Haricharan Pudipeddi (IANS) | The News Minute | December 21, 2014 | 12:10 pm IST
From the coming-of-age story of a young boy to the tale of a chef who starts a food truck and fixes his estranged relationship with his family, Hollywood managed to inspire and entertain audiences in right proportion in 2014.
IANS lists some of the best offerings from Hollywood:
"Boyhood": Filmed over a period of 11 years, "Boyhood" is an expansive investigation of human drama and emotions narrated through the eyes of a young boy. It's probably the most engrossing coming-of-age drama of the century. Filmmaker Richard Linklater captures boyhood on screen like you've never seen before and probably never won't again because this might be a one-off masterpiece. Beg, buy, borrow or steal, but you can't afford to miss the film.
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes": It reminds us that an entertaining Hollywood film need not always be about mass destruction, mayhem and full throttle action and that it could also be a story with intelligence, great visual effects and an emotional core. This is what you'll find in Matt Reeves' "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes". The film effortlessly rewrites blockbuster movie formulas. It's a touching story about peacemaking and coexistence of apes and humans.
"The Fault in our Stars": Every minute in this film is like a ticking time-bomb as it's packed with emotional climaxes at regular intervals. A heart-breaker, this romantic tale is filled with humour, warmth and stellar performances. It challenges the teen-flicks conventions with a story that tugs at your heartstrings. It's a tear-jerker for sure, but at the same time it dodges all the drawbacks associated with cliched cancer drama. Let's just hope the Bollywood remake doesn't turn out to be an insult to the original.
"Gone Girl": This definitely isn't filmmaker David Fincher's best work, but it certainly isn't his worst either. Based on an eponymous novel by Gillian Flynn, "Gone Girl" is a disturbing walk down the aisle of a disturbed marriage. Fincher unravels this matrimonial madness in his trademark style found in his past thrillers such as "Se7en", "Zodiac" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". The suspense grows on you scene by scene and dialogues play a vital part in taking the story forward. And Rosamund Pike is a revelation.
"Big Hero 6": Animation films should not to be taken lightly for they deliver more than just entertainment. Disney's "Big Hero 6", a heartwarming story about a robot with a heart, celebrates nerd culture. It's a consistently funny take on superhero films with compassion and gentleness.
"Interstellar": It's not a film you can instantaneously fall in love with. It requires a great amount of patience and understanding to enjoy Christopher Nolan's sci-fi drama about the search for a habitable planet when earth is on the brink of extinction. Agreed, it's awkwardly slow-paced, but it's unarguably the best cinematic experience you can have in cinemas - provided you watch it with sincerity because a lot of scientific terminology can catch you off guard.
"The Babadook": This horror-thriller will get under your skin and play with your psyche. Jennifer Kent in her directorial debut gives us the best horror experience since "The Shining", and it's unlikely to experience something so brilliant once again. Venturing deep into the fears of childhood and adulthood, "The Babadook" is the best retelling of a horror story sans cliches. Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman deserve to be credited with the best on screen mother-son pair.
"Edge of Tomorrow": A sci-fi work with the heart of a video game, "Edge of Tomorrow" gives Tom Cruise a chance to return to his league with a bang, and he does so effortlessly in the role of an army public relations officer who is thrown into the middle of a war and is expected to be combat-ready in just a few hours. It's the most entertaining film to have come out with the concept of time loop.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel": Coming from one of the most creative filmmakers, Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is an odd screwball comedy that comes alive with the sparkling performance of Ralph Fiennes as concierge Gustave H. For hardcore fans of Anderson, this is a full course meal with all the right ingredients to be gobbled down in one go.
"Nightcrawler": An Oscar-deserving performance by Jake Gyllenhaal makes "Nightcrawler" the most unmissable films of the year. Despite its murky message, it's a thriller that makes us sit up and take notice of the extremely talented actor hidden within Jake, who plays a character obsessed with real-life tragedy and carnage to the hilt.
(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at email@example.com)