Top 10 Films of 2014 – Part 2

20 03 2015

Film Reel 2014

Continuing on from Part 1; here are my Top 5 Favourite Films of 2014. That’s about all there is to say really. Don’t forget, please feel free to comment, Like, and Rate the post too. Enjoy.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction (Paramount Pictures - 2014)

5. Transformers: Age of Extinction – I absolutely love the Transformers films. Each time a sequel was announced I was so happy and have enjoyed every single one of them. Age of Extinction though is by far the best one to date. Easily the most enjoyable and memorable film in the series to date culminating in a very long film but in my opinion better than the previous 3 put together. The only issue I had with it was that it could have been a bit more violent, but sadly not. A great cast of characters, both human and robotic which includes human stars Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer and Nicola Peltz. The transformers themselves also featured a great cast which including series regulars Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and Megatron; now Galvatron (Frank Welker) but also new members including Hound (John Goodman), Drift (Ken Watanabe), Crosshairs (John DiMaggio), Lockdown (Mark Ryan), Stinger and best of all; The Dinobots. One amazing film which instantly jumped up my list after I saw it.

Gone Girl (20th Century Fox - 2014)

4. Gone Girl – When I heard that Gone Girl was coming, I was very interested for one reason more than most; David Fincher was directing it. I had seen the book on shop shelves in train stations for a while now but did not know what it was about. I heard a brief scene on the radio, but then I went to see it. It is a hard film to talk about because in essence, the story involves a really horrible person doing something extremely outlandish to get revenge on the person they married, and in the end getting away with it, forever. It reminds me a lot of a story I heard about the production of the original Alien film, where Ridley Scott wanted the Alien to win by killing Ripley, maybe back then he couldn’t do that, but after the release of Gone Girl; he can now. Gone Girl is an extremely good film and one of the best of 2014, but it’s hard to say that I like it as that statement, just sounds wrong. The film did have some great characters from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike but top marks (in my opinion) have to go to Carrie Coon for the part of Margo. Brilliantly directed by David Fincher and thoroughly gripping. I don’t think I have been to see a film and heard that much gasping from the audience until I saw Gone Girl.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Lions Gate - 2014)

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1The Hunger Games series continues with the release of Mockingjay Part 1. While I do not fully agree with Hollywood’s part 1 part 2 philosophy of making films as it is mostly just a form of making more money more than anything else; I am however OK with The Hunger Games doing it as it prolongs one of the best film series not just to date but in movie history (at least to me). I was unsure of where the film was going to be split though. Having finally finished the book series back in April I came up with an assumption, and I was right to about 5 minutes. While in essence Part 1 just covers the first half to just before the third part of the book, the film I felt was a lot like the first Hunger Games film. While I still prefer the first two films to this one, the essence and feeling captured in Mockingjay Part 1 reminded me a lot of why I particularly liked the first one and several scenes felt like the first film was being revisited. When it was all over I was singing The Hanging Tree song chorus out of the cinema and all the way home. The films main stars continue to provide excellent characters for the film, plus plenty new characters to enjoy too, but stealing the spot light is still the dynamic duo of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). With the scene now setup from another spectacular film, it leaves the stage open and ready for the final act; I’m probably going to cry when it’s all over.

The Raid 2 (XYZ Films - 2014)

2. The Raid 2 – I had heard about The Raid but had not seen it by the time The Raid 2 came out. I went to see 2 at The Dukes in Lancaster and got a huge shock within the first 10 minutes or so which makes it, quite easily; the most violent film I have seen to date. From start to finish it was one huge compilation of fights involving lots of blood, broken limbs and people getting killed in the most brutal of fashions. But the film was another thing as well, it wasn’t just an extremely violent film, it was also FANTASTIC. Really good story telling, terrific fights and spectacular martial arts sequences, brilliant action moments including one amazing car chase taking place inside and outside more than 5 cars and at least one motorbike and on top of that truly terrific characters including series protagonist Rama played by Iko Uwais and especially so to the character of Hammer Girl played by Julie Estelle. Simply Fantastic and Brutal, Awesome.

Godzilla 2014 (Legendary Pictures - 2014)

1. Godzilla – My year in 2014 can be summarised by my excitement and expectancy to one particular film. From the first trailer to opening night, the one thing I was most looking forward too was the New Godzilla, and I wasn’t disappointed one bit. I saw it on the big screen 3 times during its release. Every second was movie gold to me. The film was led by a really good cast including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Sally Hawkins, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn and (briefly) Juliette Binoche. But the biggest star was of course Godzilla himself. While it does take a while for him to appear on the screen in full force, the film includes little sightings and mentioning’s of him here and there including the terrific opening intro, but while it may take time for him to appear in full view, it makes that first moment in full view all the more special and spectacular. While it has been pointed out that he had little screen time, I feel he had plenty for now, and overall was a great introduction for new audiences. For me though I was more pleased over that it wasn’t just a creature called Godzilla or looked like Godzilla, but that it was Godzilla on-screen, right down to the iconic Atomic Deathray. One absolutely, fantastic film that I consider not just the best film of 2014, but also; one of the best, Godzilla films.

