Although The Daily Growl is a music blog, film is my other big love. However, this year, I think that music seemed to edge out film a little for me, and I definitely went to the cinema less than usual. However, there were still loads of good films around and I saw some of them. Casting my eye over all the films I've seen that were released this year, these are my top 10 movies.
Almodovar – back and better than ever, with an amazing female cast in this wonderful tale of familial tensions, murder, good times and ghosts.
Michael Haneke’s brilliant survelliance mystery keeps the tension going by never overplaying itself. Daniel Auteil and Juliette Binoche in the leads are excellent, taking us into the dark heart of the story.
3. Pan’s Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro’s perfectly-judged combination of imaginative fantasy and brutal reality in 1930s Spain really hit the mark. Sergio Lopez's Captain Vidal must be super-villain of the year, and the eyes-in-the hand ceature the year’s best monster.
4. Walk the Line
Just to show that a populist romance needn’t make a rubbish movie. Maybe that’s because true life is so often more interesting than fiction. And the music’s great too.
5. Lady Vengeance
This brutal revenge thriller, from Korean horror master Chan-Wook Park has plenty to feed the mind after the heart has stopped beating.
Classic film noir (right down to the dialogue) transposed into an American High School. Shouldn’t work really, but it does – and so well too.
7. The Wind that Shakes the Barley
A return to form for Ken Loach with a political drama that avoids over-simplification, and a love story that side-steps mawkishness. And it’s his biggest film ever!
8. The Squid and the Whale
A funny and unsentimental portrait of a family break-up in 80s Brooklyn through the eyes of the child. Honest – it really does have a lot of laughs. Mostly at the expense of the insufferable father (Jeff Bridges).
Dominik Moll paints a wonderfully surreal and thrilling picture of a strange encounters that follow a tense dinner meeting between two couples. All the better for featuring the lovely Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Charlotte Rampling on rollickingly good form.
10. Red Road
Previous short film Oscar winner Andrea Arnold makes her feature debut with this fine Glasgow-set thriller, focused on a CCTV operator who one day spots someone from her past, leading her along a dangerous path.