I saw some amazing films last year, I’m sure you’ll agree it was a great year for cinema. From intense, dark dramas to epic blockbusters, I throughly enjoyed heading to the Tyneside Cinema (one of my favourite places in Newcastle and undoubtedly one of the best cinemas in the UK) to do reviews, for a pick me up or to meet up with friends. Here are my favourites of 2014 🙂
Inside Llewlyn Davis (February)
This Coen Brothers movie got into my bones like the cold on the wet and windy Sunday afternoon in February when I went to see it. Involving relaxing, hypnotic folk music and complex, flawed characters, it certainly made you think. The shots are delicious and it’s perfect for a cosy winter’s evening – catch it on DVD.
I went to see Her on Valentines Day and it made me cry (I was single and had had a few
wines). Spike Jonze is a genius at making a film look beautiful – the colours were striking and the acting was sublime. Joaquin was pretty much in every shot and laid himself bare, falling in love with his IOS, Samantha (Scarlett Johansen). Everyone can identify with it, even if the context isn’t familiar.
Nymphomaniac (Parts 1 and 2) February
Well, this was six hours of cinema I’ll never forget. I felt like I was in the Tyneside forever, with the amusing interlude of a load of teenagers piling in screaming about sex. Lars Von Trier’s epic two parter exploring the emotional landscape of Joe, a self-confessed nympho had a stellar cast and was a cinematic feat (yes, Shia Leboeuf’s accent was dodgy). Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Saargaard were fantastic – it won’t be to everyone’s taste but he’s one of the most interesting and exciting directors around, so see it.
Yves Saint Laurent (April)
I knew I was going to love this, and I did. I love all things French and especially French cinema, and this biopic certainly did justice to the amazing life story of Yves Saint Laurent. Newcomer Pierre Niney is perfectly cast as the young genius, and plays all sides of his character spookily true to life. Guilluame Gallienne is also excellent as his lover and business partner Pierre Berge. I had constant shivers down my spine during the catwalk shows (they used the original clothes) – it was elegant and emotional.
I adore Cedric Klapisch’s trilogy (the third film after Auberge Espagnol and Russian Dolls) – all centered around main character Xavier (the excellent Romain Duris) which first saw him at university and focussed on his relationship with a group of Erasmus students and the women in his life – Wendy (Kelly Reilly) and Martine (Audrey Tatou). I loved the use of graphics in this film! Xavier follows his estranged wife and kids to New York and tried to make a life there. His old friend Isabelle (Cecile de France) lives there and his ex Martine turns up from Paris, making his life complicated.
Anyone who loves fantasy films and escapism needs to see Mood Indigo – again with two of my favourite French actors Romain Duris and the wonderful Audrey Tautou. Think Amelie but even crazier. Michael Gondry creates a crazy world where Colin (Duris) is rich and lives in a cartoon like house that has a piano cocktail (a piano that makes cocktails) and lots of others interesting inventions. Colin falls in love with Chloe (Tautou) but she becomes ill when she swallows a seed which results in a plant growing in her lung (??) It’s whimsical, colourful and beautifully realised.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Well, it was just SUMPTUOUS. The larger than life characters, the colours, the sets, the comic pauses, the discovery of Tony Revolori as the young Zero. The rapport between Ralph Fiennes’ Monsieur Gustav and Zero is charming, and watching their capers is heartwarming and amusing. The cast is amazing, Wes Anderson is basically God.
My Old Lady
I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was – but it certainly packed a punch. Kevin Kline (Mathias) is excellent as a washed up author and alcoholic who travels to Paris with plans to live in his late father’s house, until he realises that it comes with added extras, in the shape of Dame Maggie as Mathilde. The apartment is what’s known as a viager, and she gets to live in it for life AND get an income. Nice. Kristen Scott Thomas is also excellent as Mathilde’s daughter and Mathias’ love interest.
I am Ali
I’m not usually a massive sports documentary fan but this one was told from an interesting viewpoint, focussing on Ali’s family life. His warmth and generosity are humbling, his recorded conversations with his kids and interviews with them as adults heartwarming. It manages to be both hard hitting and moving at the same time, and I left the cinema feeling highly motivated and in awe of such a great humanitarian.