And the Worst..and the Best Yet to Come..
I’m tentatively putting forward a list of some of the best movies to hit screens in 2008, but comments and criticisms are naturally welcomed! So here are ten of my favourites. I have to say it wasn’t a great year in the cinema (in my opinion anyway), so although at the time I wasn’t exactly drowning some of these films in praise, in retrospect they were some of the most original and best. I’m sure there’s plenty I didn’t see too..shame on me..
The Diving Bell and the Butterfy
It may deal with a difficult topic but The Diving Bell was still a film with plenty humour and hope. It’s an inspiring tale and was well translated to the screen. See review here.
Although it was yet another typical Burton/Depp collaboration, Sweeney Todd is an enjoyable if at times repulsive tale. It does have its flaws but the intriguing characters and the sight of a singing killing barber is enough to make u forget..See review here.
No Country for Old Men
I’m still unsure about the ending, and it’s success may be largely down to Javier Bardem’s signature role, but it’s still the type of movie worth a second viewing which is more that you can say for many of this year’s releases. Miles better than Burn After Reading too….Yet another review here!
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
This ain’t perfect and I’d happily shave a half hour off the viewing time but it’s a good depiction of the west with great casting. Casey Affleck (with his youthful looks) is extremely convincing as Ford, and there’s some beautiful shots of the sweeping landscapes.
This was by far the most fun superhero movie, and a nice surprise as I never expected Downey Jr. to succeed in the Ironman role. Bring on the sequel!
This black and white animation about a little girl growing up in 1970s Iran may sound like heavy going, but in fact it is often amusing, always entertaining and so suited to the style of animation that you couldn’t imagine it any other way. A must-see!
While not as easy to watch as the other Pixar films, Wall E is a feat of animation if only for the fact that a cute robot is enough to see us through the first half hour or so, bereft of dialogue and dependant on Wall E’s endearing character. See review here.
I think this deserves a mention as it’s quite a brave film and very well made. It’s not an enjoyable film as it’s another difficult subject matter but represents Bobby Sand’s last days very well with a good performance from Michael Fassbender.
Not a perfect movie at all, particularly as the initial attempt at comedy is a bit hit and miss, but this film improves quickly, evolving into a black comedy rather than a laugh out loud comedy and mixing genres with surprisingly good results. See review here.
Chacun son Cinéma
What, you may ask, in the name of God, is this? Well it may sound like some haughty taughty French film that I’m slipping in here to be cultured and all…but it’s actually a series of short films all wrapped up in a feature length piece and it’s such fun to watch. Originally put together to celebrate the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, it only aired in Ireland early 2008 and comprises shorts by the likes of the Coens, David Cronenberg, Jane Campion, Ken Loach, David Lynch and lots more. I’m sorry I never wrote a proper review at the time, so this list is the perfect way to highlight it. Each short revolves around the theme of cinema and they range from classic weepies to the completely obscure. Catch it if you can..if you can get your mitts on a dvd that is; it’s pretty hard to come by.
And the rest…
Other honourable mentions include The Dark Knight for the sheer work put into it and the fact it caused more hype that the first three Star Wars put together. I didn’t put it on my list, because frankly I’m sick to death of it! But it’s bound to be most people’s number one from 2008.You can read Fiona’s original review here.
There Will Be Blood was another achievement, especially on Daniel Day Lewis’s part. Not a very enjoyable movie to watch, however, given the overbearing soundtrack and the slow pace.
Lars and the Real Girl could have been great if only they had put a stopper in the works of its fairytale element sooner. Still an original, sweet movie however, largely thanks to the charming Ryan Gosling…read the review here.
Mongol is worth a watch. This semi biopic of Ghengis Khan mostly recounts his early life thereby allowing for large gaps in the tale which can be frustrating.
The Changeling is another decent movie with strong performances, clearly designed to gain some Oscar glory. A disturbing tale too, not quite how it seems in the trailer.
And the Worst…
There was probably a lot of bad movies which, thankfully, I didn’t see..but some that I did endure were One Missed Call, yet another Japanese horror remake full of creepy looking kids and washed out colours, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a terrible disappointment and The X Files: I want to Believe, another terrible disappointment…sigh*
And Coming in 2009:
I’ll probably post a more detailed piece on the must watch movies of 2009..but a snap list would definitely include Public Enemies in which Johnny Depp portrays the infamous John Dillinger, pursued by Christian Bale’s FBI Agent Melvin Purvis. Robert Downey Jr. takes on the role of Sherlock Holmes in his own style in Guy Ritchies Sherlock Holmes, something that may just work..Neil Jordan’s fantasy tale, Ondine will be released, and on the superhero side of things, there’s Wolverine and the “surely nearly impossible to film” Watchmen. And lots more…