GENEPOOL





Film News – Mockingjay and Seventh Son

16 09 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon Movies - 2014)

It’s been a long time since I did some Film News but recently there has been some exciting developments in the film world regarding one of the most popular film series of the moment, a film that has had a greenlit sequel despite not being released in the UK yet and one film which has become one of the most annoying pieces of film news this year.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Lionsgate - 2014

At long last, well yesterday a trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was finally released after months of waiting. Mockingjay Part 1 is of course the first part in the final part of The Hunger Games trilogy (Quadrilogy now) and is the movie adaptation of the final book in the series Mockingjay. It has been a long time for the trailer to be released as up till now there has only been a few teasers, but even then they were only a few months ago and it is surprising really that Lionsgate have waited this long to release the trailer when Catching Fire last year was released around about March/April time, not two months before the film is due for release. Having finally gotten round to reading the book earlier this year (it was 2012 when I read the first one) due to me being preoccupied with the incredible GONE series, I have been wondering how they were going to show the underground world of District 13 as well as how it was going to look and also wonder where the film would split in half. From watching the trailer I can see that the world has once again been beautifully crafted and from shots alone can see that once again the filmmakers have been true to the books. One thing though that I think works spectacularly is that of the appearance of Donald Sutherland in the trailer. One of the things I have enjoyed most about the series is the casting and acting of both Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Donald Sutherland as President Snow and with him in particular having another up front role in the trailer is an added bonus. The trailer though feels very minimalist with most acting pieces going to Snow and Katniss with bits from Peeta and Haymitch, but I suspect that more will be revealed as the release date approaches on November 20th 2014, with the UK getting to see it before the United States; I suppose it makes up for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Seventh Son (Legendary Pictures - 2015)

You may remember for some time now I have constant mentions to the film Seventh Son, an upcoming adaptation of the book; The Spook’s Apprentice (which I have also made constant mentions of and even reviewed) by Joseph Delaney. Initially put down for like a late 2013 release and then an early 2014 release with a trailer originally released around about August 2013, the film’s release was pushed back by an entire year due to Universal buying the release rights from Warner Bros. when Universal Studios stepped in as the co-produce and co-finance partner to Legendary Pictures and then deciding to push back the release date to roughly the same time, (give or take a month) one year later. Well, another trailer has been released……….with the date attached (February 6th 2015), so hopefully, we may finally get to see this film. The trailer discloses a lot more than the previous trailer did with still some sections of Comedy from Jeff Bridges (the film also stars Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander), however, much like the first trailer I still get the overall opinion of “I don’t remember that happening in the book” (much like the trailers for the recent film version of Noah as I have heard the real story of Noah). Despite that though some of the trailer looks true to the book and it is still 5 or 6 months until it gets released and so we’ll just have to wait and see. Expect Monsters, witches (not sure about Ninjas or Turtles) and Fantasy galore as Seventh Son (“HOPEFULLY”) gets released next year.

Which finally brings us on too, you guessed it……………………….Hellboy 3. No not really, the constant references to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles means that yes I am going to talk about a film that has already had a sequel confirmed for release in 2016 while annoyingly has not been released in the UK yet, and I don’t know why? This is the new live action adaptation of the popular series starring those loveable ninja turtles and their master rat. The film has been in development for a long time and all until roughly last year I was hoping it would be an animated sequel to the 2007 film TMNT. The film however is a live action film, and upon discovering this I have been sort of worried as to what it would look like, but thankfully Michael Bay was producing it. The film looks like it is in fact adopting the look and techniques that were used in producing the Awesome Transformers series and from what I can so far gather, looks really good. Trailers for the film have been hard to come by and have so far been only available on YouTube; there are however been some clips of the film too. From the looks of the film the film will be exploring the first time the turtles met reporter April O’Neil played by Megan Fox as they once again do battle with the villainous Shredder. The films cast include William Fichtner and Tohoru Masamune as the Shredder with Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard and Johnny Knoxville playing the role of the 4 turtles (confusing I know) and not forgetting Danny Woodburn and Tony Shalhoub as Splinter (again, confusing). The film does look pretty impressive and I am very excited about finally getting to see this film when it gets released October 17th 2014 (10 days before Godzilla gets released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK), particularly to see how they are going to approach my Favourite turtle, Raphael. So let us finish there with this awesome clip from the new film, and also the best lift music you could possibly want to actually listen too.

And here’s the trailer.

