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The Movies of 2008: A Year In Review

Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:36am

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Atom

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Well......there were so many great movies this year, each special or surprising in some way in their own right. So much so, it has cost me a fortune (getting to the hundreds of dollars, now) just to get through them all this season before Oscars. (Still need to see Revolutionary Road and The Wrestler, they haven't released here yet. Otherwise I think my choices are fairly unbiased- at least on the call of ignorance to other films. Oh, and I skipped Doubt. smile)

I've seen some shiners and some stinkers, and have come up with a list. Instead of spending a solid hour picturing and reviewing each film, however, I'll start simply with a list and a short-short sentence or two for 'likes' on each film. This year, the top 20- as there were so many different films I liked in extremely different ways this year that couldn't be said for this year. Anyone that needs justification for any of my choices, I'd be glad to provide it.


Well, here it goes:



A terrific dark comedy/drama. Coming out in March, I had to will my friends to see it. We all came out in shock at how perfect it was. After a year of great movies, I still stand by it and it still stands ahead in my book.



As much as I normally dislike Danny Boyle, there's something fascinating to this movie. The premise is silly, the filmmaking sometimes too avante-garde, but for whatever reason- it all works perfectly together. As Ebert said it, I've never seen a movie work so effortlessly simply through the way it is edited to 'tell itself'. I agree, can't explain this movie, and feel everyone should see it.



Precise, graceful, and an amazing showcase of acting on the part of Frank Langella- this would-be boring movie about an interview is so intense, so edge-of-your-seat intrigue you'd think you were watching a boxing match. Ron Howard and his actors firing on all cylinders.



Easily one of the most beautifully-shot and directed movies I've ever seen, The Fall is another early year-started that remains on my list after months of other movies. Beautiful, simply beautiful beyond belief. Couple that with some excellent assisted-suicide-catalyst drama, and you've got a 'best picture' film that sadly won't get acknowledged as a 'best picture'.


Similar statements to 'The Fall' go with this one as far as the cinematography goes. Benjamin Button was, perhaps even disappointingly, a victim of overexpectation from me. For that, I mean it didn't end up being the best movie I've seen all year. But as this list shows, it was still up there. smile The big points here from me don't go to David Fincher or Eric Roth (the screenwriter), but to Brad Pitt and the visual effects artists. Stunning work from both. Just......stunning.


Fast, fun, colorful, outrageous. If you passed this movie up to begin with, go back and watch it. The ending most especially is one of the greatest, most perfectly-edited endings in a movie I've yet to see.


Dramatic, poignant, and surprising in every way. W. wasn't a masterpiece, but it painted our President in such a restrained and empathetic way- played perfectly in essence/likeness instead of satire/mimicking by Josh Brolin- that I found my self.......fascinated by it all.


Easily one of the funniest movies of the year in my book, Tropic Thunder takes everything I loved about Zoolander (high production values and ridiculous technical values in, well, a farce/comedy) and pulled them even further in an absolutely excellent film. Complete that with the two standouts of the movie: a blackface Robert Downey Jr. and a trash-talking, show-stealing cameo by Tom Cruise.


Some people might wonder about this one, but really there's no other way to say it. I loved this movie. I cried during it, it connected with me on every level. Perhaps this is because I'm a 'dog person/owner' but whatever. I found the movie very reserved and genuine, and rarity in 'romantic comedies' the way I supposed Marley & Me was supposed to be. Instead, I felt real care for the family in the film, and real heartache and sorrow by the end of it all. Genuine, no other way to put it. Not in a very, very long time has what looks like a generic movie so effortlessly and deservingly pulled at my emotions and made me feel such passion for a character- even if it is a dog.


As much as I may feel it has been ridiculously overpraised and overhyped (I know, SC Karma wink) Nolan's grizzly caper is an excellent film. Well-directed, acted, shot, and edited- this movie may not be the best film of all time in my eyes; it may not be the best film of the year; it may not even be the best comic book movie ever (newsflash: it isn't). But you know what? Why does it have to be? The Dark Knight was a superb summer action-drama, all-around, and worthy of the last spot in my 'top ten'.


Hilarious. This year's Knocked Up. Forgetting Sarah Marshall right from the get-go appealed to me with an excellent trailer and a sense of humor and acting that wasn't quite the Frat Pack, wasn't quite to now generic 'Apatow' formula. Instead, this was something less social-issue-y but somehow more heartfelt. And, once more, absolutely hilarious.


Guy Ritchie's return-to-form, firing on all cylinders. Somehow this mish-mash of tired 'british gangster' ideas- jumbled in such a convoluted way I couldn't even begin to piece them together with all that cockney jibberish-speak (wink) found quite a witty, winning resolve. Good, not-so-clean, fun.


An unexpected delight of a film. Perfectly suspenseful and dramatic and a smile-to-your-face nod to the not-so-crumbling career of Tom Cruise. Bryan Singer and Tom Cruise, accompanied by an excellent cast, make this movie work wonders. I really felt they were going to succeed in assassinating Hitler. The movie worked extremely well in this regard, and kept me literally on the edge of my seat for the first time in years.


Three words: ROBERT. DOWNEY. JUNIOR. That is all that was needed for this movie to go on my list. No bigger star or role has been in the making longer than Downey as Stark, and the big payoff did just that- paid off. smile


Another indie hit I normally wouldn't have liked that somehow found its way deep into my heart. Be Kind Rewind wasn't just funny beyond belief, but demonstrated in it an enduring spirit in art (the movies they make in the movie at least) and had such an indescribable 'heart' to it- it left an impression on me, even memorable 9 months later.


If Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Tropic Thunder were just 'Hilarious', consider this one 'F*cking Hilarious!!11!'. Sexdrive really didn't set out to do anything special, but was able to succeed heftily in the no-holds-barred, gross-out, profane, raunch-tastic comedy it delved into. I saw it twice, and spit out my drink, sides-splitting laughed throughout the entire thing. Both times.


The absolute most unexpected film of the year. This movie looked terrible. I'm talking ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. And yet, I still saw it......and fell in love. Somewhere in the midst of European directorial choices, Angelina Jolie, and those crazy 1930s and 1890s sets of golden weaponry Wanted took hold; shamelessly stealing from Fight Club and The Matrix and liking itself way too much to admit so. Loved it all.


Another surprise of the summer. Kung Fu Panda is what I would consider the new Shrek series. A terrific, non-Pixar CG kid's film that not only works on an adult level, but deserves the praise it has and will get. Only a real shame Wall-E will kill it in the Oscars. This one deserves the best-animated award.


A fun, badass movie. Plain and simple. People talked so much trash about this ambiguous reboot of the boring Hulk character to begin with. But this movie didn't care. It was loud and actiony and badass, and didn't care about any of it. Badass.

These next two are tied, because they came to the last place on my list, but I simply couldn't rule one out over the other for my top 20. So here they are, tied:

Coen Brothers once again at their best. Really remarkable and hilarious here, I thought, wasn't just Brad Pitt but George Clooney's hilarious paranoid secret agent character. Tied up with a convoluted-for-the-sake-of-convoluted plot, and this movie became what I could see as a future cult classic.

A mix of cheesy 80s action flicks, stoner comedy, and a buddy film- Pineapple Express wasn't exactly what I went in expecting from such an excellent trailer- and for this reason perhaps it was even somewhat of a letdown- but it was close. And the movie gets merits for that. That, and being ridiculously, uncannily representative of my friends Tyler and Roland. Both of whom act, walk, talk, look, and breath like Seth Rogen and James Franco in this movie.

