Film Review of the Year 2014 and Annual Whitfield Awards

Posted on:

The Year’s Worst Films

(In no order of demerit)

Titles link to full reviews where available.

  1. Transcendence

Mr J Depp’s sci-fi bomb was a lock for the bottom five from its day of release. The former marquee name stunk like spilled guts as the scientist whose consciousness is downloaded into a computer and becomes megalomaniacal when he’s shot by a radioactive bullet. Dull and senseless, the long trawl to the end was capped with one of those worst endings ever to grace the big screen: the hero and his moll reincarnated as nanites in water droplets, together in the pit of a garden shovel.

  1. The Anomaly

The difference between your fan films and Noel Clarke’s is that somehow his get distributed by Universal Pictures. How or why this happens is a matter for speculation but the result is a close to a sure-fire waste of time as any moviegoer can expect. Here a middling sci-fi conceit is folded into poor production values and a cameo from Brian Cox, whose family Clarke must have been holding hostage.

  1. I, Frankenstein

Were Mary Shelly dug up, stitched together and shocked back to life, there’s every chance she’d react like the bride in James Whale’s movie to this fantasy sequel that picks up where her tale ended and adds an Underworld style war between Demons and Gargoyles. If you read that and thought, ‘sounds good’, then I can do nothing for you.

  1. Grace of Monaco

If you’re interested in Grace Kelly watch Rear Window. That’ll tell you everything about why she was loved and revered. All Grace of Monaco will help you with is the answer to the question you didn’t know you’d asked, namely, what would a biopic filmed like a perfume commercial look like?

  1. Nymphomaniac

When Lars Von Trier’s good he’s very good, but when he’s bad he’s a pair of pockmarked, pendulous balls, as he proved with this punishingly long and shamelessly pretentious four hour investigation into human sexuality that told you very little about female desire but quite a bit about what gets Lars off. You weren’t interested before and you certainly aren’t afterwards.

The Year’s Best Films

(Apart from all the others)

  1. Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch, probably as tired as the rest of us at vampire movies made for young adults, made a real one – reunited aging suckers Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swindon for a meditative, witty and bohemian take on the nosferatu myth. It’d be nice to think that all movies could be as literate, atmospheric and droll as this one, but they can’t, so savour it.

  1. Under the Skin

Only Lovers Left Alive explored the vampire condition, Jonathan Glazer’s film gave us the alien one. Scarlett Jonansson played Mick Jagger, a visitor exploring contemporary Scotland with a predatory eye. Glazer’s film is all technique, rendering the world fearful and uncanny as he constructs the alien’s subjectivity. It’s tempting to make jokes about Scotland being an odd place as it is, but Under the Skin adds a layer of menace and foreboding that Nicola Sturgeon would be pressed to match (though she’s doing her best). See it, then take a long bath.

  1. Calvary

As explorations of the effect of a declining church on civil society go, particularly in communities that once relied on the same, Calvary’s hard to beat. It’s a great character study – Brenden Gleeson’s excellent as the priest trying to hold it together in the face of an assassination threat, but as a wry piece of social commentary it more than earns its crust.

  1. Locke

Tom Hardy driving to London may not sound like a great deal but you can learn a lot about a man on a long ride as Locke proves. Not many actors could stand up to the scrutiny of the close up for as long as Hardy, while the minimalism – one man, one car – is a constraint that never becomes a limitation. It’s a deep and satisfying film.

  1. The Babadook

A family haunted by a demon in their own home has been done to death but what marks out Jennifer Kent’s movie is the psychological depth she invests in Essie Davis’s mother and her troubled son coupled with a distinct lack of Hollywood gloss. This Australian indie is raw and imaginative; an exercise in dread sans excrescent bullshit. Ultimately she achieves the Holy Grail in horror terms; emotional investment and sustained menace.

Now move to page 3 for the much loved, never referenced, Whitfield Awards.

Pages: 1 2 3

Comments are closed.