GENEPOOL





LIGHT

5 02 2014

LIGHT

After going to see The Hunger Games in 2012, I got back into reading for the first time in years, (despite the fact that I had been unsuccessfully trying as well as struggling to read “the Smash Hit Debut Novel Mogworld by internet sensation Yahtzee Croshaw” – YAHTZEE). Since then I have regularly visited my local Waterstones looking for more books to read. One of the first ones I noticed was a book called FEAR. It was a round about the same time I was reading The Hunger Games that I noticed it, and the one thing that struck me about it was the front cover artwork. It looked interesting and so I went in for a look, and saw that it was part of a whole series of books, the first of which was called GONE. I was interested to read it, but I didn’t want to interfere with my current reading schedule at the time, So I just kept it in my mind. This past June after almost a year of wanting to read it, I started reading GONE, the first book in the series, and since then I have read through every book in the series. GONE, HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE and I have just finished reading FEAR.

FEAR

This past Saturday I went into town, and it was a very auspicious (if that is the right word) moment as I purchased LIGHT, the final book in the series. Since June I have been consistently reading a thrilling and almost unstoppable book series, and now the end is coming. I have known about the coming of this day for a while, and it is one I am greatly excited about, and sad that it is approaching too. I feel like I am in this amazing world created by Michael Grant. I can feel like I am there and have my own feelings towards the characters and how I want their story to end, but also the world. I also have my thoughts as to how if I was in it, how I would want it to end.

GONE (Michael Grant)

One thing I am certain of though, is that whatever the ending will be, it will not be sedate. As the series has progressed, life inside the FAYZ has gone from bad, to worse than traumatic, and while FEAR has somehow ended the paranoia I have felt as the reader from LIES and PLAGUE, it is probably nothing more than the beginning of the end, a possible calm before the typhoon. But what that ending might be, I am sure it will be worth it.

GONE HUNGER LIES

The one thing getting to me at this stage though is; What am I going to read next? I have some ideas; I could finally get round to reading Mockingjay, or I could get back into The Spook’s series, or maybe read the copy of BATTLE ROYALE that is staring at me from my bookshelf. Or maybe, just maybe, I might take a gamble on a couple of books I have spotted, Stone Heart or The Fire Within. Will need to make a decision soon though.

Stone Heart

GENEPOOL





A Nice Film That Will Be Hard To Beat – The Hunger Games

31 03 2012

The Hunger Games

It has been a hard few weeks for me recently. The GAME store in Lancaster has closed down and I have had to work almost round the clock to get assignment work done and it has been hard to find time for me. Well that time is upon us because over the next few weeks several of the best looking films this year are released. If you saw my list of the top 10 films for this year you would see that there are many good-looking films coming out this year, but there is one film that after seeing it I wish I had included. With so many mainstream films being released it is hard to see the ones in the corner but when you spot them and see them you will wonder why you did not see them before. Nicely tucked away in the corner of the current film releases is this film – The Hunger Games.

Alexander Ludwig, Leven Rambin, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jack Quaid

Now I would just like to say a few words to fans of Battle Royale: THIS IS NOT A RIP OFF. It has some themes relating to it such as children fighting each other but this has some nicer themes as well. I have seen some of Battle Royale and that is a blood festival compared to this, technically you could count Battle Royale as a younger rip off to The Running Man.

Amandla Stenberg

Now as I have said before this is nicely tucked away in the corner and so it is not all that visible, I remember seeing images for this film in a recent edition of Empire and thought it looked interesting. It was not until I saw it advised at the UK’s Best Cinema Chain that I took an interest and then when I saw the trailer it reminded me of images from the edition of Empire. The film does have some themes and does sound like Battle Royale in some ways but it is not Battle Royale, it is something else.

Jennifer Lawrence

The film takes place in a place called Panem which is what is left after an unknown event in North America. After a failed uprising against the capitol a new form of entertainment is founded in which children from 12 districts are chosen at random to fight to the death. If they win they will receive more food and will live in well-furnished accommodation. The story then moves to the character of Katniss played by Jennifer Lawrence. She spends her time hunting and looking after her sister, she is also in love with someone named Gale (Liam Hemsworth). The reaping begins where a boy and girl are chosen from each district to fight in the Hunger Games. Katniss has her name placed in the raffle several times for taking more food and oil than other people; her sister is only in once but is chosen. Katniss volunteers so her sister does not have to fight. A boy called Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is also chosen who has some link with Katniss. The two of them journey to the capitol and are then trained by a mentor, and groomed to look good for the television people as well as trying to get sponsors who will try to keep them alive. Originally they are not favoured due to them coming from district 12 but after showing off a lot Katniss becomes the favourite.