And that's about it. Any questions or further comments on my choices I'm happy to explain or justify in greater depth, as I know last time I got some static for putting Disturbia higher than Bourne. smile And finally:

Disappointments, terribly overrated, and just plain terrible (movies and) cases of over-expectations or false hype. Aka, movies I didn't like or thought were 'bad movies' that I'm bound to get flak for: smile
-Milk
-Wall-E
-Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of Crystal Skull
-You Don't Mess With The Zohan
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:45am

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ben3308

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I hate you for stealing the thread I just finished typing. And for stealing the movies I liked that you latched onto because they were popular...
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:48am

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Atom

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You're just pissy because I beat you two it, with snappy text on my pictures and all. wink
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 11:36am

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Adman

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ben3308 wrote:

I hate you for stealing the thread I just finished typing. And for stealing the movies I liked that you latched onto because they were popular...

Atom wrote:

You're just pissy because I beat you two it, with snappy text on my pictures and all.
Ah, the joys of sibling rivalry biggrin

I wasn't expecting 'In Bruges' to be on your list; I watched it the other day and I thought it was probably one of the best 2008 year had offered, it's nice to see that people agree.
But if we are talking the best film of the year, I would have to say 'No Country For Old Men', but I am well aware that this was a movie of 2007 for the US markets because, as usual, the UK had wait for second hand prints sad . It does piss me off living here sometimes.
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 7:12pm

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Thrawn

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While I haven't seen all of these movies (most of them, though) I'd say I agree with 90% of the list, but I didn't think speed racer was "number 6" material, especially over the Dark Knight. Despite being overhyped, TDK was a fantastic film, and while Speed Racer was quite entertaining and not given enough praise, I don't see why it would be ranked over TDK... Or W.... Or Iron Man... Or The Dark Knight... wink

Anyways, thanks for the list! Frost/Nixon is now on my 'have to see' list..
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 7:28pm

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Evman

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I don't know about a lot of your list.

I haven't really thought about it much, but Dark Knight and Wall-E are definitely my top 2 films of the year. I can't decide which wins out because they are so drastically different.

If you didn't think that they were amazing, you're just TRYING to be different... razz Honestly those two films enter my top films of ALL TIME list, much less my top films of 2008 list.

Then I'd probably filter in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button somewhere in there. Iron Man was also spectacular.

I have yet to see some of the more "oscar bait" films - so I'm going on basically bigger blockbusters - which sadly were the only films I could afford to see this year in theaters.

I know for a fact that Valkyrie doesn't deserve to be on your list. It was serviceable - and better than anticipated considering what a debacle it seemed based on set reports that I've been following for 2 years. But it simply felt like either it was poorly written from the start, or was hacked and slashed in the editing room into the messy, messy film that it was. Too many characters are introduced and never pay off (Ken Branagh anyone...???), the plot and plan are oftentimes unclear, and Tom Cruise simply doesn't convince me on anything he does anymore (less a fault of his acting, but more his offscreen antics... he's just Tom Cruise killing Hitler. If they had used a lesser known actor it would have worked better). I love Bryan Singer, but he missed the opportunity to make this film great.

I also think that W was a very confused film - doesn't deserve to be that high on the list.

Oh - and I will argue to the death with anyone who thinks Wall-E was terrible. I mean, you're entitled to your own opinion... but... YOU'RE WRONG! razz
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 7:43pm

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Limey

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don't forget baby mama and meet the spartans!
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:09pm

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ben3308

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Evman wrote:

Oh - and I will argue to the death with anyone who thinks Wall-E was terrible. I mean, you're entitled to your own opinion... but... YOU'RE WRONG! razz
I didn't write this list, but considering I'm about to put mine up with WALL-E as a big disappointment as well, I think I'll say something.

Filmmaking is an artful way of telling a story, I think we all know that. And, in the rarest of occassions, such stories hold the power to change our beliefs and actually move us. WALL-E attempted to be such a film.

The problem with it, however, is that its message is too heavy-handed and preachy, and it therein comes off as more asinine and, to be a bit cynical, operates on an air of pretention. Filmmakers will always try to inject their owns thoughts and considerations into their films, that's the very nature of the business. But when a film lacks the finesse to properly and appropriately articulate its views - all-the-while trying still to entertain an audience on a basic level - it can make the film, as a whole, fall into convolution and obscurity.

Now, to be clear, I liked WALL-E a lot more than my brother did. But you'd be hard-pressed to find me put it anywhere close to my top films of all time, simply because its preachiness and the issues tackled make it a soon-to-be dated piece of cinema, rather than a true classic. Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille, on the other hand, are conceived in such a way that they can exist on their own, forever.

Hope that made sense! biggrin

Also, I think if you haven't seen The Fall or Slumdog Millionaire, you can't really argue TDK and WALL-E as the best; because I'm almost certain you'll change your mind when you see the former. wink
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:16pm

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Aculag

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**Before I start, I'll say that I didn't see many movies in the cinema this year. I moved to a new town where ticket prices are considerably more expensive, and none of my friends here are really movie-goers. Kind of disappointing, but I'll catch up eventually.**

Saying Kung Fu Panda was better than Wall-E is just insane. KFP was fun and all, but it's just another Dreamworks schlock fest where the biggest draw is the big-name actors they got to play all the parts. I enjoyed it, to be sure, it was definitely a fun watch, but in the grand scheme of things, you're right to say it's another Shrek. Totally forgettable, but will likely inspire countless, profitable sequels.

Wall-E, on the other hand, is a masterpiece. It's story is remarkably touching for being so simple, and the main characters unable to speak, and for people who don't care about that, the visuals and sound design are outstanding. It's intellectual, beautiful, driven, poignant. There haven't been many years that I've thought an animated film was just as good, if not better than it's live-action counterparts, but 2008 was certainly one of them. I held off on seeing Wall-E until it was on DVD (Partly because I didn't think it would be as good as people thought, and partly because of laziness), and then watched it twice in the same weekend. Something I never do, for any movie. I still haven't seen Dark Knight more than once, even though it completely blew me away.

I'm always somewhat baffled by your year-end lists, Atom, and while I haven't seen a lot of the movies you mentioned, there are only a few that I can agree with. Iron Man, Dark Knight, Speed Racer, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I did very much like The Fall, but it's biggest appeal were the visuals, and while they're amazing, they couldn't really fill in the gaps for me. In Bruges was interesting, but not nearly as interesting as you seemed to think. Be Kind Rewind was decent, but nothing special, especially by Gondry's standards (there were some pretty great moments, though), and Wanted? Seriously? Maybe it's because I refuse to go near it because it looks like utter garbage, but... seriously?

I have no intention of seeing W. or Valkyrie, or RocknRolla (Guy Ritchie is dead to me), or Frost/Nixon, but Benjamin Button is certainly on the top of my list of things to see, as well as Slumdog Millionaire. Did anyone actually like Zohan? I didn't think so.
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:19pm

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Atom

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Evman, I think Valkyrie we just simply aren't going to agree on, as it appears that bothered you the most. Wall-E I won't touch, as far as I'm concerned it's this year's Juno. biggrin

Any others on my list/order you got a beef with? My top 5 are all extremely close in competition with eachother in my book. I still stand by putting The Dark Knight at the #10 spot (not an easy spot to get to for me, might I add. I see a LOT of movies) There were too many large problems (laughable 'l33t sonar sight', anyone?) and preposterous elements in it, not just nitpicky things, to keep it from being higher than I put it. I still thought it was excellent. It still goes in my top movies, yes. But I'll only take it for what it's worth and won't ignore glaring problems I have with it just because everyone else loves it.

