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The Best Films of 2014

22 Dec 2014

As the year comes to a close here are our cinematic highlights

After much scratching of heads, pulling of hair and changing of minds, The List's film team have assembled our Christmas present to you. It’s our five favourite films of 2014. Drum roll please...

Exodus: Gods and Kings

22 Dec 20144 stars

Revisionist, highly entertaining biblical epic from Ridley Scott, starring Christian Bale

Trust Ridley Scott to give us a bold, revisionist take on the foundation story of three major world religions. Like his gritty Robin Hood his version of the epic Old Testament adventure sheds some time-honoured elements for an earnest stab at realism…

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

8 Dec 20143 stars

Peter Jackson's Middle-earth saga closes in sporadically spectacular style

Following on directly from The Desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson kicks straight into the action with the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy. This sad farewell to the dwarves, wizards, elves and other inhabitants of Middle-earth provides grand…

2015 Highlights: Film

5 Dec 2014

From arthouse to multiplex, The List previews the must-see cinema of 2015

Romance gets salacious, Julianne Moore vies for an Oscar, Marvel enters the age of Ultron and, well, Star Wars does its thing – 2015 promises to be a bumper year for movie-goers. Emma Simmonds previews the cream of the cinematic crop...

Black Butler

16 Oct 20143 stars

Martial arts mayhem from Kentarô Ohtani and Kei’ichi Sato as the manga springs to life

Two directors, Kentarô Ohtani and Kei’ichi Sato, take on the task of bringing Yana Toboso's massively successful manga Kuroshitsuji to the big screen, a comic which has already inspired an anime TV series, a musical and a video game. Tsutomu Kuroiwa…

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Fury

15 Oct 20144 stars

London Film Festival: Brad Pitt impresses in David Ayer's appropriately brutal take on World War II

David Ayer’s second film this year, following Sabotage, takes all of the contemporary grit that he shovelled into his earlier work – like 2012's End of Watch – and puts it in a period context. Set in April 1945, as the Allies make their final push to…

Black Sea

1 Dec 20144 stars

Gripping submarine thriller from Kevin Macdonald featuring a commanding Jude Law

Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), this enjoyable thriller stars Jude Law as Robinson, a Scottish former submarine captain who's made redundant from his job at a salvage company after 11 years of service. When he hears a story…

The Giver

15 Sep 20142 stars

Disappointing adaptation of Lois Lowry's YA novel with Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges

The pile of unwanted, underwhelming young-adult adaptations is rising. From The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones to The Host via Ender’s Game, the search for another Twilight or The Hunger Games has ransacked the bookshelves of many literate teens.

Interview: Robert Rodriguez, Eva Green and Jessica Alba talk Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

26 Aug 2014

The director and stars are making a return to Frank Miller's graphic neo-noir universe

If there’s been one question Robert Rodriguez has faced over the past nine years, it’s this: When are you going back to Sin City? ‘To have a movie that people chase you down about to get a sequel for. That just doesn’t happen,’ nods the 46-year-old…

Let's Be Cops

26 Aug 20143 stars

Fitfully entertaining cop comedy featuring New Girl's Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr

The buddy cop comedy gets an interesting spin in Let’s Be Cops, a hit-and-miss affair that amuses and frustrates in equal measure. Co-written and directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), the film follows two loser flat-mates – Jake Johnson’s…

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Guardians of the Galaxy

28 Jul 20144 stars

Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana star in triumphant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Based on little known comic-book characters, Guardians of the Galaxy represents something of a leap of faith for Marvel Studios, especially since the film's ties to the all-conquering Avengers franchise are largely superficial, consisting only of brief…

The Grandmaster

1 Dec 20143 stars

Stunning but emotionally undernourished martial arts biopic from Wong Kar-wai

Flying fists and the agony of unconsummated romance power Wong Kar-wai's Oscar-nominated kung fu spectacle, which receives a belated UK release after its clandestine premiere when it was unmasked as the 2013 London Film Festival's surprise film

Ten things we know about Interstellar

31 Oct 2014

'No green screen. They were chucking dust in my face every day.'

