Thursday, January 15, 2009

2008 big screen and rentals

I didn’t do a year-end movie post last year, so here’s a late stab at it picking some highlights or lowlights out of the 103 movies we saw last year. I’m not just doing the 2008s this time, so anything goes as long as it was a first-time viewing. Here's an attempt at a personal rating system rather than using boring old stars and bombs.

Kitten: the gold star. A rating doesn't get any better than 5 kittens.
Chocolate bunny: silver star, or half of a kitten.
Palin: pretty to look at but deeply flawed, lacking content, wrong-headed, disappointing fail on a broad scale.
Anna Nicole: not as pretty as a Palin. Trashy or cheesy, (sometimes unintentionally) funny, a little creepy and very train-wrecky. Could be either bad or good.
Crispin: WTF fringe characters or plots that are impossible for most people to understand. Artsy. Like a hot dog, made by sweeping up the slaughterhouse floor and stuffing a gut with it, but people will still eat it up. Brilliant, insane, total crap... who can say?
Tarantino: Violent with twisty plots and great characters.
Depp: at least worth seeing for the acting.
Temple: just too darned cute.
Hannibal: scary.

The Dark Knight:

Burn After Reading: Dark, hilarious, great characters, incredibly twisty plot.

Wall-E: unstoppable cuteness and cleverness.

Tropic Thunder: Loved Robert Downey Jr. in this, but Tom Cruise steals it. I mean it.

Cloverfield: [my post] absolutely relentlessly scary. You might need Dramamine. I love this movie.

In Bruges: Some hitmen who are just trying to do the right thing... in Bruges (it's in Belgium). See the trailer below.

The Waterhorse: Just a super-cute story for kids of all ages (even 50+).

Some Obscure Gems:

Incident at Loch Ness: If you don't know anything about this one and are a little familiar with Werner Herzog or even if you aren’t - get it! Whatever you do, don’t read up on it first. That will spoil it.

King of Kong, a Fistful of Quarters [post from last March]: I know, it doesn’t even sound interesting, but this one will catch you up in it. Look for it in the documentaries.

Deadwood (the whole thing): we rented it at the Public Library, the disks looked like they'd been dragged through a ditch, but they (mostly) played and it was free. Loved it.

Teeth: one of my friends has a small part in this one, and it was filmed locally. Wonderfully cheesy and darkly funny. Yes, there's one joke, but it's not one you've heard a million times. Trailer below.

Mr. Brooks: Much better than I thought it would be, and more appealing (to me) than some other of cousin Kevin's offerings over the last few years.

Weirdness Award

Sukiyaki Western Django
: It’s a Japanese western, as suggested by the title. Quentin Tarantino has a small role. Very tongue in cheek homage to the Spaghetti versions. It was pretty silly but I had to keep watching to the end.

Excellent dysfunctional family dramas

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead: Murphy's Law in full-blown manifestation.

Gone Baby Gone: I liked this better than most critics. Thought-provoking, and it surprised me at the end.

The Savages: dysfunctional adult children with aging parent issues.

The Namesake: A man coming to terms with his heritage.

Not up to snuff:

Honeydripper: This one stars Austin’s own music treasure Gary Clark Jr., but he was playing somebody else’s music and the plot of the movie was stale and predictable. Big kudos and congrats for Gary though.

The Day the Earth Stood Still: already had the tickets when the reviews starting coming in, and many of them were on target. Shoulda been a contender with that big budget. It was pretty on the big screen.

Quantum of Solace: pretty good action flick, made for a fun afternoon at the movies but not really that memorable. Daniel Craig's Casino Royale was better, but I already want a new Bond.

Shampoo: I see that there were awards and nominations for this one, but I thought it was made-for-TV quality in every respect. I guess I should have seen it while it was still warm.

Charlie Wilson's War: I just didn't like this one as much as most people, including the critics. The movie was too Hollywoody and I thought Hanks' accent sounded forced.

Indiana Jones 4:
Lucas! is this your fault? I think this installment is lodged somewhere between Indy 2 & 3. Maybe it's just me. {yawn} I love Harrison, so the bunny is for him.

The Happening [my post]:

Documentaries worth looking for:
CSNY Deja Vu
Wal-Mart movie
Maxed Out
Born Into Brothels
Burning Man
Before the Music Dies
The Real Dirt on Farmer John

More recommendations:
Dirty Pretty Things
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Body of Lies
Son of Rambow
The Prestige
La Vie En Rose


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'm glad I found out Tom Cruise was in Tropical Thunder, now I won't ever see it for sure.

Blueberry said...

Hey DrM, he uglies up (unusual for him) and plays an asshole that Alec Baldwin would envy.

MichaelBains said...

Other than me, you are the first person I know who said they Liked Cloverfield! I've even seen it made fun of on some TV show or another. I don't know. It Worked for me.

And that "Teeth" trailor... Yikes! lol!

Blueberry said...

MB: I sure hope there's a Cloverfield sequel. In fact, I demand it.