Top Ten Best Films of 2014


What a fantastic year to go to the cinema. We were had an awesome blockbuster season including superhero classics such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Science fiction blockbusters such as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, Lucy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. We also had brilliant films from my favourite directors such as David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. We also had outrageous comedies such as 22 Jump Street and Bad Neighbours. However there were some misses such as the disappointing Transformers: Age of Extinction, Hercules, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Let’s Be Cops. There was also a guilty pleasure for me in the reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As I said it was a fantastic year for cinema and one that I will look back on fondly. Below are my top ten films of the year however please note I have not seen; Boyhood, Birdman, Whiplash, The Babadook, Foxcatcher, and many others. As I am still a full time teacher it does get hard to catch up on all the latest releases however I may update this list early next year. As of now I will be taking the summer break and won’t be updating this blog for the rest of 2014. In saying that thanks so much for reading it has been an absolute blast starting this blog and beginning my career as a film critic and blogger.

My Top Ten



10. Chef

A charming small film filled with wonderful performances, a charming script and beautiful cinematography (especially of the mouth watering food). A return to his indie roots for Jon Favreau and he reminds us of what made him such a talented filmmaker.


9. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Although we were inundated with superhero films this year we still had excellent entries into the genre including this time travel adventure reuniting the original cast of the X-Men trilogy with the First Class crew. An enjoyable scifi adventure with top knotch performances from Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Hugh Jackman.


8. Guardians of the Galaxy

“Marvel can do no wrong”. In 2014 this statement was definitely true. A comedy disguised as a science fiction space opera, Guardians was the biggest film of 2014 and much deserved with a great cast, special effects and a feel good air throughout. Guardians proved that Marvel are the kings of the summer blockbuster.


7. 22 Jump Street

The best comedy of 2014 and also an excellent entry into the buddy comedy sub genre. I love buddy comedy films and this one ranks with the best such as Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys, all while parodying the genre itself and providing real bro chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.


6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

After 2012’s brilliant Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson is on a roll. With the Budapest Hotel, Anderson has mixed his quirky visual style with an interesting caper filled with his usual band of eclectic characters and superb actors. Visually stunning throughout a true gem.


5. Interstellar

A breathtaking piece of work. Visually stunning with excellent acting from Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. It is Christopher Nolan’s unique vision that ultimately shines through. This film is not as exciting as Nolan’s previous films such as Inception or The Dark Knight Trilogy however with this film he wears his heart on his sleeve and not only looks at space travel but also digs deep into the relationship of a father and his daughter. A personal piece of filmmaking which was amazing to watch.


4. Gone Girl

I always imagined what it would be like to sit in the theater in the 50s and 60s and discover one of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thrillers and being surprised and shocked throughout. Sitting in the cinema watching Gone Girl I believe I captured that feeling as I sat in suspense and shock throughout the entire film. Brilliant thriller which is up there with the classics of the genre. Watch it without any prior knowledge and you will have one hell of an experience.


3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

A brilliant science fiction epic delivering everything from amazing special effects to biting social commentary all disguised as a fun summer blockbuster.


2. Under the Skin

A brilliant piece of art from filmmaker Jonathan Glazer. Disturbing and hypnotic with a daring portrayal from Scarlett Johansson. This is unlike any film you’ve watched before and it will haunt your dreams.


1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Possibly not what you would expect on a top ten film list, let alone making it to number one. The sequel to a Marvel film. However Marvel have upped the game and produced the most fun spectacle of 2014. No other film I have seen this year left me so excited and in love with cinema as this film did. Excellent performances from Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan. Breathtaking action, fun twists and excellent direction from the Russo brothers. The most fun I had in the cinema all year and the most re-watched film of the year. I love this film! Bring on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.

Happy Holidays everyone.




What a great series to review this year. Brilliant characters, excellent commentary on real life events and news headlines. Amazing costumes and later special effects. Crazy plots and twists. Excellent set design and imagination. The Planet of the Apes series has endured decades and has had many highs and many lows. In 2014 with the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I decided to look back at the series from the original 1968 classic Planet of the Apes all the way to 2014’s Dawn. It has been a great experience reviewing this film and below I’ll list the best to worst in the series.


1. Planet of the Apes (1968)


2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)


3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)


4. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)


5. Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)


6. Planet of the Apes (2001)


7. Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)


8. Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Although I love Dawn of the Planet of the Apes dearly I still find the original 1968 film to be the best of the series. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was an excellent reboot for the franchise and introduced us to Andy Serkis mo-capped Caesar. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes was an excellent thriller and showed the beginning of the Planet of the Apes. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was a fun sequel to the original with a completely insane ending. However with a (mostly) absent Charlton Heston the film ultimately struggled. Tim Burton’s remake was disappointing but had some fun elements and excellent costume design. Escape and Battle were pretty forgettable entries in the franchise. All up a great series and I had a lot of fun watching them all.




Koba: Caesar weak!
Caesar: Koba weaker.

Director: Matt Reeves

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Gary Oldman

Synopsis: In a dystopian future where genetically advanced Apes now rule the earth, Ape leader Caesar struggles with keeping the peace when a band of human survivors seek shelter and help from the apes.

The last entry into the Planet of the Apes series (for now) which is a direct sequel to 2011’s reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as we follow the aftermath of the events from that film. Mankind has fallen due to the virus which Will Rodman (James Franco) developed in Rise. This film is set ten years after the events of Rise and is essentially a remake of 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes (which is a direct sequel to 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes which was also remade into 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Make sense??) However whether you are a fan of the series or if this is your first ape film to see you will definitely be impressed with this epic tale filled with parallels to Shakespeare’s classic Julius Caesar, as well as modern news headlines including threatening viruses, terrorism, politics, global warming, fear of technology all wrapped up in a sci-fi cgi heavy blockbuster.


Andy Serkis reprises his role of Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar now leads his ape community with his right hand man Koba (played by Toby Kebbell) and Maurice (played by Karin Konoval). In the opening sequence he leads his army into an attack on some deer. This sequence is breathtaking as the camera and sound follow Caesar and his apes into the forest. No dialogue only subtitles showing their communication highlight the sounds of the forest and its slow build-up of suspense and foreboding. The cgi is once again top knotch the geniuses at Weta have again sculpted living, breathing apes with actors portraying them through performance capture technology. Andy Serkis has already become a master in this medium with his iconic performance as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings series however who truly shines in this instalment is Toby Kebbell as the tortured Koba who hates all humans and begins to disagree with his leaders outlook. It is an iconic performance and is easily the best villain of 2014.


After the opening deer chase a group of humans lead by Malcolm (played by Jason Clarke) cross paths with the apes and seek help in order to bring back electric power to their small community of survivors. Caesar begins to remember the human who helped him as a child and helps out the group of humans in an effort to work and live together in peace. However with all great stories the search for peace isn’t easy and with man and animals nature peace can only exist in short bursts of time. Soon Koba plots to get rid of the humans despite his leaders frame of mind. What ensues is an action packed final battle between the humans and apes.


This film is brilliant, strong plot, characters, set design, special effects, sound design/soundtrack and direction. It is not an ordinary blockbuster and although previous ape entries have been parallels to our current time this one really gets all the beats right. This is very high on the list of best films of 2014 and also very high on the list of Planet of the Apes films. Strong recommend.

Rating: 4.5 Stars