Justin Kueber's Top Ten Films of 2014

It’s that time of year again! The time of year when critics from all across the globe compile their coveted “Best Of” lists...being as I’m a closeted critic, aspiring filmmaker, and opinionated asshole I figured I might as well share with you My Top 10 Films of 2014.

Besides the onslaught of comic book movies and sequels that should never been made (Transformers *cough*), 2014 was a good year for film. So good that it was extremely difficult to put together a Top 10 List. Unfortunately, some of the films I really enjoyed did not make the cut on my top 10 list but still deserve a mention. These films include:

The Lego Movie

Edge of Tomorrow

22 Jump Street


The Babadook


X-Men Days of Future Past

Guardians of the Galaxy


And of course, there were also some films I didn’t see (but really wanted to) because I'm a starving artist and I don’t get free passes to films when they come or special "critic" screenings. These include:



20 Feet from Stardom


Winter Sleep

Only Lovers Left Alive

Mr. Turner

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice



Most Violent Year

Red Army


Now, the time you’ve (all three of you reading this) been waiting for. Here is my Top 10 Films of 2014:


10. Life Itself


I am a huge Roger Ebert fan. He was the one critic I could always count on – generally, if he liked a film, I would probably like that film as well. This documentary showcased and celebrated the extraordinary life of Roger Ebert. Ebert is a personal hero of mine and his legacy will forever be etched into the world of cinema. 


9. The Grand Budapest Hotel


Wes Anderson loves Wes Anderson more than Wes Anderson loves Wes Anderson. Huh? And, well, I love him for that! Grand Budapest is a hilarious little treat from the master of quaint cinema. TGBH isn’t my favorite Anderson film but it’s pretty damn close. Fantastic performances all around – especially from Ralph Fiennes – make it one enjoyable tale. Thank you, Mr. Anderson, thank you!



8. Gone Girl


David Fincher’s newest film, an allegory for troubled marriage and the increasing role of social media in today’s society, hits all the right notes and lasting effect….that effect being it made me never want to get married. Ever. But, nonetheless, Gone Girl is a smart film with excellent performances from Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and surprisingly, Tyler Perry, and has one of the most violent neck slash scene I have ever seen. Yikes! Fincher is spot on with his direction (like usual) and I would argue one of the best directors in mainstream Hollywood cinema today!



7. Snowpiercer


One of the more thought-provoking films I've seen this year. Packs the punch of a blockbuster action movie and also has meaning and heart - something sci-fi movies have been lacking lately. A good sci-fi film offers a critique of the current world in a new and exciting way and Snowpiercer does just that with its symbolism and a critique of the social class system in today's society. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you do so!


6. Nightcrawler


Jake Gyllenhaal gives one of the best performances of his career. Period. I would have said he deserved the Best Actor Oscar but that was before I saw Steve Carrell in Foxcatcher. Regardless, the film echoes early De Niro Taxi Driver and has this creepy tone that gnaws at your skin long after the film has finished. It presents a range of themes of corruption and greed but the one that jumped out at me was the shadowy nature of personal ambition; the lengths that one human being will go to make something of themselves – and it happens both in the newsroom and with Gyllenhaal’s character. Very smart film that will be talked about for a very long time.


5. Birdman


A great film that blatantly chirps comic book movies, social media and offers a good look into the role of the celebrity in modern society. The cinematography is fantastic; the entire film looks like it was done in one shot and I couldn’t see this film being shot any other way. Michael Keaton is superb and even Zack Galifianakis was great in a more serious role. Look for this film to clean up on Oscar night 2015.



4. Force Majeure


I didn’t really know what to expect when I went into this film. When I walked out I was a changed man! Force Majeure is funny, it’s smart and it’s a real treat from start to finish. FM has similar themes to Gone Girl but it is offered in a funnier, comedic way unlike the Fincher film. The aspect I liked most was the deconstruction of the “family man”/ male as the family protector. It looks at the preconceived notion that men are supposed to protect their family and then flips it on top of itself when the Man (Brady Corbet) runs away from his family during an avalanche. The rest of the film follows his struggle as he comes to terms with his family not seeing him as the protector they want him to be. Highly recommended film!



3. Foxcatcher


I don’t even know where to start on this one – it’s creepy, it’s frightening, it’s marvelous! Steve Carrell is terrifying, displaying one of the best performances of the year. If he doesn't win Best Actor I will be very surprised. I don’t really know what else to say on this one. It is a perfect film. Perfect in every aspect from the acting to direction and cinematography. I'm still shaking and I saw this film only a week ago. Very highly recommended! Perfection! 


2. Boyhood


Every now and then there comes a film that can only be described as special; that film, is Boyhood. I have never seen a film this ambitious, with this grand of a scope ever. Richard Linklater is a one of the most underrated brilliant directors in the game today. I recommended this film for everyone - especially the people of my generation as it is like looking into a time capsule of our youth. Boyhood is going to win Best Picture, mark my words!


