My Top 20 Films of 2014 – Part 1

When I compiled my top 10 of 2013, I didn’t include those films that came out just in 2015 here in the UK but still featured on many people’s lists as they came out in the US in 2014 and were in the running for awards.

However, by doing that I last year, I need to include those films this time around which makes choosing a top 10 really freakin’ difficult, and rather than try and whittle them down and because i’m weak and indecisive, I decided to do a top 20 instead. I have split it into two parts, however, so it’s not a complete bore to read in one go.

You will notice that some major films aren’t here but appear in others’ lists purely because they’re out over here in 2015.

So here are numbers 20-11 of my top films of 2014…

20. Calvary

Calvary

The McDonagh brothers have a bit of a thing for black comedies (The Guard, In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) but none of them are as black as Calvary. In fact, you might be hard pressed to even call it a black comedy at times, rather a drama with sprinklings of comedy here and there. Either way, it’s an absorbing tale of a good priest being threatened with his life and a brilliant performance by Brendan Gleeson. Read my review.

19. The Raid 2

The Raid 2

The Raid was a lesson in how to bring martial arts to the masses and The Raid 2 takes what the first film did so well and turns everything up to 11. The fight scenes are unbelievable, almost balletic in their choreography, and are as brutal as anything else you’ll have seen this year. Its attempts to create an interesting story miss the mark, but we’re only really here for the fights and they don’t disappoint. My review.

18. The Babadook

The Babadook

It’s always refreshing when a horror film doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares, and thankfully The Babadook steers away from these for the most part. It plays on the audience’s familiarity with the situation and mixes in elements of the uncanny to create an intriguing story, even if it does lose its way slightly in the final third. Read my mini review here.

17. Locke

Locke

Being stuck in a car with Tom Hardy may well be many people’s idea of a dream day out but his Ivan Locke is a little unhinged and we stare in fascinated horror as he does his best to stop his life falling apart around him. Hardy is the sole (on-screen) character and he carries the burden with ease, proving that he can turn his hand to just about anything. Read my full review.

16. Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davies

For me, The Coen Brother’s Inside Llewyn Davis is an easier film to admire than it is to love, but by God there’s a lot to admire. Wonderfully shot with chilly, muted tones, it’s packed full of metaphor and subtext and has some brilliant performances at its core. Not the most accessible film of the year but definitely one of the most thought provoking. Read my full review.

15. Interstellar

Black Hole in Insterstellar

Sometimes a film does some things so well that it makes you forgive the things it’s not so good at. Interstellar has some horrendous plot contrivances and some dodgy plot points, but it also has some absolutely stunning visuals and Christopher Nolan’s lofty ambition, making it simply one of the most pure cinematic experiences of the year. Read my review here.

14. Dallas Buyer’s Club

Dallas Buyer's Club

As we all know, Dallas Buyer’s Club picked up the Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey) and Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto) awards at the 2014 Oscars, and for good reason. Both McConaughey’s and Leto’s performances are the heart and soul of the film and really sell this heartbreaking true story. Read my full review here.

13. Gone Girl

Gone Girl

David Fincher has built up quite the cinematography and Gone Girl is another excellent addition. It starts as a whodunnit of sorts and then however transforms into something wholly different with twists and turns lacing the narrative throughout. Affleck’s great here but Pike is even better and Fincher’s attention to detail really helps draw you in. Read my full review.

12. The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street

It’s Scorsese and DiCaprio working together once again, this time on the tale of Jordan Belfort and his rise to astronomical wealth and influence on the stock market. Some fantastic performances help to pull the film through which runs about 6 weeks in length, although it still left DiCaprio waiting for that elusive Oscar. Read my review.

11. Paddington

Paddington

For film viewers of a certain age, Paddington Bear will have a certain nostalgic value, but for many he’s somewhat of an unknown. Either way, Paddington is absolutely essential family viewing. It’s utterly charming, like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. It also carries an important message about accepting those different to yourselves, so has plenty of substance to back up its marmalade-laced hi-jinx.

That’s numbers 20-11 of my top 20 of 2014. Let me know your thoughts below and stay tuned for my top ten of 2014 in a few days.

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46 thoughts on “My Top 20 Films of 2014 – Part 1

  1. Abbi says:

    Great choices. The release years thing is always a nightmare!

  2. keith7198 says:

    Mighty fine list my friend. I just posted mine as well. I love reading and comparing.

    I’m suddenly interested in Paddington after seeing you have it so high and hearing a podcast rave about it. I originally dismissed it.

