Top 15 Best Films of 2008

Once again, as with my Top 25 Best Performances of 2008, I just couldn’t bring myself to only make a top ten, because there were a few movies this year that wouldn’t make my top ten, but in my opinion certainly deserved to be mentioned, so I made a top 15. This was a great year for films even if it didn’t start to shine until the summer. It was a tough year from a critic’s stand point, mainly because it gets very hard to make a list like this at the end of the year. It was fortunately a great year for anyone who’s a fan of films. Well here’s my list, I hope you enjoy it.

15. Appaloosa

It was very nice to see another good western to come out this year. I love this genre and I hope it never ends. This one in particular had a plot that was both simple and developed very well. The acting was great and two of the performances made it onto my top 25 performances of the year. I loved all the the performances, but Viggo’s and Irons’ performances were especially good. If you enjoy the genre you won’t want to miss this one.

14. Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading was a great movie, but it isn’t getting the credit it deserves mostly because its not really being understood. Well I enjoyed every character, every line, and every second of what is now in my mind a classic Coen Brothers movie. Extra props goes out to Brad Pitt for playing a limited role to pure perfection. I laughed out loud every time he came on screen.

13. Milk

Milk was a great movie, but I do believe it is getting way too much credit because there were many movies that came out this year that were much better. Either way, Milk was well made and incredibly acted by all especially Josh Brolin and Sean Penn. Its a tale that needed to be told and it couldn’t have been told mush better or with a better cast then this. 

12. In Bruges

In Bruges was rather surprising finding almost a perfect middle ground between comedy and drama. It was able to be very dramatic and even sad at times, while being absolutely hilarious at others, Ralph Fiennes was amazing and I had no complaints with any of the other actors. I just saw this movie for the first time on DVD and I only wish I would’ve been able to catch it in the theater. I probably would’ve liked it even more.

11. RockNRolla

Another great Guy Ritchie movie with great characters, dialogue and writing. There was a bit more story to this one instead of just a fast-paced shoot em’ up, which was a very nice surprise. I can’t wait till Guy Ritchie’s next project. People say that Guy Ritchie just directs the same movie over and over. I don’t agree, I think Ritchie has just established his own movie genre for himself. Others have tried to copy and done great like In Bruges or Layer Cake, while others have failed like Smokin Aces, but nonetheless, this is Ritchie’s territory and he owns it. 

10. Quantum of Solace

I enjoyed Quantum of Solace much more than people are saying. Sure it wasn’t as good as the first, but it was still a great movie. There were some small details that should’ve been fixed and a certain line that needed to be said. All that aside, Quantum of Solace was an intelligently crafted and well-acted action thriller that deserves a place in memory. I for one can’t wait for the next. 

9. Gran Torino

Gran Torino was a highly entertaining movie due mainly to Clint Eastwood and the wonderful dialogue and transformation he exuberates. Gran Torino is a wonderful drama that teaches us morals of race and the ability to change, while being completely entertaining the whole way through. The suppoting acting wasn’t that great sure, but Clint Eastwood sure makes up for it.

8. Body of Lies

This is very sadly, a highly over looked movie. I was very excited for it and saw it in the first weekend. It was incredible, it told a very good story with a great cast and had some really great action sequences to boot. I didn’t understand why not many people were seeing it and why it wasn’t getting very good grades, but either way, I loved the movie and can’t wait for another viewing. If you get the chance, check out this movie. Its a very entertaining watch.

7. W.

W. was a fantastic movie from start to finish. Some might disagree with me putting this movie so high (his name may start with an L and end with an ANCE), but I loved this movie. It was not what I was expecting, in a good way though. I was expecting a very well-made comedy with Oliver Stone at the helm, that would just bash on Bush. What I got was a drama with a bit of comedy thrown in. I actually liked Bush better after seeing the movie. The movie tells his story and allows you to draw your own opinions, I felt empathy for the guy. The movie was also great because of the performances of Josh Brolin and Richard Dreyfuss. They made a perfect team. The direction made what could’ve been very boring into very entertaining and what else can be expected of Oliver Stone.

6. The Wrestler

The Wrestler was movie I just recently saw and I’m so glad I did. It was such a good movie and its just really hard to describe why without giving away much other than saying that Mickey Rourke was spectacular in a role that won’t soon be forgot. The Wrestler was also probably the saddest movie I’ve seen, ever. The fact that it made me feel sad tells me that they did exactly what they set out to do. The Wrestler is a must-see this year not only for Rourke’s performance, but also the incredible story of someone whose not so incredible any more.

5. WALL-E

WALL-E is a fantastic movie. It is visually a spectacle to watch and yes it is an animated movie, but nonetheless it deserves to be this high like any other movie. It is able to have many criticisms on society, while telling a wonderful tale of how love concurs all. Each character and scene is more beautiful and creative than the last. It makes you feel every emotion and is able to keep you enthralled with the story even with the limited dialogue it has. 

4. Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is an incredible movie and it tells a story of love that we’ve all heard or seen before, but it tells it in a way that is so different and original. Slumdog Millionaire is being called by most, the best films of the year and yes it is up there, it is one of the best, but is it the best? No I don’t believe so, obviously, as you can see, I enjoyed three other movies more than this one, but I do not think this is the best. I will be disappointed if it wins the oscar for best picture, but I will not be angry because it still is a great movie.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an epic in all shapes and forms. It tells one of the most beautiful tales I’ve ever seen of love and life. It is acted and directed to perfection. The movie is so astoundingly beautiful and it shows such original thoughts and morals. There’s a whole strew of well-crafted characters and scenes and through the whole movie, not once did the length bother me. It felt almost short because it was telling a story that took place over an 80 year time span. This is an elegant tale that shows that all people are special and different and everyone deserves to be loved. 

