December 18, 2014

The Best Movies Of 2014 - Updated


This list is compiled by Leigh Paatsch so it is a personal version, and very likely to fit with many others' opinions. I have seen quite a few of them, and tend to agree with many movies listed here. Note the number of biographies.
If you visit the source there is also a list of the 10 Worst Movies.

1.12 Years A Slave
The best film released this year tackled a type of subject matter that Hollywood has conspicuously avoided exploring in too much detail for far too long. A film as complex, compelling and confronting as 12 Years a Slave not only reignites a familiar sense of outrage about a shameful past. It also promotes a fresh understanding of a terrible era in US history. 

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
A sprawling, lavish and highly enjoyable escape from reality, a fictional five-star crash-pad in an equally fictional corner of eastern Europe. The famously micro-managed visuals of director Wes Anderson are further enhanced by the surprising comic smarts of Ralph Fiennes. (I loved this movie! See this post.)


3.Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn's sensational 2012 best-seller copped a malevolently mischievous adaptation from one of the best directors around, David Fincher (The Social Network). An entertainingly provocative film, it set tongues wagging and minds racing in the trashy tradition of Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction

4. The Lego Movie
The anything-goes creative ethos that is the very spirit of Lego was applied to all levels of this stunning animated production. The movie's conceptual agility never ceased to dazzle, the all-Lego visuals both innovated and resonated at heights only previously scaled by Pixar.  

Never the typical underdog-triumphs-against-all-odds anyone expects it to be. This gripping double character study of an aspiring student drummer and his oppressive instructor follows its own powerful beat to a frenzied conclusion. Young lead Miles Teller is a dead-set star of the future. 

The best foreign-language film of 2014 by a clear space. A minimal plot concerning a young Polish woman visiting her only known relative is magnified by mesmerising direction and astonishing B&W cinematography. Not a single frame, line or gesture is out of place. Find and cherish this film.  


7.The Wolf Of Wall Street
Just as Leonardo DiCaprio was unforgettable as the infamous Jordan Belfort - the man who put the "broke" in stockbroker - so too was the scorched-earth direction of veteran Martin Scorsese. He attacked this immorality tale with energy and menace. 

8.Dallas Buyers Club
The compelling true story of a man who turned a life sentence into a career opportunity. This little indie affair burst from nowhere to have a big impact at the last Oscars, thanks largely to a virtuoso performance from the once-maligned (and now-venerated) Matthew McConaughey. 


9. Nightcrawler
If Jake Gyllenhaal wasn't already the most consistently gifted actor in the business, this unsettling portrayal of an ambitious TV cameraman removes all doubt. A movie that gives all white-lying media types the black-eye they deserve. 

10.Force Majeuere
An icy cold psychological drama that chills both to and through the bone. After an avalanche strikes a posh French ski resort, a single question remains: did one man make a run for it before his wife and child were out of harm's way? 

11. Boyhood   
12. Interstellar    
13. Nebraska    
14. Her    
15. Snowpiercer    
16. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes    
17. Paddington   
18. The Skeleton Twins    
19. Guardians of the Galaxy    
20. These Final Hours  

With thanks to the Herald Sun 

And here's another list with some over-laps: 

A very good year for Matthew McConaughey with three movies in these two lists.

2014 has given us some brilliant films. Sure there have been a few flops, and even some serious political issues in the industry such as the trouble between North Korea and Sony following the studio’s planned release of the film The Interview. But overall, it’s been a positive year for moviegoers, with a wide choice of blockbusters and more insightful arthouse films gracing our screens.

With so many excellent films to choose from, the Billionaires team has had a hard time narrowing it down to just 10 of our favourites, but we’ve done it, so here they are, the Billionaires top ten films of the year for 2014. Enjoy!

Wolf of Wall Street
After winning a bidding war with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio paid former New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort $1 million for the rights to become the Wolf of Wall Street. Costing over $100 million (AU$122.3 million) to make, this controversial flick grossed over $392 million worldwide, making it Martin Scorsese’s highest grossing film. Star man Leo took home around $100 million for his contribution but Jonah Hill, who plays Jordan’s sleazy sidekick Donnie Azoff, settled for the industry minimum $60,000 – he was just so stoked to be part of a Scorsese movie.

To be honest, how could we not pick The Wolf of Wall Street for the Billionaires list? This film is all about excess: excessive wealth, excessive drug taking, excessive risk taking, excessive sex, excessive swearing and excessive law breaking. DiCaprio takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride through the world of finance and boy is it a thrilling journey.

British director Christopher Nolan knows how to make a blockbuster. He delivered the hugely successful Batman Dark Knight trilogy and he crafted the immensely ambitious dream-in-a-dream-in-a-dream world of Inception. Building on Nolan’s previous successes, Interstellar is a visually captivating tale on an incredible scale.

Masterminded by scientific genius Professor Brand (Michael Caine), Nasa pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) embarks on an intergalactic space journey through a wormhole that was created by an unknown alien species, in search of a new home for humanity.
The making of this movie, which involved transporting 10,000 pounds worth of mock spaceships to Iceland, planting 500 acres of corn to be destroyed in an apocalyptic dust scene and the construction of three complex space crafts, cost $165 million. So far it has grossed a tremendous $622 million worldwide. That’s what you call a blockbuster.

Financially speaking, the $4 million spent on the creation of Boyhood pales in comparison to the budgets of other films on this list. But when you consider that Ellar Coltrane, the actor playing the main character in Linklater’s latest flick, started filming at the tender age of seven and finished the project 11 years later when he was an 18-year-old adolescent it is easy to see what all the fuss is about.
Filmed intermittently over an 11-year period, Boyhood is an intimate portrayal of a parent-child relationship that is unprecedented in scope. It was met with almost unanimous critical acclaim and took top gong at several film festivals.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Auteur filmmaker Wes Anderson is known for his fast-paced, character-driven comedies and his distinctive storybook visual style. The Grand Budapest Hotel is no exception to this trend; it is a delicious filmic feast of obsessively symmetrical camera shots and meticulously designed miniature props that are brought to life by the narrator’s quirky and, at times, melancholy voiceover.

