Top 20 Movies of 2014: Part 1 (11 – 20)

Well, 2014 certainly brought some solid flicks throughout, as well as some disappointments. Sounds like every movie year. I had to sit back and think on this list for a while because there were a few that I seriously had a blast with. Now, to whittle them down! Seems 2014 was the year for horror and independent flicks, which is really awesome!

There are quite a few movies that we haven’t gotten yet, like The Imitation GameFoxcatcher, etc. so I will just work with what we did get. Because doing twenty films in one list would be a big of a killer, I am going to split this into two parts, with this one presenting films 11 – 20 on my list.

20. Enemy

enemy movie poster

This was just one of those movies that messed with my head. It was incredibly well done, Jake Gyllenhaal gave a bloody brilliant performance, and it was shot so beautifully. The colours were faded and washed out, truly lending to the feel of the movie. The dialogue was strange, and everything just left you feeling a little disjointed and confused, but ultimately it all worked. A psychological game from the off, Enemy really was one that kept me thinking for a while after all was said and done.

19. The Fault In Our Stars

the fault in our stars poster

After reading Green’s novel, I knew I would have to see this in cinema. While I feel that a lot of what makes this journey amazing is lost in this film if you have not read the book, I must admit that it is a very good adaption and cannot be faulted too much for that. Ansel Elgort simply stole the show with his portrayal of Augustus Waters, really capturing the character so many of us fell wildly in love with, and Woodley carried Hazel Grace very well. The Fault In Our Stars is terribly sad (though I belong to the #StoneColdBitchClub for not crying) and is carried by two fantastic leads and wonderful supporting cast. Well worth checking out, if just for the awesome relationship between Hazel Grace and the absolutely adorable Augustus Waters.

18. Guardians of the Galaxy

guardians of the galaxy poster

You know, I won’t lie. I was honestly expecting this to pull flop for me like The Avengers did. Instead I got something fresh from Marvel. Yes, it follows a recipe and doesn’t really break out of that, and gives us an extremely bland villain, but it was incredibly fun and entertaining with loads of cheese and humour sprinkled throughout it and definitely boasts the best soundtrack of the year, I am sure we can all agree. Guardians of the Galaxy turned out better than I expected!

17. Stretch


I had no idea what I was getting into when watching Stretch, but boy, oh boy am I glad I went in blind. There is nothing new about Stretch, and it is certainly predictable, but it cannot be denied that there were some outrageously funny performances here and a hilarious movie about how Murphy really just wants to be the best of friends with the people that need it the least. Chris Pine plays against character here, and it works on so many levels, not to mention Patrick Wilson just owning the screen at every available opportunity. This was one of the better comedies I have seen in a really long time.

16. Blue Ruin

blue ruin poster 1

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when watching Blue Ruin, but it had come back with some solid reviews. It was an exceptionally well crafted budget flick, a tale of revenge, no more, no less. Except that I was strung with tension throughout, constantly reminding myself to unfurl my fingers, and it was a wonderful slow burn to boot. Blue Ruin came in and entertained me.

15. Edge of Tomorrow

edge of tomorrow poster

I think Edge of Tomorrow was my biggest surprise movie of the year. After deciding that there was no ways that I was prepared to waste my time on it, the reviews came back positive. Eventually I knew that I was going to have  to check it out and see what all the raving was about. What I was treated to was a totally fun action flick with one badass-as-hell heroine who was a great addition to the bland repertoire we are usually given. Tom Cruise was a great sport, and there was much fun to be had with Edge of Tomorrow.

14. The Equalizer

the equalizer poster

I knew I was going to enjoy The Equalizer because Denzel Washington, that is all. Instead of being a simple and hollow action film, The Equalizer manages to bring in some story, and strikes a good balance between getting a decent story and some heart involved with the film as well as supplying us with enough action to keep out blood pumping. Not only that, there are some seriously creative kills throughout the film. I know that sounds bad, but it was something a little different for a change.

13. Chef

chef poster

Chef is a damn fine food trip to take with Jon Favreau providing us with a great story and solid direction to bring this stale concept to fresh new beginnings. It is sweet and heartwarming and has such hilarious moments littered throughout, Chef is a brilliant feel-good movie that successfully integrates social media, food, family, relations and a fitting soundtrack.

12. Gone Girl

gone girl poster

Gone Girl was no simple film, and David Fincher proves again that he is a damn fine director to realise books to film (though I am seriously still not going to okay the screw up that was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). As a return to form for Mr Fincher, he delivers a solid film, wonderfully paced and with a great cast to carry it, with his signature washout look and doom and gloom feel, you know you are in for a ride when you start this. While I am not as enamoured with it as most people seem to be, Gone Girl was done incredibly well, with immense amounts of attention to detail and a plot twist that was executed well.

11. Housebound


I thoroughly enjoy a good horror comedy, but it is certainly not a simple genre, and instead is filled with movies that are either horror or comedy and randomly remember to add the other genre aspects to it from time to time. Housebound certainly does not suffer from this issue. It is hilarious and balances the creepy/horror out perfectly, and the movie does not try to be more than it is. Topping this out with some really good performances and a heroine worth mentioning, Housebound also lays claim to Eugene, who is just my favourite character of the whole film! #TeamEugene

Well, there are my latter ten films from my top twenty films of 2014, keep your eyes peeled for the rest!

