My 2008 Top Films
2008 was a dark year for films and I saw 120 movies all together. Many were artistic and interesting but in general, 2007 and 2006 were much better; those films leapt out at me, and I loved many of them. I didn’t care that much about 2008 films but some I did like and enjoy. Other films I liked less but they will get awards because some aspect or other was brilliant: themes, acting, cinematography, directing(e.g. Revolutionary Road; The Reader; Milk). And no, even though I may stand alone, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button did not make my list.
(I reserve the right to add and delete from this line-up!)
1. Slumdog Millionaire – Original, inspiring, moving, filled with light.
2. Pranzo di Ferragosto – (A mid-August lunch) A small Italian film by Gianni di Gregorio. A middle-aged bachelor cares for his aged mom and gets stuck with three other old ladies over Italy’s mid-August holiday. Charming and funny. The best film at the Venice Film Festival – too bad it was not in competition (and hoping someone will release it in the USA).
3. Young@Heart – Stand up and cheer, folks! Life is worth living to the max until the end; senior citizens rock!
4. Wall-E – Disney’s darkish commentary on the environment may the cleverest and most positive picture they have ever done.
5. The Visitor – Who is a visitor? My neighbor. A thoughtful, small film with a global heart.
6. The Class – Intriguing power struggle through language in a multi-ethnic urban Paris high school classroom.
7. Dark Knight – Deep, dark, complex and Heath Ledger excelled.
8. Son of Rambow – Touching British coming-of-age film about two lonely boys who make a movie about a missing father; loved it.
9. Doubt – Broadway makes it to the screen once again in a story that explores power hierarchies in the church, school, parish against the back ground of the clergy abuse scandal
10. Happy-Go-Lucky – A good woman knows who she is and chooses to be happy and caring; she refuses negativity; a human, sweet, small film crossing the pond.
11. In Bruges – Honor among assassins and unexpected redemption amid violence
12. Defiance – Based on a true story of three Jewish partisans who saved hundreds of Jewish lives during World War II by hiding out in the forests of eastern Poland and Belarus.
13. Frost/Nixon – On acting alone, Langella and Sheen deserve honors.
14. Appaloosa – Ed Harris can do no wrong; here he does it all: acts, directs, composes; wonderful.
15. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who – The awesome pachyderm delights with themes of human dignity, community and the common good.
16. Last Chance Harvey – No one can say “Shut up” with so much affection as Emma Thompson. It’s never too late for gentle romance.
17. The Rape of Europa – The search for the art of European Jews stolen by the Nazi’s is an intriguing and compelling story. In place of reconciliation, or in addition to it, comes restitution, here – restoration of beauty to the people from whom it was so tragically taken.