Top 10 Films of 2014 – Part 1

18 03 2015

Film Reel 2014

When I stopped doing the Sam’s Rant Film Awards a few years ago; I did so under the point that coming up with a list of films for several different categories was just a bit tiresome. In the end I just wanted to get round to saying what my Top 5 Favourite Films of the year were. So from 2013 onwards I decided to just do a simple Top 5 post to do just that. 2014 though has brought up a rather big issue. During the year I keep a count in my head of what my Top 5/10 films of the year were; in 2014 though, there was the colossal issue that the year had a fantastic selection of films to choose from, with me in the end watching more than 5 films and loving more than 5 films. It felt like choosing a Top 5 list only was wrong as there was soooo many good films and a lot of them deserve mentioning. So this year I am doing a Top 10. Ordering them was hard as on one occasion two very different films I considered being as good as each other, it was after watching one again I was able to split them. Some films were a massive surprise and ones I put up high on the list, while others that I had not seen in a few months had to be put in a position depending on how I enjoyed the films when I first saw them. In the end though I was able to work it out.

Dinosaur 13 (CNN Films - 2014)

There are some casualties though and I would like to make special mention to 3 other films which I really enjoyed but not as much as the ones in this list; those films being Interstellar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Dinosaur 13. Also, like last year and 2012, only films that were released in the UK during 2014 apply for a spot in this list, so sadly I can’t include AKIRA which I saw a few months ago, and loved, and cannot get the soundtrack out of my head. As like previous years I will put the following films in descending order, so starting with number 10 and whatever is at number 1 will be my favourite film. OK, that’s all the formal stuff, so now onto the fun stuff. Don’t forget; feel free to comment, Like, and Rate the post too. So without further ado; here are my Top 10 Favourite Films of 2014.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon Movies - 2014)

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – The heroes in a half shell returned to the big screen this year in a big way in what was a combination of CGI MOCAP and live action. The heroes basically end up getting discovered by plucky reporter April O’Neal and then end up having to fight for their own existence. Personally I was expecting more from this film, I thought that this would be in my top 5 looking at clips and the trailer beforehand, and while I did really enjoy it, I thought it was a bit quick with several scenes going from point A to point G and generally thought that there could have been more. Either another foot clan attack, or having the skyscraper battle prolonged by having them fight their way upstairs, (sort of like The Raid), but this is a kids film so there can’t be too much violence of course. On the upside though, the main cast were all terrific especially the characters of April (Megan Fox), Splinter (Danny Woodburn and Tony Shalhoub), Raphael (Alan Richtson), and The Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) looked terrifying. We also got the brilliant elevator/lift scene too.

Divergent (Lionsgate - 2014)

9. Divergent – To be honest, I did not see Divergent coming. The first time I heard about it was when I went to see Catching Fire and was given a little supplement which had the word Divergent on it. When it was coming closer to it being released, I had a little look at it and then decided to go and give it a try (it was either that or Muppets Most Wanted). I saw it, and really enjoyed it. I liked the setting of the world, the ideas of it and it had some really good points of action, even before everything gets screwed up for the main characters. Shailene Woodley was brilliant and I thought Zoe Kravitz was terrific too. While it wasn’t as good as other films to be released during the year, I really do rate this film. If you haven’t seen it, give it a try; you might be surprised.

The Lego Movie (Warner Bros - 2014)

8. The Lego Movie – When I heard that a Lego film was coming out, my first instinct was “Oh Dear”. I just thought it was going to be ridiculous, stupid and just wasn’t going to work. Then the reviews started pouring in, and the more and more I heard them I wondered if I should give it a try. So I went to see it with my Mam, and really did enjoy it. I thought it was absolutely hilarious. It took things from other films and genres and made them silly. From terrific moments to brilliant characters, especially Batman (Will Arnett). Batman was the best thing about this film; he even had his own theme music. Pretty much, every scene he was in, was hilarious and everything he said was comedy gold. The film’s main theme; Everything Is Awesome was fun too. Basically put it was just a very fun film (for a while I did have this at joint position with Divergent; and then I watched it again). Let’s just hope that Bionicle gets featured in the sequel.

