Saturday, January 10, 2009

Top Movies of 2008 (5-1)

5. Iron Man
-Where The Dark Knight showed the evil of humanity, Iron Man shows the lighter side; everyone can be a winner. Both movies great, both using completely different tones and showing two completely different universes. RDJ begins his comeback with this movie. The characater of Tony Stark is the perfect fit for RDJ and his persona, and he pulls it off with great ease. The rest of the supporting cast was perfect, they all did their job and made this movie deeper. As opposed to making this a family film with cheap stunts and bad acting, they got a fantastic team and wanted to really make a good film, not just a good movie. I honestly didn't think the superhero Iron Man would be a great movie character, but John Favreau did a great job bringing him to life. And with Marvel now slated to make Iron Man 2, The Avengers Movie, Thor and Captain America, and these actors actually playing their characters in the other movies, I'm very excited to see how these crossover movies do (ie. RDJ is signed on to play Tony Stark/Iron Man in both Iron Man 2 and The Avengers Movie -- amazing).

4. Slumdog Millionaire
-The most uplifting movie I've seen all year and in the past few years, Danny Boyle pulled a rabbit out of his hat with this movie. This movie quietly snuck past everyone until it started screening, and then boom, rave reviews. Danny Boyle directed one of my favorite movies last year, Sunshine, and this year he doesn't disappoint. It seems absurd that a story that centers around Who Wants to be a Millionaire? can be so good, but this is what that movie proves. This is a love story. The movie takes place in India and centers around Jamal and his brother who grew up in the slums of Mumbai. They meet Latika, the love of Jamal's life, early on and from there the story takes off. Jamal is one question away from winning $1 million dollars. The police believe he is cheating somehow, so for every question answered so far, he tells the police how he knows that answer. Whether it's knowing about a colt .45 or about Benjamin Franklin, Jamal has lived every answer. And the only reason why he's on this show: Latika. Great, great movie.

3. Wall-E
-Two things really stood out for me. One, how much could be said without saying a single word. Two, how a kid's movie can be so much better than almost every other movie. Throughout the first 35+ minutes of Wall-E, there are no words. And yet, we immediately identify with the character. We love him. We watch his every movement and emotion. And yes, this robot has emotion. And that's why he's so great, and arguably the greatest character of 2008. When he meets Eva, we can see what he was missing all those years on Earth alone. We can see how much he grows in the short amount of time he knows Eva, and when she leaves, he has to follow her. His survival is now dependent on her. He loves her. Yes you can argue that when the humans start taking more of a central role in the movie, it lacks that certain something that was so present in the first part of the movie, but ultimately the movie never suffers. You root for Wall-E and Eva, you love them, you want them to be in love, you want their survival. This was my second favorite movie of the year, until my new number two came out, and that movie is...

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
-I heard nothing about this movie until I saw the trailer for it attached to the new Indiana Jones. Hands down, the greatest trailer I have ever watched. And my interest to it hasn't dropped since then. And wow did this movie not disappoint. Clocking in at just under three hours, this movie could've gone another hour and I would've loved every minute of it. I just did not want it to end. CCBB is not about instant gratification, it's about unveiling a story, character after charater, moment after moment, year after year. Brad Pitt brings his A game, Cate Blanchett is amazing as always, and is in the same category as Kate Winslet for being the greatest actresses of their generation. I could go down the list of each supporting character and say a wonderful thing about all of them. But I'll move onto three other people: David Fincher, Claudio Miranda and Alexandre Desplat. David Fincher, known for his dark side (see: Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac), really brings out this storyline. I can see why he was attracted to this story. It's not necessarily dark, but as much as its uplifting it's such a sad story. In then end, there is nothing. Claudio Miranda, thank you for creating the most beautiful looking movie I've seen in years. And Alexandre Desplat, wow, you rocked my world. My favorite score of 2008, easily. The music is just as gorgeous as the movie. The movie can be summed up in one scene: after years and years of back and forth between Benjamin and Daisy, finally, they decide to be together. As opposed to rushing into the sex, they savor every single moment they have. They slowly move on to the bed and just as their about to touch Daisy moves back her head and lies down, needing Benjamin to follow. It's just, it's beautiful, and sums the movie up. Life isn't a race, enjoy anything and everything along the way, and savor all the important moments as best you can. I desperately wanted to place this movie number 1, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't. Read on.

1. The Dark Knight
-My favorite film of 2008. The greatest comic book movie of all-time. The second highest domestic grossing film of all-time only behind the unsinkable Titanic. What can I say about this movie. Christopher Nolan has created probably my favorite Universe ever. Gotham City and its darkness is unparalleled. It was already dark, and then they decided to add The Joker to the mix. That's throwing gasoline on a forest fire. Utter chaos, and wow, was it something to see. Heath Ledger truly did an outstanding job, and if he doesn't win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, there's something wrong with this world. He was, he was perfect. Yes Batman's growling voice was a little overdone, and yes the plot at times seemed a bit ridiculous, but this was a great film, not just a great movie. I just loved this film. The score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard was outstanding, probably my second favorite score of the year. I just can't say enough great things about this film.

So there you have it, my top twenty. Let me know what you think!!

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