10 Best Films of 2014


I always find that my best list never really matches up with a lot of other critics best lists, but now I have a platform to publish mine I am just going to say, whatever, these are the ones that I enjoyed the most. Once again these are in no way the opinions of Axia ASD Ltd as a company or the opinions of what I believe are the opinions of all the people who follow this blog actually think. These are just my personal best films. I didn’t see every film that came out this year, I have missed out on several films like Congress and Night Crawler.

If you want to check out my rules again, go back to my worst films list, I explain everything in full there, however with my ruling system it also means I had to let a lot of films go from this list that will never get another chance due to the way they have been released. Like for example Snow Piercer, which only got a screening in the UK at the Edinburgh Film Festival and was never released on Blue-Ray or DVD in the UK. You can get a european version on import from either Italy or Spain which will work on your DVD player, but it wasn’t technically released in the UK so I can’t count it.

With that being said, here’s another list of honourable mentions. These films were really good they could have easily made my list any other year.

Son of Batman, Edge of Tomorrow, X Men Days Future Past, Boyhood, Her, The Lego Movie, Dallas Buyers Club, Captain America The Winter Soldier and I was pained to leave off my list both Big Eyes and Dragon Ball Z Battle of the Gods, both of which were really entertaining experiences, especially Dagon Ball Z. You can bet that all future Dragon Ball movies are going to receive a view for this site (great, I just made myself another promise that is going to affect how my schedule works). That being said, here are the actual Top Ten Best Films I saw in 2014:

Angry-Video-Game-Nerd-The-Movie-imdb10: Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie

I am kind of cheating with this one because it technically didn’t receive a cinema or DVD release in the UK during 2014, however if you are like me and are a british fan of the AVGN you could have easily have picked up this film which got it’s digital worldwide release on Vimeo.com and boy was this film worth the 3 year wait. James Rolfe has excelled himself with this film. It’s paced well, acted well and done very professionally for an independent film that was funded through kick starter and has some of the best comedy I have seen all year. This film goes into great territory with the angry video game nerd character, dealing with the responsibilities of being a celebrity as well as how a growing internet culture is affecting us for better or worse and whether telling the truth is always the best solution for the better good and whether a celebrity should stick to their guns, or give in for the fan base. It really is an entertaining film, however I would recommend that if you haven’t seen that much of the angry video game nerd then check out a quite few episodes of his online series first. Honestly this more than any other film on this list is really personal to me

Gone-Girl-imdb9: Gone Girl

You know when you see a film and people say ‘this film will keep you guessing’ but it doesn’t quite turn out that way because you guess what the plot twist is really early, this film genuinely lives up to that. You will not know what is going on for half the movie, but it will be in a really good way. This film has tons and tons of twist and turns that I really can’t go into for fear or spoiling it and I am really glad I didn’t have to review it purely because it would have been one of the most difficult reviews I would have had done. Ben Affleck is on top form, making me confident that he can play a decent Batman in the up-coming DC Universe movies. David Fincher’s directing one again excels and Rosamund Pike must be up for Best Actress at the Oscars. She plays one phenomenal role that I can’t go into detail about because it would completely spoil this movie. It comes out on DVD later in 2015, pick it up. The only reason it isn’t higher on this list is, because there are a couple of stupid moments at the end that are genuinely perplexing, but other than that, it’s worth a watch.

Batman-Assault-on-Arkham-imdb8: Batman: Assault on Arkham

This year we didn’t get that many really good DC animated original movies with the mediocre Justice league war as well as Son of Batman and JLA trapped in time which were both really good but failed to be great, but Batman Assault on Arkham really can stand up with the best of them. It’s a sort of 18 rated version of the Batman Animated series that I have wanted to see for the longest time. Kevin Conroy once again excels himself as Batman and the rest of the supporting cast are on top form including Hynden Walch as an excellent Harley Quinn and Neal McDonough who is the best actor I’ve seen to play Deadshot. The plot is great, even though it doesn’t largely focus on Batman. The suicide squad is portrayed brilliantly in this movie and I am hoping this is a direction that Warner Brothers is planning to go with the up-coming Suicide Squad Movie. Troy Baker may not be Mark Hamill but he is a really good Joker and can really stand up with the best of them including Heath Ledger. It’s animated beautifully, the action sequences are amazing and I really just loved almost every second of it. This is a Batman film that will somehow make you root for the ‘bad guys’, but in a good way.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-imdb7: Guardians of the Galaxy

This was some of the most fun I had in the cinema all year, and while I wish I’d gone to see the 3D version it didn’t detract from how great it was to see this. If you want more detail check out my review of it, it’s one of my earlier ones but it’s still pretty good even though I got a few details from the comic wrong. Everyone delivers a pretty decent performance on all levels of significance in their roles. Some are giving some performances of their career especially in Bradley Coopers case. There is never a dull moment and as I said in my review it does what no other super hero or comic movie is really doing too much. It’s a simple fun movie without insulting the audiences intelligence, not having to go into too dark a territory for the most part. Marvel studios are really bringing me some of my favourite movies of the year almost consistently and with Guardians of the Galaxy 2 already confirmed for a 2017 release I am dead excited to see more from this team hopefully adding more characters from the comic. This one was great and considering I am much more of a DC fan than Marvel it is really killing me that Marvel outdid DC in 2014 and probably will for a few years to come.