Anderson has assembled a characteristically star-studded cast but particular praise must be given to actor Ralph Fiennes who plays the hotel’s fastidious concierge with exceptional vigour and masterful wit.

Blue Jasmine
Lauded by critics as Woody Allen’s best film in years, Blue Jasmine features a famously good performance from Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as Jasmine, the deluded ex-wife of a fraudulent financier. It is a fascinating look into the complexities of socialite culture.
When Jasmine’s husband is imprisoned for running a Ponzi scheme her life begins to unravel. Robbed of her affluent identity, deluded and arrogant Jasmine struggles to adapt to a life of little money with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins). Tinged with dark humour throughout, Allen’s expert storytelling and Blanchett’s magnificent acting make this film a masterpiece of pathos.

This modern-day Bollywood adaption of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet is a remarkable feat of flamboyance and subtlety. With the visual resplendence and lively soundtrack that you would expect from a Bollywood flick, Haider manages to retain the key plot themes and intricacies of Shakespeare’s classic play, whilst simultaneously dealing with the controversial contemporary issue of political turmoil in Kashmir.
Polished production values and a powerful cast add weight to Director Vishal Bhardwaj’s most accomplished movie to date.

12 Years a Slave
Triple Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave is not just one of the year’s best films; it is also one of the year’s most important. This historical drama tells the real life story of Solomon Northup, a black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. It is a harrowing and detailed account of the barbarity of slavery but also of the complex relationships between master and slave.
Shot with virtuoso Spanish painter Francisco Goya in mind, the film has an exquisite visual quality atypical to the gritty subject matter. The power and poignancy of 12 Years a Slave helped it win Best Picture, Best Director (Steve McQueen) and Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyongo’o) at the Oscars, Best Drama at the Golden Globes and Best Film at the BAFTAS, where formidable Chiwetel Ejiofor also picked up the award for Best Actor.

An indicting comment on the erosion of newsroom ethics and the state of the jobs market, this pulse pounding thriller delivers a raw yet sleek insight into the underbelly of Los Angeles.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s exceptional performance as Lou Bloom, an amateur filmmaker/ambulance chaser well versed in the diction of self-help gurus but with little regard for the law, could well steal the Oscar for Best Actor in the New Year. Lou’s sickly charm and drive for success help accelerate his ‘career’ at an alarming rate, equalled only by the blistering speed of the thrilling car chase scene that brings this mesmerising modern masterpiece to a close.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
An inspiring and moving cinematic account of the great man’s 1995 autobiography of the same name, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom chronicles Nelson Mandela’s life-long fight to end apartheid in South Africa. Worth watching for Idris Elba’s magnetic central performance alone.

The Great Beauty
Winner of Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the British Academy Film Awards, our final choice is Paolo Sorrentino’s luxuriant depiction of Rome during the Berlusconi years and it demands your attention.
The Great Beauty, or La Grande Bellezza in Italian, is a gorgeous reflection on the decadent life of prodigal novelist turned gossip columnist Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo). Though adorned with nonpareil memories of lavish parties and exclusive social events, Jep starts to question the purpose of his life when he learns that his first love has passed away.

This list with thanks to Billionaires Australia

Grand Budapest Hotel amid BAFTA contenders 

COMIC confection The Grand Budapest Hotel is the surprise front runner for the British Academy Film Awards, while English acting darlings Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch are competing in the best-actor category. 
WES Anderson's Hotel received 11 nominations on Friday, including best picture and best director.

Ralph Fiennes was nominated for best actor as the unflappable concierge of a chaotic European hostelry.
Acting nominees also include Michael Keaton, as a washed-up actor aiming for a comeback in Birdman. The Alejandro Inarritu-directed movie was nominated in 10 categories, as was James Marsh's The Theory of Everything, which stars Redmayne as physicist Stephen Hawking.
Redmayne said his acting nomination was "beyond imagination".
He insisted he felt no rivalry with Cumberbatch, who was nominated for playing World War II code breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. That film received nine nominations.
"One can try and create a rivalry but it will not happen!" Redmayne said from Los Angeles.
"We both absolutely understand people wanting to pitch us against each other, but we are old, old friends and I think he is the most wonderful actor. He is sensational in The Imitation Game and I love watching him. "
Jake Gyllenhaal is also nominated for his performance as a sleazy journalist in Nightcrawler.
But there was no recognition for Timothy Spall, whose performance as artist JMW Turner in Mr Turner took the best-actor prize at Cannes.
Best-actress contenders are Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, Amy Adams for Big Eyes, Julianne Moore for Still Alice, Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl and Reese Witherspoon for Wild.
Other front runners include Richard Linklater's decade-spanning Boyhood and Damien Chazelle's drumming drama Whiplash. They have five nominations each.
The best-picture nominees are Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything.
The separate category of best British picture includes The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything alongside tense Northern Ireland drama '71, alien chiller Under the Skin and animated ursine adventure Paddington.
Winners of the awards, known as BAFTAs, will be decided by 6500 members of the British film academy and announced at London's Royal Opera House on February 8.
The British prizes are seen as an indicator of likely success at Hollywood's Academy Awards, whose nominees are announced next week.
With thanks to The Australian

Complete list of Golden Globe winners here.

Here is the list of 2015 Oscar winners.    

Oscar Winners 2016: The Full List

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