2. FROST/NIXON

FROST/NIXON was an event to be remembered. It was such a surprise of a movie, it was amazing how much better this movie was then I originally thought and I already thought it was going to be a great movie, what I saw was nothing short of perfection. It wasn’t just the incredible action, which was IN-CRED-I-BLE, it was a direction, the way the film just kept building nonstop tension, never let up and gave you everything you wanted to see and more. Frank Langella was of course breath taking, but not just him, but everybody just fit perfectly into every role. FROST/NIXON unfortunately was pretty over-looked because of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire came out around the same time and I actually enjoyed FROST/NIXON more then both of them. It’s a movie with no action, but dialogue so well written and acted that the audience feels so involved to the point where it does feel just like action. FROST/NIXON is the kind of film you could watch over and over because you just fail to release that your watching a movie. A spectacle to be hold that only comes around once in a blue moon. 

1. The Dark Knight

Anyone who has read this site before will find this of now surprise because I’ve stated in the past multiple times that not only is this the best movie of the year, but the greatest movie ever made, and I’ve seen a lot of movies. The Dark Knight is an epic masterpiece of good and evil. What more could you ask for? The classic ritual of good vs. evil has been used sense the beginning of film and it will be used until the end of film. This is the greatest depiction of good vs. evil ever created. Each understands that god needs the devil, good needs evil and they need each other. There is no good without evil and there is no evil without good. The Joker is the greatest character in film history by far. He is so evil that he kills innocent people for fun and is willing to be killed knowing that it will instill chaos and anarchy into a world that he thinks desperately needs it. While the hero of the story won’t kill anyone knowing that’s what seperates him from the dark side sort of speak. The Joker won’t kill Batman though either because he knows that evil needs good. He knows that he won’t have nearly as much “fun” without him. That’s the genius of the film and the whole Batman series, the greatest hero ever who never even asks for anything in return will never kill the greatest evil ever and vice-versa. The Dark Knight is a masterpiece, in my opinion, that’s the best way to describe a film, and it most certainly is a masterpiece.

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Quantum of Solace Review

Let me preface this review by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but there is no doubt that I enjoyed Casino Royale much better. Casino Royale managed to change the entire Bond series for the better. It took the campy and corny old Bonds and brought them into the real world. 007 became a realistic action/drama movie, and for the most part Quantum sticks to the rules that Casino Royale set for it. 

Quantum of Solace is the story of James Bond finding a large quantity (quantum) of comfort (solace) in the avenging of a person he loved. In order to do so he must cross paths with a personal extremist named Dominic Greene who happens to control a company called Quantum that is trying to own the world’s must precious material. A different direction was took with this movie. It was extremely fast-paced and the running time was cut to the point of extreme. I loved the fast-paced direction it was going in, but it felt at times that the movie was rushing to its end instead of telling all the juicy details. 

Every action sequence was Bondish, but at the same time being very creative and intense. The dialogue was well-thought out and so were the character developments. Daniel Craig is great and I hope he does more with his career, but right now there is no one I would rather see playing this character. I loved the movie, but there are one large complaint I have with it. The greatest gimmick in film history ended because of this movie. In every single one of the 21 bond movies before this one, the line “the name’s bond, james bond” is uttered somewhere, but this movie just ended that tradition. And the question I ask is why?

For that reason, I was very mad walking out of the theater, but I can’t look past the fact that this was an extremely entertaining and well-thought out action movie that was at times even epic. The movie could’ve been better if it just changed a few simple details. I look back at my viewing and I see that I did just watch a very good movie that made one big mistake. Overall, Quantum of Solace was an extremely good movie and would have without question gotten an A+ from yours truly if it just said one more line.

Grade: A-

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of the Rest of the Year

This list consists of my must see movies of 2008 in order from least to greatest.

  • 10. Get Smart
This looks like a decently funny movie with fun actors.
                  

  • 9. Choke
I’m reading the book right now and it’s amazing, I’m just a bit worried about the director.
                 

  • 8. Hancock
Looks pretty funny, while at the same time, kinda stupid, but I think Will Smith was the right pick for the part.
                

  • 7. Wall-E
There has not been one pixar movie that I didn’t like. I don’t think this will be any different.
               

  • 6. The Incredible Hulk
The first one sucked, sure, but that’s the whole reason they’re remaking it. Oh, and Edward Norton is an amazing actor.
              

  • 5. The Road
I’m about to read this book, it’s by Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country For Old Men), if it’s half as good as No Country, it’ll be amazing.
(No Trailer Out Yet)
  • 4. Quantum of Solace
I can’t wait for this movie, Casino Royale was my favorite Bond movie.
(No Trailer Out Yet)
  • 3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 
I love David Fincher as a director and this might be his best since Fight Club.
             

  • 2. Burn After Reading 
The Coen Brothers are amazing and this movie looks amazing.
            

  • 1. The Dark Knight
I can not wait for this movie, it will be spectacular.