The biggest issue with making a top films list for people living in the United Kingdom, or as Americans like to call it, London, is which films to include? We, the English, don’t get to see highly anticipated films like Whiplash or Foxcatcher until 2015, and The Wolf of Fucking Wall Street was released in 2014. For that reason, the criteria for TheMightyJaffaCake’s end of year lists will be those films which were released in 2014 in England.
Honourable mentions, or “I really can’t rank these films, but they’re definitely not my top 5”
Fury- If I can sum up David Ayer’s war epic in one word, it would be relentless. Each scene is filled with as much tension as the last, and Ayer brilliantly captures the claustrophobic feel inside the tank, which only adds to the anxiety of the film. The cast perform well, considering the fact that they were sitting for most of the scenes. The only issue I found was the weird choice in special effects. Seriously, what was up with those lasers?
Her- A sci-fi film about falling in love with your OS. What could possibly go wrong? Well, not much, actually. Instead of shoving the sci-fi technology in your face, Spike Jonze focuses on the characters and their relationships, similar to eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. Her is visually beautiful, especially the use of colour and lighting, which adds to the many moods of the film.
The Lego Movie- In a time where ‘frozen fever’ has gripped the world, where you can’t go 10 minutes on social media without seeing a “let it go” vine remake, it’s refreshing to see an original animated film that can bring a smile to faces of both the old and young. Lord and Miller fill the film with hilarious inside jokes, pop culture references and lovable characters like Batman, Bad Cop and 1980-Something Space Guy. The stop-motion-like animation was a brilliant choice, and (without spoiling anything) the final act was pure genius.
The Raid 2: Berandal- How the hell do you top The Raid Redemption? Gareth Evans knows the answer. You throw in more crazy choreography, exhilarating fight scenes and brutal shots. You add cinematography that makes such scenes beautiful (See: the muddy prison yard scene) and memorable characters like baseball bat dude, Rama and scary-but-kind-of-hot hammer lady. Oh, and a car chase that makes the whole fast and furious series look like this.
DRUMROLL: The Top 5
12 Years a Slave- There is no holding back in this film. At all. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o excel, with some of the most emotionally powerful performances of the year. Michael Fassbender is terrifying, in fact the whole cast (bar a forgettable performance by Bennedict Cumberbatch) were fantastic. The film would’ve been my number 1 if it wasn’t for the next 4 films.
Boyhood- Aka: 12 years a director. A lot can easily go wrong when directing a film like this. Thankfully, the project was in the right hands with Linklater, who gave us a visionary masterpiece. Nothing happens in this film, yet at the same time everything happens. About, as the title suggests, a boy’s life, it’s particularly relatable to teenage males, but the film also has something for everyone. It would have been my number one if the next 3 films didn’t exist.
Gone girl- David Fincher is a genius. David Fincher for president. David Fincher is a god. The direction and script is excellent and sticking with the source material was a good choice, as the book was excellent. Rosamund Pike was cold and calculating throughout; her scene with Neil Patrick-Harris was stomach churning but it kept your eyes glued to screen nonetheless. It would’ve been my favourite film of year; however the upcoming 2 films also came out this year.
Interstellar- Aka: An ode to 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I first saw Kubrick’s trippy space epic, I saw true beauty. It took my brain and threw it into a ring with Mike Tyson. I still haven’t recovered; I don’t think I ever will. Nolan didn’t move as much as 2001 did, but boy it came close. And that’s more than god enough. It would’ve been my number one- sigh, you get the picture…
The Grand Budapest Hotel- Symmetry! Quirkiness! Pretty colours! Comedy! For me, this is Wes Anderson’s best film. A charming tale about the most charming character ever in film- M. Gustave H, The Grand Budapest Hotel will leave you smiling. With a stellar cast, fantastic script and wonderful cinematography, it encompasses what it means to be a filmmaker and the result is pure art. There are so many memorable scenes, the prison break, the train scenes and the poor cat. Yes, they killed a cat and I’m surprisingly ok with that.