And Aculag, perhaps you missed where I said I thought Wanted looked absolutely terrible. Critics seemed to agree with me though, it was a shockingly good, shameless ripoff, good movie. Even though it looked like a piece of sh!t. smile

Last edited Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:26pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:22pm

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Aculag

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Atom wrote:

Wall-E I won't touch, as far as I'm concerned it's this year's Juno. biggrin
Does this mean you're going to film a parody of it and never release it, despite endless hype? wink
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 8:22pm

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DVStudio

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Good list Atom. I agree with it for the most part, although I have only seen about 75% of the movies here.

I agree that Marley and Me was a very emotional movie- I had tears in my eyes at several parts sad . I saw it 2 days after it came out and it was really a great movie. I was very happy I went to see it because at first I thought it was going to be a stupid movie- turned out I was completely wrong. I guess I'll dust off the book that I have had forever. This was definatley a movie I have to have on DVD and it is one of my all time favorites. smile

Indiana Jones was a complete disappointment. I saw it in the theatres and was very upset with how it turned out. The movie had no plot and was completely random. I mean aliens made of glass? Surviving a nuclear explosion in a fridge? Give me a break!

But I disagree with where you placed Wanted on the list. I mean #17?!? I think it was way better than that! But everyone has their own opinions. smile And Kung Fu Panda? What is this about? That movie is awful. My younger brother has it and I tried watching it once, but didn't get through even 30 minutes of that torture.
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 10:58pm

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Bryce007

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I'm entirely confused as to how The incredible Hulk and Be Kind Rewind ended up on that list...



And I won't even say anything about Marley and Me.
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 11:21pm

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DVStudio

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Bryce007 wrote:

And I won't even say anything about Marley and Me.
Hey, what's wrong with Marley and Me? confused
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 11:25pm

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Evman

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Rating: +1

Aculag wrote:

Atom wrote:

Wall-E I won't touch, as far as I'm concerned it's this year's Juno. biggrin
Does this mean you're going to film a parody of it and never release it, despite endless hype? wink
It always entertains me how Atom is so quick to point out how much he hates movies that don't live up to the hype that surrounds them - yet he continually hypes his own projects. razz

As for Valkyrie - I really want to know why you liked it so much Atom. It seemed like a huge missed opportunity for me.



And as for Wall-E: Ben, I think you missed the point of the film entirely.

It is not meant to be some grand lecture on the dangers of consumerism and our waste filled lives. Nor is it meant to be anti-corporation. These themes are both played in the movie as hyperboles - and serve as the HOW and WHY the universe of the story exists.

The real heart of the story - is the love story between Wall-E and Eve. One robot who has developed over the years - a personality. A humanity. And one that is still a cold machine, doing exactly what she was programmed to do. The whole journey of the film is essentially Eve's transformation at the hands of Wall-E from a cold machine to a being capable of real emotion... most importantly... love.

The story is essentially about how Wall-E changes everyone else - not how Wall-E himself changes.

This is how I saw the movie. This central theme of love and compassion over mechanics. Wall-E's adventures end up inspiring a latent and lazy humanity to stand up (yeah, the metaphor was a little heavy handed there, but it works) and take responsibility for themselves. They go through the same sort of transformation as Eve. They learn to care about other people THROUGH Wall-E.

And Eve's desperate attempts to get the plant into the device at the end aren't meant to simply return humans to Earth. Sure, that's a side effect of it, but it's not the true reason.

She wants to get Wall-E back to Earth in order to get the parts she needs to save his life. That is her motivation. That is the motivation of the story. Wall-E has had an effect on her - and through the brilliantly conceived scene of her falling in love with him (through of all things - a prerecorded screen), she realizes that HE is more important than her programmed directive. THAT is not some preachy environmental/anti-corporation message. Not some heavy handed metaphor. Just pure and simple. Love.

Wall-E teaches everyone who he meets how to love again. As the captain says - not how to survive. But how to live.

There is a small moment - barely noticeable unless you're looking for it - towards the beginning of the second act of the film. As the spaceship is leaving Earth, Wall-E makes his way up to the window of the ship and sees Eve inside. Despite the fact that she cannot see him, he still takes the time to say her name in an enchanting way, while pointing out at the stars behind him. He - a machine - is experiencing beauty in a way that humans and consequently other robots had forgotten how to. And in one simple utterance of "Eva" and an enthusiastic point - the entire meaning of the movie was completely solidified for me.

Call it hokey, call it corny. Call me a sap. I don't care. Wall-E was one of the most emotionally moving films I've seen in a long time.

It's beautifully simple yet endlessly complex. It's deep and meaningful, yet only an hour and a half long, with barely any dialouge. It is told almost completely visually and through fantastic sound design through Ben Burtt's superb talent. That is what a film should be. Ironic it took an animated film to do it.

And none of it is real. It's all a bunch of zeros and ones. Just like Wall-E and Eve - the film is mechanical. But like it's heroes - it is more than the sum of its parts.

It's magical.




EDIT: And that's exactly why I can't disagree with you more.

This is Pixar's most timeless film. It's central theme is so primal and strong that none of their other films even comes close to it's poignancy and power.
Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 11:47pm

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Atom

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At dinner I summed up my thoughts on why Wall-E doesn't work the way you say it does, for me at least (everyone else is free to disagree), with my father and Ben; who laughed and agreed. I'll restate it here:

My dad said: "But the beginning, first 2/3rds were so brilliant and beautiful, they were perfect. And they did it without dialogue."

I returned: "That may be, and I won't refute that-it's the absolute truth, but that doesn't mean I can overlook a movie so into itself in the last third it feels it can squeeze 2 hours of plot and themes into the last thirty minutes minutes of a movie. It can't, and it's obvious when the story has to continue in flash-animation form during the end credits. smile"

You're free to disagree with me, many people do, but don't tell me I'm wrong. I have pretty clear and not-so-concise reasons why I dislike Wall-E as a whole, why I believe it not to be a masterpiece, and why at some points I was almost disgusted with a film that started so well and ended a tragically missed opportunity. In my eyes, that is. I don't normally have very 'off' tastes from the general cinema consensus- but Wall-E is an outlier in this, and I agree. But that doesn't mean I should resign to the the hype, bandwagon, and opinions that deem what I see as a so-so/mediocre/almost-bad movie something as ridiculous, overrated, or preposterous as a 'timeless classic' or 'one of the best movies ever made' simply so I don't look like I'm just "trying to be different."

The truth of the matter is, for this movie at least- however much a rarity-, I did disagree with everyone. I was different, and I'm willing to accept that and stand by my opinion. After all, it's only my taste, I'm not saying the movie doesn't work for others. It obviously does.

As for Valkyrie, I don't know if I can quite substantiate my thoughts. I went in with some hesitation- distaste for the film based on the negative connotations the press has given it for, like you said, years now. But perhaps it is because of this that my genuine surprise at how much of the film I liked, how much I felt was so expertly-played (including the iffy lack of accents and german dialogue), and how insurmountably well the movie worked that I ended up giving it such high, positive remarks.

Tom Cruise played the lead with tension and precision perfect for the 'foreboding-doom' feel of the movie, Bryan Singer directed the movie with the same eye and thematic feel as the movie displayed: sacrificial resistance against a greater evil. I felt for the characters, I genuinely believed in them and had a pit in my stomach when their inevitable demise came forward. I saw them succeeding and believed, yes, they could kill Hitler. It was going to happen. This wasn't because of cinematic naivety, but because the movie chose the right path-of-action- one that let me grab hold and kept me literally at the edge of my seat.

