While it’s been a rather traumatic end to the year for Northern Irish cinema and all those who worship weekly in the hallowed pews of the QFT, it’s been a reasonably decent wee year for movies. There have been a few terrible turkeys and a couple of exceptionally good movies. Locke, Dallas Buyers Club, Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, Paddington and The Drop, all deserve a place in the best of list, (I’m also a little embarrassed to admit just how much I enjoyed Woody Allen in Fading Gigolo), but in the end I went with the ten films which I enjoyed best. It was a year where I valued escapism and these movies made me completely forget myself for an hour or two. At the top of the list is Calvary – far and away the best thing I saw at the cinema this year- the rest are in no particular order but seem to feature shotguns quite heavily. I’ve taken the liberty of including my short reviews, just in case you missed them the first time round.
Best of 2014
Best movie of the year:
Calvary “Tonight this destroyed me in the very best sense. Uncomfortable and essential viewing.”
1. The Grand Budapest Hotel: “She’s a keeper Wes.”
2. August: Osage County: “Incest, Oklahoma and a host of Hollywood A listers looking rough as anything. Meryl Streep ghosting about in wig and sunglasses like a deathbed Dylan. I was always going to like this but it truly became a love affair when Julia Roberts said “don’t turn all Carson McCullers on me”
3. Lilting: “Tackles the whole subject of grief and loss with incredible delicacy and kindness. A truly beautiful wee film.”
4. Blue Ruin: “Kentucky gothic; shotguns, shacks and the sins of the fathers- pretty much everything I love in a movie.”
7. American Hustle: “First good movie of the year. Casino meets Studio 54 and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Christian Bale, as always impeccable even when lardy. Bradley Cooper put on God’s earth to play exactly this kind of slumdog. Jennifer Lawrence my particular scene stealer, (especially whilst cleaning to Live and Let Die in an up do). Amy Adams in desperate need of some buttons for her blouse. Go see.”
There were also some truly terrible movies this year and it was actually quite a struggle to limit my list to just five turkeys, plus one movie so truly awful it should win prizes for managing to make it to production. It was, without a doubt, one of those years when previously decent directors really should have known better, (take a bow Michel Gondry, Woody Allen, Spike Jonze), and I am now in fear and trepidation over just how terrible the forthcoming Terence Malick actually could be. Here’s my list of movies I wish I hadn’t wasted the money on.
Worst of 2014
Worst movie of the year, (and possibly also every other year since movies were invented): The Congress “It’s a long time since I last walked out mid movie (second LOTR). This is the worst thing I’ve seen in decades. Like someone vomited and made it into a movie.”
1. Her “And with this I mourn the passing of my inner hipster; what a pile of boring, self-indulgent, drivel. This is comparable to one semi-decent line in a George Saunders’ short that got stretched into a two hour movie. Come on people we can do imagination without sap, can’t we?”
3. The Sea “Self-indulgent drivel from John Bannville. Another stunning example of why novelists should never be allowed to adapt their own books for screen. I honestly can’t think of a single redeeming feature of this movie.”
92 films watched. Approximately 45 movies enjoyed. Looking forward to more shotguns and Tom Hardy in 2015.