My favorites of 2008 in no particular order...
First feature film by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. I don't think I've enjoyed watching a movie in a theater this much since Shaun of the Dead. Colin Farrell doesn't get enough credit as an actor.
This is the first Woody Allen movie I've really liked in years. what's interesting about this little thriller is that it's mostly made up of the moments your standard crime drama would leave out. You know, the "boring" bits in between the action and what not. Allen even goes so far as to pull the camera away from the big moment, what would normally be the scene in which an average thriller hinges upon, as if it were completely irrelevant to the story. And you know what? it is. This is a film about brothers. not the other stuff. and you've got two of my favorite actors - Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell. why aren't they in more movies together?
I knew Danny Boyle still had it in him. I'd been a little disappointed in my favorite director as of late (Sunshine). He's taken the best parts of his previous work - that gritty "beautiful filth" aesthetic of Trainspotting, mixed it with the fairytale absurdity of A Life Less Ordinary, and thrown in a dash of Millions. I'm pulling for him with the Oscar noms. He deserves it.
Quantum of Solace
I'm still not convinced it's its own film and not just an epilogue to Casino Royale, but there's something you've got to admire about its unrelenting focus. Despite Roman Polanski being the villain and some dodgy CGI, it still made my list. It gets better on repeat viewings.
Robert. Downey. Jr. He's certainly on a roll (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac, his performance in Tropic Thunder... keep 'em coming...)
I cried a little bit.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
As a fan of The X-Files, I enjoyed the hell out of this film. Partly because it's the exact opposite of what you're expecting it to be, and probably what it should have been, by which I mean if you're looking to give your long dead TV series another kick start for the big screen and make a series films, this isn't how you do it. Cold bleak landscapes, slow burning plot, and subtle character studies are not the way to go. Opening against The Dark Knight is also not a good idea. What this film is is a solid episode of the show. If you like the show, what exactly do you have to complain about? We're checking in on these characters five or so years later. Like an old friend you haven't talked to in a while, we're just giving them a ring to see what they're up to. "Hey guys - any aliens, comas, abductions, or resurrections? no? good. glad you're doing well. keep in touch!"
The Bank Job
solid, old-school British heist flick. enough said.
The Dark Knight
Yes, Heath Ledger is as amazing as you've heard he is. No one says enough about Gary Oldman though.
Son of Rambow
Adorable tale of youngsters and DIY film making. Directed by Garth Jennings of Hammer & Tongs fame. succeeds where Be Kind, Rewind failed.