Oh ’08!

Posted in film by Eric on February 3, 2009

Teeth Poster

I refute the claim that 2008 was bad.  Sure, there wasn’t the stunning pair of There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men, but there were some fine films – a lot of them much smaller on the release scale.  My short list follows, with even shorter commentary.  If I could summarize what I love about all these films, it would be the directors.  I admire them for the strong and difficult choices they made, often resulting in opposing moods and tones that I’ve never seen sutured together so beautifully.

  • Teeth – Pitch perfect in tone, this movie was smart, steadily directed (especially for a first feature), and downright hilarious.
  • Waltz with Bashir – One of the most stunning explorations of memory and forgetting ever to play upon the screen.  A perfect union of content and style.
  • Synecdoche, New York – The simple fact that Kaufman can always blow my mind puts him up here.  I’ll be coming back to this movie for a long time because it bent my brain in a way that only Lynch’s ‘Mulholland Dr’ ever has.
  • Mister Lonely – Almost like a beautiful collection of short stories, every scene in this movie stood alone as a tiny film.  Gorgeously shot and flawlessly cast.
  • In Bruges – A film that turned out to be far deeper than it’s advertisements led on, I was hugely impressed by the film’s flips between the darkly comic and the religiously existential.
  • The Dark Knight – It’s like Nolan made an action movie out of Soren Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling”.  I’ve been quietly suposing that the man might be the reincarnation of Hitchcock, and now I’m just gonna come out and say it.  (Plus, Ledger is bat-shit crazy).
  • Up the Yangtze – Another documentary snuck its way in here, but well deserved.  A heart breaking and quiet observation of a singular incidence of suffering in the massive devastation that is the Three Gorges Damn Project.
  • The Wrestler – Aronofsky said that in his previous films he, “used the camera like a paintbrush.  Here, I tried to use it more like a camera”.  Aside from Rorke’s fantastic performance, I appreciate Aronofsky for boldly trying new things, new styles, and new formats (super 16!).  Many directors are too chicken shit to stray from the style that made them famous, so props to Darren for mixing it up.
  • WALL-E – There may or may not be complaints about the second half of this film, but the simple fact is that I was screaming with laughter for the first 30 minutes or so, and still giggling continuously after that.  Plus, any movie that can make me feel intense empathy for a steel box wins something in my book.
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona – Woody Allen is smart and funny again!  Yay!!

Editor’s Note:  The rest of our team’s thoughts on the 2008 roster in future posts.


6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Meg said, on February 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Great list, Eric!! I see Joie has finally coerced you to post. I still have yet to see Teeth. Yes, I know. I’m a horrible former student of Professor Fabe.

  2. Eric said, on February 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Yea, if Fabe, Clover, and Williams could somehow blend their genes, this movie would be the resultant baby.

    Joie has indeed coerced me, and when I have some time in my grad student insanity to think straight, I may even post an article with articulated and thought out opinions, instead of moderately trite summaries 😉

  3. Joie said, on February 4, 2009 at 1:47 am

    I never imagined Kaufman to be in the same sentence with Lynch, but looking back at their films, the similarities are hard to ignore, both walking on the same tightrope of surrealism–increasingly confusing and sublimely ridiculous, with jokes that go off the deep end, but leaving an incredible sense of disquieting sadness after the laughter has subsided. One could even ask what does Naomi Watts’ Betty/Diane and PSH’s Caden Cotard have in common? They just want a good fuck and a quick death.

  4. Vicky Christina Barcelona « Blurasis said, on February 4, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    […] in 2008, 2009, Posting by Ming Wu on February 4th, 2009 Bought the Blu-ray version of Woody Allen’s film “Vicky Christina Barcelona“. Not really familiar with his kinds of movies. […]

  5. Mike said, on March 1, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

    Making Money $150 An Hour

  6. Alex said, on July 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Abraham became a moster before Isaac so that Isaac won’t lose faith in God, the way Batman becomes the hunted villain in the end rather than society lose faith in Dent and in Justice and Goodness in general. Is that along the lines of your Dark Knight / Fear and Trembling connection?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: