Thursday, 8 January 2009

Five of the Best...Films I Saw in 2008

There were plenty of interesting films released in 2008. Here's my top five...

No Country For Old Men

Essentially a cowboy film set in 1980, it follows the fortunes (or lack of them) of a guy who helps himself to the proceeds of a drug deal gone wrong. A sinsiter killer is out to take the money back (as well as delivering a suitable punishment for such a cheeky crime) and there is competition from other killers too. The local law takes a much quieter approach.

The theme builds through the film: how much would a man be prepared to sacrifice for greed? At which point do you not want to keep the $2,000,000?

It's grim stuff, but exceedingly well done (not for the squeemish, of course).

Shine A Light

A terrific film, showing The Rolling Stones in full flow at a specially filmed concert.

Famous film maker Martin Scorsese is at the helm and he captures the remarkable 'front row' action with aplomb.

Various archive snippets and behind-the-scenes stuff crop up now and then through the film but mostly it's a couple of hours of the Stones on top form. A must-see for Stones fans and it should be interesting enough for ayone else with any sort of interest in live music.

Iron Man

I felt this was a notch up from the standard Superhero stuff.

It was certainly more serious and realistic than the Fantastic 4 films and worked all the better for it. The charcters were more believable and the plot (such as it was) more involving.

All in all, it was probably a much better viewing experience than the latest Indiana Jones movie.

The Changeling

This was a really good film. At two and a half hours, it sounds like it will drag, but it never does.

The basic plot concerns a missing child. The mother is delighted to hear of his return, a few months later, only to find that it's not the right one. The authorities try and convince her she's wrong and go to extreme lengths to keep the error and subsequent trouble under wraps.

There are quite a few twists and turns.

The cast is excellent without exception; underplaying the characters a little bit adds realism to the situation.

Clint Eastwood was the Director and Producer and he did a fine job in both cases.

One of the year's must-see films.


The latest gansgster film from Guy Ritchie certainly has a familiar feel to it, but that's a good thing if you enjoyed the previous ones.

This is more like 'Lock, Stock...' than anything else. There's a shady deal or two going down concerning real estate but everything is complicated by sub-plots involving criminals of varying degrees of pettiness, a very rich Russian, a has-been rock star and various other people one wouldn't invite round for tea.

Everything is connected, of course, more often than not by a valuable painting owned by the Russian which goes missing while on loan.

There's violence, but probably not as much as the other films. Those left standing at the end will go on to feature in the sequel, 'Real RocknRolla' (and there'll be one more after that).

It's entertaining stuff and nowhere near as complicated as 2005's 'Revolver', with it's diverting Kabbalic references.

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