A Year of Unlimited

So here we are – I’ve spent a year writing reviews of every film I’ve seen with the Unlimited card at my local cinema. It’s been really good to get back into review writing, and particularly writing about things I enjoy, and I’ll definitely carry this on (without the “Year of Unlimited” headline) as well as for games. I managed to see 24 films in the year (I saw a few of them more than once as well), which averages out at around two per month (a couple weren’t at Cineworld but I’ve included them as I reviewed them and I get a nice round number).

I thought I’d do a little round-up piece rating the movies I’ve reviewed (this also includes the three I saw without the card). There were some disappointments, some surprises and some favourites that I’ll watch again and again – and a distinct absence of terrible, “why did I see this” experiences simply because I chose to see what I wanted to see. Even if you can go and see every movie released in a month for a set fee, why would you (if you are capable of having an opinion and personal taste)!?

24. Kingsman: The Secret Service – this movie was, in my opinion, a massive disappointment, especially when Kick-Ass is still one of the better comedy-action thrillers of recent times

23. Jupiter Ascending – how the makers of The Matrix fell to this low, I’ll never know, though it’s destined to be a “so bad it’s good” movie for all time

22. Jurassic World – the franchise should have stayed extinct – even Chris Pratt and Jake Johnson (and some John Williams music) couldn’t save it

21. The Expendables 3 – did you expect anything more or less? Diminishing returns for this series (though most who enjoy watching them will still see a fourth)

20. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For – a sequel coming far too late after the original to be anywhere near as good (how does Jessica Alba still have a career in film!?)

19. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – the journey ends with a great drama that still somewhat flatters to deceive

18. Avengers: Age of Ultron – one of Marvel’s bigger missteps so far – hopefully the series of films learns from the mistakes (though I still enjoyed it)

17. The Water Diviner – a pleasant little drama from Russell Crowe (who would have thought it)

16. Before I Go To Sleep – a great adaptation of a nail-biting book, and some good casting against type

15. Fury – World War II movies get a gory, dirty kick up the arse with this brutal movie

14. The Inbetweeners 2 – hilarious, disgusting and surprisingly on-the-nose when it comes to hipster, posh travelling types – the Inbetweeners bow out in style

13. Ant-Man – Paul Rudd as a superhero who shrinks to ant-size – and it somehow, despite everything, works

12. Guardians of the Galaxy – Marvel’s funniest and most bizarre film makes everyone realise superheroes aren’t necessarily the be-all and end-all

11. Interstellar – epic, scientifically-accurate (for the most part) sci-fi – a great (if long) companion to 2001 and other space exploration dramas

10. The Imitation Game – Benedict Cumberbatch sensitively depicts one of the UK’s greatest men, his achievements and the price he paid for the life he led

9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Serkis and co prove that motion-capture can provide emotion, thrills and drama – and make a film about talking apes one of the year’s best

8. The Theory of Everything – the story of Stephen Hawking is poignantly and masterfully told, with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones providing amazing performances

7. Mad Max: Fury Road – no better car-chase movie has ever been made – not to mention this is the first ever feminist action blockbuster. Epic

6. John Wick – this film redefines the way action movies should be shot, and Keanu Reeves is fantastic (for the first time in ages). Did I mention it all hinges around a puppy?!

5. Nightcrawler – a creepy, sneezy movie, Nightcrawler is a tense and slimy indictment of our internet and live news culture. Jake Gyllenhaal is excellent (and disturbing)

4. Gone Girl – another stellar David Fincher movie, Gone Girl benefits from having original author Gillian Flynn write the script. Add Affleck, Pike and Reznor – and you get gold

3. Whiplash – you’ll never see a drum kit, or jazz music, the same way again – tense, dramatic and terrifying (and it’s a movie about playing music). J.K. Simmons is terrifying

2. Boyhood – truly one-of-a-kind, Boyhood is a 12-year-long odyssey of a young boy’s childhood and teenage life you won’t forget in a hurry

1. Ex Machina – the best film of the last year, Ex Machina shows science-fiction can be subtle, intellectual, tense and philosophical while questioning our dependence on AI


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