To see in 2015, Humanity Hallows‘ Entertainment Team look takes a look back on the best films of the last year. So in joint fifth place….
“Wes Anderson’s eighth feature length film is a quirky delight. Structured in an unusual Russian-doll style narrative, the movie’s offbeat visuals and script transport us into a zany world full of murder, comedy and flamboyant concierges. While some may call it twee there is a melancholic note in this otherwise happy little flick. In an ending centering on the rise of Fascism within 1930’s Europe, Anderson’s gut wrenching finale is a sad nod to the loss of the past. Featuring a dynamic performance from actor Ralph Fiennes, Grand Budapest Hotel is an entertaining viewing, standing out as the most enjoyable cinematic experience I’ve had this year” – Callum Willmott
“Having studied American slavery so much during my A Levels, I really wanted to see this film. I wanted to discover if Soloman Northup’s experiences matched up with my own understanding of what African Americans had to endure. It was certainly hard-hitting. There were scenes I found difficult to watch, such as when Northup’s left hanging from a tree with a noose around his neck. That moment seems to last forever. There’s no shot-cutting or instrumental music in background to distract you either so you’re forced to just watch Northup suffer” – Tiffany Bowman
“Beautifully directed by Spike Jonze, this is a film that challenges the perception of romantic relationships with a sci-fi twist. A fresh and realistic envisioning of the future, intelligently written, with a charming performance from Joaquin Phoenix” – Grace Summerson
“Jake Gyllenhaal excels as skeletal job seeker Lou Bloom in one of the year’s most transformative roles. In this creepy, though thrilling satire of an American success story, the actor’s unsettling performance drives the movie perfectly. As a character, Lou is forever optimistic; a product of the modern guru culture’s strive for achievement. This soon manifests itself in a series of dark acts, the film eventually coming to a climax in an explosive finale. Tense, exciting, entertaining; Nightcrawler stands out as one of 2014’s most distinctive films” – Callum Willmott
3. Gone Girl
“Anytime David Fincher’s name is attached to a project it immediately climbs to the top of my ‘most anticipated’ list and Gone Girl was worth the wait. Having read Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name, I had high expectations and was not disappointed. Flynn herself wrote the script which translates perfectly to the silver screen thanks to Fincher’s brilliant direction and great performances all around ensure that Gone Girl is gripping from start to finish. My favourite director delivered once again” – Bradley Shea
“With Captain America: The First Avenger having had such success, there was a lot of expectation placed on its sequel this year. Nonetheless, The Winter Soldier does not fail to satisfy. The film is great, in that it gives us everything we would want from a Marvel film: a patriotic Superhero fighting an enemy amid spectacular action-fuelled scenes. Underneath all this, however, is a character-driven story which concerns Steven Rogers trying to integrate into the modern world and this is where the success of the film lies” – Tiffany Bowman
“This smart and thought provoking melodrama demonstrates the strength of a nation and the small group that subsequently helped England win World War 2. It also brings to light the struggles of one man (Alan Turing) who we now see as a war hero, who helped to crack the enigma code and whom last year was granted a royal pardon for his ‘crime’ of homosexuality in the 1940s” – Joanna Shaw
“Everything is awesome about this funny little movie. It celebrates the much-loved Lego franchise in such a way that seems appropriate for both children and adults. It’s also loaded with cultural references, with cameos from Abraham Lincoln to Milhouse from The Simpsons. It also deals with some heavy stuff too. There’s a ‘Big Brother’ regime in place in the Lego-built town of Bricksburg. Nonetheless, it’s a family film which encourages us to embrace the power of our imaginations and it does so in a way that is clever, especially for a film targeted at a younger audience.” – Tiffany Bowman
Honorable mentions go out to Snowpiercer, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Double and Boyhood. And, of course, shout-out to everyone who contributed to the list and to Humanity Hallows this past year.