Thursday, January 01, 2009

Best Movies of 2008

This has to be an incomplete list, as I haven't seen all of the possible movies yet. I haven't yet seen Kristin Scott Thomas, or either of Kate Winslet's films, or Eastwood's latest. But for right now, the first day of 2009, I can say, these are my mental greats of the year, in no particular order.

Wall*E. Who would have predicted that such a fabulous, heart-warming film would come from a robot who is programmed to only do one useless skill, an insect who follows him around, and a probe by the name of Eve? Many have written off the second half of the film as a completely different film and a boring one at that, but I saw it as an environmental warning to us all.

The Dark Knight. This is almost the perfect picture, featuring Heath Ledger as the bad guy and Batman as the supposedly good guy who doesn't always stick to his own moral code as he loses his way. Thanks to his supporters, he finds it, but with great difficulty. And, of course, the movie is a reminder of a great talent who slipped away.

Milk. The screenplay picks the exactly right sliver of time in Harvey Milk's life to show us, and all the denizens of Castro Street. It's positively brilliant. Sean Penn inhabits Milk to the extent that you forget who's playing him.

I fear this movie came out so long ago that audiences will forget its ability to show us Los Angeles in the '20's and a powerful screenplay by Joe Straczynski. The film shows us how absolute power can corrupt within itself, and how citizens can fight back.

Slumdog Millionaire. You want suffering and then uplifting? Do you want to be taken to a place you've always wondered about but know you're too soft to endure? Then step into the world of Slumdog Millionaire, the feel-good movie of the year.


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