Sunday, July 13, 2008

Best of 2008 (So Far): Movies

Let me be blunt about something: I've only seen 16 films from 2008 so far (bad me) and most of them have been mediocre at best, with only a few truly great ones. This is why these lists are kind of limited and may seem rather sucky in the grand scheme of things. I hope to catch up on all I can before I go back to school at the end of August.

Top 5 Films

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Nicholas Stoller)
It's no Superbad or The 40-Year Old Virgin, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall is definitely worth a look at, if only for a peek at the superb script by star Jason Segel which has a similar plot to most romantic comedies, but stays clear of cliche and corniness.

Stop-Loss (Kimberly Peirce)
The first 20 minutes were absolutely brilliant- probably the scariest war scene I've seen since Saving Private Ryan- and even if the rest was a slight letdown, it was still more inventive and exciting than anything else playing in the theaters in early April.

Cloverfield (Matt Reeves)
My mini-rant here.

WALL-E (Andrew Stanton)
My mini-rant here.

In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)
My mini-rant here.

Best Performances

Best Actor
Colin Farrell, In Bruges
Between Farrell's breakthrough in Tigerland and this film, I have either managed to avoid seeing his stinkers or haven't been particularly impressed by his work. In In Bruges, however, Farrell ably carries the dramatic heft thrust upon his shoulders while doing the comedy it also asks for...without dropping the ball once. It's an impressive performance that I will remember for awhile.

Best Actress
Natalie Portman, The Other Boleyn Girl
Not necessarily her greatest performance, but it's certainly a hoot. Portman, unlike co-star Scarlett Johansson, knows how to do camp and isn't afraid to go all out.

Best Supporting Actor
Ralph Fiennes, In Bruges
Again, this may not be Fiennes' greatest performance, but his foul-mouthed gangster was uproariously funny.

Best Supporting Actress
Isla Fisher, Definitely, Maybe & Imelda Staunton, Cranford (tie)
Staunton isn't given much to do in Cranford (a British made-for-TV miniseries that I caught on PBS a few months ago) besides play the town gossip, so, like the pro that she is, she relishes every joke and one-liner she is given and plays them for all their worth. The only reason I would ever recommend Definitely, Maybe to someone is so they can see Isla Fisher's impressive performance as one of the three potential mothers to Abigail Breslin. She completely understands where the character is coming from and plays down the kookiness enough so that she seems like a regular person we all would fall for.


J.D. said...

Yay, Isla! Whoo-hoo!

nick plowman said...

Awesome run down, I am too lazy to do my own.