Frank-imdb6: Frank

I won’t be surprised if you haven’t seen Frank because much like Big Eyes it wasn’t very well advertised, it was just put out there, though it got some good critical reviews. That being said, this film is really good. The plot line is loosely based on the life of Frank Sidebottom, who was a truly interesting character created by the late Chris Sievey and you can really tell that the people who wrote this film were really great in creating a script that reflected his nature. There are so many good performances. This film depicted brilliantly what it’s like to see people surround themselves with coping strategies that work, only to have those coping strategies taken away from them by the outside world, in this case a group of people banding themselves around a project of producing an album for their band only to have be exposed to wider world for all the wrong reasons through the new keybord players blog. The performances and set pieces are all great. Michael Fassbender is my personal pick for best actor because he gets to deliver an amazing and emotive performance, whilst throughout the entire film wearing a styrofoam mask. We seriously never see any facial expressions from him but he delivers the performance of a man who is confident one minute and depressed the next. It is a great movie to watch whether you’re a Michael Fassbender or Maggie Gyllenhaal fan or not and the music in it is astoundingly good. If it wasn’t for Guardians of the Galaxy I would say this was the best soundtrack I’d heard all year. It’s available on DVD, go and get it in the New Year sales.

The-Imitation-Game-imdb5: The Imitation Game

Yes it’s another film that I have previously reviewed, but if you read my review you would know that I was loving this movie when I watched it and I’m still loving it now. It’s not been released on DVD yet so I haven’t had time to re-watch it but I am really looking forward to that, because it was one hell of a performance from its entire cast. It deals with the life of an extraordinary human being who is only now just starting to get the respect that he deserves. It got a lot of the followers on the blog talking and I was really glad to see that because I think this film gives off some great emotion which I don’t think is there with a lot of the potential Oscar nominees that I have seen so far. I may have said that I preferred Michael Fassbender, but Benedict Cumberbatch is still a top choice of mine for Best Actor at the Oscars. He is astounding in this movie and I will be posting on the Axia facebook page when this film goes on DVD sale. If you haven’t seen this film yet, make it a late new years resolution to see it, it was really great.

Street-Fighter-Assasins-Fist-YouTube4: Street Fighter: Assasins Fist

A kind of unusual choice, but this film was great to watch and it’s the sort of film I would never get to put on this list. It’s a fan film that was made for the internet that just happened to get the blessing of Capcom to be licensed to be sold as a DVD and Blu Ray by Manga entertainment and it is gloriously good. We finally have a great standard by which to judge live action video game adaptations, which considering the previous two street fighter movies is saying a lot. The acting is great. The action sequences are the best that I have see all year by a long distance. The story was incredibly heartfelt and emotional, choosing to focus on the characters and their relationships over the fight scenes. Not that both weren’t great and worked incredibly well together. This is also a film where I can safely say, if you’ve never played a street fighter video game or seen anything street figher related you can enjoy this movie. It takes you by the hand and engrosses you in its world. I can really highly recommend this film. I know a lot of people say it’s pretty much a cheesy martial arts movie, but I like martial arts movies and this one is one of the best I have seen all year and possibly one of my favorite martial art films. The equivalent of the Oscars for independent films needs to recognise this film and these actors, especially Akira Koieyama, who gave one of the best performances I saw all year, he plays a man who is wise, yet conflicted with regret, brilliantly and I wouldn’t have this film any other way.

Pride-2014-imdb3: Pride

Yes, no surprise that this made the list if you judge my review and the myriad of comments I have had from other people praising the movie, but it’s really well earned. This was an incredibly surprising, yet brilliant film that I saw in 2014. Its ensemble cast doing an amazing job conveying a story that seems unlikely and cliched yet is 100 per cent true and has been respected by its film makers. Richard Curtis wishes he could write a British Film this good. Its set pieces are great and if you don’t come out of this film loving it and feeling better about life then I will personally give you the money you spent on this back (disclaimer, no, I won’t actually do that). The film comes out on DVD in March so I would highly recommend picking it up. It’s a great hour and a half and you’ll never want to leave these characters after seeing it. Probably the best advert for Wales I have ever seen.

