Best Movies Of 2014

Another year is drawing to a close, bringing cold sweats and minor existential crises: where is our life going? Is Kim’s bum REALLY that big? Can we ever learn to like eggs when they smell like farts but are such a good source of protein? To distract our feverish (and slightly drunk – it is Xmas party season) mind, we’ve drawn up our traditional Top 10 Movies Of The Year list. Without further ado, in (hic) reverse order:

Deux_jours,_une_nuit_poster10. 2 Days 1 Night. Gotta love the French: “J’ai une idée! We will mek a moral drama about le socialism and les workers rights! In a Belgian factory! Wiv a mother ‘ou is getting ze sack!” “Ah, but zat is not bleak enough, no?” “OK, zen ze mother ‘ou is getting ze sack, ‘ow about she es sick wiv ze depression as well?” “Ah oui! C’est magnifique!”  And then they went and cast Marion Cotillard, so the dullest cinematic prospect ever conceived was amazing.

frank-movie-poster-michael-fassbender-600x4529. Frank. We salute it for various reasons. Primarily for the most ostentatiously cavalier use of Michael Fassbender, ever.  Hire one of the most talented actors of his generation then hide him under a giant papier-mâché heid. For virtually the entire film. Respect.

 

MrTurner_Final8. Mr Turner. Logic says you couldn’t win Best Actor at Cannes with a performance based primarily on grunts. Logic be damned. Timothy Spall channelled his best Gloucester Old Spot to take home the gong in Mike Leigh’s utterly charming, witty biopic.

 

 

20140415153532!Maps_to_the_Stars_poster7. Maps To The Stars. We love it when Hollywood bites the hand that feeds it. Maps To The Stars bares its bleached white teeth and shellac coated claws to swipe mercilessly at La La Land’s narcissism and egoism. All the more cutting with the recent, unfortunate expose of catty emails from Sony execs…

 

under the6. Under The Skin. Scarlett Johansson.  As a man-eating alien. Driving a white van. In Glasgow.  The Sloth can only presume the idea emerged during a game of Boggle. And it was every bit as strange, original, unsettling and downright barking mad as you’d expect.

 

329411,xcitefun-the-lunchbox-poster5. The Lunchbox. We’re not a particularly sentimental animal but occasionally we make exceptions. The Lunchbox was one such sweet, emotional and poignant exception, set against a rich and vivid portrayal of downtown Mumbai. Viewer Warning: overwhelming cravings for curry experienced at your own risk.

 

GOTG_Payoff_1-Sht_v4b_Lg4. Guardians Of The Galaxy. Talking raccoons! Talking trees! Sony Walkmans! Green aliens! This is what we want! Join The Sloth in giving praise and thanks to the someone, somewhere, who remembered that movies are supposed to be fun.

 

 

Boyhood-movie-poster-MAIN13. Boyhood. You’ve heard the critics salivating over this. 12 years in the making…astonishing director’s vision…incredible achievement, yadda yadda. What really got The Sloth was it draws you unsettlingly back on a journey through your own past 12 years.  History flashing before your eyes.

 

nightcrawler-poster2. Nightcrawler. This looked so mouth-wateringly fabulous on paper – Jake Gyllenhaal as a manic sociopath in a dark media satire, with the always-terrific Riz Ahmed on the side – we thought we would only be disappointed. We weren’t. We’ve not watched the News At Ten since. Shudder.

 

whiplash1. Whiplash. We emerged from the press screening with our head spinning and cheers ringing in our ears. Cheers! From miserable, unimpressible, been-there-done-that, grumpy journos! A dark, exhilarating, 100 mins of sheer adrenalin.

 

 

Agree? Disagree? Cor blimey, That Sloth doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about? Tell us – what made your list?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Deux Jours, Une Nuit. Power To The People.

deuxIs there a finer actress working today than Marion Cotillard? Most probably not. Because in the hands of anyone else, Deux Jours, Une Nuit could be mind-numbingly dull. Thanks to her, it’s captivating.

This is a French film. A really French film. For what, apart from a strike or a ripe brie, could be more French than a social realist drama concerning the rights of the workers? Our heroine Sandra (Marion Cotillard), is a factory worker who has been on extended sick leave with depression and is now ready to return to work. However, her colleagues have maintained productivity levels without her. So why should her company pay one more salary than is needed?

Sandra’s colleagues were therefore issued with a vote: i) choose to allow Sandra to return to work OR ii) choose to receive their annual EUR1,000 bonus. Unsurprisingly, colleagues voted to sack Sandra and receive their bonus. But, on discovering misinformation was spread to influence voting, permission is granted for a re-vote, giving Sandra one critical weekend to try and persuade colleagues to choose her, not their bonus. Desperate, ashamed and exhausted, she visits each in turn, listening helplessly to responses across the moral spectrum, from feeble excuses about needing the money for home improvements, to undicided ambiguity, to emphatic support.

We’re no employment lawyer, but surely none of this is legal? Anyway, let’s not obstruct a good moral dilemma. For what could be a dry, heavy handed tract about money being the root of all evil, in Cotillard’s hands becomes gripping, emotional and very human. The film asks a simple question – what is more important, the individual or the greater good? And as Sandra asks this of each colleage it asks the same question of us. Would we spurn our own gain to help another? Vive Le Socialisme! Vive La Cotillard!

UK release 22 August

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone