Top 10 - Films of 2008
My Top 10 favorite Films of 2008
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|SirPant's Rating||My Rating|
Synecdoche, New York 2008, R)
Maybe the word masterpiece is overused these days but for this film, it's for lack of a better word. I regard Kaufman as prolific a writer as William S. Burroughs, Anthony Burgess and even George Orwell if a funny kind of way but now he's a film director too, and I can only say about bloody time! He's obviously got the talent, this has got to be one of the best and most surprising debuts since Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter, a classic that only became so, long after it's release, something I suspect may happen here (did anyone actually see The Shawshank Redemption at the cinema?). I digress, Synecdoche, New York is a wonderful paranoid-life-journey-extravaganza of fear, angst, regret and despair (with a little bit of ambition in there for good measure). All the interesting aspects of life basically. Anyone can put a cute little rabbit in a film and make everyone happy, and if that's your cup of tea, then there is plenty out there to go round. Why do people regard this film as pretentious? Just put your hands up and say you don't understand it, there's nothing pretentious about that. It's so cram packed with symbolism it's impossible to catch everything in just one watch, I personally am looking forward to seeing it again, more than once even! When cinema is this good it deserves a second look. I can only compare it to being like a cross between Eraserhead (paranoia) and Fellini's 8 1/2 but directed by the son of Ingmar Bergman & Jean Renoir (with Luis Bu˝uel) and that only begins to describe it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of the most talented actors working today and in my opinion, and Kaufman has cast the best female line-up ever in one film. Samantha Morton, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Williams and Emily Watson are my favourite actresses and all of them give great performances. This film has jumped straight to the top of my favourite films list, it's probably now in my top 10 of all time! I can't recommend it enough.
The Dark Knight 2008, PG-13)
A fantastic sequel that is better than the first! Believe the hype! Bale, Ledger, Caine, Gyllenhaal & Freeman are fantastic but for me Oldman & Eckhart steal the show! The Joker was a much anticipated villain and fantastically executed by Ledger but the Harvey Dent story line is the one that really got my heart beat going. The evolution of the Batman story goes from strength to strength. Nolan knows what he's doing, thank God, his political statements (The patriot act) are handled well too, raising debate without bias. This is the best Superhero/Comic adaptation since 1978's Superman! Fantastic! I can't wait until the next instalment but I'm puzzled about how the Joker character is going to continue without Ledger.
The Wrestler 2008, R)
Darren Aronofsky is a brilliant director. Considering they had something like 26 locations in 26 days, you got to hand it to him. He's already proved himself great from one end of directing (Pi) to the other (The Fountain) so I'm not surprised I was taken with The Wrestler. That would be an understatement though, I regard The Wrestler as a modern masterpiece, it's up there with Raging Bull in my opinion, life, the universe and everything, played out and explained through the life and death of a wrestler. I can't help but think of Barton Fink's 'Wrestling picture' when watching this. Loved it, I totally understand peoples questioning of Aronofsky's direction in this, sure it's a bit rough around the edges but I really think that helps set the scene in many ways. Mickey Rourke was brilliantly cast as was the very lovely Marisa Tomei. I disagree that the film was slowly paced, I thought it flowed quite gracefully, riddled with such beautiful subtle moments of human behaviour, it was never ever boring. Clint Mansell is also another particular hero of mine, love his scores (but please do a few more PWEI gig dude) More please Mr. Aronofsky!
Waltz with Bashir 2008, R)
Slumdog Millionaire 2008, R)
For once the hype was right! This is a fantastic film that deserved the praise it received. The younger actors steal the show and certainly upstage the older actors and It fair to say that with such a strong cast and emotional story, any director could have made this a hit, but fair play to Danny Boyle, he did good!
WALL-E 2008, G)
Anvil! The Story of Anvil 2009, Unrated)
Wendy and Lucy 2008, R)
Wendy and Lucy is a beautiful film. Subtle, minimalist, slow-paced, - my kind of film! The ending is heartbreaking, It's almost too sad for it to be a happy ending but that is exactly what it is. Without being preachy, Wendy and Lucy reminds us that times are tough and sometimes we have to make tough decisions and huge sacrifices but by regaining a sense of integrity and raising up above conviction, everything can be alright in the end. Kelly Reichardt has succeeded in turning the mundane into an uplifting and heart-warming tale, that captures what being human is all about, beautifully at that.
Man on Wire 2008, PG-13)
An exciting documentary/recreation of one of the best stunts ever performed by a rag-tag bunch of colourful characters. It's all made poignant by the fact it was all performed between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Centre. The film is full of great photos and films taken at the time and of the construction of the towers. Philippe Petit is also quite a fascinating and infectious character, his narration keeps the film going with intrigue and humour. It's one of the best documentaries I've seen in a long time and is now among my favourites, I highly recommend it.
In Bruges 2008, R)
What a refreshing surprise! This is one of the only films I've seen where the label 'Dark Comedy' is actually really fitting. I really liked it, in fact, it?s now got to be one of my favourite films! The only thing preventing this from being a 5 star film is that Ralph Fiennes is too much like Ben Kingsley's character in Sexy Beast.