I haven't been to the cinema a lot this year choosing instead to spend my time drinking myself into states that would make Ireland proud and waking up in unfamiliar places. Still with DVDs coming out a month after a film's theatrical run I've attempted to keep up. So in no particular order below are my favorite films of 2008:
Slumdog Millionaire: A treat for the senses, this film from Danny Boyle has an excellent story detailing the upbringing of a kid born into extreme poverty and how it never hardened him to risk all for his love. A touching tale with a rousing soundtrack and excellent cinematography.
Wall-E: While not the best from Pixar I was amazed at how this film captured my attention in the first act while having little dialogue. The stabs at it's own consumer base was humorous and the tale of a robot's dreams made for an entertaining movie. Visually it was incredible as you would expect from this studio.
The Bank Job: Heist films are hardly original, but this one is a clever tale based on one of Britain's largest bank robbery. Yes I'm as surprised as you are that I'm posting a film starring Jason Statham.
Gonzo: A revealing look into the life of one of my favorite writers. It's a well crafted documentary that's both honest and telling. While there are many films surrounding the legend of the unorthodox 'journalist' this one is by far my favorite. It has it's flaws yes, but for fans and even those who've never heard of him it's an entertaining journey into the life of one who was never bored.
And now for the worst:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: I don't know where to begin with my loathing of this film. The script abandoned all the traits that made the previous three films charming and fun to watch. This movie, like it's cast, is tired and humorless.
Religiolous: I know I'll catch a lot of flack from Maher devotees, but really this film is nothing more than him being snide with the emotionally crippled. It's like watching two hours of poking fun of people on the street which loses it's luster in about ten minutes. While Bill Maher is not as smart as he or his fans think he is the comedian is too intelligent to make a film this preachy and dull. It's more disappointing than bad. It's proof that just because you agree with a subject doesn't make it a good documentary. It's like watching the wildly overrated 'Outfoxed'.
Prom Night: Saw this because of a girl and I still wish I had that time back. Quite possibly one of the least scary horror films ever. Oh 'The Ruins' sucked too. Damn her.
Well there it is. I'm sure there's more I could think of if I really spent more time.
"One of the rules of satire is that you can't mock things you don't understand, and Religulous starts developing fault lines when it becomes clear that Maher's view of religious faith is based on a sophomoric reading of the Scriptures." - Neely Tucker