Instead of being schmaltzy or taking a route more akin to Schindler's List, Bryan Singer and Tom Cruise play it like a biting, tense thriller. And whether or not you feel taking this path resulted in a missed opportunity, I think there's no denying the path it chose, as a thriller, worked extremely well.

This choice perhaps kept what could've been an Oscar movie from getting nods, sure, I'll be the first to admit to that. But in doing so Singer and Cruise played to their respective strengths in cinema- and I liked them both much more for it. The movie for me worked, plain and simple. It had the moment-of-truth montage I expected and really sought near the end for this kind of movie, it had the intensity and foreboding I wanted, and had actors good enough to support something as preposterous and as artful of a choice as to not do accents period. Amadeus did this and it worked. Here too, Valkyrie made it work.

And so, with my expectation exceeded, my desires all met, and my hesitations about the movie quelled- I couldn't find any reasons for it not to go on my top movies list. Just as I had expected a Bryan Singer/Tom Cruise movie about a Hitler assassination attempt 2 or so years ago when I first heard about it - before all the fuss- to fit into.

Last edited Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 11:57pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 2nd Jan 2009, 11:57pm

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Fill

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Okay, I'll give five movies of the year. Only five? Yes. Only five. There weren't that many I can say I truly liked.

1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Absolutely amazing. I can't stop thinking about it. Great visuals, great acting, great script, great directing. Just overall great.

2. Wall-E
Very cute, and despite the Atom bros.' issues with it, I still love it. I won't argue with them because neither of us will change our opinions. I liked it. It looked beautiful, and it was few of words.

3. Speed Racer
I watched this again yesterday, and I fell in love with it again. Oh the beautiful colors! Awesome visuals with a surprisingly compelling story.

4. The Dark Knight
It was good. It was well made. It wasn't better than these movies however: The Godfather, Shawshank Redemption, Citizen Kane.

5. Burn After Reading
I saw this the second time a few weeks ago, and it was even funnier. This movie is so zany, yet perfect in its own right.

That's my list.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 12:13am

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Evman

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Atom - I don't honestly see what about the third act was so convoluted and preachy... To me, it was the natural culmination of the rest of the story. It was straightforward enough, and revolved around the unbelievably simple premise of putting a plant into a slightly raised part of a platform.

Eve needs to get Wall-E back to Earth, and she goes all out to make this happen. The captain has realized (through Wall-E's inspiration) that humanity needs to return home. In this way the end of the movie is all about getting Wall-E home. Can't get much simpler than that.

And yes - I WILL call it a timeless classic, because of the central theme of love that I mentioned. Perhaps THE most timeless theme in humanity.


As for Valkyrie - I wasn't willing to accept it as a thriller because it didn't feel like a thriller. It felt like a much more grandiose, rich story that was horribly maimed into a serviceable thriller in the editing process.

Ken Branagh's character was brilliant - with his statements of "we want to show the world we weren't all like Hitler", but his character inexplicably disappears a half hour into the movie, to play no central role at all.

Speaking of characters. I didn't really care about any of them because there were simply too many of them. No one character was afforded any real screen time that made me care about them. Even Cruise was short played simply because of the multitude of characters. His wife and kids added nothing.

Ken Branagh's aforementioned lines about them not being like him were tantalizing because I wanted to know more about their reasons. The film basically says "we want to kill Hitler cause he's evil". None of the characters ever explain why he's evil, or if that's even the real reason that they want to kill him.

It took what could have been a much more intriguing premise and deluded it with an overabundance of characters, flimsy reasoning and messages, and a generally just... off... tone to the whole thing.

Again, I think this thing was horribly disfigured in the editing, and it shows SO much.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 1:06am

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Atom

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Well, agree to disagree, I guess. smile
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 1:31am

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Aculag

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Evman wrote:

Atom - I don't honestly see what about the third act was so convoluted and preachy... To me, it was the natural culmination of the rest of the story. It was straightforward enough, and revolved around the unbelievably simple premise of putting a plant into a slightly raised part of a platform.
The "preachiness" of the third act was one of the things most reviews I read early on disliked about it (and I'm sure that's where Atom gets it too). I didn't think it was necessarily "preachy" at all, even though I was waiting for it to be. It's just people who think they know better trying to find something to gripe about in an otherwise un-gripe-able film.

If the third act can be considered "preachy" for the whole "people are fat" thing, then the whole damn movie should be considered "preachy" for the whole "people are messy" thing. rolleyes
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 1:44am

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ben3308

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The problem, I think is that the preachiness of the film belittles and, to some extents, eclipses the love story at hand. Yes, in cinematic terms, the plot is about love. But the setting is so laden with parable that it becomes hard as a moviegoer to wade through the message and actually enjoy the story.

This is something I got at in my previous post. I don't have a fundamental misunderstanding of the movie's purpose, I just didn't like the themes in the periphery, to me they brought down an otherwise well-made, ambitious feat. And I liked the movie, just not as much as The Inredibles.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 5:20am

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Bryce007

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Valkyrie possessed some of the thickest tension/atmosphere I've yet seen in a film of it's type. And it pulled it off with me already knowing the conclusion of the story.

Damn, Singer is good at thrillers.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 6:45am

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D3L3T10N

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Evman wrote:

None of the characters ever explain why he's evil, or if that's even the real reason that they want to kill him.
I'm pretty sure they assumed you'd know why Hitler was evil...
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 6:55am

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Evman

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D3L3T10N wrote:

Evman wrote:

None of the characters ever explain why he's evil, or if that's even the real reason that they want to kill him.
I'm pretty sure they assumed you'd know why Hitler was evil...
Well - I don't really think that everyone is truly "evil" anyway. It doesn't matter what I think. I cared about what THEY thought.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 9:43am

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Atom

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Rating: +1

Did you just sympathize with Hitler, Evman? razz
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 10:16am

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ben3308

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Aaaaaaaand Godwin's Law is officially in effect. smile
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 6:49pm

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Evman

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Haha.

Hitler wasn't evil. To be truly evil, I think you have to KNOW that what you're doing is wrong - and still enjoy doing it. I don't think anyone truly fits that description.

Despicable? Immoral? Yes. By my standards (and mostly everyone's) Hitler was a terrible man.

But that doesn't matter in the context of the film.

Not everyone knew about the concentration camps. They're never mentioned in the film. I wanted to know whether they were doing this simply because they thought what Hitler was doing was wrong, or whether they just thought he was bad for Germany itself.

The movie never truly makes that clear. I for one wanted to know if the heroes of the film would have bothered carrying out their plot if Germany had actually been winning the war, and if it was only because they were losing that they wanted to salvage Germany's reputation.

This was never truly made clear. If they were fighting against Hitler because his inhumane treatment of Jews and other people, then I might have more sympathy for them. But the way the movie made it come across was that they simply didn't want to lose the war. I just wanted to know, instead of banking on the stereotypical "Hitler iz EVIL lol!" reasoning. That's shallow and stupid.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 6:57pm

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Bryce007

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Evman wrote:


The movie never truly makes that clear.

Evman wrote:


This was never truly made clear.
I get the feeling you think this film wasn't making certain things truly clear...
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 6:59pm

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Evman

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How ever did you get that impression.

