Ellar Coltrane in a scene from the movie Boyhood.
Ellar Coltrane in a scene from the movie Boyhood. Universal Pictures

Pick of the flicks: The top 10 films of 2014

THE year 2014 was certainly rich in film, from the adventures in the far reaches of space in Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar, to smaller independent films that challenged audiences like Under the Skin and Starred Up.

In a year that offered so much diversity, which films rose above the pack to make us cry, laugh, flinch, recoil or perhaps all the above?

 

  1. Boyhood

    Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke in Boyhood.
    Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke in Boyhood. Universal Pictures
    Richard Linklater's film Boyhood is a unique and emotional coming-of-age drama and my pick as the best film of 2014. It's unique because in 2002, Linklater cast Ellar Coltrane as Mason and scenes were filmed intermittently for the next 12 years as the film chronicles his life from six to 18.  Boyhood avoids familiar cliches and perfectly captures that helpless feeling of childhood.
     
  2. 12 Years A Slave

    Chiwetel Ejiofor in the movie 12 Years A Slave.
    Chiwetel Ejiofor in the movie 12 Years A Slave. Francois Duhamel
    Director Steve McQueen does not flinch from the material of Solomon Northup's memoir and does not allow sentimentality to permeate the story, which is emotionally charged as it is. Chiwetel Ejiofor (as Northup) carries the burden of history with grace and dignity.

     
  3. Her

    Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from the movie Her.
    Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from the movie Her. Warner Bros Pictures
    This ambitious romantic drama set in the near future stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, a lonely writer who finds love in the unlikeliest of places: an artificially intelligent operating system named Samantha, voiced wonderfully by Scarlett Johansson.
     
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

    From left, Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
    From left, Paul Schlase, Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Martin Scali
    There is an elegance to the way Wes Anderson designs his films that has to be admired and The Grand Budapest Hotel, featuring his most convoluted plot yet, is Anderson at his meticulous best. He carefully fills each frame, allowing his whimsical world to take shape.
     
  5. Locke

    Tom Hardy in a scene from the movie Locke. Supplied by A24 Films.
    Tom Hardy in a scene from the movie Locke. Supplied by A24 Films. A24 Films
    A man. A car. A series of phone calls. That sums up the premise of Steven Knight's low-budget film starring Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a construction manager on the eve of a major project who must deal with a number of problems from the front seat of his car. Hardy is genuinely moving.
     
  6. Calvary

    Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in movie Calvary.
    Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in movie Calvary. Contributed
    From its opening scene - Father James is told during a confession that he will be murdered in seven days - Calvary has you hooked. Brendan Gleeson brings integrity and charm to his role as a veteran priest who is surrounded by people who both respect and loathe him in a small Irish village.
     
  7. Gone Girl

    Ben Affleck in a scene from the movie Gone Girl.
    Ben Affleck in a scene from the movie Gone Girl. Fox Australia
    David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestseller poses some interesting questions about marriage, adultery and how the media's reports on a story can greatly influence public perception. Rosamund Pike handles the nuanced and tricky role of Amy Dunne with a cool demeanour.
     
  8. Whiplash

    Miles Teller, left, and J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.
    Miles Teller, left, and J.K. Simmons in Whiplash. Daniel McFadden
    A young jazz drummer, played by Miles Teller, seeks musical perfection and his guide is an uncompromising music instructor, played with fierce intensity by J.K. Simmons. The interplay between the two actors makes this film riveting.
     
  9. The Wolf of Wall Street

    Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.
    Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. Mary Cybulski
    Martin Scorsese's stylish adaptation of Jordan Belfort's autobiography gives the audience an unapologetic look at this man's life, which is at times funny, dramatic, indulgent and tragic thanks to a powerful performance from Leonardo Di Caprio.
     
  10. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

     Jason Clarke in a scene from the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
    Jason Clarke in a scene from the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Fox Australia

    The Shakespearean themes are rich in this sequel to 2011's surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes. All the characters, human and ape, are driven by fear and a brilliant performance from Toby Kebbel as Koba, the main antagonist, elevates the film.

 

 

Films that just missed the cut:

11. The Lego Movie

12. Guardians of the Galaxy

13. Starred Up

14. Nightcrawler

15. Under the Skin

16. Interstellar

17. Captain America: Winter Soldier

18. Ida

19. Force Majeure

20. Only Lovers Left Alive



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