I went into this film expecting a solid film and some excellent performances and I walked out completely satisfied. I almost wanted to omit this film from my list, but I just couldn't deny it. Gus Van Sant did a really good job, and I couldn't help but reward a good James Franco movie while I had the chance. It may be about history, but the film could have never seemed more relevant, the supporting cast is all star and top notch. I know you might have to drag yourself to see it, but trust me, it's completely worth it.
If you had two eyes and a heart, or even one heart and one eye, you couldn't help but be completely charmed and affected by this truly sweet, simple, and wonderful story of the last robot on earth. Those scenes where he is watching the musical and dancing, or when he's taking care of E.V.E., had my heart swelling. It reminded me of Joe vs. The Volcano, and I love Joe vs. The Volcano. This was Pixar at it's finest, although I did love The Incredibles slightly more.
3) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Call me a sucker, call me a sap, call me an apologist. But I loved Benjamin Button. It is a heart wrenching spectacular tale and though a far reach from F. Scott Fitzgerald's original story, I would like to think he would have still enjoyed it. Brad Pitt dazzles and entertains as a young/old man and and then breaks your heart as an old/young man. Cate Blanchett is also awesome, and David Fincher seems he can do no wrong. (Sue me, I can totally enjoy Alien 3.)
2) Slumdog Millionaire
I saw this at AFF a couple of months before it was released and walked out saying it was the best film of the year. Given a little bit of time, and seeing the hype around the film had it slide in my mind. Also factoring into it's slip from 1 to 2 was me thinking about rewatchability, and the number one film oozes with that. But make no mistake, this is one of the year's best if not the best. Danny Boyle changes genres like you change your underpants, on a daily basis and with complete ease. The man is a master craftsman and you need look no further than here, or anywhere for that matter. The story is expertly paced, written, filmed, acted, everything. It was a complete and total surprise when I saw it because I had absolutely no expectation or information about the film other than a synopsis. I look forward to revisiting it on DVD.
1) The Dark Knight
What can you say that hasn't already been said? Eckhart, Bale, Oldman, Cain. Incredible actors doing incredible work. And Ledger? Well it's a shame a light so bright burnt out so fast, but he truly did some amazing work here. When you are acting alongside guys like Eckhart, Cain, Bale, and Oldman and people single you out as the best performance, you know you did something special. I really loved this movie, and it's a crying shame the Academy didn't. When I stepped out of my IMAX this past summer, I immediately wanted to run back in and have them respool it. My jaw was on the floor, and my ridiculous expectations were exceeded on almost every level. Stupid Academy...
Critics had their way with Speed Racer, Hancock, and Australia, but this critic liked them all. Does that mean I have bad taste? Or does it mean critics are out of touch? Well they can't be out of touch with the public if you look at the box office returns for these films. (excluding Hancock) But why did I like these films if critics and the public alike didn't? Well Hancock I liked because Will Smith can do next to no wrong. He's comforting and charming, heck just thinking about Will Smith almost makes me want to watch Wild Wild West right now...almost. Australia was just epic romantic filmmaking, and I had no problem with it. Very few films jab me in my soft spot and this one found it's way, and I credit Hugh Jackman and his manly way of showing vulnerability for that. Yeah it wasn't more than the sum of it's parts, but it's too hard to find fault with any of those parts, other than saying on a whole you didn't like it. And Speed Racer, well, I know I'm in the minority on this one, but aside from some of the more retarded parts, (Chim Chim and Spritle) I thought it was candy coated fun. I don't feel I have to defend myself for any of these choices, merely explain. And that is that. Let me know what you guys think, or let me know if I left something off that you felt was a gross omission.