2015 In Review

Top 10 Films of 2014 - Si

6   - Inside Out (Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen)

What we said at the time: ' This is a movie that your kids are merely borrowing from you, you’re going to want it back sooner rather than later because, damnit, it means far more to you than it does themInside Out is a magnificent achievement. It’s a movie that transcends it genre and will leave you at turns weeping with joy and laughing until you hurt. It is a movie that not only understands what an eleven year old is going through, it understands how to present that to not only fellow eleven year olds, but to big horrible grownups like me. Just wonderful.'

Why it's here: An absolute joy. Cramming an entire headful of ideas into a framework that will mean something to both kids and adults alike, this is Pixar at its finest.

7   - Cartel Land (Matthew Heineman)

What we said at the time: 'Heineman has secured some impressive access for a very pertinent contemporary tale. The characters he points his cameras at are all caught in a cycle of endlessly trying to extinguish the flames of drug violence in a war that can never be won. Cartel Land is an impressive documentary the narrow focus of which intimately humanises a far bigger picture of misery and futile resistance.'

Why it's here: A genuinely impressive look at the War on Drugs from the point of view of the people on the front line and, more importantly, a brilliant contrast between the two sides of the border. Mexican voices tend to get lost in the debate over drug trafficking but Heineman redresses the balance in his grim, intimate documentary.

8   - Spectre (Sam Mendes)

What we said at the time: '[Spectre] sees a veritable cascade of exotic locations, easily laid hotties, bad guys that can’t aim, planes crashing down mountainsides and secret rooms with no apparent way of access or egress without destroying a hotel wall. A magnificent opening sequence and a hundred odd minutes of Bond like Bondness later and you’ll emerge from he screening probably much like one of Bond’s surviving conquests. You're pretty sure you enjoyed it but a nagging voice in the back of your head is telling you it maybe wasn't what you were sold.'

Why it's here: Because it's Bond. We have our issues with this one and it never lives up to the promise laid out by the three movie long arc or the superb opening sequence but Bond is still Bond and has become more so under Craig's tenure. Still great entertainment despite the flaws.

9   - Slow West (John Maclean)

What we said at the time: For reasons that escape me, I only got halfway through this review and never got around to posting it. Here's where I got to: 'Maclean’s movie owes a lot to Jim Jarmusch’s wonderful Dead Man and any number of Coen brother’s pictures but it is very definitely its own movie nonetheless. His laid back style is perfectly at home with this quirky story of unrequited love and western carnage and, as you’d expect with his musical background, the soundtrack is spot on.' 

Why it's here: Laconic, grim, drop dead funny and with great performances from Cody Smit-MacPhee and Michael Fassbender, Maclean's movie is one that will probably stay under the radar but one that should be cherished nonetheless.

10 - Taxi Tehran (Jaffar Panahi)

What we said at the time: 'Like This is Not a Movie, Panahi's latest is, out of necessity restricted to one space but this doesn't stop the filmmaker's joyously cheeky attitude coming across. His niece (there are no credits for the movie as it hasn't been certified by the authorities so I have no idea if she is related or not) is an absolute charm, exuding all the impatience and innocent questioning of a school child whilst also touching on a number of important things. Taxi (as it is internationally known) is a charmingly subversive movie that never loses its creator's sense of humour in the darkness of ever present repression..'

Why it's here: Panahi is a wonderfully scurrilous presence both behind and in front of the camera. Here, joyfully poking the bear that is repressive regimes everywhere, he seems the perfect man to drive us through downtown Tehran.

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