case of Grand Budapest, I was more than happy to just sit back and enjoy the ride. It perhaps sums up how I feel about this film that 9 months after seeing it, I have difficulty recalling any fine details about the plot, just that it was smart, funny and gorgeous to look at. Clearly enough so to make it my second favourite movie of the year!

1. Boyhood

The sheer ambition and scope behind Boyhood is an incredible achievement in itself. The fact that director Richard Linklater actually pulled it off is nothing short of a masterpiece. Boyhood was filmed over a period of 12 years, and charts the life of Mason Evans Jr. through ages seven to eighteen in an almost documentary-like fashion. This innovative style of movie making is fascinating to see, as the audience genuinely sees the characters grow and mature, both physically and emotionally. While it could have taken a preachy tone, and overdone the sappy stuff, Boyhood plays it nice and simple, and gives one of the most accurate coming of age tales i’ve seen on screen, and that’s what makes it my film of the year.

So there you have it. As with any list like this there will probably be nobody on the planet who agrees 100% but isn’t that the beauty? Honourable mentions have to go to Birdman, which isn't out until this Thursday, and Foxcatcher and Gone Girl, which I have to admit I haven’t yet seen, but all of which look like they had the potential to crack the list.

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