Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the films of 2008 (that i saw, at least)

hi everyone

well, we didn't see all that many films this year, so this is neither a "best" or "worst" list!

i managed to see a good many 2007 films in 2008, like Zodiac and 3:10 To Yuma. i can't include them here, which is a shame as they would be in the top 3 or 4 films of the year!

here, then, are the ones that i saw (or at least the ones i remembered seeing!) with a 2008 release date. you are advise that there might be one, two or even three *** SPOILERS *** ahead!!

The Transporter 3 was rather good fun, all things considered. it does not pretend to be much other than a (ahem) "homage" to other action films, this chapter in particular being seemingly inspired by Speed and Under Seige 2. plot? Jason Statham driving around rather fast with the odd detour to administer a jolly and sound beating to someone or, as is more often the case, several people at once.

easily one of the most violent films i have ever watched is Rambo. after a sterling job with Rocky Balboa it was great to see Stallone return to his other famous character and, well, give the fans what they want. never mind the Burma plot, the real magic was the ending to this film. i think somewhere on my site i commented that it would have made a very smart, symbolic ending to not only the film but the character, but the tales of Rambo V being made suggests that it is in fact going to be a literally interpreted ending. ho hum.

it seems to get slated by critics, but who didn't love Madagascar? everyone i know of was well into it, and as happy as i was to see Madagascar 2 arrive on the cinema screens. whereas the main characters are entertaining (some sort of plot about family, i think) the magic here is in the secondary characters, in particular the ever lovable penguins and the constantly curious King Julian. i wouldn't want to give too much of the film away for those of you who have yet to see it, but the "trade union" scene with the penguins and the monkeys has to be one of the funniest ever!

now, if i had to pick a "best film of the year", it would be tough, but i suspect the magnificent Wall-E would take the title. the character of Wall-E is an inspirational, loveable one; very much an E.T. for this generation. his dogged determination, dedication and desire to make the world a better place, not to mention his devotion to Eva, was a joy to watch. a number of people seemed to get a bit "lost" with the human element / presence, but i suspect they just weren't watching it properly. if you saw the film but not the magic within it, i urge you to give it another try.

despite the many flaws listed in my review, Quantum Of Solace was at the least a step in the right direction with regards to rehabilitating and restoring the James Bond films to their former glories after the disastrous Pierce Brosnan era. Daniel Craig is doing a fine job, and i suspect by his next one they will at last feel confident that they have enough of a "Bond reloaded" platform in place to just get on with making a film about Bond being Bond. and let's not forget the excellent theme tune the film has!

My Name Is Bruce was all that i expected it to be, and then some. a film strictly meant for admirers and lovers of Bruce Campbell it may well be, but for those of us who are proudly part of that legion, a great treat. many of us hold out hope for Evil Dead 4 one day, but in the mean time this will do rather nicely indeed, thanks.

Iron Man had the misfortune of being released in the same year as a certain other "comic book" adaptation (see below), so it is easy to forget just how mindblowingly good this film seemed on release. it still is a damn good film, by the way. Robert Downey jnr was excellent (when isn't he, exactly?), and me not having read a single Iron Man comic didn't stop me from following what was going on. the only downside of this film was the surprisingly bad job done by Jeff Bridges. it seems that he wasn't interested in the film, going on the dull, colour-by-numbers performance he turns in. a shame he didn't quit and let someone else have a go, then!

if we are in the business of honesty here, Jumper was little more than a "pilot" for a possible TV series, or perhaps even a sequence of direct-to-disc, ever diminishing budget films. i'm not sure if that was the intention with the decent director and cast attached, but at little more than 80 minutes in length it doesn't seem to have had much in the way of ambition. all the same, the 80 minutes we had of it was pretty decent fun. worth watching if it turns up on late night TV wherever you are.

the biggest disappointment of the year was, sadly, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. apparently somewhere out there is a version of the script for this which drops the tedious father-son storyline, instead including some classic Indy action and better plot. for some bizarre reason, George Lucas, Steven Speilberg and Harrison Ford turned their much loved creation into something of a bumbling idiot for this film. there are one or two moments that bring the magic and sense of wonder back, but for the most part the audience for the film is pretty much lost by the point at which Indiana survives - without a scratch - a nuclear blast by simply hiding in a fridge.

and here's a second appearance for Jason Statham in this list for the fine film The Bank Job. based on true events that had somehow been more or less concealed and out of public knowledge, this fascinating tale of power, corruption and theft is a brilliant slice of British film-making at its best. i say more or less concealed as, if you have ever seen the 1981 gem of a film, Loophole, you realise that someone somewhere knew how and why they did the job shown in The Bank Job and managed to get away with a fictional take on it. i think the poster for the film more or less tells you all you need to know of the plot and what not; if you haven't seen it then i would suggest that you go and find a copy and treat yourself!

there's not a lot more i could say about In Bruges that's not in my review two or three posts before this one, really. oh, OK then, for those of you who have seen it, yes i deliberatley left out any reference to the, well, shortest member of the cast so that people could discover him for themselves. In Bruges has a number of flaws, but also many wonderful moments, the latter being enough to say go and watch it.

and finally, but not deliberately left to last (happy accident), there's The Dark Knight. is there anything else left to say about this film? it has the right balance to appease the "comic book junkies" that dominate the interwebnet and please everyday film lovers who just want to see a great movie without being to distressed in regards of loyalty to the origins of the character. there's not a bad performance or a wasted moment in this astonishing film, with director Christopher Nolan somehow just getting better and better with every film he makes. i think everyone on earth has seen The Dark Knight by now, so let the DVD release of it give you the chance to watch it again!

well, there you go. there are a number of films that i wished to see this year but didn't get around to. oddly, two of them, Tropic Thunder and Be Kind Rewind, feature Jack Black, who i normally cannot stand. on well, i shall try and watch them in the new year!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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