Jamie Neish: Only a few gems among vast output

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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EVERY year, hundreds and hundreds of films are released – from mainstream Hollywood blockbusters to independent art house fare.

This year, however, despite the sheer volume, there’s been a noticeable lack in quality. And, as we approach awards season, it’s proving difficult to predict the films that will collect the statues.

There have, of course, been highs. So let’s focus on those first.

Early in the year came 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, and a little film called The LEGO Movie which proved not to be the cash-scam I’d prematurely pegged it as.

The Grand Budapest Hotel seemed to win over the crowds, but I was far more taken with the likes of Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive and Stranger By the Lake.

Then came Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s 12 years in the making masterpiece. But quieter films Tom at the Farm, Next Goal Wins and Chef are worthy of mention, too, the latter for making your stomach churn for two hours solid.

A few more of my favourites came later in the year, and those include Guardians of the Galaxy, Lilting, Gone Girl, The Boxtrolls and Pride, the LGBT film that was recently awarded a Golden Globe nomination.

I’ve missed out a few here and there, but that’s mostly it for the solidly good films of the year. The rest, well... the rest have been middling to extremely poor.

Most of the extremely poor, you’ll be surprised to hear, have been blockbusters. Godzilla was decent, but then we had The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

If anything, it seemed as though Hollywood completely gave up this year, leaving it to independent fare – British films like the sublime Mr Turner, included – to pick up the slack.

This year I’ve been delighted a few times but more often than not disappointed or, worse, bored. Let’s hope next year is more consistent.