As usual, because of my stubborn insistence on going with UK release dates, many of you who read this may consider these films to be 2014 releases, especially all the Oscar contenders. Still, hopefully UK readers will understand our collective pain at getting some of these later than other countries!
Surprisingly, I've actually reviewed all of these for a change so just click the titles to be magically transported to my reviews of these films at Starburst Magazine, Tastic Film, and this very blog.
"The Theory of Everything is an inspiring tale of a great mind, perfectly rendered by a powerful and mesmerising performance from Eddie Redmayne."
"This is an incredibly moving story, driven by a brilliant performance from Vikander and a vital message that still resonates tragically today."
"Inarritu directs with a visceral mixture of simplicity and complexity. Long takes complement the fluid dialogue, while the drumming score and use of real locations keep things grounded, even as Riggan really starts to lose his mind. Unlike the superhero movies it rails against, Birdman is smart and requires way more than one sitting to fully appreciate its complexity."
"Whiplash is a film that strives for perfection and brings out the thrill in low budget, committed and quick filmmaking having been shot in just 18 days. It is a film about the sacrifices required to be the best at something, even if it means cowering in front of a madman and losing the enjoyment in doing what you love."
6. Ex Machina
"Ex Machina is an exciting and often challenging watch. Garland has surrounded himself with an expert team, meaning the film is gorgeous to watch, despite its limited locations. Its look and its sounds are essential to its gripping tale of men and machines. Compelling, claustrophobic, cutting edge and clever, Ex Machina is as smart and satisfying as science fiction gets."
5. Inside Out
"If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on inside someone’s head, Pixar have created a wonderfully inventive answer in Inside Out. Back at the absolute top of their game, Pixar’s latest is fresh, funny and positively bursting with emotions from joy to sadness. Crammed full of ingenuity, it’s a film that has been sprung from the very best minds of Pixar. With its perfect blend of high concept idea with intimate themes, Inside Out is a new peak for the animation studio."
"Coherence is inconceivably thrilling; a must see if you want your head scrambled by comets and quantum mechanics."
"To even the most hardened of critics, Amy is a heart wrenching reminder of the deceased star’s enormous talent, and an early contender for Best Documentary."
2. Wild Tales
"Wild Tales may not get ten out of ten for all of its six short stories, but with its dazzling direction and audacious storytelling, it is clearly the work of an exciting cinematic genius."
"Strap in, say goodbye to your fingernails and prepare for a white knuckle ride of epic proportions. Mad Max Fury Road is everything and more that you could hope for from an action film, and viewers will be left shaken from its incredible levels of vehicular mayhem. Director George Miller may have taken twenty years to get this to the screen but his efforts have paid off with a film that rushes by in a breathless barrage of explosions and insane stunts."
So that's me done. I'd love to know your own top 10s of the year at this point, or what you think of my own list. Drop me a comment if you're feeling conversational, argumentative, or simply depressed and need someone to talk to.