Jennifer Lawrence and John Hutcherson

The day of the games arrive and she is transported to the arena base and then enters the arena through a tube. After 1 minute passes the games begin, several people are killed within the first few minutes. Katniss opts for getting basics instead of better supplies and begins to look around the arena to survive. Every time the guns go off she knows it means someone has been killed. She continues her survival but then has to run away from a fire started by the television people and a group of other district children who have banned together. After getting help from a girl called Rue she manages to escape and collect her weapon of choice, a bow and arrows. After falling ill Rue looks after her and they become friends and work together. Rue is eventually killed and Katniss finds Peeta wounded, Rue’s death causes riots to happen in District 11. Peeta and Katniss form an alliance after rules were announced that if 2 people from the same district are the only ones left they both win. A short while later supplies are sent in and Katniss is almost killed but is saved by the other entry from the same district as Rue. Eventually the TV people send in mutant dogs to finish off the contestants and from this Katniss and Peeta overcome the final entrant in the contest. Thinking they are safe  but then the rule stating that 2 people can win is overturned. However Katniss persuades Peeta to eat some poisonous berries, just before they eat the berries the decision is overturned, they both win becoming the first entrants from District 12 to win. They are celebrated back in the Capitol and return home.

Donald Sutherland

The film has an interesting setting, OK it is based on a series of novels written by Suzanne Collins but when you see what it looks like, it is an incredible sight. District 12 is a very poor district and because I have recently read The Road you can kind of compare the two but in this case there are more people. The Capitol is a very rich place and well looked after, so you do see this struggle and how the authorities keep the country under control through poverty and fear, it is a police state in other words with lots of white guards all over the place.

The characters themselves are one of the real treats. The president of Panem is played by Donald Sutherland. His character has the underlying tone of being mean and evil but Donald Sutherland plays this in a nice way and so even though he has this underside he is mostly a nice person and his scenes are some of the best in the film. Rue’s character (Amandla Stenberg) is interesting, she is quite for most of the film and you get the feeling that she could be a potential psychopath in the games but when she speaks and becomes friends with Katniss she becomes this wonderful character and when she dies it is a real shame because you come to like her character and like several people in the contests she is just a nice person in a horrible game. The Star Attraction is Katniss though. From start to end she is a strong character and person who is only doing what she has been forced to do but will not resort to the levels of some of the other entrants and only really kills when she has to, not because she wants to, because she doesn’t. You can see a bit of resemblance between her and Jessica Biel’s character in Blade Trinity.

Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Biel

It is hard to forget what the contest is about, it is about the slaughter of children. It has this disturbing theme which shows the fear that the country is imposing on the people. This is the punishment for the uprising and you don’t want to get entered. When the first few contestants die they die in gruesome fashion but I don’t think it is all that bloodthirsty. But while this is the main plot of the film there are several nice sequences where it tones this down, even in the arena scenes. In the capitol scenes you get this feeling that the people are like bullies and that the way that they like the games is like entertainment for them and even when they are groomed it is like reality TV. However there are nice people and there are some scenes which represent this including the scene before the start of the games where Katniss receives her coat from her stylist and he puts on the Mockingjay badge. Even scenes in the arena where Katniss is just by herself in the trees just trying to survive have a nice style to them even the scenes with Rue have this strong nice feel to them. Scenes with Peeta and Katniss may look like the plot trying to slow down but these are the scenes which keep the film in a nice way and not a blood festival. The music helps with this as well with the end credits song showing a balance of survival and pleasantness.

 Jennifer Lawrence

The Hunger Games is an Amazing film with some nice powerful touches, A very good selection of cast and characters that work nicely together, and a story that does not get boring and all of this is brilliantly brought together by Director Gary Ross The Hunger Games has arrived at an interesting point. OK, it is more young adult than Harry Potter but now Harry Potter is not in the way The Hunger games can already enjoy its immediate success. It is a series of books as well and the sequel is already in production for 2013 so it is moving at the same speed as the Harry Potter series which means that if its success continues this could be the new Harry Potter. In fact this is better than Harry Potter. The film has only just been released and has already done very well. If you compare it to the more mainstream film John Carter which has not made profit yet The Hunger Games deserves its success. I would like to watch it again actually; I might go and read the book now. A truly wonderful film which is worth every penny, my advice to you is this, while there are other more mainstream films coming out this one is not worth missing, it is a film which you must watch. While you may not agree with its general theme it is overall a nice film and it has been a while since a film that had both an action style as well as some truly nice memorable bits was released. There are more films that I am looking forward to this year but this film is something special and should not be overlooked. To date this is my favourite film this year and with films like The Dark Knight Rises coming out (as well as The Host sequel and possibly the Legendary Pictures Godzilla film) they will have to be something even more special to do better than this. So trust me on this, go and watch The Hunger Games, it is a nice film that will be hard to beat and I am so glad that I decided to go and watch it, because it has made me so happy.

GENEPOOL (The last time a film came out and touched me like this it went straight to the top of my top 10 Non-Godzilla film list)








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