A range of monster films impressed

by Gazette Reporter

2014 has been a stellar year for films – and now is the perfect time to catch up on some of the finest films you may have missed in the cinema.
First up is David Fincher’s gloriously dark thriller, Gone Girl.
A tense and deep mystery revolving around a woman’s sudden disappearance, Fincher’s film is lengthy but never misses a beat thanks to two powerful lead performances by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.
The banal veneer of a suburban middle-class marriage is piece by piece picked away to expose a much more sinister and gruesome layer beneath.
A perfect marriage of story and style, Gone Girl is a superb piece of storytelling that doesn’t need to rely on any last-minute twists to make it work, and gets better with each watch.
Keeping the theme dark and homely, Australian low-budget horror The Babadook stands out as one of this year’s best movies.
When a pop-up book appears on the shelf in young Sam’s room, the strange monster depicted inside tries to find its way into Sam’s home.
You don’t need to be a horror fan to appreciate this haunted-house story – The Babadook’s chilling efficacy lies in its slow-burning psychological roots rather than outright scare tactics.
One of the most enjoyable yet uneasy films of the year, we can thank The Babadook for introducing us to writer and director Jennifer Kent, and also Noah Wiseman, who needs to be awarded something prestigious immediately for being the creepiest child actor currently working in film.
Without a doubt the film of the year has to be Richard Linklater’s epic, Boyhood.
The ambulatory and discursive style that Linklater brought to the Before Sunrise trilogy finds its ultimate form in Boyhood – a rare technical treat that was filmed over the course of 12 years.
While Linklater is no stranger to drawing out a good story, this is the first time we have had the chance to see his characters age so much in one sitting.
Tracing the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from his early years to adulthood, Boyhood is a story about growing up, and consequently touches on a massive range of issues, from parenting to puberty to love and separation.
In typical Linklater style, there is little action and a lot of absolutely delicious dialogue – Boyhood is full of the kind of meaningful, life-pondering conversations that leave you enriched for having listened to them.
The on-screen transformations are not just reserved to Mason’s journey as a boy. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, both of whom are on incredible form here, also spend a significant decade on screen as their characters pass slowly through middle age and encounter all the complications that brings.
For the scale of its ambition, the success of its script and acting, and the richness of its soul – Boyhood instantly attains the status of a classic film and is one that demands to be watched and re-watched regularly.
A recap of the year’s best offerings wouldn’t seem complete without a look at what didn’t work so well.
Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin had to be one of the let-downs of the year. All style with little substance, the story of a nameless extra-terrestrial played by Scarlett Johansson had some audiences gushing with warm praise, while others felt more alienated than the story on screen.
Under The Skin is arguably worth a watch, if only to try to figure out exactly what is going on in it …

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