Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Hirokazu Koreeda is one of my favourite filmmakers. Which may or may not make this review incredibly biased. Luckily, i’m valid to my own opinions, and I can barely bat an eyelid in saying that his newest film is just as beautiful and masterfully made as it’s predecessors. The pacing is absolutely perfect, and the turning points are handled with such grace, and just thinking about it makes me want to cry into a fluffy cloud. Gorgeous.
Directed by Gareth Evans
By far the most viscerally entertaining film of the year. It’s impossible to watch The Raid 2 and not have moments of physical outburst when something unexplainably incredible occurs on screen. The entire audience was in perfect sync in their reactions to the film, and that’s the power of great filmmaking. Oozing in badass, The Raid 2 is as old-school as it comes. It’s set-ups bring tension that equal the best Bruce Lee films and spaghetti westerns out there. You will have seen nothing quite like this before. The best martial arts film since the original came out a few years ago.
Directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller
I couldn’t believe it. The Lego Movie was immensely enjoyable in about every way. The filmmakers completely exceeded all expectations, and gave us a film exploding in energy, intelligence, and most importantly, imagination. Probably the most I’ve laughed in a film this year so far. It’s far from a guilty pleasure, because it’s impossible to feel guilty when watching it. The only feeling that comes is joy.
Directed by Wes Anderson
The dashing, suit-wearing auteur himself, Wes Anderson, brings us into his world again, this time in the shape of a wonderful thriller-caper film. The film moves at a cracking pace, which is both a blessing and a curse at times, but it’s so richly dense with character and style. Who knew he could be so dark. I feel like it’s hard to rate his films: they’re all consistently amazing, but as an audience, you get lulled into certain expectations: and when those expectations are subverted, it has the possibly of negatively affecting the response of the film. I still have a greater personal attachment to Moonrise Kingdom, but that is not to say that Budapest isn’t incredible in it’s own right: it truly is.
Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
The Winter Soldier is one of the better recent entries in the Marvel superbajilliondollar universe: the action set-pieces were brilliantly directed, and the story felt “big” enough to warrant a whole film, unlike Thor 2 and Iron Man 3. Where the film was lacking however, was that magical heart that should ideally come attached to the Marvel brand. I felt like you could just change the names of the characters, and there wouldn’t be much difference to any other half-decent run-and-gun action thriller. The first Captain America differed from the pack because it had a wonderfully nostalgic tone, which wasn’t present in the sequel. Not necessarily anyone’s fault, but hopefully they bring back the good ol’ fashioned Cap’n back someday.
“In poetry, there are shadowy areas. You don’t understand everything, but you understand a lot, and it’s still wonderful.”
– Krzysztof Kieślowski