Mind-bogglingly ambitious, Interstellar looks set to be Christopher Nolan’s craziest film yet. Karen Krizanovich discovers what inspires The Dark Knight and Inception director to go bigger every time, and what key Interstellar cast members – Matthew…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

13 Oct 20143 stars

Fun, cheesy reboot of the action franchise starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett

The director's credit may read Jonathan Liebesman, but there's no mistaking the influence of producer Michael Bay on this reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise, which began life in 1984 as a humble self-published comic book by Peter Laird…

The Maze Runner

6 Oct 20143 stars

James Dashner's YA novel is the basis for a dystopian adventure starring Dylan O'Brien

Ever since Suzanne Collins’ young adult novel The Hunger Games was transformed into a box-office smash starring Jennifer Lawrence, there’s been a trend for adapting teen dystopian fiction in Hollywood. Shailene Woodley appeared in the adaptation of…

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Andoni Aduriz and Icíar Bollaín amongst highlights of first Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival

3 Oct 2014

Series of film screenings, talks, Q&A sessions and workshops to take place from 8–12 Oct

‘With 20,000 Hispanic speakers craving for Hispanic culture, the launch of the first Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival was a no-brainer,’ says festival director Marian A. Aréchaga, ahead of its launch at the Filmhouse next week. In collaboration with the…

Interview: Black Watch playwright Gregory Burke talks ’71, and moving from theatre to film

1 Oct 2014

‘I'm not into theatre! Even when I was working in theatre, I never went to the theatre!’

‘I've always wanted to shirk responsibility wherever I can in life,’ laughs Gregory Burke. The Fife-born playwright is best known for the Olivier Award-winning drama Black Watch about British soldiers in Iraq – and he jumped at the chance to write his…

Dracula Untold

30 Sep 20142 stars

Luke Evans and Charles Dance impress in an otherwise mishandled origin story

An early title for this latest spin on Bram Stoker’s fanged fiend was ‘Dracula: Year Zero’, which gives some indication of where the writers gleaned inspiration for this origin story: Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel 'Batman: Year One'. Dracula…

Into the Storm

19 Aug 20142 stars

Richard Armitage stars in an underwhelming found footage disaster movie from director Steven Quale

Steven Quale’s Into the Storm may blow you away with the quality of some of its special effects but it'll leave you underwhelmed and exasperated in most other respects. Set in or around Silverton, Oklahoma it sees a powerful storm hit the town. By…

The Expendables 3

11 Aug 20143 stars

Stallone, Statham and Schwarzenegger reunite for the third part of the actioner franchise

Sylvester Stallone may have assembled his biggest cast yet for this third instalment in his Expendables franchise but, while certainly enjoyable, it’s also (bullet) riddled with the same problems that beset its predecessors. The lack of a decent…

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Kick

28 Jul 20143 stars

Entertainingly madcap Bollywood remake starring Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez

Remakes are just as rife in Bollywood as its western counterpart. Kick finds director Sajid Nadiadwala making his debut behind the camera repurposing Reddy Surender’s 2009 hit as a glossy vehicle for Salman Khan to strut his stuff and air his grievances…

Hercules

23 Jul 20143 stars

Dwayne Johnson makes a charismatic 'son of Zeus' in an unashamedly entertaining take on the myth

Having already established himself as the king of trashy blockbusters, thanks to films like the Rush Hour series and Tower Heist, Brett Ratner steps things up to epic levels for his daft but watchable take on Hercules. Inspired by the graphic novel…

Interview: producer Jason Blum talks The Purge: Anarchy, micro-budget filmmaking and franchises vs creativity

22 Jul 2014

'If all I’m ever making is sequels, I should look for work elsewhere - that would be bad'

In the future, crime, unemployment and homelessness in America are at an all time low, thanks to one night a year where all crime is made legal. That's the concept behind The Purge, a low-budget action-horror that came out of nowhere to become a…

The Purge: Anarchy

22 Jul 20143 stars

Sequel to the unexpected smash entertainingly expands on the original's premise

‘Profit-making is not the essence of democracy’ offers one of the more eloquent characters in James DeMonaco’s engagingly blunt sequel to 2013's The Purge, a low-budget sensation which turned a massive profit despite being little more than standard…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

14 Jul 20144 stars

The simian sci-fi sequel proves you can marry visual spectacle with heart and intelligence

Complexity is something that’s all too rare in modern blockbusters but Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – like Rupert Wyatt’s Rise – proves you can marry visual spectacle with something to engage the heart and the head too. Thought-provoking…