Film

Published on January 8th, 2015 | by Adian Goatley

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Top Films in 2014

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

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I didn’t get to see many films this year unfortunately, but from what I did see, the latest instalment of X-Men was my favourite.  I thought it was a very well crafted film that was good to watch and kept me interested from start to finish.  It could have easily been very badly handled and ham-fisted, but it wasn’t.  The film didn’t focus on the cast from previous films too much which was a worry of mine, instead it was cleverly mixed up to keep it feeling fresh, I think Bryan Singer and the rest of the crew did a fantastic job and I was very happy that I went to see it in the cinema – Chris Chapman

 ’71

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Writer Gregory Burke and director Yann Demange give their take on The Troubles in 1970s Belfast by focusing on loan young Squaddie Private Hook (Jack O’Connell) as he is accidentally left behind in a particularly volatile part of the city, a sort of inverse of the James Mason classic ‘Odd Man Out’. The film is part political history, part heart-stopping thriller as Hook must find his way back to safety, making allies, avoiding enemies and trying not to fall foul of the myriad machinations of both the IRA and his own commanding officers. The film works both as a snapshot of a terrible time in British history and as a more straightforward tale of survival – Michael guest

Guardians Of The Galaxy

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I Am Groot. I am Groot? I am Groot. I am Groot! I am Groot.

Guardians of the Galaxy was everything I hoped and a whole lot more. It is a prime example of what a Superhero Team, Summer Blockbuster movie should be like. It has the complex characters covered and without the need for a series of films leading up to it. It has the music sorted: surely everyone now owns a copy of the Awesome Mix Volume 1? It has some outstanding effects moments. And you want in jokes and references for your inner geek? Sure, have a massive stack of them (I saw an Elemental on screen. The DVD is worth it’s cost purely for that moment). Everybody I know who has seen this film loves it and that’s because it has something for everyone.

Oh, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, filling it’s run time with a heap of jokes. The DVD is out already which means you can stick it on, sit back and simply enjoy one of the greatest comic book movies ever made – JC Doyle

My film of the year has to go to Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s an awesome mix of action, humour and heart, it really stood out for me in an age of cinema which is arguably becoming saturated by superhero movies. The soundtrack was nothing short of epic and each member of the Guardians brought something unique to the film. Star-Lord who is as much an outcast as he is an outlaw, Gamora who is making up for her dark past, Drax who is hell-bent (not literally) on avenging his wife and children and the fantastic duo of Rocket and Groot who find a family whilst looking for a fortune. I can’t wait for what the cinematic future holds for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mica

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

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I really enjoyed Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and to be honest, I held out any hope of a sequel being any good. Especially when it seemed to be stuck in development hell with a Directorial change and what ended up being almost a complete wiping of the slate. Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Coverfield) picked up Directorial duties from ROTPOTA director, Rupert Wyatt and I don’t feel the film has skipped a beat. Moving it forward ten years with the ape community fully established was a fantastic move. Be under no illusion, the motion capture actors (mainly Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell) are fantastic as Caesar and Koba and are the leads. The CGI is incredible with only one or two iffy moments. The human actors take a back seat and just end up getting in the way. Especially the particularly hammy performance by Gary Oldman. I cannot wait for the third film and seeing if they are going to link this up to the original Ape films or eventually just rewrite those too. Hail, Caesar! – Dan Stanford

Boyhood

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I know my choice will, once everyone’s votes have been tallied, seem painfully conventional, but for once the mainstream critics really do have it right. The movie of the year for me was Boyhood, director Richard Linklater’s bold experiment in time capsule filmmaking, shot over thirteen years with the same returning cast and edited into what can only be described as an intimate epic. Part of what made it work for me what how while it stood on the shoulders of some heady predecessors, namely Michael Apted’s Up series, Boyhood managed to pull off something trickier by taking a fictional journey through more than a decade of a life, asking much more of the audience in terms of faith in the overall concept than a conventional documentary would. This is a film very much of the moment, but it never feels writ large, never feels like we’re meant to be drinking in the import of the times in which Mason (Ellar Coltrane, so fortuitously and perfectly cast that if he never makes another movie it would be both sad and oddly understandable) is living. The film captures, in fact, that a decade and a half can be tumultuous on a macro level, but viewed through the lens of family, of youth, of race and of class and/or community, the big-change moments can also be the smallest. Effortlessly insightful, gorgeously atmospheric, and without a trace of acting to be found, Boyhood is one for the ages – Greg Payne

Paddington

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Yes it could’ve been The Winter Soldier, Guardians or something even original but it wasn’t. It was Paddington. Simply the loveliest, most charming and delightful film produced this year. With a solid script that doesn’t miss a beat and a brilliant cast that deliver just the right amount of Britishness.

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