Gaming | Film | TV
Gaming | Film | TV

Review of the Year 2014: Screen Robot’s top 15 films of the year

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As voted for by the Screen Robot team, these are the 15 best films of 2014.

 

15. (tied) Blue Ruin

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We watch as these characters get caught up in that all too familiar self-perpetuating cycle of violence, and Dwight’s journey takes him to that heart of darkness while all we can do is watch and wait for his inevitable destruction.” (Liam Dunn)

 

15. (tied) The Guest

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“David is a victim of the military-industrial complex. He is a veteran of America’s wars in the Middle East, plus a participant in a special military programme which is probably more responsible for David’s behaviour than the man is himself. There is a purposeful commentary here on the meat-grinder that is the modern military.” (Liam Dunn)

 

15. (tied) The Raid 2

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There has never been anything like The Raid 2 released by a Hollywood studio. There’s never been anything quite like it full stop. I can’t stress just how achingly brilliant every inch of the thing is, or just how much good will Evans and his honest, hard-working and endearingly short cast of misfit badasses have earned at this point.” (Dominic Mill)

 

14. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is, through and through, a discussion of the political state of modern America, and while much of it is devoted to commentary on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s still plenty of time for it to talk about America’s issues at home.” (Emlyn Roberts-Harry)

 

13. 12 Years a Slave

12 years a slave chiwetel ejiofor

The detachedness of the camera mirrors Northup’s restraint – he has to repress all his pain in order to survive. That last scene acted like a kind of spring-loaded bear-trap and left me shaking with tears. It was a moment of rare and powerful communion that taught me more than a history book ever could.” (Tyler Chinnick)

 

12. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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It shouldn’t work, because this is 2014, where the good guys use the same methods as the bad guys to get their results, but in harking back to what seems like a simpler time, Captain America 2 gives us a film which doesn’t ask any questions or sow any confusion. It offers certainty; just what we needed.” (Gareth Wood)

 

11. Under the Skin

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Whilst teaching us a little something of what it is to be human, Glazer’s is a film that challenges how we construct and interact with the stories that surround us, offering rare moments of clarity in a world of film where truth is fleeting, fragmented and obscure.” (Tim Cooke)

 

10. Interstellar

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How many cars need to explode, people need to die or buildings need to fall for you to be impressed by an action film now? With Interstellar, Nolan avoids this issue by, once again, pushing the boundaries, this time quite literally out of the stratosphere, striving to answer not only the deepest questions about the universe, but also the deepest questions about human nature, often at the same time.” (Joel Durston)

 

9. Inside Llewyn Davis

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There’s too much cruelty and accuracy in its truths. But I think everyone should see it anyway, even if it is probably the Coens’s least accessible work to date. Getting people to sit through it is the difficult part, but they should – it’s a film tailor-made for a hopelessly aspirational generation.” (Brogan Morris)

 

8. Gone Girl

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“Maybe the purpose of this film is not to taunt us with a vision of the American Dream and how NOT to achieve it, but to maybe show that many of us have already succumbed to the notion that it truly doesn’t exist. Either way, Gone Girl excels in mastering the art of manipulation and is one of the best films of 2014…even if it does swindle and deceive you.” (Jeremie Sabourin)

 

7. Nightcrawler

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“To commit Nightcrawler to the canon of ‘media satire picture’ is to do it a disservice. By its nature, the film is a media satire – perhaps the best one since Network – but it is also a takedown of American male mythology, a slicing open of the mythos that surrounds the have-a-go hero of American history, and a deft black comedy that lends some genuine surrealist notions to the very accurate world it depicts.” (Taylor Burns)

 

6. The Wolf of Wall Street

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

The Wolf of Wall Street, for which ‘American Psycho’ would’ve been a more appropriate title had it not already been taken, is a true tale of corporate psychopathy and a horror film more frighteningly topical than anything of recent memory.” (Brogan Morris)

 

5. Boyhood

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We don’t remember the years in integers, but in instants. Richard Linklater understands this – understands that our moments in life, no matter how big they feel, are relatively minute, and it is only when these minutiae are pieced together over a certain period of time that they become as meaningful as we thought they were; they become small parts of the magnificent whole.” (Taylor Burns)

 

4. The Lego Movie

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For the kids, The Lego Movie is an imaginative and hilarious adventure full of great characters and gorgeous animation. But for us adults, it is essentially a child-friendly Paul Verhoeven film. Much like how Verhoeven’s RoboCop and Starship Troopers spoofed 1980s business and military propaganda respectively, The Lego Movie comments on the dilution and conglomeration of today’s world.” (Jacob Heaton)

 

3. Her

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It’s a frank discussion of love, loneliness and even the nature of reality in a world where technology is increasingly replacing traditional human relations. In terms of a science fiction film, Her feels small. But then again, this is not a film about the world; this is a film about looking out onto it. And deciding whether to even engage in it at all.” (Max Metzger)

 

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

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The introduction of new worlds and new characters, especially ones which not many people – and basically nobody in the mainstream – had heard of was a risky move. But it paid off. The success of Guardians of the Galaxy is not just evidence of how a brand sells, it is evidence of Marvel’s dedication to innovation in its cinematic universe.” (Andrew Barry)

 

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Everything comes together in this film. It is both the big picture, and just an entertaining two hours. It also served to remind me that Wes Anderson has a purity of vision unlike any other director. We may sometimes be given ‘twee’, but sometimes we are given this.” (Zachary Boren)

 

Featured image: StudioCanal

Inset images: Picturehouse; Picturehouse; Sony Pictures Classics/Stage 6 Films; 20th Century Fox; Fox Searchlight Pictures; Marvel; StudioCanal; Warner Bros; CBS Films; 20th Century Fox; Open Road Films; Paramount; IFC Films; Warner Bros; Warner Bros; Marvel; Fox Searchlight

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