It's that time of the year again: my Top Ten Films Of The Year. As usual, this is for films that had a UK premier theatrical release in the calendar year, according to Launching Films' schedules, thus movies that played festivals only and/or went straight to disc aren't eligible. (American Hustle might have made it but its official release date was December 31, 2013 and is therefore disqualified.) I didn't manage to catch all of these in the cinema - some only played a couple of West End shoeboxes for a week, which is arguably no better than having no theatrical release at all. Also, for various reasons I missed a lot of A-list titles entirely - 12 Years A Slave, Belle, A Haunted House 2 - and still haven't caught up with them. But at year's end, this is how they stack up:
10. THE ONE HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT OF THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED
Nobody seemed to like this one but me, but it's my list so there. This is a film that came out of nowhere and I giggled pretty much consistently throughout.
Which also caught me by surprise, as I went in expecting glum British social realism, and instead I got an exciting chase thriller that never let go. More of this sort of thing, please, British film industry.
8. THE LEGO MOVIE
Which I missed at the cinema but rented the Blu after my twitter feed buckled under the weight of everyone raving at how great it was. And they were right. Mostly enjoyed the hell out of it, and the first Will Ferrell film in ages where I haven't wanted to punch him. (Still think the song is annoying, though).
7. EDGE OF TOMORROW
Okay, so it's Starship Troopers meets Groundhog Day, which turns out to be no bad thing. Big, loud, well put together and thoroughly entertaining.
6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
One of the best of the big summer blockbusters: a demented romp in which anything goes, up to and including the casting of Vin Diesel as a talking tree. Loved it.
Speaking as one who has little time for the original Japanese rubbersuit stompfests, and as one who didn't loathe and detest the Roland Emmerich incarnation....this new one is great, bringing Zilla back to his original purpose and with devastation that isn't pornographically relished.
4. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
Immortality might seem like a good idea, but wouldn't you get bored after a thousand years of having to live off the grid and only mix with your own kind? Dark, very enjoyable.
3. THE RAID 2
Two and a half hours of Indonesian maniacs beating the tar out of each other in a series of dizzying, dazzling, utterly insane setpiece fight sequences in which quite clearly no stuntman was allowed to leave the set if he could still stand up. It's what cinema was invented for.
I waver on the subject of Christopher Nolan, but his seriousness and lack of humour is absolutely perfect here (unlike his Batman movies which are crying out for some levity). This is bold, mind-bending stuff: gripping, never dull, visually rich and tossing ideas around like confetti.
1. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
I've never been a huge fan of Wes Anderson either, but this one is easily my favourite of the ones I've seen so far: consistently funny, surprising and charming as well as marvellous to just sit and look at.
Honourable mentions to a perfectly decent set of runners-up in no particular order: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Grand Piano, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Fury, Ouija (shut up, I liked it), Locke and The Equalizer.