The Wind Rises (Studio Ghibli - 2013)

7. The Wind Rises – I had waited a long time to see this film. I have not seen Spirited Away, or any other film by Studio Ghibli or Hayao Miyazaki, but I want to, even more after seeing The Wind Rises. The story of a young man who just wants to make good airplanes. Just one catch, the only people interested in airplane production at the moment is the military. What in a sense is mostly a love story between a young man and woman, and a young man and his aircraft designs; the film tells a story of the characters and the love for humanity. But that’s not all, the film also tells a story of pre-World War 2 Japan with the main character going on to design the Mitsubishi A6M Zero (while it has been fictionalised a bit it is based on the life and work of Jiro Horikoshi). What was generally a nice film overall, and a really pleasant experience, I loved the film’s story, characters and setting from the first minute to the last. The films ending credits theme was also rather sweet. An absolute lovely, brilliant film.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (20th Century Fox - 2014)

6. X-Men: Days of Future Past – I had been waiting a long time for another X-Men film. The last one (not including Wolverine spin-offs, although The Wolverine was terrific) being in 2011 and then 2006 before that. When Days of Future Past was finally on its way, I was really excited, almost more than most films due out in 2014. I was particularly excited about the addition of the original trilogy’s cast; as well as the tandem with the cast from First Class alongside some new characters from the comics including the mighty Sentinels. What is more of a double sequel to both Last Stand, First Class and The Wolverine in some respects, and based on the X-Men timeline of the same name; Days of Future past was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I enjoyed it from start to finish and was really happy to see the old cast return alongside the new. Also back was the theme tune (remixed a little) from X-Men 2 in the opening titles, which I thank Bryan Singer a lot for bringing back. Altogether it’s good to know that while other comic book and graphic novel adaptations may waver, X-Men is around to provide us all with Good Films.

GENEPOOL (The normal Top 5 List should return to normal next year, as there are only 7 films I am really looking forward to this year).





Batman Begins – A Bite Size Film Review

5 02 2015

Batman Begins (Legendary Pictures - 2005)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer (Batman and characters created by Bob Kane).

Cast: Christian Bale, Katie Holmes, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary OldmanCillian Murphy, with Ken Watanabe and Liam Neeson.

Composer: James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer

Cinematography: Wally Pfister

Studio: Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Syncopy Inc.

Best Line: “It’s Not Who I Am Underneath, But What I Do That Defines Me.”

BB1

After suffering the loss of his parents during his youth; Bruce Wayne dons the cape and mask to become the legendary caped crusader Batman, as he attempts to save Gotham City from the criminal underworld it is built on, as well as those around him. Set in a realistic setting other than a comic book world, Batman Begins is an interesting film as it becomes more of a crime/action film than a Superhero film. The film is beautifully produced. Gotham City looks gives the impression of a dying criminal city with very few things to appreciate in it. The action scenes, particularly the end train chase and mid car chase are spectacularly done and impressive to watch.

BB2

The films cast are a brilliant selection and easily dive into their specified roles and are very believable but also easy to connect with. The emotional devices of Wayne’s love for Rachel, as well as the emotion he feels after his parent’s death and how this changes them can be felt on a high level even if it is more an action film than a drama. The film’s soundtrack is one of its most standout features. A nice mix of emotional pieces and action pieces, particularly the train chase at the end are used to raise tension to great effect. The film’s main theme is the main attraction as it is easily recognisable but also surprisingly catchy. Altogether Batman Begins is an enjoyable film and a definite must see.

GENEPOOL





Godzilla News – Sequels And Other Monsters

26 11 2014

Godzilla 2014 Poster 2

After a successful run in the cinema this past summer making over $520 Million, Godzilla was an Enormous Success. Due to this great success of this Legendary Pictures have announced that they along with Warner Bros. are pursuing a sequel with the overall aim being to create a Godzilla Trilogy (I know it’s a bit late in the game, but I have been wanting to do a post on this subject for a while) and have also announced that director Gareth Edwards will return to direct those films.

Godzilla Beach

However it is going to be yet another 4 years until a sequel comes to fruition as Gareth Edwards is currently busy at LucasFilm producing the first Stand-alone Star Wars film. Although this mean we will have to wait another 4 years before we can see Godzilla again, seeing as it took 4 years to produce the new film, I think that is allowable, and also because of several other big announcements which I’ll mention later. The first Stand-alone Star Wars film is currently scheduled for a 2016 release meaning pre-production on Godzilla 2 should start sometime shortly afterwards (2016/2017). Also set for a return to the world of the Big G, is Max Borenstein. Current target for the release of Godzilla 2 is set for June 8 2018 and as 2014 is slowly set to bow its head, that means it won’t be too long before Godzilla returns (about 43 months give or take).

G27

Coming between now and then though is a string of interesting Monster Movies to enjoy. Coming out next year is of course the long-awaited fourth film in the Jurassic Park series; Jurassic World (ok, not exactly a monster movie, but it does have some really big creatures in it).

