Published on January 14th, 2015 | by Callen Diederichs


Callen’s Annual (Alternative) Best Films of 2014

Who says we can’t have more than one best movies list for 2014?  You? Pffft. Callen Diederichs from The Roxy Theatre gives us his picks.

While Dan Nicholls already did The Feedback Society’s Top Ten Movies of 2014, we at The Society are endlessly swirling our scotches and discussing the movies, so it stands to reason that a few of our contributors have typed up pieces on their favourite flicks of the year.  Enter Callen Diederichs, who works at the beautiful and historic Roxy Theatre in Saskatoon.  The following are some of his choices (you can also see his list from 2013 here).

– The Editor


My Best of 2014

A year in which films like Night Moves, Whiplash, Only Lovers Left Alive, Maps To The Stars, The Double, We Are the Best!, and The Immigrant don’t even make my top ten is something special indeed.  Here are the films that did make the list:

Calvary  An Irish playwright with the gift of the gab and a knack for arresting cinematography creates an ode to human shittiness that’s exhilarating rather than despairing. A gaze into the abyss with a salubrious companion.

Under the Skin   With echoes of Kubrick and Roeg in theme and style, this mix of high concept formalism and hidden camera improvisations explores alienation and misogyny with a chilling gaze.

Locke  Tom Hardy, a BMW,  and a Welsh accent:  the year’s most formally minimalist film yields some of the richest emotional and aesthetic rewards. Also, fuck Chicago.

Ida  A film about family secrets — revealed in a dance of slow takes and quick twists, and rendered with gorgeously austere photography — but none are as inscrutable and unexpected as the actions and motivations of the eponymous heroine. The final shot, however, suggests that she knows exactly what she’s doing.

A Field in England  Alchemists and Civil War deserters meet up in the titular field, trade pithy insults, eat magic mushrooms, die, and come back for more. Bonus points: my favourite gun fight of the year.

Two Days, One Night  They had me at ‘Marion Cotillard is in every shot,’ but the Dardenne brothers follow through with a wrenching tale of the heinousness of capitalism and its inability to completely destroy human dignity and compassion.

Force Majeure  Ending it before the final scene would have better driven home its theme of the pathetic futility of clinging to bourgeois ideals of status and masculinity, but this Haneke-hits-the-slopes family drama is still bracingly excellent.

Birdman  Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s fake long takes usually annoy me in their duplicity, but here, stitched together for the entirety of the film, they provide a relentless drive to match that of a man’s desperate attempts to feel himself beloved on the earth.

Inside Llewyn Davis  Gloomily sublime photography, performances, and songs (allowed to play out in their entirely, rare but key for a film about music) create a world that celebrates beautiful losers. Plus, the best ginger cat acting since The Long Goodbye.

Snowpiercer  Pitch black dystopianism mixed with an almost giddy surrealism results in the best sci-fi/comic book/action film I’ve seen in years.

Listen Up Phillip   I’m sure half a dozen Jason Schwartzman films could claim to be about a grown up Max Fischer, but this one has the New Wave flair and hilariously caustic one-liners to actually get in the ballpark.  The film’s generosity to the supporting characters/casualties keeps things from becoming as black as Phillip’s heart.

I also have to make mention of The Empire Strikes Back Uncut in which fans recreate every second of Episode V using animation, pets, babies, Lego, and whatever else is on hand. They do so with a ridiculous abandon that still conveys what was so great about the most grave and accomplished film in the series.

Finally, anticipated but not yet seen: Inherent Vice, Leviathan, Goodbye to Language, Winter Sleep, A Most Violent Year, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night


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About the Author

is a maker of apocalyptic Western films, cinema projectionist, and musician with a bright future behind him.

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