The Year 2014 has finally come to an end a few days ago. For the movie-going public it was generally a good year with lots of surprise non-franchise crowd pleasers making big at the box office like Maleficent and Insterstellar. Critics are also having a picnic with acclaimed films like Nightcrawler, Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything just to name a few that will battle it out on the Oscars next month. But superhero films are undeniably the kings of the dollar haul department with Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men Days of Future Past and Captain America: Winter Soldiers all made up the biggest revenues and at the same time pleases the eternally-snob critics.
For me it’s a comeback year. In 2013, I only managed to watch less than 50 films and decided not to post a top 10 list. But 2014, man it was a blast having to watch triple the quantity from the previous year. What’s even surprising is the amount of really good movies that blew me away. Films that have great story that captures not only the attention but the imagination. Film are not necessary the loudest but the ones that makes a great impact to audiences. So here’s my Top 10 films for 2015 ranked by awesomeness and badassness:
10. As Above, So Below
To start things off is this lesser known found-footage horror movie set in Paris France, or more precisely under it. The whole majority of the film was shot entirely on the, ironically, on the actual catacombs located beneath the glittering romantic city. The story is about a team of archaeologist and grave diggers looking for the legendary Philosophers’ Stone. The result is a chilling and compelling horror movie that plays around the methology Alchemaic legends and the theory of hell’s location. It’s a two hours of terrifying fun.
Ok, we’re back again in Singapore! After getting mesmerized in that country, I quickly googled their best films. And to my surprised they actually won a Camera d’Or thropy in the Cannes Film Fest award about a movie home I thought is a Filipino movie. It’s an intimate family drama set during the 1997 financial crisis about the Lim family who hired a Filipina domestic helper who came from the Ilo-ilo province (thus the title). The film is a unique and heartfelt take for a foreign filmmaker that pays tribute to their former maides… something both countries can be proud of.
Perhaps the most surprising small movie this year managed to capture the attentions of both critics and the few audiences who watched it is this psychological thriller. It tells about a veteran soldier who visits the family of his fallen brother in arms. It’s a film so much mystery surrounding the titular character portrayed magnificently by Dan Steven. The guy practically carried the whole film! Charming, Suave, Badass. Dan Steven might just be the next big thing.
It still weird to see Lord Voldemort aka Ralph Fiennes playing a good guys. But he managed it just perfectly well in this weird light hearted adventure comedy in the Grand Budapest from director Wes Anderson. It’s a story about a legendary concierge named Gustave H of the Grand Budapest Hotel as he mentors his apprentice Zero Moustafa through the World War as they steal a priceless painting and fight their freedom. Epic adventure.
X-Men is back! It’s time to bury the franchise’ dark days caused by X-3 and X-men Origins. Coming off the surprise success The Wolverine and a direct sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men First Class reboot, and with Bryan Singer helming once again in the directors chair, Day of Future Past delivers an atomic bomb that revived the franchise to relevance and successfully cleared the timeline for yet another clean slate of mutant adventures. And that kitchen scene featuring Quicksilver is worth the money.
So it’s a Christopher Nolan year again and this around he’s taking us into space into what could be the best sci-fi film in years (since his Inception). Its one hell of a ride as the filmmaker once again teases us what if the world end and if mankind is destined to leave Earth? I guess one way to find out is to travel to other galaxies through a blackhole in Saturn. I like how Nolan stretches once again the limits of sci-fi and science and mold into his story. It’s a pretty long movie, not his best one either but you came out wondering.. what the F was that?
4. The Raid 2: Berandal
The Raid 2 practically embarrassed all of Hollywood’s action movie in scope of ambition, fight choreography and brutality. Set right after the event of the first film, Rama must once again fight for his life against the deadly crime underworld. This time the stakes are higher with deadlier villains from top to bottom with more broken bones and heigher body counts. The fight scenes are just simply terrific as expected and the story is surprisingly deep and polished coated with political thriller. But I came here for the fighting and I came out victorious.
If you think animes are better off staying animated for kids sake, think again. Rorouni Kenshin was first made into film 2010 as an experiment if the world can embrace a dark samurai tale given the right kind of budget, respect and talent from the filmmakers. The result was a definitive yes as it warrant not just but two back-to-back sequels! The last one being the The Legends Ends could possibly be one of the greatest anime adaptation of all time. Legend Ends successfully merged the late half of the Shishio Kyoto Arc in the anime into a grand sword fighting spectacle never seen before. One notable improvement is the production values that ends with the epic final fight scene between Shishio against the four guys.
1. The Book of Life
And the title goes to: The Book of Life. A story about three childhood friends as they group to fulfill their destinies that transcends beyond social duties to the afterlife. This is a joyous and triumphant hymnbook about the power of love, friendship and love. Packed with drop dead gorgeous visual designs and terrific soundtrack the story digs deep not only towards the afterlife but all the way to the audiences’s inner souls. It teaches us to treasure our family values, the importance of friendship and honoring traditions and obligation. And above all, Love shall continue to live.
The Runners Up: