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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