Favorite Movies Of 2008

Some people suggested I add this to the blog. I try and keep this blog strictly about the film but I guess it’s ok since it is film related. I should say upfront that I didn’t see a lot of movies last year. I was too busy making one which I figured is a great excuse. There are still many films I want to see so this list can easily change. Out of what I did see here are the ones that stood out for me. Listed in reverse for dramatic effect.

FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2008

9. MY NAME IS BRUCE

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This film is getting kicked around some but if you’re a fan of Bruce Campbell then how can you not like this movie? Granted it plays off the fact that you need to know who he is. If you do then you’re in for a very funny flick. Bruce plays a caricature of himself who is requested by a fan to rid a town of a real monster. Not thinking it’s real he goes along. Nothing groundbreaking here just a good time. I got to see this with an audience of fans so that may have helped.

8. INSIDE

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This French film definitely deserves the terms violent and gory to describe it. I saw this for the first time on the big screen so it only seemed moreso. The story of a pregnant woman being terrorized is not some cheapo flick slapped together. This film is very well made and acted. It’s just extremely violent and gory. Not for the timid at all but well worth checking out if you can take it.

7. DOOMSDAY

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Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) did his own version of Escape from New York. Literally. You have your walled in city. Your anti-hero with one eye. Your time limit on going into the city and coming out. And your corrupt government officials. It even uses the same font for the titles. It’s literally Escape from New York. However, it’s also a heck of a film that works on every level. It takes those things from Escape From New York but uses them in its own fashion. If Hollywood is determined to do more remakes then look at this as an example. Take the basic elements but make it completely your own. This plays like an homage not a rip off while still having its own originality.

6. SPIRAL

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A little film that really worked for me. Kind of a Hitchcock type of story told very simply but very effectively. Directed by Adam Green and Joel David Moore, who also stars, is a great example of letting the characters tell your story. Let the film play out in front of you. Definitely a film worth checking out. And a PG-13 rating that doesn’t feel like a cheat.

5. POULTRYGEIST

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A zombie, comedy, musical, love story, with social commentary. Does that do it? It’s hard to describe Troma’s latest film which is easily one of the best three films Troma has ever made (the other two being The Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet). Lloyd Kaufman has been tirelessly promoting this film for years as he put a lot into it. And watching the making of only shows how much he also had to deal with. In the end though he has made a film like no other and one that will no doubt bring in new Troma fans.

4. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

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This might even go up on my list upon repeated viewings having only seen it once but boy, what an experience. This is a slightly different take on vampires but mainly from a child’s perspective. This Swedish film has been creeping up on many top ten lists (the ones that count anyway) and it’s not hard to see why. This is an amazing film. Nothing campy about it but also nothing flashy. It takes its time to tell its story. If this is playing anyway remotely near you go see it. Otherwise be sure to check out the DVD in March. I can’t recommend this film more.

3. RAMBO

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Note to Hollywood – if you want to bring back a character and have a message in your movie look at this as an example. This fourth outing for John Rambo is very tight (especially at a trim 85 or so minute running time) and is not done in a campy way. The violence in the film is handled pretty aggressively as we find Rambo helping out Christian missionaries going into Burma to help the needy. This film is not only entertaining but doesn’t hide what is happening in Burma. It has a message but doesn’t make the message the movie. I know after I saw it I wanted to know more about what is happening there. All this from an action film about a guy who knows how to use a bow and arrow and a big knife. Not to mention a big gun.

2. REPO THE GENETIC OPERA

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This one caught me off guard. I think like some people the first time you see it you’re almost not sure what to make of it. A horror rock opera can go either way. It can be off putting if you’re not used to musicals. Luckily I love musicals so people bursting into song doesn’t bug me. Some people will dismiss it as “I didn’t get it so I guess I didn’t like it”. I didn’t get it but wanted to see it again. And again. And again. And as of this writing I have seen it five times in the theatre. I’m even looking for future showings even after I own the DVD on January 20th. Unfortunately dumped by Lionsgate the director and co-creator took it to the road city by city and helped create a phenomenon. As the poster says this is not a film but an event. It is. And with each showing the audience becomes filled with more and more fans of multiple viewings. In some way this is the new Rocky Horror Picture Show. A film that people go to over and over and sing along to it. Every so often something about a movie will hit me and I become obsessive over it. This is my latest obsession. Every time The Music Box Theatre brings it back for another midnight show I’ll be there. I have the soundtrack and listen to it over and over. An event indeed. Also one of the best films to come out this year.

1. THE DARK KNIGHT

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I loved Batman Begins. So much so I was fearful for this film as I didn’t want to get overly excited for it. I did not want to be let down so I forced myself to not get worked up until after I saw it. The Dark Knight is known because it was Heath Ledger’s last film. But I feel even if he was still alive the success of this film would still be the same. This came out the same weekend that I started making my own film. I had to put off seeing it for a few days because I was making a film which was ironic as I swore I would be there opening day at the first show. I figured it was a good excuse. It filled me with a sense of humbling because when you see a great film it does make you know that as a filmmaker I have much to learn still. But it also filled me with great excitement. It helped rejuvenate me on my own film and kept it going all summer long. Having lost faith in many ways in Hollywood I was getting the feeling they didn’t want me as a customer anymore. The last two years I wasn’t even able to do a top five list of movies because I didn’t see five things I liked. At least out of the studios. Then this comes along and it just blew me away. This is definitely one of the best films I’ve seen in years. I should have let myself get all excited because it wouldn’t have let me down. The amazing thing is no matter how many times I see it I get the same feelings I got when I saw it the first time. Without a doubt it’s my favorite film of the year and one of the best of the decade.

So there you have it. Some of my favorite films of last year. Now back to editing the film.

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