Friday, 16 January 2009

2008 Film Review

The Good Films are never quite as interesting to talk about so I'll just let you know my top films of the year and throw a few recommendations at you.
So best film of the year is too hard to call so I've chosen 2: In Bruges and The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight
Unless you've been living in a box you'll know what The Dark Knight is all about so I won't drone on about it too much simply to say that I absolutely loved it, it certainly helped that both times I saw it were on IMAX screens. I've always been a big Batman freak, Christopher Nolan is a genius who had already proved himself to be more than capable of doing a batman film, and the cast was just superb so it was already a recipe for success and it was better than I dared to hope! Highlight for me has to be Heath as the Joker - absolutely mesmerizing, and the opening sequence robbery.

In Bruges
In Bruges is on an altogether lower key - two hitmen (Brendan Glesson and Colin Farrell) are directed by their employer (Ralph Fiennes) to lay low in Brussels for a few days after some event (which is revealed part way through the film). It's an extremely black comedy about life and death, hell and redemption, as things in Bruges start out dull veer into excitement before heading to dangerous. It's excellent to see Colin doing some decent acting again it seems you have to wait years between his good performances as he calls in his performances in Hollywood blockbusters, presumably for the money, in this it certainly looks like he's doing it for the love. Hard to pick a highlight as its consistently excellent and the interaction between the two leads is perfect, Brenden Gleesson is always a pleasure to watch and this is going back to classic I Went Down territory.

Very worthy of mention: Pineapple Express; Burn After Reading; Be Kind Rewind; There Will Be Blood; Son of Rambow; Juno; Iron Man; Frost/Nixon.

Films I somehow missed and must get round to: No Country For Old Men; Gone Baby Gone; Sweeney Todd.

Ok on to the Bad Films. To be perfectly honest I watch a lot of bad films (I watch far too many romantic comedies for a start) but most of the time I'm prepare for the films to be nothing more than popcorn entertainment and that's all I want - I'm fairly forgiving to bad films. That said here are some stinkers I saw in 2008:

I'll start with the worst, Lost Boys 2 - I'm not sure that Lost Boys was what you'd call good but it was a lot of fun and certainly has a place in many hearts of my generation - to anyone who regards it fondly I would issue this warning - Stay away from Lost Boys 2, it's worse than you could imagine! Mind you Corey Feldman is vaguelly amusing to watch as he hams like never before! People who aren't bothered about the original are hopefully smart enough to stay away from the sequel anyway!

Close second has got to be In the Name of the King, all in all it was a pretty bad year for Jason Stretham, lets be fair he's never going to be a good actor but his hard man formula should at least deliver some entertainment, shouldn't it? Deathrace and Transporter 3 using hard man plus car formula were watchable nonsense but poor imitation of earlier hits. In Bank Job he attempted some acting as a cockney hard man (not much of a stretch there) and managed to be almost plausible as a human being, almost. The less said about In the Name of the King and War the better.

Also a pretty bad year for Mark Wahlberg - We Own The Night had all the ingredients of a great movie including a pretty ace looking cast but vered wildly between gritty and realistic and action packed, in the end failling to be either and ending up pretty boring. Marky Mark took scowling to a whole new level in the frankly baffling computer game movie Max Payne, didn't expect much and got about that.

Plentiful "weak, lazy, and generally half-arsed comedy" awards get handed out including Love Guru, Tropic Thunder, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, and Step Brothers.

There were a whole bunch of totally underwhelming films this year, not necessarily bad just chronically mediocre most notably The Day The Earth Stood Still, Hancock, and 21

So a lot of middle of the road rubbish in 2008 rather than anything overtly offensive, I think I may have carefully avoided the real dross. I am incredibly glad to have (deliberately) missed Mamma Mia, Sex and the City, and The Happening.
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