Top Films of 2014
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- Published on Monday, 22 December 2014 13:00
- Last Updated on 18 December 2014
- Freda Cooper
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It’s a fine old tradition among us film critics that at the end of the year we look back at the films from the past twelve months and pick our favourites. Not be left out, that’s exactly what I’m going to do now, but with a slight twist. I’m only choosing from the films I’ve reviewed here on London Mums during 2014.
Rather than give you a long list of ten, I’ve narrowed the best of the year down to five. And a diverse lot they are too.
So, in reverse order ……..
Number five: PRIDE
This British comedy/drama set during the miners’ strike of the 80s has been riding high ever since it was released in the summer and its wonderful year was capped by winning three of the big trophies at the recent British Independent Film Awards – Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Andrew Scott) and Best Supporting Actress (Imelda Staunton).
Based on the true story of a group of London-based gays and lesbians who raised money for striking miners in South Wales, Pride neatly mixed social and political issues with humour and a genuine passion for its subject. And while it was probably guilty of romanticising things just a touch too much, it was hard not to be swept along by its warmth.
Number four: T S SPIVET
This delightful children’s fantasy almost slipped under the radar when it was released in the summer. The story of a prodigiously talented boy who lives out in the Midwest and wins an award from the Smithsonian Institute was an all-too-rare instance of 3-D coming into its own and making a real difference to the film, re-creating some of the young boy’s drawings and inventions.
The special effects, along with the beautiful photography, made the film was a real feast for the eyes and viewing it on the big screen was an absolute must. Imaginative and with a glorious vision, it was one of the most creative family films for some years. Sheer magic!
Number three: CHEF
One for the grown-ups this time. Jon Favreau’s Chef was an unashamedly feel-good celebration of food and Twitter: not the most likely of combinations, but one that worked beautifully here. A contemporary comedy packed with great one-liners, energy and a soundtrack that made you want to dance out of the cinema as the credits rolled, it also made good use of a top-drawer cast – Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johanssen and Favreau himself. And Robert Downey Junior nearly stole the whole show in a perfectly judged comedy cameo.
Incidentally, the food was so mouthwatering you could almost smell it. So, if you watch the film (and it’s available on DVD), make sure you eat beforehand. Unless you want to be ravenous half way through the movie, that is!
Number two: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
The unexpected hit from the Marvel stable, Guardians Of The Galaxy never took itself seriously and gathered a massive audience as a result. There was more to it than that, though: seriously good special effects, a well-chosen nostalgic soundtrack from the 80s and two great characters in Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and tree monster Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). Ironically, they were both CGI creations.
The humour positively crackled throughout and it was easily the most fun anybody had at the cinema during 2014.
Number one: BOYHOOD
The number one London Mums film is truly unique. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was twelve years in the making, re-uniting the same cast every year as it followed a six year old boy growing to the a young man of 18. But it wasn’t just his story. We grew to know his family equally well: his precocious sister and his parents, who were separated. And we followed him through various landmarks in his young life, from his mother’s new relationships to his arrival at college.
No high drama, no heroes and no villains. Instead, an intelligent and sensitive portrait of family life, full of details and subtleties. The film’s original and intimate approach allowed us to get so close to the people on the screen that we felt like an invisible member of the family.
A beautiful film. And a real one-off.
Having looked back, I’ll be looking forward in a few days’ time, with my preview of the best of the new releases arriving in early 2015. January and February are always great months at the movies: it’s when most of the major contenders for the big awards hit the cinemas, so the film year always gets off to a great start. And 2015 looks like being no different …….
Top Films of 2014
Film critic and radio presenter Freda Cooper has been a movie fan all her life – the best qualification for the job! A contributor to a number of film websites, she also presents her weekly podcast, Talking Pictures, a finalist in the UK Podcasters Awards. Her movie blog, formerly The Coops Review, is now also called Talking Pictures, and was shortlisted at this year’s UK Blog Awards. And you can hear her film reviews every Friday morning on BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex!