That there folks is the Movie Dude Genre Award. In a little fantasy up in my head its real, mounted on a small base and is being handed out by celebrities in an old restored theatre…. Maybe next year, for now it’s just a symbol and though it may not mean much to anyone else it certainly means something to me. But enough about me, I’m beyond pleased to announce that this is the 1st Ever Annual Movie Dude Awards! (Day One)
Best Ever Action Film
In ways this was a tough choice but it was hard to look past Snowpiercer. It’s quite an intellectual film which gives it its own identity and makes it quite a unique film to see, which is not all too common in the action genre. Its social commentary on class division broadens its scope and gives it such depth, offering us a great perspective into the world in which Snowpiercer takes place.
Bong Joon-Ho’s direction, its imaginative cinematography and quality production design are well-thought out and the performances are strong but it’s this theme that’s most impressive. It’s a film with heart; it has a message and it conveys it succinctly. On top of that it’s an action-packed extravaganza.
Best Ever Adventure Film
There was some stiff competition because when Hollywood wants to make adventure films they usually deliver, but in terms of presentation nothing topped The Lego Movie.
Who would have thought children’s building blocks would make a great film? The Lego Movie is something that’s never been done; intuitive stop-motion Lego animation along with a talented cast of voice actors that deliver gags and jokes from a brilliantly-written script that successfully combines comedy with more sombre moments to take us on an adventure that works for both young and old. All these faculties come into play and together the end result is an adventure worth taking.
Best Ever Animated Film
There are many here that I could have chosen and all would have been worthy winners but once I split the fine hairs I knew I was right in choosing The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya. A lot of Anime films often get ignored over here and it’s a shame because they have produced some great films that are worth hunting down and watching. In the case of Kaguya its animation stands out overall because not only is it beautiful it somehow adds to its emotional depth; definitely not one to watch with friends because chances are you will cry.
Best Ever Biopic
If you read my review you’ll know how highly I consider this film. It wasn’t just the way the film was brought together but the insight into the life of Alan Turing. In today’s cinema it’s hard to feel genuine emotion for a character, even if based on the life of a real man, but The Imitation Game evokes such feelings of shame and lament, especially when you read the epilogue, that you can’t deny its quality.
When it came time to choose, despite the other nominees being amazingly good, I just couldn’t look past this one. The performance of Benedict Cumberpatch and Graham Moore’s screenplay made this a quality film, but it’s the story of Alan Turing that makes it brilliant.
Best Ever Comedy Film
In my attempts to offer as broad a spectrum as possible I tried to include as many films as I could, but there are exceptions to every rule. In this instance The Grand Budapest Hotel was the exception. It’s just so well-made in so many facets that I couldn’t justify leaving it out, hence why it’s featured so many times.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the strangest comedies I’ve ever watched because at once it’s got a bit of action, adventure, drama, mystery and thriller all rolled into one. What it does that makes it ingenious is it takes all those traits and makes a whole lot of fun at them. The main culprit of this is Ralph Fiennes who delivers some very clever dead-pan lines while he and straight-man Tony Revolori provide this brilliantly-timed one-two punch throughout.
Best Ever Documentary
This is a subject that hits me close to home. For this reason I was hesitant watching Virunga; as much as I wanted to view its contents I knew I was not ready to be confronted by this reality. This award came down to two films and I mulled it over for a long time before realising that the love and compassion demonstrated in Virunga tipped the scales in its favour.
The true story of Virunga actually plays out like a drama. Director Orlando von Einsiedel travelled to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo to document region development and increased tourism. What they filmed was an explosive investigative drama involving the M23 Rebellion and the illegal dealings of British oil company Soco International all in an attempt to try and stop the widespread war, poaching and oil drilling that currently still threatens Virunga.
What makes Virunga such a heartfelt film is the commitment of Einsiedel and his documentary team. When you watch Virunga you truly feel for the gorillas that inhabit the area, the real victims of war and poaching, and you know they didn’t make this film out of curiosity; they wanted to make a difference, and while the road is long they have, for the most part, been successful.
Best Ever Drama Film
Critically speaking drama films always deliver. Usually, in order to find the best one, you have to really pick them apart until you find what makes them better than the rest. This time around it’s not so hard to see what makes Boyhood such an amazing production.
The real trick is how a film like this can be made with such a huge scope and yet remain so intimate. The time that passes in this film is not lost, you feel like you live these twelve years and not in a slow-pacing bad-film kind of way. It has this sentimentality about life attached the whole way through that makes its audience really reflect on where they’ve come from and where they’re going. Richard Linkater put his life into this film, as well as the cast and in particular Ellar Coltrane, so it’s hard to pass this one up.
Best Ever Fantasy Film
Choosing this one was different because the stand-out was in so many ways obvious and yet it was a tough decision. Fantasy films offer some great ideas that they build their films around, and all the nominees showed they had great potential and were worthy winners but after some soul searching I went with my gut instinct.
I recently spoke about the rare treasure that is the successful sequel, and case in point: How To Train Your Dragon 2. Another animated film that looks and feels amazing but what makes it work so well is its rich and profound fantasy aspects. It’s an amazing world to live in, filled with tradition and lore as well as dragons and just a little bit of magic. Whether you be child or adult How To Train Your Dragon 2 uses all its fantastical elements to both enthral and entertain you.
Best Ever Horror Film
All credit due to the other nominees but this was, on the other hand, all too simple. No horror in 2014 brought the scares quite like The Babadook, which successfully managed what few can with its weird interpretation of a movie monster that’s barely seen apart from some creepy imagery from a pop-up book. Incredibly atmospheric, the lines between supernatural and psychological are all but gone in this nightmarish film and it leaves you guessing as to the nature of the beast, which is much closer to home than we’re comfortable with. Essie Davis is superb as a mother struggling with great loss while the concepts within the script will have you checking your closet, and bed, and anything else… just don’t bother going to sleep.
Best Ever Musical
Music can stir up many feelings and its potent in its use of conveying emotion in film. Begin Again used it marvellously to tell the story of two musicians who meet, bond and collaborate over the music they love. It’s so genuine in the way it feels, very down to earth and heart-warming. There’s great chemistry between the cast members and the script helps them along with this as well as providing some laughs along the way.
This was an easy pick because Begin Again identified how best to utilise song to enhance a cinema-going experience and out of that created a great film.
Best Ever Science-Fiction Film
Visually amazing and conceptually innovative are words I would use to describe Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. The great challenge of Science Fiction is trying to think as far out from the box as possible without stumbling into stupidity and ruining your concepts. While obviously the concepts present in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes have long been thought of they’ve never been utilised in such an effective way until now. The bringing to life of intelligent apes with motion capture is something that was once left to the costume department with some faceless actors to read the lines, but now we’re seeing the next step in the use of technology in cinema. Not only that but the actors in those motion capture suits do a brilliant job in their portrayals of apes with differing personalities, which is what makes Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes so perfect.
Best Ever Thriller Film
How do you make a thriller when you take away the meat, the fat and just leave the bones? I’m not sure but in this case what you get is a really heavy, stripped down but intelligent film. Blue Ruin is proof of this as it does away with all the glitz and glamour of melodrama and presents a suspenseful and gripping film with a very reserved but compelling lead performance. He’s a sorrowful but with great feeling and the rest of the cast, and even the film itself, just feed off of this, making Blue Ruin a reserved and yet commanding tough son of a bitch.
I honestly can’t believe I’m finally doing this. This was so much harder than I anticipated, but I stuck to my guns and here we are. Tomorrow I’ll be posting the winners for the production categories, and the day afterwards you’ll get the big ones: performance, director and the world’s greatest award; Best Ever Film. It’s got the word ‘ever’ in there so that must be true. Until then stay tuned and enjoy!