That's what I get for trying to write a post half asleep.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 7:19pm

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AwesomeFist

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well if i were you i wouldn't put hulk on that list i saw part of it because i fell asleep during it it also was not a good movie and bored me.
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 7:52pm

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Atom

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Well, you aren't me, and I'm thankful for that. I'm fine with having different movie tastes than you. smile

I'm amazed you're calling The Incredible Hulk boring and bad. It certainly was NOT boring, man. Maybe you're talking about the Ang Lee film?
Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 8:14pm

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Klausky

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1. Slumdog Millionare
2. Gran Torino
3. Burn After Reading
4. Dark Knight
5. Milk
6. The Wackness
7. Benjamin Button

I still need to see Doubt, Rev. Road, The Wrestler, and Frost/ Nixon in order to finish my top ten.

Atom, I'd love to hear why Milk didn't make it on to your list. Putting The Incredible Hulk over it is a crime!

Last edited Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 8:16pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sat, 3rd Jan 2009, 10:22pm

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Atom

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Real simple answer to that one: Milk wasn't a good movie

I really wanted it to be one, but it wasn't. It was movie that, in segments/scenes, worked and had outstanding acting, but cohesively just didn't connect for me. I wanted to find depth and power in it all, but it simply didn't resonate with me. I find a lot of this likely due to the confused direction and some of the editing choices.

The actors, art directors, writers, etc. seemed all apt enough, I just felt somewhere in the running of it all something just doesn't work- and leaves the movie unspecial and forgettable for me.
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 1:21am

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Aculag

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I haven't seen Milk yet, but I wonder: Do you like any other Van Sant films, Atom? I find he's an acquired taste, and if you're not familiar with, or a fan of his other work, you probably won't appreciate whatever film it is you're watching of his. Just curious. Like I said, I haven't seen the movie yet, so I have no opinion of it whatsoever, but I am a fan of a lot of Van Sant's other work.
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 1:36am

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Pooky

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Just the fact that Milk actually managed to nearly make me shed a tear because of an election result made it good in my book. The great acting, unique viewpoint and relatively layered story didn't hurt, either. It felt very much like it was aiming for an oscar, however, and as a result seemed kind of stiff and a bit lacking in soul.
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 2:05am

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Travis Kunze

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Well, I just watch "The Dark Knight" for the first time tonight, and must say that they did a excellent job with it.

Alot of these other films I have yet to see yet.
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 2:19am

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Atom

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Aculag wrote:

I haven't seen Milk yet, but I wonder: Do you like any other Van Sant films, Atom?
I liked Good Will Hunting, but felt it too had some odd editing choices that turned me off from it.

He is an acquired taste, but that doesn't mean I 'don't understand' or 'won't appreciate' his work. Statements like that kinda make it to where you can't say you dislike anything of his for fear of 'just not getting it', if you know what I mean. smile

I don't have a problem with his films, there's a lot I liked about Milk, Good Will Hunting, and Finding Forrester. I think the acting direction is excellent, but there's something in each work as a whole that simply doesn't work with his stuff, I think. Something in his editing and cinematography choices that doesn't work for me, either. Like a good amateur film on here, I find his movies sprinkled with moments of excellent cinematography, editing, and atmosphere that I diminished by longer segments of so-so stuff. This was true for Milk. Excellent scenes in the movie, absolutely. But together, it's too in-your-face and then too reserved-and-alienated, if that makes sense. The pacing/mood is all off. (Well, in my opinion at least.)

Like I said, I haven't seen the movie yet, so I have no opinion of it whatsoever, but I am a fan of a lot of Van Sant's other work.
Well, I'm not a Gus Van Sant fan, but I appreciate his work and like the material he tackles, even if I don't quite think he's got the talent to support it. I was really excited about Milk and thought he was the perfect person for it. The trailer, for instance, got my really excited. One of the best trailers I've seen in a while, encompassing a lot.

If only the movie was as good if not better than the trailer. Sadly, it wasn't. Again, perhaps another movie victim to my own anticipation/over-expectation. (eg. American Gangster, Milk itself, etc.) I find this mantra humorous (the Onion parodied it with 'Iron Man Trailer') but entirely true. A great movie can be found when it exceeds the genius and precision of an excellent trailer for it. (eg. The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon.)
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 2:45am

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Aculag

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I didn't say anything about not "getting it". I'm sure that wasn't the case at all, just that a lot of his films are like that. There's just certain things that people don't like when there isn't necessarily anything wrong with the movie. My Own Private Idaho and Elephant are good examples. I'd say those are on my list of all time favorite movies, but a lot of people don't like them, even though there isn't really anything wrong with them.

Just a matter of taste, like anything else. smile
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 6:26am

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Atom

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Pooky wrote:

It felt very much like it was aiming for an oscar, however, and as a result seemed kind of stiff and a bit lacking in soul.
This too, I completely agree. As much as I sympathized with the characters and really wanted to be concerned with the election results et all, there was something disingenuous about it all. Although I completely understand what you're saying about simply not 'liking' something without something glaringly wrong with- the case wasn't true here entirely.

While I got that 'feeling' there something I didn't like about it (which is odd, because I'm completely for the human rights cause and thought that would be a strong emotion-invoking point for me in the film)- there was of course the editing of the storytelling/pacing that really was just bad.

I won't ruin any of it for you, even though we all know how it ended, but perhaps you'll see what I mean when you watch it.
Posted: Mon, 5th Jan 2009, 1:54pm

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Simon K Jones

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People think Wall-E was preachy? I can only assume that those people are carrying around a really big guilty conscience, or are particularly sensitive souls, because I didn't really detect any preachyness at all. crazy

It made a few basic points about the environment, and about machines taking over our lives, but that was just set dressing, really, for the Wall-E/Eve story, with the Captain's transformation being a neat subplot. Just because environmental damage is one of many themes in the film doesn't automatically make it preachy.

I only saw it a week ago for the first time and really enjoyed it. First third on Earth was great, and the final third was even better. The middle didn't hold my attention as much as I expected, but once the Captain was developed into a hero rather than a buffoon/villain, it became much more interesting.

I hardly saw any films last year, but here are a few thoughts on some:

The Dark Knight - best Batman film to date and a fantastically twisty thriller. However, the silly radar tech really spoiled the film's climax for me.

Incredible Hulk - Great fun! Shame it didn't do better, because I thought it did an admirable job with a difficult character. It was also the first time I saw two CG creatures fighting each other and actually cared.

Iron Man - rather bumbled themes regarding the military, and a slightly limp final fight, but otherwise this is probably my joint-favourite comic book movie to date.

Hellboy II - this is my other joint-favourite comic book movie to date. Much, much preferred this to The Dark Knight.

I did see some non-comic book films, but I can't really remember them for some reason...was The Departed this year?
Posted: Mon, 5th Jan 2009, 4:43pm

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Redhawksrymmer

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It's been a good year for films...here is my top 10 films that were released in 2008 (in Sweden, that is):
1. The Dark Knight
2. [Rec]
3. Cloverfield
4. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
5. Let the right one in
6. Wall-E
7. Tropic Thunder
8. Iron Man
9. I Am Legend
10. Doomsday

Loads of big hollywood blockbusters on my list I guess, but that could be related to the fact that swedish cinemas pretty much only show those kinds of films - oh, and loads of nationally produced cop films which are a bit meh.
Posted: Mon, 5th Jan 2009, 4:48pm

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Simon K Jones

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Ooh, Sweeney Todd! Forgot about that. That was great fun - best bit of singing-acting I've seen for a while.
Posted: Mon, 5th Jan 2009, 10:37pm

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Serpent

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I'm so behind on films this year. Like Evan, I believe, I have really mostly seen bigger hollywood films, save In Bruges. All of the other limited release and independent films (many that come to theaters after nominations are announced for the Oscars) I'm behind on. Here's my list so far:

1. Pineapple Express - Now one of my favorite comedies of all time. Most entertaining movie of 2008, don't think this one will be bumped down, but who knows?

