Top List Thursdays – The Best of 2014

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It may be 2015, but we’re still stuck in 2014. Well most of us are at least, as Nick still thinks its 1988 judging by the red leather outfit he wears while singing Michael Jackson songs. 2014 had plenty of great films and TV to watch, spread out across 12 months of viewing. We decided to get together, and vote on our favoruite content, so without any further ado, here’s the best (and the worst!) that 2014 had to offer.

  • Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler

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Sharp, merciless and apologetically ruthless in its portrayal of the crazy world of broadcast media. And that’s just a few of the reasons why Nightcrawler is destined to be remembered as one of the best films of 2014. But it’s Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as Lou Bloom, an unhinged and unscrupulous predator of the night, determined to make a name for himself as a businessman that really stands out. Incredibly settled into the role, Gyllenhaal is a tour de force of unchecked ambition and zero morals as he explores the seedy underbelly of his city, carrying the entire weight of the project on his seasoned shoulders.

Honourable mention: Michael Keaton – Birdman

  • Best Actress: Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

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There’s a reason why Rosamund Pike consistently shines in anything that she touches, and that’s because she never chooses an easy role. In Gone Girl, it would have been easy for Pike to play a run of the mill wife who happens to go missing. But instead, we’re treated to a layered performance where Pike shines even when she isn’t present, as she uses her natural beauty to hide a true monster under the surface. In a film that was dense with magnificent performances, Pike was the one who stole the show.

Honourable mention: Eva Green – Penny Dreadful

  • Biggest Surprise: The Babadook

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We give Australia a lot of flak, but it’s hard to deny that just about everything in the country is made out of nightmare fuel. And sipping on all of that juice, was one of the breakout horror movies of the year, The Babadook. You never know what to expect in this film, and thanks to some tight editing, a slow burn to the finale and a true sense of dread that permeated the entire film, you’ll walk out of your cinema vowing to never visit Australia. Ever.

Honourable mention: John Wick

  • Best Fight Scene: Rama vs. the Assassin – The Raid 2: Berandal

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Choosing the best fight scene in The Raid 2: Berandal is like choosing your favourite testicle. From start to finish, The Raid 2 is just filled with glorious fights, showdowns and orgies of fist-based violence so brutal that it brought a tear to the Knockout 5000 machine I’m currently building in my room.

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But it’s the final fight that save the best cheat codes for last. After working his way through a traditional gauntlet of death, Rama comes face to face with the number-one ass-kicker around. They assume the stance of death. They do a shuffle so painstakingly tense that you’d trebuchet your pants in anticipation. What followed next however, was enough blood being spilled to satisfy whatever dark god you worship.

It’s a spectacle on unreal proportions, as two masters go head to head in a fight that somehow disables the part of your brain that allows you to blink.

  • Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie

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Vivid, hilarious and beautifully realised. The LEGO Movie also had something else up its four-stud sleeves, as it managed to be a film that was fun for any age. One of the freshest films of the year and unexpected joy to behold.

Honourable mentions: The Boxtrolls, Big Hero 6

  • Best Visual Effects: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

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We often debate that some of the best visual effects in films, are the ones you don’t notice. But on the other hand, there’s something to be said for visual effects that are so damn good, that you can’t stop watching them. At a certain point in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, you’re not only going to fall in love with what is essentially a gang of actors running around covered in ping-pong balls, you’re going to buy the fact that you’re watching an Ape revolution thanks to some of the far more subtle effects in action. And in our books, that’s a winner.

Honourable mentions: Interstellar, Godzilla

  • Best Movie Moment: The dance-off – Guardians Of The Galaxy

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By the time a superhero film ends, you know what to expect. The hero and the villain square off. they fight. A few city blocks are demolished. And at the last very possible moment, the hero triumphs, because MacGuffin. And a lot of that occurs in Guardians Of The Galaxy. Standing triumphant, Ronan The Accuser prepares to use an Infinity Stone to destroy the planet of Xandar. The heroes have had their asses kicked, washed, rinsed, spun-dried out and kicked again in their attempt to stop the mad Kree fanatic.

The Nova Corps are destroyed, and nothing can save the day. Nothing that is…but music. Listen to these words, you giant turd-blossom!

Honourable mention: The ceiling crawl from The Babadook

  • Best Soundtrack: Awesome Mix Vol 1 – Guardians Of The Galaxy

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Speaking of Guardians Of The Galaxy, we were also treated to the best use of a mix-tape since you tried to impress that girl in high school. Sure, it;s essentially a cherry-picked selection of great music. But the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is also a selection of great tracks tied to the core of the film, and that flows with emotion. Now put your walkman on, and come and get your love already.

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Honourable mentions: Interstellar, The Guest

  • Best New TV Series: True Detective

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2014 is going to go down as one of the best years in television history. But the consensus was near-universal in the praise for True Detective. Spanning several years, True Detective was a riveting drama that explored the darker side of human nature, a series that boasted amazing acting from leads Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Tight, expertly crafted and perfectly edited, it’s a show that lived up to promises.

Honourable mentions: The Flash, Penny Dreadful

  • Movie Of The Year: Guardians Of The Galaxy

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It’s official: We’re in love with the new direction of Marvel movies. Guardians Of The Galaxy was a massive risk for the studio and their parent company Disney, but it’s a risk that paid off. Gambling hundreds of millions of dollars on an untested concept, director James Gunn crafted the most important science-fiction film since Star Wars burst onto the scene in 1977, combining massive action with a cast of miscreants that you couldn’t help but love. Something bad, something good and a little bit of both are just a few of the reasons why most of us loved this movie in 2014.

Honourable mentions: Interstellar, Boyhood

  • Worst Movie of 2014: Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction

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Michael Bay and Transformers go together like fish and chips. And even at the lowest points of the franchise, Transformers movies have still managed to be entertaining spectacles of special effects and action. But the limit was finally exceeded in Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction, as the film suffered from a glut of too much action, poor characterisation, a nonsense plot, egregious product placement and a selection of actors that were poorly cast and utilised.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what I say, because this horrendous film still managed to soak up over a billion dollars in cash worldwide, proving that the end times may be upon us. This was one film where there wasn’t much more than met the eyes.

Dishonourable mention: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Last Updated: January 8, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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