1. Under the Skin


There are certain questions I ask myself when I am ranking my top films: was it intriguing? Did it make me think? Was it something unique?


Under the Skin is without a doubt the most unique, intriguing and thought-provoking film of the year and quite possibly the last few years. I’ve watched this film four times now and I finally have a good grasp at its meaning – I know, took me long enough hey? But, that’s what makes it a good film. It can be interpreted in many different ways. Under the Skin is like 2001 but multiply that by one hundred. It’s weird, it’s unnerving and just special. Scarlett Johansen is fantastic and very sexy as an alien – it’s kind of ironic calling her sexy because the film explores themes of beauty and coming to terms with our skin, our bodies. It isn’t about what’s on the outside but rather, on the inside….and in her case she was an alien! Who knows, maybe we are all aliens in one way or another? (Cue Twilight Zone music)


In all seriousness, this was my favorite film of 2014. It offers an interesting, realistic look into some serious issues and presents them in a unique and stimulating way. This film is going to be looked at and studied for a very long time! 


Happy New Year everyone! 

Guerrilla Motion Pictures 2014: A Year in Review

It seems like just yesterday we were wrapping up 2013 with the release of Guerrilla Motion Pictures first short film, The Immigrant: Revenge of El Diablo. We were a couple of post-graduate aspiring filmmakers trying to get our feet wet in something that we hadn’t touched on since, well, The Immigrant in 2008.


Skip ahead twelve very busy months and here we are now at the end of 2014; we’re still the same aspiring filmmakers, except now we have a little more experience, a little better equipment, and a whole lot more to show for! There was a terrible movie trailer that repeated the phrase, “never forget where you came from” so, why not do that by recapping our year! Here is our extremely exciting Guerrilla Motion Pictures Year In Review 2014:


Our tale starts in January. It was snowing, it was cold, and it was also a defining moment for Guerrilla Motion Pictures. We had just finished The Immigrant: Revenge of El Diablo and we were back in the game (yeah, we just quoted our own movie). However, we really wanted to establish ourselves as a company that does Corporate Videos and Event Videos, along with short films and music videos. It was tough because no company wanted to hire us due to  “our lack of experience”. This was somewhat disheartening…


But, then it fell to us, like a Christmas gift one month late; we were asked to do photography and videography, along with the live streaming of hockey games for the 36th Annual John Reid Memorial Bantam AAA Hockey Tournament in St. Albert, Alberta. Four days of exciting hockey and non-stop filming had us gleaming with joy and caffeine from all the cups of coffee we were drinking! But, all in all we had an absolute blast shooting our first (of hopefully many) sporting events and we rocked our first Corporate gig like a Brian May guitar solo.


Our next big endeavor was the Peacoat Music Video for local artist, Gelonius, which we started filming in January. This was our first time using actors other than our friends, having a choreographer, and having nudity in one of our projects so it was exciting times for all of us. What started out being a fun little project, turned into something truly special. When we released the music video it reached 69,000 views before it was taken down for content (damn, nudity & lyrics). However, this was a feat that none of us even began to think of when we started filming, we just wanted to do something fun for an equally fun song. Seeing it take off like a wildfire was truly exhilarating but also frightening in a sense….much like an actual wildfire!



Along with making new videos, we also got to invest in some new equipment; lights, cameras, a 12-foot jib, and a boom microphone just to name a few new pieces to our growing arsenal. We were able to use these tools for our first serious film, The Path. We shot the film in March, braving the -12 degree weather, with a full cast and crew. Riley Alexander, Jeff Woodward, and Carlee Ryski rounded out the star-studded cast, along with our beautiful extras, and an equally amazing crew assembling from all over Alberta. The Path also featured original music from Jason Medwid of The Smile Syndicate. The Path was a very special film because the story meant so much to both of us, as well as it was our first kick at something serious. Sure it didn’t get into some film festivals, but it was something that was true to us and hopefully it was able to affect the audience that did view it.



In April, we were given the privilege to work on the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation, 2013 Champions of Genetics video. Interview and laboratory footage was collected from nine Canadian scientists whose research in genetics will impact the way genetic diseases will be treated in the future. With this footage, we put together a 15-minute video that recognizes and honours these researchers who have "dedicated themselves to making the key discoveries [and have] put Canada firmly on the global scientific map.”


It was an absolute honour for us to make this video for the CGCF. We had a fantastic time putting it together and we even learned a thing or two about the future of Genetics in Canada, and ultimately, the World.



At the end of April, we worked on the Roy Financial Mayors Walk for the City of St. Albert. The Mayors Walk is an event that raises money for local charities. The city mayor, Nolan Crouse, was kind enough to give us a few words about why this event is so important to the city of St. Albert. Our small crew consisting of Justin Kueber, Justin Hardy and Sam Reid had an amazing time shooting the event and we were happy to be a part of this great cause.


For our work on the video, we were awarded the 2014 Volunteer Friendly Business Award from the City of St. Albert and we are very grateful for this!