Patema-Inverted-2014-imdb2: Patema Inverted

Yes, if you read my previous review list you won’t be surprised and I gushed long enough in that review about how much I like it so I will try and keep this to a minimum. This was genuinely the most outstanding movie on both a visual and technical level I have seen all year. Interstellar wishes it could have done this level of imaginative Sci-Fi. It gave us one of the strongest romantic couples I have seen in a long time and I loved this world, I never wanted to leave it. It has an amazing cast with a great director whose work I am looking forward to seeing more of in the future. The animation is stunning and I would love to see this film be re-released in IMAX in cinemas and it probably would have topped my list if it weren’t for the film that comes in at number one. I know I really recommended people to pick it up on Blue-Ray in my review but I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed it. It’s an incredible experience. Please check it out for yourself.

The-Wind-Rises-imdb1: The Wind Rises

My favourite director of all time Hayao Miyazaki has bowed out of the film making world this year by announcing his semi-retirement and that the Wind Rises will be his final movie, and you know what, he is going out with a bang. This film was just astounding and anyone who has talked to me knows I have gone on non stop about it since I saw it in the cinema in may. This was the toughest year to pick a number one film, it really came down to this and Patema Inverted and I was really going back and forth between them constantly, honestly this year was the hardest year to pick a number 1 film and I even considered having a joint first place at one point. What made this film go slightly above was the fact that with Patema Inverted when I looked at the criticism for it, I could in a lot of ways see the points of the people who were giving it negative feedback but not fully agree with. With The Wind Rises I can’t see that, for me it is a brilliant film that stands up there with Miyazaki’s other brilliant movies like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and Kiki’s Delivery Service and I don’t understand any negatives thoughts that some, very few, people have towards it. Like many films on this list it tells the life of an extraordinary human being along with his lifes work and what it means for a man to see his dreams through , gives us a perspective of World War 2 from the other side, a very belivable romance and is delivered with some brilliant animation. A great ensemble cast including Joseph Gordon Levitt ,Emily Blunt, William H Macey, John Krasinski, Werner Herzog, Mae Whitman, Mand Patinkin, Stanley Tucci, Martin Short and Elijah Wood and it was just amazing to see Miyazaki’s brilliant animation one last brilliant time in a cinema. It was my best cinema going experience of the year and definitely the best film I saw all year hands down. It’s been released on DVD, please check it out. Why this film lost best animated pictures at the Oscars to Frozen I will never understand(and that doesn’t mean I hate Frozen I’m just dissillusioned by its success and think Wind Rises is a much better film).

While none of them topped my favourite film of last year Wolf Children which I also would highly recommend as it’s currently in my top 10 favourite films of all time, I think these are ten movies that are really worth a good look at and when I look back on 2014 these are the ten movies that I am going to remember the most for being the films that defined that year.

Now its time to look forward to 2015. If you disagree with any of the films on the list and want to do your own top ten then leave something in the comments section. You don’t have to be from a particular area or have an account to do so. We will accept any opinions. I freely admitted that these were all my picks. I would love to see what you pick.

On January 16 we are starting up again with my next review which is going to be Taken 3.

If you want to leave your own reviews please sent a word document with your name and your film review to calvin@axia-asd.co.uk. For further details on doing this, check out my Big Eyes review.

Thanks for joining me again, I hope I have convinced you to look into some films you may not have seen yet.

Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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7 comments on “10 Best Films of 2014
  1. Anna says:

    I picked up the wind rises and up on poppy hill the other day since they were missing from my studio ghibli collection. I can’t wait to watch them when I get a chance!

    I loved gone girl, besides guardians of the galaxy, I think it was the most enjoyable film I saw in the cinema (although the babadook was awesome too). The ending was different, which I liked.

    • Calvin says:

      you’ll be happy to know anna that guardians of the galaxy has been nominated for 2 BAFTA’s for best make and hair and best special effects.

      Gone Girl has also received a few nominations including best actress for Rosamund Pike and best adapted screenplay

      no nominations for The Wind Rises or the babadook unfortunatly

  2. Calvin says:

    discovered during a test run that if you are planning to send an email in regards to doing you’re own reviews that if put a capital C in calvin@axia-asd.co.uk it won’t be received by me

    make sure it is all lower case as long as you do that it will work fine and i will receive your email and word document attachment

    apologies if this has affected anyone please if you have sent an email with an attachment and we haven’t responded please either email it again or leave a comment and we will make sure to do everything in our power to read you’re review and get it on site

    i don’t expect that this has affected many people if any but i wanted to make sure that there won’t be any confusion in future I’m looking forward to seeing what people have in store for our user content

  3. Calvin says:

    if you’re interested in any of these movies i’ve made a playlist on youtube with trailers for each of the films
    link bellow:

  4. Calvin says:

    Dr Buchan has just seen Gone Girl and described it as Disturbing and Perplexing but recommends it

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