2008 has been a surprisingly good year for movies, as far as I’m concerned.
Most, if not all, of the movies I’ve chosen to watch on the big screen (and a handful on dee-vee-dee) since the beginning of the year have been pretty decent watches.
Maybe I’ve been lucky in picking out the good ones while ignoring the less-than-stellar ones. Or maybe I have a high tolerance for movies others may find sucky. Whatever.
Since I haven’t done a movie review in a long while, here’s a condensed version (what do the kids call it these days? A quickie?) of my thoughts on all the movies I’ve watched in 2008 follows…
Nice little heartwarming movie about friendship and brotherly love in war-torn Afghanistan. Although I hear the book is way better, this movie was a decent adaptation, and performances of the two young leads were worth the price of the movie ticket. And if you’re not yet familiar with the works of Khaled Hosseini, I recommend you checking out A Thousand Splendid Suns, an excellent tale of life, love and hardship in Afghanistan, before, during and after the Taliban years….
Verdict: 3.0 (out of 5)
A bizarre tale of murder and blackmail and more murder and old fashioned law enforcement and even more murder by the kooky Coen brothers. Javier Bardem was so freaking scary in his role as merciless killer-for-hire, and Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin weren’t too bad either.
A sprawling epic, without the length normally associated with sprawling epics. A Daniel Day-Lewis movie to the extreme, with the fella appearing in almost every scene. Does a good job of it too.
Aside from the somewhat uncomfortable naked-fight-in-the-sauna scene, this movie was such a cool look at the Russian mob. The violence was of the no-holds-barred, in-your-face variety which, if improperly done, could have been a disaster on film, but in this case, it was handled well. And in Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts, you’ve got two superb actors with great chemistry.
Hilarious take on teen pregnancy. One of the wittiest movies I’ve seen in recent years, and it has made me an instant fan of Ellen Page. And is Jason Bateman one of the most underrated comedy actors around? I’d say so.
When watching this in the cinema, one of my friends had her hands in front of her eyes for so much of the movie, I’m not sure she saw any of it in the first place! Lots of blood, lots of slicing, lots of pies, lots of bodies, and quite a lot of singing. Not a bad musical, otherwise a slasher-flick with a comedic twist. Or should I say, with a Tim-Burtonesque twist?
Rambo, older and meaner. Whether catching snakes or killing people, here’s a guy with a permanent world-weary cynical look etched on his face. The killing fest in this film really was extraordinary, with unbelievably creative ways of snuffing people’s lives explored with glee. As one friend puts it, the wooden performances and lack of a plot was probably due the bulk of the budget being spent on the brutal special effects, leaving little for writers and actors. You get what you pay for, eh? And in this movie, you get lots and lots of people’s parts being blown off. Still, it’s Rambo. What else would you expect?
Robert Downey Jr in a comic book flick? Get outta here! But no, there he is, as the cocky arrogant Tony Stark, and then as the sleek, titular flying machine. Good story, good performances, and cool effects – so far it has been my favourite superhero movie of the year.
So many people out there kept harping on how cool it is to finally see the ace archaeologist back in the cinemas, and fine, I agree, when the movie started and the classic John Williams theme came on, I got a chill down my spine and all that. But then as the movie dragged on, I got more and more uncomfortable. The story was half-baked, and so were most of the performances. Yes, Indy movies tended to have outrageous and illogical plots, but they weren’t half-baked. This was. And Shia Lebouf was wasted here – if he isn’t careful, he could find himself supplanted as Hollywood’s young rising star by James McAvoy.
Hulk SMASH! Great action, good funny moments, some ho-hum drama, but overall a smashing update of the green behemoth’s saga.
I tend not to have high opinions of non-Pixar animated movies, but I have to admit this movie from Dreamworks was surprisingly AWESOME! Jack Black was a spot-on perfect choice for the story’s protagonist, as was Dustin Hoffman as the kung-fu master. Very enjoyable movie.
Dumb plot, nonsensical story, unbelievable characters. But damn, I LOVED IT! From the action, to the special-effects, to Angelina Jolie’s pouts, to the soundtrack, everything was just so adrenaline-pumping, that I walked out of the cinema with the near-iresistable urge to grab someone and ask, “What the f*** have you done lately?” (Oh, and every morning, as I come in to work, the first thing I do to get my day off and running is to play the theme song from the movie.)
Sigh. I had glimpsed the apprehensive remarks on the web before the movie was released, and thus I determinedly avoided any story or review of the movie before I watched it. And after having watched it, all I can say, sigh. So much potential, yet so little of it fulfilled. It could have been great, instead it was neither here nor there. I left the cinema hall patently unsatisfied – like having eaten nasi lemak without the sambal. Sigh. Charlize Theron was hot, though.
And yes, I’m aware there are plenty of other flicks I have not watched this year, e.g. Cloverfield, Speed Racer, American Gangster, The Happening, Get Smart, etc… But heck, there are other things besides movies that one needs to spend money on occasionally. Like fuel.
Up next: Hellboy 2 and Dark Knight. Woo hoo!