    Anxious to see your top 10.

  3. Brittani says:

    Nice list! The only one I flat out didn’t like here was Inside Lewlyn Davis. I like seeing some of the 2013 films that got released later outside of the states. It’s nice to see them again.

  4. I am very happy you included Inside Lewlyn Davis! Excellent. Several seem to like The Raid 2. I better rent it. Nice job, Chris

  5. lauraebarns says:

    Paddington isn’t supposed to look like that though 😦 ha

  6. lukebbtt says:

    Three of my top five have already gone, lol. Can’t wait for Part 2.

  7. I’m adding some of those to my personal list, if you don’t mind… you have a great list there. Dallas Buyers Club is one I really enjoyed, but all the rest… alas… didn’t see yet. Happy 2015 🙂

  8. Great so far mate and really pleased to see The Raid 2 on that list. Man I loved that damned movie!

  9. Nice to see Inside Llewyn Davis make your list and I really liked the music in that movie.

  10. Stu says:

    Good stuff Chris, some real crackers on there. I wish I’d included the early 2014 releases like Inside Llewyn Davis and Wolf Of Wall Street in mine now but hey ho. Keen to see your top ten.

  11. Ewan M says:

    Excellent stuff! All good films (except Dallas Buyers Club which I seem to be in a minority of not liking), and reminds me I really must see Locke!

  12. ruth says:

    Very nice, Chris! One of them here makes my top 10, and one in my Honorable Mentions (which is basically equals to #11 -20). I still need to see Calvary but I saw Inside Llewyn Davis last year and though I’m not fond of the film, I do like Isaac’s performance in it. Looking forward to your top 10 list!

    • Thanks Ruth! It was a really tough list and there are a few here that could easily have made my top 10 to be honest and a couple more that haven’t made the list at all that maybe should have done!

      • ruth says:

        It really is agonizing! I actually have 3 animated films I absolutely love from last year but I’m only gonna include just 1 in my top 10. Just deciding WHICH ONE would make the list is killing me! I should have mine done soon as I have one 2014 film I’m seeing tonight that I have an inkling would crack my top 10.

  13. Ben says:

    Great choices. Love seeing Paddington in there. Reading all these lists makes me realise how many films I still need to see from 2014 though.

  14. sati says:

    Oh man, Wolf which is my #2 last year and GG which is my #1 this year both in second 10 for you, I’m excited to see what is in top 10! I still hope Birdman is gonna give GG a run for its money for me, because so far there is no competition for my number 1

    • I feel that Wolf might be that low down because it came out so long ago and isnt as fresh in my memory maybe. I liked GG but didnt love it, although i liked it more on second viewing. Birdman is great but it’s one that i think will divide people a bit.

  15. Mark Walker says:

    Paddington? Seriously? Is it that good?

  16. Dan Heaton says:

    Great start! I know that a few are considered 2013 films in the US, but I can’t complain about love for Inside Llewyn Davis in any year. You’re totally right about The Raid 2, which feels so epic while maintaining the crazy action of the first one. I also liked Gone Girl, though I think it may fall just short of my list (up next week!).

    I must be missing something with the Paddington love in the UK. I saw the preview here a few weeks ago, and it seemed really painful.

    • Cheers Dan, I’ll do my best to pop by your place and see what you chose!

      Maybe the Paddington thing is a UK thing, I don’t even know if he’s well known outside of the UK to be honest. Or it could be a nostalgia thing. But I thought it was charming and everyone in the cinema seemed to have a great time with it.

  17. Mark Hobin says:

    Wow. Paddington is that good?! Saw the trailer and it didn’t captivate me plus they’re releasing it on January 16th in the States which is not a prime time for movies. I’m excited now!!

  18. Great stuff here man. I love that people have embraced The Babadook. And I think they have because of the exact reason you mentioned. It’s so rare for a modern horror to not rely on GOTCHA scares. That was a slow-brew creepfest. Loved it.

  19. jackdeth72 says:

    Very intriguing 20-11, Terry:

    A one on one session with Tom Hardy in ‘Locke’ looks and sounds like a worthwhile trip. Considering that ‘The Take’ from either Thames or the BBC. With Brian Cox as part of a drug running gangster family revealed Mr.Hardy’s frightfully scary range very early on!

    Paddington may be more well received on your side of the pond. Though, I’m up for a family film and adventure. And thanks for bringing ‘The Babadook; to my attention.

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