Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Replay: The Year 2014 in film

year in review

From summer blockbusters to indie releases, fairy-tale weddings to cyber attacks, Hollywood kept us entertained aplenty in 2014. Instep takes a look back at its most memorable achievements through the year.

- Jennifer Lawrence continued to be her delightfully effervescent self while continuing to be insanely successful. The actress was 2014’s highest grossing performer, thanks to the latest installments of the X-Men and The Hunger Games franchises, with her blockbusters earning $1.4 billion globally this year.

- In a development that we totally did not see coming, 2014 turned out to be the year of the confusingly gorgeous (how and when did that happen?!) Chris Pratt, who was the highest grossing ($1.2 billion) male actor of 2014, and starred in the year’s two most exciting, entertaining, enjoyable movies, namely …

     … The Lego Movie, which made it hip to be rectangle, and told us that everything is awesome!

     … and Guardians of the Galaxy, which practically forced us to have a good time, no matter how hard we tried to resist its charms. Now we’re not quite sure how to hear the line “we are Groot” without bursting into tears. Excuse us while we find a towel.

- Transformers: Age of Extinction was one of the worst films of the year. Transformers: Age of Extinction was also the highest grossing film of the year. Trying to reconcile these two facts makes our head hurt.

- Captain America: The Winter Soldier was impressive despite not being wintery enough.

- The Grand Budapest Hotel was quite grand.

- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t very amazing.

- Birdman soared.

- Chef delighted.

- Godzilla was one of the better attempts at rebooting a franchise. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was not.

- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes left us wondering how Andy Serkis still does not have an Oscar nomination.

- Snowpiercer explored socio-political divides with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

- Maleficent tried to cast a positive light on Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent, although it forgot to explain why her parents chose to name her “maleficent” (literally: harmful, evil) in the first place if she was a good fairy.

- Boyhood took 12 years to make and 3 hours to watch, and will take an entire award season to celebrate.

- The absolutely terrific Gone Girl’s dark, twisted, creepy drama left us wondering what it says about us if this is one of our favourite movies of the year. We think we might need therapy.

- The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything told the stories of two incredible scientists with stellar performances by Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch.

- Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars and orchestrated a selfie that broke Twitter. She also got pizza for everyone, which makes us think we will get along really well with her. Alfonso CuarĂ³n became the first Mexican to win the Best Director trophy while 12 Years A Slave won the Best Picture award.

- The McConaissance was upon us, as Matthew McConaughey took home the Best Actor Academy Award and then starred in Interstellar which was (quite literally) out of this world.

- It was declared compulsory by law for every single person on planet Earth to comment on Renee Zellweger’s new face.

- Angelina Jolie continued to look incredible even after she got chicken pox because the universe is annoyingly unfair. She also married the drool-generating Brad Pitt because the odds are somehow stacked in her favour.

- George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin to the endless fascination of everyone with too much time on their hands.

- Not content with simply doing a hat trick of terribleness, Nicolas Cage went the extra mile and released four awful movies in one year. That statistic is quite impressive in its own appalling way.

- Dumb and Dumber To: a project so dumb that they even got the spelling of “two” wrong.

- The world lost some of its brightest stars, including Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple, Harold Ramis, Casey Kasem, James Garner, Joan Rivers, and Jan Hooks.

- Everyone was so busy being overly amused by celebrities pouring ice water over their heads that most of us still won’t be able to tell what ALS actually stands for.

- Kickstarter resurrected Veronica Mars.
- Leapin’ lizards! The remake of Annie took some hard knocks from critics. Summary of what was wrong with it: everything.
- Based on religious accounts, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings did not please the censors in various Muslim countries and were promptly banned.

- Selena Gomez tried (and failed) to have a movie career.

- Jaden and Willow Smith transcended to a whole new level of enlightenment never attained by an earthling before.

- Apparently Tilda Swinton was in some of the films we watched. We’re still not quite convinced that this is true.

- Dracula Untold would have been better left untold.

- Kirk Cameron’s attempt at saving Christmas (and then saving Saving Christmas from bad reviews) went awfully awry.

- After watching Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy, we can honestly say, don’t.

- Adam Sandler starred in another award-worthy film, presuming the award in question is the Razzie.

- Jennifer Aniston continued to generate envy by being gorgeous.

- Young adults found themselves in dystopian settings a little too often.

- Shailene Woodley gained prominence for Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars.

- The Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer caused a kerfuffle because of a black stormtrooper.

- The massive interest in the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer made us weep for humanity.

- Photos of several actresses were leaked online.

- Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb marked an end to a franchise that we refuse to admit we secretly enjoyed.

- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released, warding off fear that Peter Jackson might be tempted to turn the final film into its own trilogy.

- Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg tried to start World War III by spoofing the supremest of all leaders, his exalted highness, monsieur Kim Jong-un in The Interview. Bizarre events, quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, ensued. Sony Pictures was hacked, their documents and films leaked, and terror threats made, but ultimately sanity prevailed and the movie was finally released. Now we are glad we live in a world where we can exercise our own free will and choose not to watch The Interview.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 31st December, 2014 *

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