2. The Dark Knight - Great film, flaws didn't bother me enough to affect my opinion of the film at all. Ledger was simply brilliant.

3. In Bruges - I love when film loving friends of mine recommend a film and I go into it not knowing what to expect at all. Simply Brilliant film.

4. Quantum of Solace - I am honestly surprised no one has mentioned this (unless I'm mistaken and my 'find' is broken). I know it didn't live up to Casino (IMO), but it was still a great Bond film that was rather entertaining throughout. I'm not surprised it is absxent from peoples' lists who have seen a lot of films this year, but not everyone has.

5. Tropic Thunder - FXHome forum members hyped this so much after the trailer was released. I thought it looked alright, and I went in with very low expectations. FXHome members were right. smile Fantastic, funny throughout, mostly, very entertaining. Fun plot too.

6. Hell Boy 2 - I went into Hellboy I thinking it was going to be a bad superhero/comic film. I was pleasantly surprised, I loved it. Couldn't wait for II and it lived up. Fantastic visuals by Del Toro. Can't wait for the Hobbit!

7. Indiana Jones 4 - Loved it. Know there are a lot of haters on here, but the ridiculousness really just doesn't bother me. A lot of people say it just wasn't the same. I got a great "Indy vibe" as a childhood IJ fan, and it was entertaining. Loved the 50's aliens theme, we've seen 3 Indy films about Ancient mythology. This was new, and alien mythology is just as believable as religious artifacts. A lot of religious people believe religious artifacts of power are stories meant to taught lessons, so I'm not taking a stab at religion. Hell, I think there are arguments for aliens that are believable. Anyways, great film, can't wait for 5.

8. Forgetting Sarah Marshall - I knew exactly what to expect out of this movie, in a good way I suppose. It was entertaining, funny, and I actually cared about the characters. Knew it wasn't going to be amazing.

9. Narnia - Love these films. Narnia is dear to me, and these are fun.

10. Burn After Reading - it was hard to tell where it was going at first, but it was very entertaining to watch unfold. Direction, performances, and execution of humor were perfect. It was perfect for what it was, IMO, but the kind of film that it was wouldn't make my top few unless the story was especially enticing and the writing on-par with the Coen brothers.

10. Iron Man - Awesome superhero film. This was one that FXHome members hyped up, but it didn't deliver for me as much. Still extremely entertaining, wish they wouldn't make Iron Man 2, honestly. I think it works standalone. Very few Super Hero sequels do it for me, but maybe Iron Man will be different.

Honorable mentions: Cloverfield, 21 (mediocre film, but entertaining nonetheless), Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Narnia.

Still need to see: Harold and Kumar, Leatherheads, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden, Speed Racer, Wall-E, X-Files, Valkyrie, Milk, Gran Torino, Benjamin Button, Choke, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, W., Che, Be Kind Rewind, Hancock. I'll watch some of the films that I haven't heard of on other top tens as well. Still have a lot to go. smile Still have a few from 2007 too. I'm sure some of these will bump a bunch off my current top 10.

Bad films: The Other Bolyn Girl (long story), 'Run, Fat Boy, Run' (wanted to like it for Simon Pegg's sake). I avoid bad films, so that's it.
Posted: Mon, 5th Jan 2009, 11:22pm

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Jabooza

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Well, as usual, I didn't see anywhere near as many movies this year as most people, but I definitely saw some that I really liked:


The Dark Knight - It seems that a lot of people on here didn't think it lived up to the hype (although they still really liked it). I did think it lived up to the hype, it's definitely my favorite movie of the year and even one of my favorites of all time.

Wall-E - Right up there with The Dark Knight, it's probably one of my favorite animated movies of all time.

Indiana Jones - I know, a lot of people on here hate it, but I thought that for the most part it was actually really good and did a good job in keeping the whole feel from the originals... however it was far from perfect *COUGH*aliens*COUGH*

The Incredible Hulk - I actually liked the 2003 version too, but I think the story has a lot more potential than these movies are giving it. I really enjoyed this, and I think it was definitely an improvement over the '03 version (and had some amazing action too wink ) but I still think a Hulk movie could be done better.

The Chronicles of Narnia - not, in my opinion, quite as good as the first, but still very good. With the Narnia movies there's always a bit of an issue with there being talking animals in what is, for the most part, a serious movie, but wants you get past that (and the ridiculous talking, sword-fighting mouse), they're great fantasy movies with really good stories, and this is a worthy sequel to the first.

Iron Man - I really don't see how it's as good as everyone says it is. It's a great movie, but I just don't see what makes it worthy of being called one of the best comic book films of all time; I think Spider-Man 1/2 still have it beat.

Be Kind Rewind - A funny comedy that embraces the spirit of filmmaking, pays to tribute to a lot of great films, and manages has something that comedies rarely tend to (successfully) have: a dramatic story.

Quantum of Solace - Like Serpent said, not as good as Casino Royale, but still quite good.

Cloverfield - I actually thought this was a HUGE letdown, but still not that bad. Basically I was expecting it to be amazing and it turned out being just pretty good.



Well, I think that's pretty much all the good ones I saw.
Posted: Tue, 6th Jan 2009, 2:16am

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Aculag

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Tarn wrote:

Hellboy II - this is my other joint-favourite comic book movie to date. Much, much preferred this to The Dark Knight.
Whoa, seriously? By "joint-favorite" did you mean you got really high before watching it? wink

I just watched it last night, and while I did think it was a lot better than the first, it suffered greatly because of some ridiculous plot points and awkward writing. I love Hellboy, have read all of the comics, and it fit in pretty well with the idea of HB, but the whole climax (hell, the whole main plot) could have been completely avoided if the "princess" had just stabbed herself a long ass time ago, and destroyed the crown. Obviously that would mean no movie, but I was pretty let down by the ridiculousness of that whole thing.

Also, the whole intro sequence with young HB was really painful to watch. No idea why they felt they needed to include that. They easily could have set up the golden army plot some other way than having an atrocious kid actor play dumb as baby HB...

The new guy playing Abe wasn't nearly as good as David Hyde Pierce, either. But I did love Seth McFarlane as Krauss. And Del Toro really has a way with monsters. Some of the creatures in the film were just awesome to look at. As good as, or better than Pan's Labyrinth if you're a creature fan.

Overall it was a really awesome movie, but not even the silly radar thing in Dark Knight would make me say I liked Hellboy more. Heh. Just my two cents.
Posted: Tue, 6th Jan 2009, 4:01am

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Pooky

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Serpent wrote:

4. Quantum of Solace - I am honestly surprised no one has mentioned this (unless I'm mistaken and my 'find' is broken). I know it didn't live up to Casino (IMO), but it was still a great Bond film that was rather entertaining throughout. I'm not surprised it is absxent from peoples' lists who have seen a lot of films this year, but not everyone has.
I'll clarify why I wouldn't personally put this anywhere near my top 10 of the year, even though I haven't actually posted such a list. smile

It wasn't a Bond film. It was a gray and gritty action flick with no charm or wit. Compare that to Casino Royale, which was positively OOZING with style and awesomeness and cunning writing, and Quantum stands out for me as a huge disappointment. It sets up a lot of stuff that could be really interesting in the "third" one if they explore it correctly (and hire a director that hasn't publicly said he isn't a Bond fan, ahem), but by itself it just doesn't have anything particularly memorable. Whereas in Casino Royale you had the poker scene, the parkour scene, the torture scene, the DB9 crash, the cool but realistic bad guy, in this one you have a car chase, a plane chase, a girl dipped in oil (ripped off and random), a building blowing up in the middle of nowhere and a pathetic unthreatening bad guy. Generic.

