Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year End of Films in Life 2008

Every film I saw in theatres in 2008:

Aliens vs. Predator Requiem

Some friends wanted to see this. Worse than I could ever imagine.

Black Orpheus

One of my favorite films. A nice print at Amherst Cinema.

Hellboy II the Golden Army

Better than the first. I liked this in an uncomplicated way. Liked.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Oppressive CGI, lame-brained story peppered with 2012/Mayan fad hokum, phoned-in performances, over the top yet boring action scenes. No thanks.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall/ Pineapple Express

Fine and funny comedies both!

Iron Man/ The Incredible Hulk

I didn't care for either of these. There's a lot I'd like to say about this new era of Marvel Universe films, so I'll save it.

Zabriskie Point

Amherst Cinema again. Terrible acting, inane dialog, a pointless, unearned finale. Yet somehow it's still a great film.

The Dark Knight

Fantastic. Deserves the extreme hype. Mainstream to the core, yet somehow still truly dismal, nihilistic and ambiguous. A nice deconstruction of something like Iron Man, I think.

The Punisher

My buddy and I saw this opening day in an empty theater. I actually enjoyed this, it's stupid, bizarre, nasty and offensive in the finest 80s exploitation tradition. A kind of update of something like The Exterminator. A review should follow the DVD release.

The Happening

I absolutely loved this film, it's probably my pick for film of the year. I may be the only person who totally liked this movie. Me and Ebert. It's everything a mainstream film isn't supposed to be: weird, idiosyncratic, hermetic, unapologetically hammy, political, singular, perplexingly cast. If you watch the bonus footage on the DVD, it becomes apparent that Shyamalan did exactly what he wanted to do, and he's seen acting strange and purposefully unnerving his actors, conciously creating an otherwordly vibe on set. Reading reviews of this film after I saw it, I was shocked at how closely they all resembled each other. The same narrative is trotted out: Shyamalan makes three good movies and two bad ones, this time it's three strikes you're out with his third unsuccessful film. I liked The Village and Lady in the Water quite a bit. It's fine if the majority of critics disliked this film, but does everyone have to hit it from the same angle?

DVD times: Diary of the Dead, Christmas on Mars, Sukiyaki Western Django, Cloverfield, Doomsday, Tropic Thunder, X-Files: I Want to Believe, King of Kong.

I spent most of 2008 watching older films, but I would have liked to have seen the following, overlong list of films: The Wrestler, Man on Wire, Wall-E, Speed Racer, Funny Games, Drillbit Taylor, Burn after Reading, Synecdoche NY, Transsiberian, Gammorrah, Red Cliff, Rachel Getting Married, Wendy & Lucy, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Paranoid Park, Tell No One, Eden Lake, The Orphanage, Hunger, Taxi to the Dark Side, Nothing like the Holidays, The Strangers, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk.

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