I do like to do lists at this time of year to talk about the best stories that have been told to me, through the media of film, television or print this year.
First up, its movies! I don't rank my movies because it was hard enough picking just 5 let alone putting them into some kind of logical order.
Okay, I may have lied about being able to make a logical dissention between my favourite and least favourite movies. Let's just call this one no.1 and everyone else the runners up. Hands down this was the best movie that I saw in 2014. Possibly the best movie I've seen in a very long time. I went with friends and we spent the entire walk back to my flat in silence because we didn't really know what to say. Even after a cup of tea to restore us we found it difficult to talk. It's such a powerful movie. It portrays such a powerful picture of Autism for a start (Alan Turing would, by today's standards, have been put somewhere on the Autistic Spectrum based on accounts of his personality.) and also the ending is crushing as to the treatment of homosexual's. This man and his team effectively ended the war early, yet none of this mattered in the face of his 'perversion'. The last 10 minutes of the film is so heart-breaking. Without doubt the most powerful piece of film I've seen in a long time.
Guardians of the Galaxy
This movie was such fun. I laughed so much, and cried on one occasion. If you've seen it you'll know what occasion that was, or at least can guess. This movie has a lot of kick ass action and a female character that is not - thank god - just a romantic interest for the male lead. It's ridiculous at times and outrageous at others, but it's definitely one that I would go back and watch time and time again. I'm already looking forward to the sequel.
The Fault In Our Stars
And the prize for the movie that made me cry the most this year goes to, The Fault In Our Stars. Not even Les Miserables could match up to the amount of water that left my eyes in that cinema. I'm kind of glad I went on my own.
The real strength of this movie I felt was the message that it left, about how Gus wanted to leave a lasting impression on the world, but what was more important was the way he touched the lives of his close friends and family. When compared to the book (baring in mind that it has been some time since reading TFIOS) I felt that the movie brought this message across much better, but a re-read may change my mind.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
I have a lot of trouble saying that I 'enjoy' the Hunger Games series. The films are, yes, extremely good and getting better with each film. But the subject matter is horrifying, and getting more so. Jennifer Lawrence is an absolute gem in this, and her portrayal of PTSD and her slowly descending into worse and worse appearance of PTSD is very convincing. There are so many parts of the movie where I catch myself wincing at the screen because there's something there, with all the 'propaganda' that feels terribly familiar and not impossible in the future. Also, Josh Hutcherson deserves some recognition for his fabulous work. I won’t spoil it in case you haven’t seen it but he really comes into his own as an actor in this instalment. I can’t wait to see what he and Jen do in the final part.
How To Train Your Dragon 2
This is a truly beautifully animated film. I love these stories to death. They’re so touching. I also love all the characters. Toothless is a given as he reminds me of my cat. For being an ‘animated’ film, the portrayal of relationships is really pretty good. Hiccup and Astrid have a wonderful chemistry, and how they showed Hiccup’s parents brought a few tears to my eyes. The story was also very well told. I was concerned where they were going to go from the first film, but they still managed to have a very meaningful plot that was well executed. Again, looking forward to the next one. If the school where I worked wasn’t so strict about not letting them watch films on the last days of term then I would insist on them all watching this, just so that I could watch it more!