Jurassic World (Universal Pictures - 2015)

In 2016 is the interesting sounding prequel to King Kong; Skull Island. Not much detail has been announced yet as to what is going to happen in the film, but what we do know is that Thor actor Tom Hiddleston has been cast for a role in the film, and that Max Borenstein will be writing the script. The big question on everyone’s lips (or at least those who know about Skull Island) is whether or not the film is going to be a prequel to the 1933 film or the 2005 film (or maybe neither, who knows, maybe the 1976 film?).

King Kong and V-Rex

Then in 2017 is of course the year of the long-awaited sequel to last year’s titanic robot, monster smash, Pacific Rim. While details are still pretty unknown, at least we know that a sequel is finally happening, and also that Guillermo del Toro is returning to direct it.

Pacific Rim (Legendary Pictures - 2013)

Finally; as stated earlier, there is another reason as to be excited for Godzilla 2. The announcement that Legendary has acquired from Toho the rights to feature 3 monsters from the original Japanese series. Now by monsters from the original Japanese films, I don’t mean monsters like Kamacuras, or Gabara, or Jet Jaguar. No. Legendary have acquired rights to three of the series biggest guns. Mothra, Rodan and Godzilla’s greatest nemesis, King Ghidorah. This announcement is possibly the biggest talking point after the announcement that a sequel is going ahead. While it is clearly unknown whether or not all 3 monsters will be appearing in the sequel or in the proposed third film, the announcement that Legendary has acquired the rights to these three Monsters is an exciting announcement. Can you just imagine how amazing King Ghidorah could be if he makes an appearance in 2018?

King Ghidorah (Heisei)

GENEPOOL





Film News – Pacific Rim 2

9 07 2014

Pacific Rim (Legendary Pictures - 2013)

Released in 2013 by Legendary Pictures in association with Warner Bros. and Directed by the Legendary Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim was a film about mankind banding together to produce Giant Robots called Jaegers in the seemingly endless fight to rid the world from the threat of giant monsters called Kaiju. The film starred Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi and Ron Perlman. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. Well, after almost a year of waiting, it has finally been announced that a Sequel is finally underway.

Reports on a Pacific Rim sequel have been going round since before the first film’s release last year. It was not until after the film came out that more reports were made. Writer Travis Beacham and director Guillermo Del Toro were on board to do a sequel and had apparently had already started writing the film by October despite the film not yet being confirmed and had announced possible ideas for the film including “Gipsy 2.0” and “merging of Kaiju and Jaeger”. By June this year Del Toro further mentioned that he had been writing the sequel along with X-Men: The Last Stand writer Zak Penn with Pacific Rim creator Travis Beacham deciding to drop out to work on Hieroglyph but as the announcement has been made that Hieroglyph has now been cancelled, this could show a possible opening for Beacham to return. Then, late June, it was finally confirmed by Del Toro (who was busy finishing his latest film; Crimson Peak) that a sequel was finally confirmed and that he would be directing it along with the announcement that an animated series will be developed as well along with a continuation of Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero; a graphic novel released to coincide with Pacific Rim. The film will still be produced by Legendary Pictures, but now that their distribution partnership with Warner Bros. has ended, Pacific Rim 2 will be distributed by Universal Studios. So far, not much has been mentioned about what the sequel will involve, but it has been confirmed (at least in the script) that the characters of Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) and Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) will be returning.

PR2

I am already excited about this news. I loved Pacific Rim, my favourite film of 2013. I loved it’s Monsters, Robots, Story and Characters and with this news, I am so happy. Pacific Rim 2 has been slated for a 2017 release, three years from now, but given what Legendary were able to accomplish with Pacific Rim, I am ok with that to a point, and while I want to see a new film sooner than later, it gives me and everyone else something to look forward too as well as time for Legendary to make the film as good as it can be. Also it puts us in a rather interesting situation. You see, Pacific Rim was released 10 months before the recent Godzilla, and with Gareth Edwards going to Lucasfilm to produce the first standalone Star Wars film, it could be another four years until a sequel to Godzilla gets released, so by my reckoning about 2018 given what the current standard is for producing films; however this means that when Pacific Rim 2 gets released, it may only be a year until Godzilla 2. I just hope though that development begins on Godzilla 2 now rather than 2 years down the line, meaning that when Edwards returns, he is able to just get stuck in and not have to go through a whole 4 years worth of development all over again.

PR5

It is going to be some time until Pacific Rim 2 is released, but in the mean time there are many films still to be released to tie us over for now, and with Pacific Rim already out on Home Media and with Godzilla not far off from being released onto DVD and Blu-ray, we can just watch those two over and over again to our hearts content until the new films are released. So much good stuff to look forward to.

