Guess what? 2008 was ten years ago? Just think, we were still in the clutches of the credit crunch, alot of people were being made unemployed/losing their house, and Gordon Brown was attempting to run Britain. But on the bright side, George Bush couldn’t be in the White House ever again! Most importantly, 2008 was a pretty good year for films! We needed the distraction of the cinema a lot back then! To be fair, we need any distraction we can get nowadays…But on a serious note, 2008 was packed full of great films. And here are my Top 10 Films of 2008…
This is a guilty pleasure for me. It’s certainly the only Rambo film that I’d watch over and over again (I’ve always found the original rather plodding). But it delivers exactly what you’d want from a Rambo film. You’d think it had been plucked straight out of the 1980s. The violence is always excessive, but delicious. Some of the set-pieces are awesome, exciting the teenage boy inside myself. When the action calms down, it may threaten to turn dull, but there’s always some ultraviolence round the corner to distract you.
- Burn After Reading
This may not be one of the great Coen brothers’ films, but I really enjoyed it. It may be disposable entertainment, as hinted in the title, but who cares when the entertainment is funny and endearing? Part thriller, part satire, it’s something completely different (yet achingly familiar) from the Coens. It’s packed with A-list stars, who are all having a whale of a time. Compared to other Coen films, it’s a bit of fast food. But it’s tasty, delightful fast food.
8.Waltz With Bashir
When you think of animated films, you either think of America or Japan. You’d never think of Israel. And aren’t animated films for children? Waltz With Bashir isn’t child friendly in the least. It’s about the 1982 Lebanon War, for starters! What we are given is a harrowing anti-war film that rises above the many, many anti-war films out there. Sure, that may be because it’s animated, and it’s about a war that we see little of in the world of film. But it’s an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve watched it.
How entertaining could a film about interviews be? Well, first you get Ron Howard to direct it. Second, get two great actors to play as Frost (Michael Sheen) and Nixon (Frank Langella). Third, get the guy who wrote the play to adapt the screenplay. Fourth, pace the film like a fight between Frost and Nixon. It’s a film that has more in common with Rocky than a typical history film. And it’s all the better for it. I’ve never been quite as gripped by interviews as I have been by Frost/Nixon.
- Iron Man
Just think, ten years ago the term “cinematic universe” wasn’t even a term! This is the film that kicked cinematics universes off, and kicked off the most usccesfful cinematic universe we’ve seen since that point. Marvel took a B-list superhero and made him the starting shot for a long-term series of films. Boy, has it paid off! But even ten years later, Iron Man stands out as one of the better MCU films. It’s funny, action-packed and has something to say about war and violence. I think I can safely say that Robert Downey Jr. owns the Tony Stark role. He’s one of the all-time great superhero casting choices. It may be a popcorn film, but it’s a damned fine popcorn film!
(Click here for my full review!)
Who doesn’t love a good torture porn film? Martyrs rises above the banal torture porn fare to reach something higher, something more exalted. Some of the scenes in this film will have you reaching for the sick bucket. But there’s rhyme and reason for the torture porn, which you can’t say about most torture porn films. It’s filmed more like an arthouse film than the grey/greens of a modern horror film, and all the better for it. Martyrs plead for you to avert your eyes, instead of revelling in its gore. Even if you do stick with the film, you’ll be faced with cold, harsh reality. And the ending is simply sublime.
- The Dark Knight
Iron Man was at one end of the spectrum: funny, easy-going and light. The Dark Knight was at the opposite end of the spectrum: gritty, deep and dark. Some have called it the best comic book movie ever. I wouldn’t go that far, but I’d say it’s my favourite Batman film. Christian Bale is fine as Batman, but it’s Heath Ledger’s Joker that everyone raves about. Quite rightly, too. When he’s not on the screen, you’re waiting for him to pop up. He’s one of the all-time great cinematic villains. But the film itself impacts you in a way comic book films rarely do, asking questions about morality and purpose. One of Nolan’s finest films.
- Slumdog Millionaire
Did this film deserve to win Best Picture Oscar in 2009? Well, the only other film I’d even consider as true competition among the nominees is Frost/Nixon. I felt really pretentious after I watched Slumdog Millionaire at the cinema and said to my friend “that was a work of art.” But I stand by that statement to this day. It’s a story (and game show) we are know and love, but brought to another level by Danny Boyle. It’s nail-biting drama at its finest.
Wall-E is my favourite Pixar film. There’s a lot of competition (of course!), and the recent release of Coco almost made me change my mind, but Wall-E has a timeless feel to it. For the first act, it’s almost a silent movie, telling us everything we need to know through visuals rather than dialogue. Even as dialogue is added later on in the film, the visual storytelling is still some of the best in cinema history. It’s full of memorable moments, a loveable protagonist, and a powerful message about humanity’s relationship with planet Earth.
Have you ever seen a one trick pony in a field so happy and free? The Wrestler is a combination of some of my favourite things: wrestling, Darren Aronofsky and 80s rock music! On the surface, it’s similar to Rocky Balboa, but Aronofsky’s approach is much more visceral. Mickey Rourke puts in the performance of a lifetime. It’s also an in-depth look at something most people consider to be fake and childish: wrestling. Yes, it may be man pretending to fight each other in tights, but this movie proves it’s about much more than that. The Wrestler is one of my favourite films, so there couldn’t be any other choice for #1!
(Click here for my full review!)
The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas
Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?