I'm not saying they should whip out the gadgets and crazy stuff, because that would be even worse. But what I found so ingenious in Casino Royale was how they managed to integrate all the classic things that make James Bond movies what they are into a logical, modern and realistic storyline. They didn't do that here, and instead just went for plain old gritty and realistic.
Posted: Tue, 6th Jan 2009, 4:17am

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Serpent

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I agree with all your reasons. I'm just saying, I'm surprised it wasn't on ANYONE'S list, when I have hardly seen 10 good movies this year.

However I still enjoyed Quantum though. I thought it did still have a lot of wit, and it didn't matter who was directing Craig, he pulled off Bond as well as he did in Casino, just with a worse plot. I honestly didn't think the writing or the action were bad at all. Nowhere NEAR Casino caliber. Casino Royale is one of my top 15 favorite films of all time. I have only seend 25% of the films of 2008 I had planned to watch, Quantum came in at Number 4, and I thought it was a bad movie year. Add that all up and you have an equation for a film that is nowhere close to my top 15.
Posted: Tue, 6th Jan 2009, 4:54am

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Pooky

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I'd give Quantum about a 6 out of ten. It was entertaining, I'll agree, but that's like saying a giant chocolate cake tasted decent. Sorry, didn't have any better metaphors.
Posted: Tue, 6th Jan 2009, 9:54am

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Sollthar

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I pretty much disliked Quantum Solace.

It didn't feel like a Bond movie but a rather lame copy of Bourne Identity. Plus, I had a seriously hard time following the plot. Seemed to me like Bond just ran from one action scene to the next and one location to the next.
Plus, every plus the film had was seriously killed by terrible editing and camerawork to make sure it's almost impossible to tell who just kicked who's arse.



Not really seen anything that blew me away this year in cinemas.
As for my top films I've seen this year:

special mention:
Zwartboek
Saw it this year on DVD even though it probably doesn't count as a 2008 film. But I thought it was absolutely fantastic. If it was a 2008 movie, I'd say it was my favorite.

other then that:

1. Sweeney Todd
Burton at his best again. And even though they sang, I found the whole thing to be brilliantly amusing, emotional and fantastically designed. I'd say it was my favorite movie-experience this year.

2. Wall-E
Brilliant Filmmaking especially in the first half of the film. I didn't like the second half as much, but it was still one of Pixars best. Loved it overall.

3. Iron Man
Highly, highly amusing and thoroughly enjoyable because of an amazing Downey JR. Not my favorite comic book movie or close to it, but good good fun.

4. Burn after reading
Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe.... what else can I say. smile

5. Kong Fu Panda
I thought it was going to be really stupid, but I seriously laughed my ass off in a lot of scenes. Excellent fun, highly entertaining and just the right length.

6. The Dark Knight
Ledger ruled. The film was good and entertained me. It's still not pushing Burtons Batman from my top spot, but Nolan really improved a lot over Batman Begins with this. And as I said, ledger ruled.
But the film was ridicolous in places and simply too long.

7. Indiana Jones 4
Yes, it's the worst of the series and yes, it did many things wrong. But it also did a lot of things right. And it's got Indy.



Movie Disappointments:


1. tropic thunder
There was exactly ONE funny scene in this film. Typical american punch-it-in-the-face-humour. Watch a few more episodes of Extras and see how the Brits do it... please...

2. Quantum of solace
Expected it to be good, but it really really wasn't. Boring, confusing and self-important. Plus: seriously bad camera and editing... *shudders*

3. speed racer
The film is just like the trailer suggests. Colorful, silly and random. Interesting filmmaking, but since I'm not 12 anymore, the rest does entirely not appeal to me.

4. wanted
Okay, I went in expecting it to be bad and with that in mind, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. But still bad.

5. The incredible Hulk
Did some things better then the first Hulk and some things much worse. In total, I didn't care much for anything in the movie. But it was okay.

6. Hellboy 2
Guillermo loves his makeup dudes and they do a magnificent job! The film is weird and quirky and better then the first, but seemed to have missed his impact on me. Saw it and thought it was okay. Should have been more.

7. I AM LEGEND
First half: very very very good. Second half: boring, random and stupid. Ends up right in the middle.


Movie's that aren't out here yet and I've yet to see and want to see:

Benjamin Button, Valkyrie, Frost/Nixon
Posted: Tue, 6th Jan 2009, 10:14am

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Simon K Jones

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Aculag wrote:

I just watched it last night, and while I did think it was a lot better than the first, it suffered greatly because of some ridiculous plot points and awkward writing.
Yeah, I can't argue that there are some really gaping plot holes. But it still worked as a story for me through the charm of its characters and the fascinating places and things it showed me.

I love Hellboy, have read all of the comics, and it fit in pretty well with the idea of HB, but the whole climax (hell, the whole main plot) could have been completely avoided if the "princess" had just stabbed herself a long ass time ago, and destroyed the crown. Obviously that would mean no movie, but I was pretty let down by the ridiculousness of that whole thing.
Hmm. It's not like she actually wanted to commit suicide, though. It may have been the solution for stopping The Guy From Bros, but she wanted to live. It was only her love for Abe, and everything else that had happened, that gave her the courage to do it.

It might seem like a plot hole at first glance, but I found it quite moving.

Also, the whole intro sequence with young HB was really painful to watch. No idea why they felt they needed to include that. They easily could have set up the golden army plot some other way than having an atrocious kid actor play dumb as baby HB...
Now this I agree with. I loved the animated tale and John Hurt, but the kid was inexplicably awful - especially as this was coming from the guy that had so many great kid actors in Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth.

Odd.

The new guy playing Abe wasn't nearly as good as David Hyde Pierce, either.
It was the same guy playing Abe as in the first film. The only difference is that they let him do Abe's voice as well as the physical performance. I didn't find it better or worse than Niles' version.

While there are undoubtedly problems with Hellboy 2, its inherent charm and love for the genre and fairy tales is what captivated me.

I guess the difference between it and Dark Knight is that Hellboy 2 continually showed me things I'd never seen before, whereas Dark Knight just showed me what Batman should always have been from the start anyway.
Posted: Tue, 6th Jan 2009, 10:23am

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PLANB

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In Quantum of solace there is good action but right from the car chase in the beginning with the camera changing every 2 secounds it does not convey the gravity of that particular action scene.

The director, camera man, script writer AND the editor must be fired. Or else twisted tard
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2009, 9:53am

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Aculag

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Tarn wrote:

It was the same guy playing Abe as in the first film. The only difference is that they let him do Abe's voice as well as the physical performance. I didn't find it better or worse than Niles' version.
I just didn't like the voice acting as much. He kinda tried to sound like Niles, but biffed it.

Tarn wrote:

I guess the difference between it and Dark Knight is that Hellboy 2 continually showed me things I'd never seen before, whereas Dark Knight just showed me what Batman should always have been from the start anyway.
Good point. I'll definitely agree with that.
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2009, 10:05am

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Simon K Jones

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On another note, I watched Iron Man for the second time yesterday on DVD. It really is a superbly constructed action movie - Michael Bay could learn a lot from it, I think. It contains all his trademark slick style, technical expertise and exploding things, but also finds the time to include decent characters and some interesting (if slightly muddled) themes.