PR3 (Not the first time that the Sydney Opera House has been attacked by a Giant Monster).

GENEPOOL (Click Here for my Pacific Rim review)





Movie Preview – GODZILLA (2014)

9 04 2014

Godzilla (Legendary Pictures - 2014)

Four years, four years of waiting have finally come to a point. What started off as a rumour, then a green light then about two maybe three years’ worth of waiting finally came to a head this past December, and finally we are now on the final stretch. In just over a months’ time, the biggest, film of the year finally arrives. To quote a trailer from 15 years ago –

“HIS POWER IS UNEQUALED, HIS BATTLES ARE LEGENDARY, HIS RETURN IS NEAR”.

Yes it really has been four years of waiting for this film to come out (even though in retrospect it has been 10 years). Since 1998 when the world was, well, blotted by the appearance of a film which was directed by a man who was hot off the presses with a sci-fi film that at the time was the second highest grossing film in history, wanting to do something else but was given another film to do, and did everything wrong; when the name of a certain cultural icon was said it was met by enthusiasm from those who were fans, but then disappointment bursted in when those who spoke that word, meant the above stated 1998 incarnation, and because of this blot on the previously stated cultural icon, it has been a hard life. Now though, things are surely going to be a lot different for many years to come when people say the word Godzilla.

Godzilla 1954 - Present

While I could go into the history of what has happened in the leading up to this, this is a preview not a nostalgia thingy. So, here goes.

Godzilla Beach

Produced by Legendary Pictures in Association with Warner Bros. and of course TOHO. This new Godzilla film is a reboot to the American Godzilla series that was somewhat planned in 1996. Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull has stated many a time that this film is going to be done properly, like what a fan of Godzilla will want to see. Of course the film will do away with the iconic suit-motion for CGI but the design of the creature will follow the design of the iconic TOHO beast. The film is directed by Gareth Edwards whose directorial debut was back in 2010 with Monsters, which afterwards he was given this job. The story is provided by Expendables Writer David Callahan with Max Borenstein putting the flesh and muscles as well as doses of radiation to the story with extra help here and there provided by Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer and The Shawshank Redemption director; Frank Darabont. The story as stated by Legendary Pictures states that the film will be;

“An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence”.

In many a way as well as confirmed by the acting and production teams, this film will return to the roots of the original 1954 film, but brought into the present but will honour and respect the important values of the title monster including his connections to the horror as well as the destructive power of nuclear weapons while not forgetting mans desirable idea to control nature but always ultimately failing.

Godzilla 2014 Nuclear

The films cast is made up of an interesting blend of actors including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn as well as a planned cameo appearance from Godzilla Veteran Akira Takarada. The films score is being produced by Alexandre Desplat who has worked on The King’s Speech and the last two harry potter films and describes the soundtrack as a “non-stop fortissimo, with lots of brass, Japanese drums, and electric violin”. I wonder if we are going to get some Akira Ifukube music as well?

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

From what has so far been shown via the teasers, this film is going to be unlike any film since possibly Jaws. The trailers tease at the fact that there is something there but rarely show the creature himself. The trailers show a path of destruction sweeping throughout the entire world with connotations from nuclear testing in the 1950’s which leads to that brilliant line from Ken Watanabe’s character (Dr Serizawa, the name of a character from the original 1954 film):

“They were trying to kill it”.

This wave of disaster then erupts with shots from places around the world including a nuclear power plant collapsing, tidal waves and San Francisco on fire. Throughout the trailers also is a soundtrack of something horrifying as well as mysterious meaning that something is leading up to something horrifying, destructive and unstoppable. And that is when we finally see, sometimes just an outline, other times a good glimpse of the BIG G himself with an impressive, if maybe new; almighty roar.

Then there is the other monsters. We know that there is going to be more than one monster. Yes, Godzilla will be fighting two monsters whose identities are still as yet unknown. What we do know, is that they are both being called MUTO’s and neither of them will have any relation (as far as we can tell) to any TOHO Monster. So probably no King Ghidorah………this time. From the trailer though we can see two distinct objects, one in the sky looking like a bird and another which might be a giant spider. And while that does sound like Rodan and Kumonga, I highly doubt that they are.

Kumonga and Rodan

With new information and mini trailer snippets now becoming more and more common, we know that the film is only weeks away now. From everything that has been reported and shown to this date, it is clear that this is a film that cannot go past anyone’s gaze and while there is still the uncertainty of whether or not this film might just go as a repeat to the 1998 incident, there is one thing we can be sure of, that Legendary are doing it properly, even the title character looks like his Japanese Ancestor.

2014 Monster

GODZILLA IS BACK.

GENEPOOL








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