A film, food, travel & lifestyle blog by Sophie Elizabeth

23 December 2014

Film Review: Top Five Films of 2014

Hello! Welcome to one of my final posts of 2014. Just in time for the Dec 25th, I thought I'd give you guys last minute additions for the Christmas Bluray list. (It might just be me who has a Bluray list each year but if you don't - perhaps consider this ready-made one.) This year has been yet another triumph for film in terms of advances in technology seen in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Interstellar - to fresh-faced actors, debuting writers and directors who are destined to take the world of cinema by storm. In no particular order, here are my (some might say obvious) top film picks of 2014 and some I'm already looking forward to in for the New Year...

1. Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014) *****

Night-drifter and petty thief, Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), wanders the streets of Los Angeles looking for work. Selling and sweet-talking where he can, he stumbles across a bloody car accident and camera man, Joe (Bill Paxton) is getting all on tape. Seeing the same footage on the morning news the next day, Lou believes he may have found his calling. 
     One of the best performances and screenplays of the year. Debuting director, Dan Gilroy, creates his first feature length film in a title reminiscent of The Guest (2014), American Psycho (2000) and Drive (2011) but is a fantastic piece of cinema in it's own right. Jake Gyllenhaal establishes himself, yet again, as one of the greatest actors of our generation playing Lou Bloom, 2014's answer to Patrick Bateman and a total psychopath. Blessed with a hollowed tone of managerial speak and undeniable confidence, Lou is able to work his way from petty thief to a high flyer in the television industry. Executed perfectly by Gyllenhaal, every twitch and fake gesture contributes to the overall success of the film along with it's stunning cinematography and utterly twisted narrative. Even better is the underlying statement of film and TV violence that America has become so accustom to - even as they eat their morning cereal. Probably one of the most underrated films from the last few years. 

2. Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014) *****

Parks and Rec star, Chris Pratt stars as Peter Quill (Star Lord), following a group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe in another Marvel action-adventure. Directed by James Gunn, you'd have to be from Mars not to of heard of it this year. As the highest grossing film of 2014, it was inevitable that Guardians of the Galaxy would make an appearance on this list. Not to mention thye fact that it is by far one of the most visually stunning, well written pieces of  cinema to come out of Marvel production to date. Teamed with a winning cast, a fantastically executed script, Guardians of the Galaxy is something for everyone this year and truly one of the most enjoyable films of 2014. Not that I'm biased or anything.

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014) ****

The adventures of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted and dearest friend. When Gustave is accused of murdering a wealthy guest, the incredibly old Madam D (Tilda Swinton), the pair must escape their beloved hotel and the unlawful dealings of her conniving children after their mother's will. 
  With the usual all-star cast, (a list too long - Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jason Swartzman, Adrian Brody, Willem Defoe, Saoirse Ronan etc etc) witty screenplay and kookie styling, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a classic example of Wes Anderson cinema. Each scene is carefully placed, complete with a colour scheme and perfect cinematography. Each character fully developed with their own weird and wonderful habits and flaws and a part that was meant for Ralph Fiennes in what may be his greatest role to date. One for the art lovers and Wes fans. 

4. Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014) ****

It appears that 2014 was the year for iconic characters and a little bit of the psychotic, as featured in David Fincher's latest home run. On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, failed writer-turned-bar owner, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), returns home to his stunning suburban home to find his wife (Rosamund Pike) has vanished. With some signs of a struggle and a disrupted break-in, the police are called sparking a world-wide media frenzy in which Nick finds himself in the center. His awkward behaviour and unemotional responses to reporters soon land him as the lead suspect in his wife's possible murder and the target of media scrum. Gone Girl is dark, sadistic and dangerous and totally enjoyable. The film's commitment to the narrative and moral repugnance will leaving you reeling on the edge of your seat. 

5. Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014) *****

Set in the not-so-distant future, Earth is no longer able to sustain humanity. The crops are failing, armies and government are redundant and dust storms scour the land. In a bid to save the future of human kind, a Professor leading the remains of NASA recruits a retired test pilot and father, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), to head a team of explorers in to a wormhole in the hope of finding a new home for future generations of man.
With an Oscar winning cast and direction under the man who brought us Inception (2010), Memento (2000) and The Dark Knight (2008), this film was destined for greatness from the outset. In true Nolan style, no detail goes unnoticed and the cinematography and narrative has set another standard for all other film makers. A truly moving, brilliantly acted and well executed piece of classic cinema to add to Nolan's already stunning portfolio.

So there you have it - my top five films of 2014 and possibly added to the list of my all time favourites. There are a lot more I could add to this list - don't worry, Frank (Lenny Abrahamson, 2014), The Lego Movie (Christopher Miller, Phil Lord, 2014) and The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum, 2014) were well and truly up there and so this list was hard to cut down. With us well and truly in Oscar season, I can't wait for the new few months for the release of more cinematic greats. My list to look-out for this coming year is...

1. Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014) A dark comedy following a has-been superhero actor  trying to reboot his career starring Michael Keaton and Emma Stone.

2. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014) Joaquin Phoenix stars along side a star-studded cast, in 1970s, drug-fueled LA as an undercover detective.

3. Foxcatcher (Bennent Miller, 2014) A biopic of the greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) who join Team Foxcatcher lead by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont played by an unrecognisable Steve Carell. 

4. Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams, 2015) Like all Star Wars and film nerds, I shall be there to see the latest piece of Star Wars history. As a huge Star Wars fan himself, I'm hoping JJ Abrams will do the Saga justice. 

5. Jurassic World (Colin Trevvorrow, 2015) Twenty-two years after the events of the classic that is
Jurassic Park, Jurassic World reopens it's gates and causes you to wonder if man-kind will ever learn that you should never EVER create a super-raptor. I can't wait for the revival of the classic, starring familiar face, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.  

6. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon, 2015) Whedon is back in the director's chair with another Marvel classic. The trailer has already given me goosebumps using Pinocchio's 'I've Got No Strings' in a dark twist to it's soundtrack (because Marvel is Disney now, get it?) and you just know it's all about to go down. I can't wait to be utterly thrilled by what can only be described as a 'cool' film. 

My list could literally go on and on! And I haven't even mentioned Big Eyes (Tim Burton, 2014), The Good Dinosaur and countless other Disney Pixar titles on the horizon. And also I need to catch up on a few I've missed this year and hopefully work my way through Empire's amazing, 50 greatest films of 2014 list. Huge film rant over! Here's to a wonderful year of cinema and the upcoming year. What films are you looking forward to this coming year? Or any that you might give a miss? Leave your comments below, I love reading your thoughts.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year film-goers!



  1. I loved the Grand Budapest Hotel! It was such a different movie to watch :) Great post!


  2. I ended up watching gone girl 3times in the cinema. One of the best films ever x


  3. I definitely agree with all your choices! Gone Girl and Intersellar were major highlights for me this year! And I'm so looking forward to Birdman x


    1. Thanks very much, me too! Birdman looks great - Michael Keaton is one of my favourite actors. Thanks for reading :) x

  4. I haven't got around to watching any of these films! They will be on my list though and I'm really looking forward to the new Avengers film! X


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