article-2401507-1B6FAE29000005DC-487_634x895BONJOUR Mes Amis!!!

I’m Audrey Tautou, the spoon faced ingenue who everyone fell in love with in Amelie even though I was basically playing Mr Bean. But hey Mr Bean is also really big, in Europe, which is ideal for me as I am French which is also in Europe. I am here to introduce the next four films in Pete’s Top 20 films of 2014, which I hope will include one I made, and nothing by that horror Marion Coutillard who I hate as she got an Oscar and didn’t even do her own singing in La Vie On Rose. I used my own smells in the Coco Chanel movie, did I get an Oscar or even a Cesar? The French award not the dog food. Je me égare…

Thanks Audrey, and I can sadly confirm that not only are you not in the list this year, you were actually in the worst film I saw last year: Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo – a more irritatingly twee or suffocating film I could not imagine. So instead here are some films which are much, much better:

15: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler-movie-posterAn unrelenting media satire which feels a lot closer to reality than most similar stories. We may be outraged and repulsed by Jake Gyllenhaal’s guerrilla cameraman, filming every local car crash, murder and getting exclusive footage of atrocities, but we know that the TV companies will buy and show this material at the moment and the morality at the heart of it is at best comparative rather than held up to any legal standard (we sadly saw that last week in Paris). So not only is the satire cutting, but at the heart is a truly despicable character who is also wonderfully watchable parleying his version of the American Dream. Next to him Riz Ahmed and Rene Russo almost seem like moral centres – though clearly they are not. Murky, funny, a welcome Bill Paxton cameo but this is Gyllenhaal’s show and he makes the most of it, he will make you feel moral compromised just by watching him.

14: Winter Sleep

winter_sleep_poster-620x835More films about horrible people. A testament to how even the talkiest of foreign language films can compel, this is Ceylan’s follow up to Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, and eschews some of in-camera beauty of that film, and replaces it with a slow burn character portrait. And what a horrid character the lead is; a washed up ex-actor who believes he is an intellectual, but instead is a coward, a bully and a negative influence on everyone he meets. Such is the power of the characterization that you can’t help but see a bit of yourself in his preening. A film that makes you want to be a better person, or else you’ll end up like this.

13: The Babadook

babadookHorror films work best on the level of insidious creep. This means that as long as you get and maintain a specific tone, they can actually be quite cheap to make. And the Babadook is a low budget Australian horror which mainly builds tension by increasingly unhinging its two main protagonists. Whilst it could be lumped with other creepy child films, in reality the boy in the Babadook is more irritating than frighting, and the real tension comes in the unraveling of the sleepless mother. Yes, it may all be one big metaphor, but what it is a metaphor of, and how it plays with the implicit rules of the genre, make it more than just another boogeyman horror.

12: The Guest

The-Guest_PosterThis is also a sort of horror film, or a home infiltration movie, or homage to a certain kind of 80’s home video staple. The army buddy of a family’s dead son turns up and is remarkably charming, so as per the movies, what is he hiding? Well what he is hiding always remains a little unclear as he slips into smiling psychopathy, but using a John Carpenter style score, a very eighties colour palate and it being set in some sort of eternal Halloween helps. Dan Stevens with his super-saturated blue eyes is absolutely compelling, and the stupid bloodbath it devolves into is hugely over the top in a wonderfully fun way. Possibly the years most grungily entertaining film, I loved it.

Come back later in the week for my joint number 11 films which share a form, and an infuriating mixture of being great and terrible AT THE SAME TIME.