Since we are half-way through 2014 (now let the panic about how little we have all achieved set in), we’ve decided to take a little step back to evaluate our favourites of the year – thus far. Some of these are festival releases with no set UK release – so that’s a pain, but most are on track for a 2014 release.
12. The Butterfly Room
Despite being made in 2012, this indie horror didn’t get a full UK release until its straight to DVD arrival arrival a few months ago. This classy slice of Grande Dame Guignol starred horror veteran Barbara Steele as a reclusive lady who develops an obsessive relationship with her neighbour’s daughter.
11. Palo Alto
Yet to receive a UK release, Palo Alto proves that Gia Coppola is another outstanding addition to a rich filmmaking dynasty and James Franco is a man who understands the subtle complexities of teenage life.
10. Brick Mansions
9. The Wolf of Wall Street
The joy of The Wolf of Wall Street can be summed up in two words: Leonardo DiCaprio. This is the actors finest performance of his career – and one that he was wrongly cheated of an Oscar for.
8. Grace of Monaco
Grace of Monaco is a sheer force of nature. Olivier Dahan has crafted an overblown, theatrical and superficial melodrama filled with sparkling glamour and a fairytale-like visual awe. Grace of Monaco is the first truly magnificent camp classic since Showgirls. I loved every minute of it.
7.Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York is a staggering watch that simultaneously thrills and repels. Gerard Depardieu’s unrestrained performance is utterly fearless and marks the pinnacle of his career.
6. Child of God
Whether this Cormac McCarthy adaptation is a film that can be liked or not is another question, but there is no doubt in the fact that Child of God is a darkly engaging and boldly uncompromising glimpse into a world of visceral Southern Gothic horror – and that James Franco is a skilled filmmaker with a passion for his bleak subject matter.
5. The Dance of Reality
This a true exuberant masterpiece from Alejandro Jodorowsky, both a visual feast and ideological one. Filled with a sense of magical realism and mysticism this is a consistently enlightening look at the creation of a titan of cult cinema.
4. The Green Inferno
The Green Inferno is without doubt Eli Roth’s finest work to date. Shot with masterful suspense and a nerve-shredding atmosphere, Roth has presented a future classic horror that is filled with wonderful shocks, stomach-churning gore and also a huge amount of fun.
3. Stella Cadente (Falling Star)
Falling Star is a consistently engaging experience filled with vibrancy, dazzling surrealism, and a raw sexuality. Luis Minarro has crafted an outstanding cinematic experience that demands your attention.
2. The Two Faces of January
The combination of Patricia Highsmith’s ever-thrilling literary mind and Hossein Amini’s tense and engaging direction, The Two Faces of January is a gripping watch. Rich visual detail in the form of jaw-dropping gorgeous costumes and photography, coupled with magnetic performances help The Two Faces of January assert itself as one of the finest films of 2014.
1. Cold in July
Cold in July is more than a throwback to the vigilante B-Movie, it’s an unpredictable experience from start to finish that successfully grips, amuses and delights throughout. Don Johnson and Sam Shepard have never been better than this.