Friday, January 30, 2009

My Favorite Movies of 2008 (Part 5)

Dice's Favorite 25 Movies of 2008
(These are, in order, the movies I enjoy, respect, desire, and love the most that I saw for the first time in the calender year 2008.)

* possible objectionable content warning

5. Cloverfield - This movie was almost as much of a social experiment as it was a film.  JJ Abrams loves a good mystery, and started this one with a stealth trailer release and little to no information other than that it was a monster movie.   What unfolded on the screen just a few months later was an incredible first hand account of what the monster movie might look like in a Youtube generation.  If you stand the motion sickness you were rewarded with a Hitchcockian delight.
4. King of Kong - Easily the best documentary I have ever seen, and a movie that should be viewed by all whether or not you hold any interest in the art of playing arcade games.  What is amazing about this movie is that it has all the elements of a great sports movie and yet it is being documented as a film, as these amazing events are happening.  The filmmakers must have felt like prospectors finding the mother lode, as each new twist and turn was mined in this tale.  What's even more amazing is that this story continues today as the good guy and the bad guy continue to duke it out.

3.  Iron Man - Jon Favreau continues to prove he just knows how to flat out make amazing movies.  Add his gift to the triumphant return of the gregarious Downey and you have the makings of a great experience.    It had the added bonus of catching people off guard, since it didn't have the pressure of a big name comic on it.  Spiderman and Batman are supposed to be amazing, but who would have thought that Iron Man would be?

2.  The Dark Knight - Overshadowed by a legendary performance by the late Heath Ledger is the fact that this movie manages to one up what was widely considered to be the perfect Batman movie, Batman Begins.  That fact that this group of people took the unreasonable expectations set after that first film and completely left them in the dust will remain a testament to the skill of many people, primary among them Christopher Nolan, who hasn't gotten nearly enough credit for what he has pulled off here.

1. Wall-E - I'm convinced that Pixar is just operating on a whole different level than any other film company working today.   It's just unfathomable to make this many movies in a row without experiencing either some sort of letdown or backlash.  Wall-E continues the streak with a cast of characters that barely even utter a spoken word for the entire length of the film and yet somehow become fully ingrained in our consciousness and more importantly our hearts.   Maybe I'm blinded by devotion to these geniuses, but I'm content to see Pixar's movies resting atop the pile each and every year as long as they keep affecting me so deeply.