Also: Stark's first 'mission' when he saves the villagers is probably the coolest individual action sequence since the Matrix lobby sequence.
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2009, 4:25pm

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GBPpro

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Tarn wrote:


Also: Stark's first 'mission' when he saves the villagers is probably the coolest individual action sequence since the Matrix lobby sequence.
I completely agree!!
Posted: Wed, 7th Jan 2009, 8:15pm

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Fill

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Sollthar wrote:

It didn't feel like a Bond movie but a rather lame copy of Bourne Identity.
Me, being the obsessive Jason Bourne fan I am, cannot agree anymore on your thoughts on Quantum. smile

Oh, I forgot to mention the movies I found to be awful:

Transporter 3

Damn, they did what they did to Bond. This series used to be fun cheesy action, but it just went to ridiculousness. The Transporter falling in love? What?! Hell no. The Transporter doesn't have time for women.

Hancock

It just wasn't that great. Sure, the other side of a hero's struggle was great, but the twist wasn't satisfying at all, it was just poorly executed.

Punisher: War Zone

Christ, I hated this movie. Maybe I would have not hated it as much if I saw it in a dollar theater because that's how much I should have payed to see it.

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

This has about enough things wrong with it that I could almost compare it to X-men: The Last Stand. Yeah. That bad.

Wanted

It tried to be Fight Club. It wasn't. I only saw it because I love Morgan Freeman. Other than that, nothing too special. Oh, and it misled everyone to think they would see a little more nudity from Angelina Jolie than what was actually seen.

Quantum of Solace

See: Sollthar.
Posted: Thu, 8th Jan 2009, 8:51pm

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jawajohnny

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Note that I haven’t seen a lot of the “Oscar” films yet… I only get a chance to see a few movies a year in theaters, and the rest I’ll eventually rent. I’ve mostly just seen the big, summer Hollywood films.

1. Wall-E: After seeing the trailers, I was skeptical about this latest Pixar film. Boy was I wrong. This film brought me to tears, and that is extremely hard to do. I won't go over why I liked it, as there's been enough discussion about it already. Wall-E and Eve is by far the best romantic couple of the year. This movie is worth every bit of the critical acclaim it has received.

2. The Dark Knight: There are a few plot holes, and problems, but this is still a really excellent film. Heath Ledger is obviously great, and the rest of the cast is outstanding too. It has probably the best ending to a film I’ve seen in a long time.

3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Yes, it has flaws… but all the Indy movies do. The alien plot is perfectly fine… in fact I kind of believe in it. smile My complaints are: 1. No real suspense… but we already know Indy will never die or anything, so… 2. Indy didn’t use his whip enough… or his gun at all. Overall, it’s great fun, ranking as third best, behind Last Crusade and Raiders. Lucas needs to hurry up and find a plot for 5.

“You know for an old man, you ain’t bad in a fight.”

4. The X-Files: I Want to Believe: It’s basically an extended, standalone episode of the series, with a mediocre plot. The real focus of the film though, is the Mulder/Scully relationship. The film is beautifully shot, scored, and acted, with hardly any CGI. It’s unfortunate that the release date (a week after The Dark Knight) has put a third and final film (that would wrap up the alien plot), in jeopardy.

FBI Agent: "I don't believe this."
Mulder: "You know, that's been your problem from the very beginning.”

5. Iron Man: Really cool movie, highlighted by Robert Downey Junior’s performance and awesome effects. It took too long to develop, and the final action scene was a bit lame, but overall, I liked it.

Others I liked: Get Smart, Cloverfield, Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Disappointment: The Incredible Hulk.
Posted: Mon, 12th Jan 2009, 10:56pm

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thesubstream

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Solid choices but I can't cope seeing Benjamin Button and Pineapple Express in there. Proper eye bleeders.
A couple I'd like to replace em with: Milk and Couscous. Not that I'm food obsessed.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 4:22am

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Rockfilmers

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I think the all time worst film of the year was The Happening. It had the worst acting I've ever seen and I saw the "plot twist" from the beginning. What happened to M. Night? He was my favorite director. He kept you waiting for an explanation. He didn't randomly cut from one shot to the next, but held it out to keep the suspense. Signs was his last good movie. Oh well.

I agree with the list for the most part. I would have but the Incredible hulk on a worst film of the year list.

As for my favorite film, I honestly couldn't tell you. This year wasn't that great I guess. Every movie I went to go see, I felt disappointed.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 4:43am

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Atom

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That's a real shame, Rockfilmers, because I think 2008 has been another remarkably good year for a good quantity and breadth of great movies. (although not as great as the amazingly exceptional year of movies in 2007).
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 5:08am

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Limey

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I only went to the movies a few times, but more than I usually go.

Meet the Spartans
Baby Mamma
Harold and Kumar
Zach and Miri

Those were the films I saw. The first two were mad gay and I thought the second two were pretty funny. I watched the Strangers on dvd. What do you guys think of that one?
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 6:01am

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Evman

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Limey12345 wrote:


The first two were mad gay and I thought the second two were pretty funny.
I love how this sentence is in the same topic as a discussion of Milk.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 4:24pm

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Klausky

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Milk was hella gay
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 4:32pm

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Rockfilmers

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That's a real shame, Rockfilmers, because I think 2008 has been another remarkably good year for a good quantity and breadth of great movies. (although not as great as the amazingly exceptional year of movies in 2007).
yeah, well, what can I say. Maybe I expect to much from movies. Come to think of it the only movie I don't regret spending my money on was Cloverfeild. Call me weird, but that is one of my favorite films. It never gave me motion sickness smile
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 4:34pm

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Joshua Davies

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Kung Fu Panda better than Wall-E? eek eek eek eek

Wall-E is just about my top film of the year (or, at the very least, top 3). After Cars (Pixar's first real clunker) Wall-E was a real return to form.
Posted: Tue, 13th Jan 2009, 7:04pm

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ben3308

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schwar wrote:

After Cars (Pixar's first real clunker) Wall-E was a real return to form.
Whoa, and Ratatouille wasn't?!?!?!?!? biggrin
Posted: Fri, 23rd Jan 2009, 1:42am

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Aculag

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After watching Hamlet 2 the other day, I think I can safely say that's on my list of favorites from 08. Absolutely hysterical movie, very smart and very dry (for the most part). I loved it. Anyone who hasn't seen it yet should do so ASAP.
Posted: Fri, 23rd Jan 2009, 2:01am

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Axeman

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ben3308 wrote:

schwar wrote:

After Cars (Pixar's first real clunker) Wall-E was a real return to form.
Whoa, and Ratatouille wasn't?!?!?!?!? biggrin
Ratatouille had a terrific ending, but was easily the least enjoyable Pixar film to watch, for me. Which isn't to say it wasn't worth buying on DVD, and watching repeatedly, but for Brad Bird's follow-up to The Incredibles, Ratatouille was tremendously disappointing. Part of that was undoubtedly the height of my expectations, considering the Incredibles. Whereas WALL-E is, I believe, the best thing Pixar has done.

The trouble with Pixar is that they have set their own bar so high. Any discussion of Pixar films come down to which one is the least excellent. Look at Cars; it is a good movie by any standards, but it suffers when looked at in the context of the Pixar catalog. After so many massive successes, the fact that they could not only create another great movie in WALL-E, but actually surpass their previous achievements, makes it all the more impressive to me. WALL-E should own Best Picture, but of course, it wasn't nominated.