In May, we worked another non-profit event for Impossible 2 Possible Edmonton Run-A-Thon with Jon Sinclair and Melissa Gosse. We provided photography and video footage for the twelve-hour marathon.  Melissa and Jon are currently spreading their positivity and enthusiasm for running all around the world. They are in Chile right now and we wish them all the best in their endeavors!  




In June, we got to shoot the first episode of our sporadic web series, People Watchers. The series stars Daniel James and Nick Smith as private detectives who break down society and all of its flaws. It ended up getting amazing reception, including an article in the St. Albert Leader by Glenn Cook. This is an idea we had for a web-series since September of 2013 so it was nice to finally see it in all it’s beauty. We can’t wait to film more episodes in early 2014!



In July, we were quite busy; we released our surprise music video for Gelonius’ song, The Last Slice, which was a love story about a man (Mark Trudel) and his last slice of pizza. Not even Gelonius knew we were going to do this, so the release was a complete spur of the moment surprise. The Last Slice was shown at the RDC Film Festival in Red Deer and The St. Albert Film Festival.



We also started work on The Smile Syndicate’s music video for their hit song, “The Sun is a Jukebox.” One of our own, Justin Kueber, even got to dress up as a Hot Dog and have a cameo appearance. The second day of shooting occurred in October and we had over twenty volunteers participate in the choreographed dance (thanks to Kelly Weatherbee). If you’re ever feeling down this winter because of the weather, take a look at the video and all your troubles will be forgotten! Seriously though, the song is more infectious than Ebola!



The concept of  “the Web Series” became something completely new to us this year. We went from not really knowing what a web series was, to having three in production. People Watchers, Ask Nima (featuring Nima Taef) and Sunday School, a co-production with 201 Pictures.




We finished shooting Sunday School in December and it was quite a sad last day of production. Wrapping the characters that we fell in love with was difficult to swallow but at the same time, it made us realize we were on to the editing stage and that much close to releasing this beast of a web series. The series is six episodes, ten minutes each; Justin Cauti from 201 Pictures, Justin Kueber (Guerrilla), and Sam Reid (Guerrilla) will direct two episodes each. The themes of each episode vary from Breaking Bad all the way to Martin Scorsese. The list of actors is way too great to list here but we can guarantee you will fall in love with this series when it debuts sometime in February!




As the Summer came to an end, we closed it out by having Sam Reid do photography for Fiesta Mexicana Ronda 2, a music event just outside Sherwood Park. And we also provided music (Kueber & Brody Connolly) and photography (Reid) for the University of Alberta Pandas Soccer Team Alumni Event. We had almost too good of a time at both of these events and still love looking at the photos to this day. Take a look at the Photo Album tab on our Facebook Page if you want to see the fun times that ensued.

In September, Justin Kueber, Justin Cauti, and Andrew Joseph Pahle embarked on a mission to create a short film in 24 hours.  We called ourselves 201 Guerrillas, which was a combination of Guerrilla and 201 Pictures. The film was for the 24/One Filmmaking Challenge for the Edmonton International Film Festival. Our film, OVERTIME, ended up winning
Best Actor, Best Editing and Best Sound! I think we are still catching up on sleep from this event!



In October, we started our work on our newest short film, Mindy. Our goal was to beat the snow and we did just that. We captured some gorgeous Fall cinematography and didn’t have to re-write due to the snow. Mindy stars the electric, Andrew Joseph Pahlke and a blow-up doll named Mindy. Yes, it is as weird as it sounds! Mindy also features the beautiful score by Jason Medwid and narration by Daniel James. Check it out if you want a satire on the romantic films that plague our society and film festivals.




We closed off the year by working on two more Corporate Videos; one for Moms Earning More and the other for Arcadia Bar (and Vegan Restaurant) on 124th Street in Edmonton. Both videos are still in the editing process but we can guarantee you will enjoy them once they are released. Check out our website for details on the release.  And, if you are in the mood for delicious vegan cuisine, live music or local craft beers, go check out Arcadia. It’s one of the coolest spots in Edmonton!



Well, that brings our Year in Review to an end, and if you are still reading this we commend you for listening to our boasting for the past 1600 words. 2014 was a great year for us to grow but to quote The Carpenters, “we’ve only just begun!”

2015 is sure to be an even bigger year for us. Just to name a few of the events that we have already booked:


-       The John Reid Memorial Hockey Tournament (January 15-18)

-       Four new People Watchers episodes (two shooting in January)

-       The release of Sunday School (February 2015)

-       Weekly Film Reviews from Justin Kueber

-       Sunday School Season Two

-       A few secret short films (sorry we can’t spoil it)

-       A new music video for the Smile Syndicate’s next song

-       A feature film (hopefully being shot this summer)

-       Our first wedding video

-       And even more corporate and event work!


As always, we thank you guys for your continued support. Your feedback on the stuff that we make gives us great joy and happiness so…keep it up! We enjoy hearing from you!


From our Guerrilla Family to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!




Justin Kueber

Sam Reid


Guerrilla Motion Pictures