Sunday, 11 May 2014

This Year In Movies So Far

I think it's fair to say that so far has been a cracking year for films. The Lego Movie, Frank, Calvary, The Double, The Grand Budapest Hotel have all been riotous, touching, perfect, fascinating and adorable in equal measure.

We've also had a few fair efforts; Asghar Farhadi's The Past was nowhere near as layered as A Separation, yet still had more human interest than a dozen other movies. José Padhila's Robocop remake was far better than it had any right to be, bolstered by genuine human interest, actual performances, and coherent and exciting action sequences. Darren Aronofsky's Noah was an intriguing, occasionally beautiful, and slightly bloated film which had more than a few moments of searing cinematic power which justified the ticket price.

Hell, even the Clooney cheese-fest The Monuments Men was a decent, if minor, watch.

And we've even had two utter disasterpieces in the form of Stuart Beattie's odious "I, Frankenstein", a smear on the original Mary Shelley story and an incomprehensible piece of pulpy-gothic action cinema, along with Pascal Chaumeil's botched adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel "A Long Way Down", a film that somehow manages to take a premise which could have been unbearably moving (four suicidal people meet on the same rooftop on New Year's Eve and form a pact to see each other through the year) and muddies it with bad casting, a ham-fisted script and lifeless direction. But, it's better to have two films which fail spectacularly than middling trifle indistinct from the rest.

The thing with the films of last year was simply that there were no stand-outs, no films which felt like they had any staying power. 12 Years a Slave was very good (although I have a post about that one lined up too), and whilst About Time, Philomena, Stoker and Only God Forgives and Before Midnight feel like films I'll fondly revisit over the years, even if the Oscar fare was middling. Wolf of Wall Street will go down as a footnote in Scorsese's career; it was funny, yes, and DiCaprio's performance had the comic determination of Keaton, but it lacked the nuance and purpose of Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, or even the Departed. Gravity was a one-trick pony, American Hustle proved the inherent lack of longevity that self-consciously twist-y movies have, even Inside Llewyn Davies felt like minor Coen, especially after A Serious Man.

But, yes, we're here now and already this year has left last year in the dust. And with Boyhood, Tom A La Ferme, Ida, Under The Skin (which I tragically missed and am trying to catch up on), Guardians of the Galaxy, Gone Girl, Maps to the Stars, and countless more on the horizon, it seems only fair to say that this year will go from strength.

If you have any thoughts on this year in movies so far, I implore you to comment below. 

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