2014

Every year is marked by key events and 2014 was no different, from the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to Winter Olympics in Sochi, there are always news that dominate headlines. Some good and some bad which is also applicable in the film industry, films made and released on home media that year. Array of great motion pictures decorated our 2014 top rentals list.

Including 12 Years a Slave (2013), Captain Phillips (2013), Dallas Buyers Club (2013), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and the finale of the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost Cornetto trilogy – The World's End (2013).

When it comes to the motion pictures new releases, this is the year Frozen (2013) became available to the audiences outside theatres, and this is the film that concluded 2013 by being the highest grossing film with over 1 million dollars earned worldwide. Right at the top with Frozen, was the second instalment in the Hobbit series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013). Another sequel in the spotlight by popular vote and number of rentals was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) which sees fellow tributes Katniss and Peeta back home after surviving the Games.

The top place when it comes to rentals on CinemaParadiso.co.uk, but also critical acclaim, is a science fiction epic Gravity (2013), starring Sandra Bullock with George Clooney in the supporting role. Gravity is also one of the selected films we're taking a closer look at to try to convey to you what makes it the film of the year 2014. The second film in this selection is Wes Anderson's visual masterpiece still referred to as one of the best films of the 2000's, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2013).

The story in Gravity revolves around Dr. Ryan Stone played wonderfully by Sandra Bullock. On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes when Stone and Kowalsky (Clooney) are left completely alone –  tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness of space.

Gravity is one of the few films that I sincerely enjoyed watching in 3D. Often there is too much going on on the screen and colourfulness that distracts more than appeals to fully enjoy the 3D technology. With Gravity being set in space, there is a quite narrow colour palette used in the film which is strangely refreshing. Subdued and yet stunning! This visual wonder is the best part of the film even though the story and the characters are worth mentioning as well. There's also the suspense you feel throughout the film which probably kept you on the edge of your seat.

The filmmakers successfully captured the void, vastness and dizzying feeling of space. Imagine living up there without gravity, no real sense of up and down and the constant fact that there is only limited amount of air. And yet, it is beautiful, awe-inspiring and thrilling to watch. If you get the chance, see it on Blu-ray or even Blu-ray 3D to get the most out of the experience that Gravity provides.

Here's important to give praise to Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography which is a big part of why Gravity received ten Academy Award nominations and won seven, as well as being awarded six BAFTAs.

Gravity's director Alfonso Cuarón was already a household name in the film industry with titles such as And Your Mother Too (2001), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Children of Men (2006) under his belt. The success of Gravity just propelled him into the stratosphere (no pun intended). As a nice follow up, a Gravity spin-off short Aningaaq was released in which we witness what happens on the other side of Sandra Bullock's distress call.

With the second film from the selection, we're staying firmly on the ground, or better yet – in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Well, maybe on firm soil but this visual masterpiece is surreal enough to feel out of this world with its offbeat quirkiness. Wes Anderson's filmmaking style is easily differentiated from the others in the overflowing industry. He uses very specific imaginary and colour palette which is easily recognized. With this we welcome you to The Grand Budapest Hotel and more importantly to Wes Anderson's world.

The peculiar story follows Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), a concierge at a famous European hotel – located in the Republic of Zubrowka – and Zero Moustafa (played by Tony Revolori and F. Murray Abraham), a lobby boy on the path of becoming his trusted ally. The death of an elderly and cherished patron is the catalyst for an adventure story involving a stolen priceless painting, a prison break, ski chases and impeccable outfits.

Already mentioned imaginary introduces you into seemingly old-fashioned tale adorned with array of talented thespians including Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bill Murray... and many other great names. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wonderful addition to the already acclaimed Anderson's career, with works such as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Rushmore. But it's the film that blew every critics' mind and showed how brilliant of a director Anderson really is. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a multiple Oscar winner, including Best Original Screen Play and Best Original Score.

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