The Top 3 Performances of 2014

Sartaj Singh makes his Movie Masticator debut and reflects on 2014…

Despite the recently published figures that showed 2014 was one of the lowest attended years for cinema, the year did not disappoint in terms of showcasing the best acting talent.

The following four performers all share the common characteristics of playing characters who push boundaries in order to achieve simple, but impossible goals even in the face of overwhelming and deterministic forces such as time and mortality.

Scarlett Johansson – Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson’s performance in Under the Skin is an excellent recent paradigm of an actor and director collaboration. Johnathan Glazer uses Johansson as a sketch to make potent commentary on image and objectification while additionally changing our perception of the actress. Johansson adds to this vision by creating a fascinating portrait of a foreign being who learns what it is like to be human, with all the pitfalls that come with that. Her performance accentuates a film that is dazzling in showcasing the unexpected, unconventional and power of independent cinema.

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Monsieur Gustave H is perhaps the most delicate character on the list because he could have easily become a one-note exercise in comic indulgence. However, Ralph Fiennes finds the humanity and innate melancholia within a hilarious man.

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Patricia Arquette Boyhood

An exceptional reminder of just how powerful cinema can be in showing the mundane and seemingly everyday trials and tribulations of life. While the film on the surface is about a boy growing up between the ages of 7-18, the subtext that makes the central narrative fascinating is seeing the parents develop too, and the effect of their parenting on how Mason will turn out. Arquette’s finest scene is her last as she painfully bids farewell to her University-bound son.

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7 Modern Movie Classics from 2014

*Sigh*. 2014 has passed – another 12 months of movies, some amazing, some terrible…

An entire year never fails to provide us with the full spectrum of quality, as we movie-goers wade through the filth in order to reach a glorious gem once a month if we are lucky.

In 2014 there were 7 movies that we will remember in years to come for challenging us, confusing us, and for just being amazing…

7. The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie Max

Why? Because it surprised us all by not being terrible. In fact, it was ridiculously funny, by offering the most ‘I don’t care’ attitude along with the most perfectly engineered comedy to create a perfect blend.

6. Nightcrawler

See our Nightcrawler gallery HERE!

Why? Because it reminded us how good Jake Gyllenhall can be when he doesn’t just play the cute wide-eyed guy.

5. The Raid 2: Berendal

The Raid 2

Why? Because it gave us the most manic final 30 minutes of any movie in recent memory, within which the ‘Boss’ fight was excruciatingly and beautifully graphic.

4. Interstellar

Interstellar Cry

Read the review here!

Why? Because love it or hate it, Interstellar challenged us with it’s concepts and ambition more than any movie since Christopher Nolan’s previous epic – Inception. And through it all he gave us an entertaining ride we won’t forget – especially if you saw it in IMAX!

3. Boyhood

Boyhood

Why? Because it gave us the chance to experience a form of film making (and viewing) never before attempted. It also gave Richard Linklater the recognition he constantly deserves for orchestrating such an epic shoot so successfully. Hopefully the Academy will mark his and the cast’s efforts with some awards…

2. Jimmy’s Hall

Jimmy's Hall

Why? Because Ken Loach, on his (supposed) last film, reminded us why he is the king of social drama. Who else could elicit such emotion from a creaky old dance hall? Who else could coax such accomplished performances from amateurs?

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

The_Grand_Budapest_Hotel_41937

Why? Because Wes Anderson finally charmed a broader mainstream audience with a frenetic story and stately time period that suited him perfectly, while not being overly zany or impenetrably off-the-wall. It also introduced Ralph Fiennes to us as a serious comedic force.

And 2 That Missed Out…

Gone Girl

Gone Girl Roasmund

Why? Because while Gone Girl was special, it is almost to be expected from David Fincher nowadays. The term ‘classic’ must be reserved for his next Zodiac or Seven. 

Guardians of the Galaxy

guardians-of-the-galaxy-zoe-saldana-chris-pratt

Why? Because yeah it was fun, but it will be lost in the sea of comic-book mania come 2020.

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7 Movies That Should Have Been Split Into Parts

What is with all these movies being split into parts? Two-part – sometimes three-part – films are becoming the norm ever since Harry Potter ended with a duo of Deathly Hallows’ way back in 2011. (Scroll to the bottom of this article to see a list of past and future multi-parters since Potter.)

It makes you wonder what other movies would have been or should have been split into parts…

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

'Come 'ere, you!'
‘Come ‘ere, you!’
Part 1: Fighting, Part 2: Hugging

The final Lord of the Rings installment can be quite cleanly split into two already. The first chunk would be devoted to the huge battle, while the second seemingly never-ending installment is full of hairy-footed Hobbits laughing and hugging in slow motion.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

He clearly can't be bothered to shoot three films.
He clearly can’t be bothered to shoot three films. 
Part 1: The Good, Part 2: The Bad, Part 3: The Ugly

This one speaks for itself. Nowadays the movie would be made into a trilogy, one movie for each character, with the final Installment including a huge battle with robots to ensure audience retention.

Inglourious Basterds

The opening would make an unbelievable short film.
The opening would make an unbelievable short film.
Part 1: Once Upon A Time In Nazi Occupied France…, Part 2: The Rest

The Hans Landa prologue to this movie is absolutely sublime and people would pay a ticket price just to marvel on its supreme writing and acting.

Make no mistake – the rest of the movie is pretty good, too. It’s just…sometimes you don’t need it.

Se7en

1920x1080 Se7en Movie Se7en,Movie

Episodes 1-7

You can imagine this on HBO or as a Netflix special, nowadays. Seven hour-long episodes, one devoted to each crime. Now there’s a series.

Full Metal Jacket

'I WANT A MOVIE OF MY OWN!'
‘I WANT A MOVIE OF MY OWN!’
Part 1: Boot Camp, Part 2: Front Line

This movie has always seemed a bit schizophrenic – the boot camp first half is interesting, hilarious and visceral, leaving the second half on the frontline always feeling a bit baggy and anti-climatic.

No better healer than a good old split into two parts! Part 2: The Front Line would include huge battles with robots to justify the second ticket.

Boyhood

Boyhood tracked, in real time, the growth and life of the lead character for 12 years.
Boyhood tracked, in real time, the growth and life of the lead character for 12 years.
Part 1: The First Half, Part 2: The Second Half

Because yeah it’s sweet and interesting but Jesus, it’s long.

Inception

Ellen Page a.k.a. Ariadne a.k.a. The Architect a.k.a. The Exposition Mule
Ellen Page a.k.a. Ariadne a.k.a. The Architect a.k.a. The Exposition Mule
Part 1: Exposition, Part 2: Actually Performing Some Inception

Inception is a great one to re-watch to try and decode the truth about that ending, as well as decide if Marion Cotillard is creepy or just unintentionally hilarious.

The problem is that the first half is all about the rules of dream-levels, architects and the art of Inception, which by the second viewing and beyond you know already! Hide all the well-absorbed info in another movie, please.

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As promised, take a look at the past and future movie slate for multi-parters…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 (2010 – 2011)

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 & 2 (2011 – 2012)

The Hobbit Part 1, 2 & 3 (2012 – 2014)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 & 2 (2014 – 2015)

The Divergent Series: Allegiant Part 1 & 2 (2016 – 2017)

Justice League Part 1 & 2 (2017 – 2019)

The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 & 2 (2018 – 2019)