Review: The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

the fault in our stars poster

“I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
– Augustus Waters

Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) has cancer, and she has been nothing but terminal her whole life. Her mother, Frannie (Laura Dern), is convinced that Hazel is depressed, and her doctor agrees. Hazel is also forced to go to a support group, which she absolutely hates but goes to because it makes her parents happy. Hazel is sure that she is never going to be a regular teenager, and has sort of come to terms with that. However, one day at group, she meets the insanely gorgeous and witty Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort). She thinks he is gorgeous, but that she doesn’t stand a chance. Augustus has survived his cancer, though it was at the cost of his leg. After group Augustus makes it clear to Hazel that he likes her and that he finds her beautiful, and she feels herself getting reeled in by him. Her mother, naturally, is happy that she is making friends. Visiting at Augustus’s house after group, she tells him about her favourite book, An Imperial Affliction, and he vows to read it if she reads a novelisation of his favourite video game.

the fault in our stars meeting gus
“Even though you have freaking cancer, you are willing to give money to corporation for a chance to acquire even more cancer? Let me just assure you that not being able to breathe? Sucks. Totally disappointing. Totally.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster

Hazel soon becomes sad when Augustus does not contact her, and she starts to think that it was just something to fade away, a great afternoon. Augustus finally talks to her about her book, something he enjoyed immensely. Their mutual friend Isaac (Nat Wolff) has just been broken up with by his girlfriend Monica (Emily Peachey), just before he is to go in for eye cancer and lose his eyesight completely. Hazel and Augustus bond some more. Augustus contacts Peter Van Houten (Willen Dafoe), author of  An Imperial Affliction, to ask him some questions about what happened. He is not given answers, but Hazel is thrilled by the fact that Augustus contacted Van Houten. She, too, sends a mail to the address, and soon receives a reply that Van Houten cannot answer her questions via email, but should she ever find herself in Amsterdam she should pop by. Hazel desperately wants to go, though she is very ill and her mother and father, Michael (Sam Trammell), cannot afford it. Hazel lets it go, but Augustus won’t. He contacts the Genies and uses his wish for them: get them to Amsterdam to meet with Van Houten so that he can answer all their questions pertaining to the end of his book.

the fault in our stars gus and hazel
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you.” – Augustus Waters

Hazel gets really sick before the trip, ending up in the ICU. Augustus cannot see her, and she is crushed when the doctors tell her the Amsterdam trip is most certainly off. Hazel starts to avoid Augustus, which hurts him. She does not want to cause him heartbreak, she knows that she is going to die and refuses to be responsible for his pain. Ultimately, though, she and Augustus see each other again, and he makes it abundantly clear that he does not give a damn whether she thinks she is a grenade that will hurt him or whatever, he wants to spend time with her, even if she is only willing to be friends. As a surprise, Hazel finds out that the Amsterdam trip is back on, and she is thrilled. In Amsterdam she irrevocably falls in love with Augustus, forgetting about the grenade theory, accepting that they both might hurt each other. In Amsterdam, though, things don’t go as planned because Van Houten turns out to be an absolute douchebag and a let down, Hazel and Augustus get closer than ever, and some dark secrets spill out between them, crushing both of them. Hazel has been so focused on the fact that she is sick that is never occurred to her that Augustus may get sick again, that they both may end up terminal.

the fault in our stars eggs
“The world is not a wish-granting factory.” – Augustus Waters

Why was Van Houten so terrible? What will Hazel do now that something she has always loved has turned out to be so tainted? Is their trip to Amsterdam ruined because of the jerky author? Will Hazel and Augustus be able to make the best of the time that they have together? Now that they are back to both fighting cancer, will Augustus overcome his a second time? How long will Hazel be able to go on before finally succumbing to her disease?

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” – Hazel Grace Lancaster

GRADE 8This was a very good adaption of the book, so any fear I had of that being messed with has been allayed. Let me put it out there, I too, like Cara, am a stone cold bitch. Nary a tear in sight from me, and that is okay. The rest of the theatre was snivelling, but that is not what I was there for. I was there to see Hazel Grace and Augustus brought to screen, and let me tell you that I was not disappointed in the slightest. Shailene Woodley was a fantastic Hazel, and she did wonders with the material. Ansel Elgort, however, stole the whole show for me. He is the most perfect actor to have cast to play the amazing and weak-knee-inducing Augustus Waters. He had the attitude, the smile, he had it all working for him. There are other cast members that need some shine, too, such as Nat Wolff, who was just a brilliant Isaac, and Sam Trammell and Laura Dern for playing Hazel’s parents Michael and Frannie perfectly. I do wish that Isaac had been given more screen time, he was a simply hilarious character and I thought he was wonderfully cast. I was not a fan of the soundtrack (sorry, but really, really cheesy, though I guess it is exactly what it needs to be, given the type of film), but it was used only when required. I enjoyed the way the film was shot, subtly, with things being emphasised where necessary, but not shoving it down your throat. Some of the humorous scenes from the book were perfectly captured here, which was a joy. Just in case you missed it somehow, I really despise romance movies and chick flicks and all, and this may tick all those boxes, I must also say that this was a story that I fell in love with when I read the book. There was a bit that was cut out of the book when the film was made, but nothing as daunting as the major butchering of things such as Harry Potter (just saying). They did not detract from the story, though I wish that more was done to hint at Augustus and what was to come, etc. Needless to say, it is worth the watch.

