My Top 10 Films Of 2014

Looking back on 2014, it really was a fantastic year for film. While sequels, remakes, and comic book adaptation still rule the box office, it was great to see some truly original films debuting to incredible success. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Captain America 2 and Mockingjay as much as the next person, but with the amount of creativity shown this year these titles won't figure in my top 10.

I'd really recommend checking out these titles if you haven't already - many are getting tremendous buzz with the upcoming awards season, and some have already enjoyed this during last years season. As always, these titles are all based on Australian release dates, which is why you may notice some that came out in 2013 in your country (lucky!).

10. 22 Jump Street
Directed by: Chris Miller, Phil Lord
CastJonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

21 Jump Street truly exceeded all expectations, and I was really pleased to see that the (aptly titled) sequel 22 Jump Street was just as good. The chemistry between Hill and Tatum is what makes these movies so good, which is used to great effect in this film. The self-referential and self-deprecating humour is so on point that I'd go as far to say that this was the funniest film of the year.

9. Under The Skin

Directed by: Jonathan Glazer
Cast: Scarlett Johansson

Stunning to behold, with a soundtrack that gets under your skin, so to speak. This film was incredibly unsettling yet strangely hypnotic, with Johansson giving a captivating performance as the sole lead actor. The final thirty minutes are quite upsetting, and is probably not for everyone, but it was truly one of the most interesting and artistic films of 2014.

8. Nebraska
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk

A surprisingly touching film, Nebraska is a compelling drama that saw Will Forte excel outside of his usual comedic rolls, with Squibb stealing the show as his long-suffering mother. The film is beautifully shot in black and white to marvellous effect.

7. The Lego Movie
Directed by: Chris Miller, Phil Lord
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman

Everything is awesome, indeed. Who would have thought The Lego Movie would actually be incredible? The visuals were stunning, the cast star-studded, the script hilariously clever. This film will probably be considered the Toy Story of this generation. 

6. Inside Llewyn Davis
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund

Can the Coen Brothers ever make a mistake? Inside Lleweyn Davis was a beautiful, heartbreaking, sympathetic film following an unlikeable yet talented folk singer. It's a poignant reflection on what it is to be an artist, with an outstanding soundtrack to accompany it.

5. The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
Directed by: Isao Takahata
Cast: Aki Asakura

If you haven't acquainted yourself with the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, please do so now, leaving all reservations on anime at the door. Studio Ghibli continuously produce the most gorgeously animated films, with touching stories and better written female characters than the majority of Hollywood. Kaguya was no exception - an exquisite film that is a fantastic reminder that their will always be a place for 2D animation. The visuals are stunning, vibrant colours and changing animation styles depending on the mood of the character. Absolutely beautiful. 

4. Gone Girl
Directed by: David Fincher
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike

David Fincher just doesn't make bad films, period. Based on the engrossing story by Gillian Flynn (who also wrote the script for the film), Gone Girl took everything great about the book and made it better. Pike is an absolute revelation as Amy, revelling in the dark, disturbing twists of film, delivering the famous "cool girl" speech absolutely flawlessly.

3. Her
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara

A sweet, melancholy film that probably shouldn't have worked, yet ended up being one of Spike Jonze's best. Phoenix delivered the most gorgeous, heartbreaking performance as Theodore - heartbroken from a divorce, then falling in love with his digital companion, voiced by Johansson. An incredibly unique story with a gorgeous soundtrack by Arcade Fire.

2. Boyhood
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater

I'm hoping everyone reading this is already familiar with the genius premise of Boyhood, but if not, here's a quick rundown: filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Boyhood is a story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a boy called Mason, who literally grows up on the screen before our eyes. It's absolutely wonderful to watch this child grow into a young man, with a soundtrack that feels incredibly nostalgic to someone like me who was roughly Mason's age throughout the filming of this movie. The performances are great, the script incredible, and I wouldn't be surprised if this sweeps at the Oscars next year.

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody

Wes Anderson is probably my favourite director working today, and I was so thrilled that The Grand Budapest Hotel was everything I hoped it would be. He has such a distinctive vision that shines through in each of his films, his painstaking attention to detail never better than it is here. It's a funny film, yet dark in parts, with a cast so full of A-listers it was hard to decide which of them I should list here. This was my favourite film of 2014, and may indeed replace The Royal Tenenbaums as my favourite Wes Anderson film.