Monday, January 5, 2015


The job of a theatre manager involves mostly looking forward, either at the films being released a year from now, or those that'll fill up the next month's calendar, but the manager of the Bookshelf Cinema took the time to glance back at 2014.


In the cinema, 2014 actually started on Thursday December 26, 2013, when we opened Philomena*, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Important for us because it proved that Bookshelf Cinema (not just the Mega-Cinebox) audiences could support and sustain a Box Office hit in Guelph. It was still onscreen in April.

(some films were considered 2013 releases –marked *- for award eligibility, but didn’t reach our screen until 2013.) 


A swirling cinematic joy ride (that admittedly, dropped a few feathers along the way) through show biz, Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is full of ego, nueroses, and the pains involved in the act of artistic creation. 


Boyhood stands out for its concept, script, execution, performances and too many memorable scenes to list here. Magnificent. Best film of this, and many more, years. Richard Linklater has written his name in the history of film.


With rough and raunchy dark comedy, Calvary tackled some of the scandals haunting the Catholic Church while exposing one priest’s commitment to God and the true spirit of his religion. Forget the Oscars, give Brendan Gleeson a halo.


Another dark comedy, I loved Force Majeure for its insightful dissection of the balance (and imbalances) of the roles played within a marriage. I was reminded of the works of Buñuel, Hitchcock, French New Wave directors, and the late works of Ingmar Bergman. Yea, wow! 


Like a bath in warm milk and a rinse with champagne, The Great Beauty* (La Grand Bellezza) was cinema that captured the sensuous decandence of Roma’s high life. Grazie Paolo. 


Simple, stark and barren. Complex, complicated and layered. Looking like it could have been made in 1940 or 2014, Ida reminds us of the timeless qualities of great cinema.


A young filmmaker proves his talent is real with Mommy. Unforgettable performances. 


Omar and Bethlehem were two films that gave human faces to the larger political strife in the conflicted world of Israelis and Palestinians. 


Oops. Out of indifference, more than anything else, I avoided all the summer sequels with superheroes in spandex and am woefully ignorant as a result. And I conveniently forgot about any films that we were prevented from showing 2014. I’ll mention any worthwhile afterthoughts when we play them in 2015. 


A powerful doc with so much to reveal about the need for charity, forgiveness and compassion. As well, The Overnighters is a brilliant expose of the human cost of the oil industry in North America.

Whether in Mockingjay or A Most Wanted Man, we were reminded of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's immense acting skills and the unfortunate tragedy of his death.


Who else could have delivered the lines, “I sleep with all my friends darling.” Or, “Take your hands off my Lobby Boy!” with such casual aplomb as Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel? Brilliant. He gave the film an elegant spine. 


Still Alice screened at TIFF 2014, but technically a 2015 title for us. From a bestselling book, about a disease that touches so many lives, and perhaps, the best performance yet in the illustrious career of Julianne Moore. And the Oscar goes to…

Here’s to another great year in 2015.

See you in the dark,


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