Review: The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

the fault in our stars john green cover

Hazel Grace Lancaster is sixteen years old and dying of Stage 4 Thyroid cancer with metastasis forming in her lungs. She was supposed to have her whole life ahead of her but instead it has been snatched away. Hazel is hooked up to a breathing machine and on an experimental drug called Phalanxifor, which seems to be helping. She has different ideas about what to do with the remainder of her life, but instead she is forced to attend a support group for children who are living with cancer to make friends and to live her life. Isaac is a friend of Hazel’s at the support group, who lost an eye when he was younger to cancer, and is horrified and crushed to learn that he will have to remove his other eye, too. Attending group on night, Hazel meets the most gorgeous guy in the world: Augustus “Gus” Waters, who is in remission after amputating his right leg because of osteosarcoma. Hazel is immediately taken with Augustus, and thrilled that he seems to be interested in her. After the meeting, they hang out together, and Hazel almost writes him off when he pops a cigarette into his mouth, but relaxes when he explains it is only metaphorical.

The two start to spend a lot of time together, watching movies and reading one another’s favourite books. Hazel recommends An Imperial Affliction to Augustus, which was written by Peter can Houten. She reads Augustus’s favourite book, a novelisation of his ultimate favourite video game, and she enjoys it. Augustus is completely taken with An Imperial Affliction, and is unhappy that is just ends. He, like Hazel, has many questions to ask about what happens to the remaining characters of the book. Hazel and Augustus spend a lot of time flirting with each other, and Hazel finds that she quite likes being normal by any which standards. However, the two deal with Isaac’s shattered heart when his girlfriend Monica dumps him because she can’t deal with anything anymore. Isaac is an empty shell of a person, and more concerned about losing his girlfriend than losing his eye. Hazel’s parents are thrilled that she has made friends and has a boyfriend, though Hazel starts to put distance between herself and Augustus. She does not want to hurt him, what with the knowledge that she will die. She does not want to inflict pain, especially after she finds out his previous girlfriend Caroline Mathers died of cancer, too. She feels like a grenade, and is worried about hurting him even more.

Augustus starts writing to Peter van Houten, the author who wrote An Imperial Affliction, and asks questions. Van Houten is not very helpful in terms of telling them more, but it sounds like he will share the rest of the story with them if they come in person. Augustus has his wish saved from The Genies and decides to use it to go to Amersterdam, Netherlands, with Hazel. She is shocked and moved by the gesture, but she lands up with a terrible bout of pneumonia and in the hospital, and the trip is cancelled. When she is released, things continue as normal, and later it is said that she can go. However, their trip is slightly marred when the meeting completely flops. Van Houten is a rude and nasty alcoholic and a total loser, and a total disappointment. Instead of allowing him to ruin their trip, Hazel realises that she is in love with Augustus, and that she wants to be with him, no matter what. Augustus is thrilled to hear, but then drops a bomb on Hazel – his cancer is back and has metastasized greatly. Hazel is crushed by the knowledge, and soon realises that Augustus might be the grenade, and not herself.

Augustus’s cancer worsens, and Isaac has gotten over his breakup and is doing everything he can to be there for Augustus. Hazel is permanently by his side, and is terrified of losing him, but realising that is may be a very real possibility. Their relationship continues, and many odd and entertaining and heart-breaking things spot their little love story. Augustus was supposed to be the healthy one, the one that was going to outlive his college student girlfriend. The Waters family is struggling to deal with it, and Hazel sees what someone dying does to a family, and worries about hers. Will they survive after she dies, which is inevitable? Will Hazel be able to deal with anything that happens to her love? Will Isaac be alright with whatever is happening with his greatest friend?

GRADE 9Everyone was carrying on about it, but it was Elina who finally convinced me when she spoke so highly of it. So it had to be done, I had to see what this entire rave was about before the movie assaults us all. I must say, I really enjoyed it. It was a good read, and I like John Green’s writing style, I really appreciated it. This book gives a whole different outlook on cancer patients, once again, and gives you another look at how selfish others can be about it, and how much they deal with. I loved the characters, and Augustus Waters was just too damned adorable. The book kept me interested throughout, and it was great fun to follow Augustus and Hazel on their journey of reading, cancer and wishes and dreams. There were a lot of laughs and there was a lot of tough things to work through, and Isaac made me giggle, he had quite the sense of humour. John Green is pretty damn sharp, which is demonstrated time and time again throughout the novel. This is definitely not the type of book that I would generally read, so I was a little sceptical, especially considering there was a lot of hype surrounding it, but I think it was well justified. If you have not yet read this book, I would highly recommend it.