Cinematic Convolutions: Top Movies I’ve Seen This Year

Brea-edwards_cinema_night

With 2014 ended, I feel like its an appropriate time to list what I felt like were the best movies that I’ve seen this year! These lists are usually top ten lists, but unfortunately, being a High School student,I have neither the time nor the financial resources to see 10 movies.

(Basically I’m saying that I’m stressing for Finals, and I’m broke.”

So instead, I’ll go through my 3 favorites that I saw this year!

(Please keep in mind this is a personal list of my opinion only. Also, Mini Spoiler warning!)

3. Big Hero 6

I really, really, really liked Big Hero 6. (Note not love) Its strength as a film lie in its interactions between its characters as well as the motivations of the main character, Hiro. It was a grab-your-sides comedy that can be expected from a kids film, but yet it knew when to take itself seriously; getting surprisingly dark at times that I really appreciated as a older viewer of the film. The star of the film really is the interaction and comedy between Hiro and his plush robot companion Baymax, the film expertly grows Hiro’s character in relation to allowing the audience to become attached to Baymax as the comedic relief/side main character of the show. This film never left the surface level of cinema, but it didn’t really need to or want to. This film knew what it wanted to be, an action comedy kids film, and really nailed what it wanted to do, especially on an emotional level, as it wasn’t afraid to kill off characters without removing the comedy feel to it. The only major thing I didn’t enjoy was the “plot twist” near the end of the film that really anyone that’s seen any movies could predict, but its a kids film.

Score: 8/10

2. Interstellar

As an avid science enthusiast, I loved Interstellar as a film. It’s basic premise, without giving too much away, is that to continue the survival of the human race, we must venture out to find a habitable home. This film did so many things right in my eyes. Firstly, for the most part, it was a scientifically accurate film, and those in audience familiar with scientific nomenclature could appreciate the subtle little references. But while it did pander to the scientific community, it wasn’t too complicated that the average laymen would be lost watching it, as the references aren’t crucial to the plot at all, more so little tid bits to reward those who have done their research. Secondly, space. Literally space. The film does an amazing job letting the audience feel the absolute vastness of space and time, especially in one particular moment that had the whole audience gasping in the theater I was in, I can’t reveal that moment, but if you’ve seen the film, you know what I’m talking about. Space is punctuated by the score of the film, which was great, Hans Zimmer delivers another great, edge of your seat experience in his orchestrations, but the best part was where the music wasn’t. Any scene where the the audience has a perspective in space, the score cuts out, and there is nothing. No sound, not a peep. Just the icy vacuum of space, and without a single line of dialogue, these are some of most powerful images from the film, that really say, “Holy Crap, space is huge.” I personally felt all the acting was incredibly well done, especially from a surprise actor that I’ll leave out for spoiler purposes. I only have a couple things that I didn’t like. Firstly, the film tries to reach for themes are a little too far fetched for the movie itself, and tries to push those themes in the audience’s face. It really tries to push the theme of the transcendental nature of love, but that could have been cutout and the movie wouldn’t have changed. Secondly, the score was great, but at times it was literally so loud that the audience can’t hear what the actors are saying the scene, but this was a particularly action packed scene, so it could be possible that it was done on purpose by Christopher Nolan, but I doubt it. All in all, an excellent movie that needs to be seen.

Score: 9/10

3. Nightcrawler

Wow. Just wow. I did a trailer analysis for th]is movie, and I predicted that it would be at the very least a good film, but I had no idea what was in store for me when I watched what I felt like was the best movie I’d seen all year. The movie follows the path of a man named Louis Bloom from his rise from a thief to a Nightcrawler, someone who scours the early dawn looking for juicy, bloody events to film to sell to news stations. And it is from Bloom’s perspective that we watch this film from. This is one of the film’s best features, it is a character driven story, and so it never leaves Bloom’s perspective, always with him during his successes and failures. Using this style of showing the story means that, unlike Interstellar, themes and motifs are not shoved in the audience’s face, but instead are SHOWN to the audience, not told. This movie uses indirect characterization masterfully, always allowing the audience to figure out what is going on, and really, try to figure out who is Louis Bloom. In reality, the character of Louis Bloom is the film’s strongest standpoint. I’ve decided to do a full analysis of Nightcrawler, so I’ll save my analysis for then. But what I can say, is that Louis Bloom is the most interesting character of the year because he’s a straight up antagonist. This film is a character film about an antagonist, and as the film goes on, the audience has to fight rooting for him, as he is the main character, and wanting him to fail because of the things he does. I eventually gave up trying to reconcile this in my head, and realized I was just along for the ride as Bloom moves further and further beyond the boundaries of journalistic integrity and ethics. Beyond that, the film has beautiful cinematography and camera work, fitting for a film about camera men who roam the night. Its expertly paced, after watching it twice, neither time felt especially long or drawn out, it had well timed high and low conflict points of the film, eventually building for the final ride. I was highly contested whether to pick Interstellar or Nightcrawler as my favorite movie of the year while I was watching T.V, when all of a sudden a news piece came on about a car crash. I watched the burning wreck through the screen, and all I could think about was Louis Bloom, and Nightcrawler, and that’s when I knew who won. I realized would never look at the news the same way again, and neither will you, after you watch Nightcrawler.

Score: 10/10

-Corey

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