WRITTEN BY, JON STEPHENS
COMPILED BY 790
Jon Stephens , is one of MOVIEGUYS most prolific and gifted writers. Residing in Northern California , Jon’s a huge source of movie knowledge as well as a great source of comic and written material.
Jon provides a grounded perspective that is always refreshing to read, I consider him to be the main force on current topics at MOVIEGUYS. -790.
JON’S TOP 10 FILMS OF 2008..
10. VANTAGE POINT
Vantage Point is an American political thriller set in Spain, and it features a cast of seriously talented actors. I enjoyed the style; the back and forth loop over and over each from a different Vantage Point. I felt that it was exciting, and yes, even thrilling. It kept me interested the entire time, which can be difficult to do with this genre of film. Now I know this opinion will not be a popular one, and I will probably get blasted for this choice. But I just plain enjoyed this film. Tough, deal with it!
Cloverfield was your typical “giant monster attacks city” movie shot in a very a-typical manner. Most people will compare this movie to The Blair Witch Project, and the comparisons are fair. Both movies are shot in a similar fashion, with camcorders/cell phone cameras giving the viewer a first person perspective. I enjoyed this movie because it was a great way to change the genre. Showing the plight of a group of people, and ultimately two people who realized their true love for one another at the end. Plus the marketing for the film was great.
8. THE FOOT FIST WAY
This movie was actually originally released back in 2006. It was very “low budget” and so it did not receive a fair shot at getting a run in the theaters. But Will Ferrell and Adam McKay came across the film and saw something special in it. So they picked up distribution rights, and with a little “tweaking” the film was finally ready for the public. Finally, in 2008, it made it to DVD and the general public got to see the comic genius that Ferrell and McKay saw. And it truly is genius. This movie is laugh out loud, pee your pants, laugh till you cry funny!
Wanted certainly was not marketed properly. Sure, it looked exciting. And it seemed like the crazy effects were all there. But the ads all featured Angelina Jolie too prominently. The true star of this film was and is James McAvoy. He played 2 roles in this film, and played them both as well as any other actor could play them. He was both a miserable loser, and a hardcore, bad ass assassin. It had it’s silly moments, but I believe all of that was meant to be part of the plot. And if you think of it like that, as a device to show the deception in the movie, it starts to make sense. But the true draw of this film is the climax. McAvoy is a human wrecking ball! Hopefully, we will get a sequel.
6. HELLBOY 2, AND THE GOLDEN ARMY
This was pure entertainment. The first Hellboy film was certainly enjoyable, but it can’t hold a candle to this sequel. Del Torro creates a beautiful world of beasts for audiences to enjoy. All of the monsters featured in the film seem so realistic (for being disgusting monsters, of course) And Ron Perlman is better than ever as this cigar smoking, wise cracking, cat loving hero. If you want to see a movie that is equal parts fantasy and action, a film that keeps you entertained via humor, action, suspense, and drama all while getting your imagination to run wild, Well then this film is for you!
5. BURN AFTER READING
Burn After Reading, was a black comedy by Joel and Ethan Coen. It starred John Malkovich, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt. Rarely do I enjoy a movie featuring Brad Pitt as much as I enjoyed this. But it’s hard not to love this movie and it’s twisted humor. The acting was top notch, and the storytelling was genius. Brad Pitt, as much as it pains me to say this, was brilliant in his role. All of the actors are big time Hollywood stars, and they were able to play their parts with an ability to mock their onscreen persona. Everything in this movie ends badly, and that makes the movie great.
Stuck is a horrifying tale based on a real life incident. In case you hadn’t heard, the film is based on a real life accident and how it turned a normal loving person into a monster. A care giver accidentally hits a pedestrian on her way home. With the homeless man still stuck in her windshield, she drives home, promising to help the man. But as she begins to realize how this incident could ruin her life, she begins to think that she shouldn’t help the man. And that is where it gets gross. The film is by no means a horror film, but it does have plenty of gore. The film was originally released in the Cannes film market. It gained critical praise as it made the festival rounds, and eventual gained a limited release in theaters across the nation. And I’m glad it did, because even though I had read all about the real life incident, I hadn’t really come to realize the horror of it all.
W. is an American satirical biographical film by film making legend Oliver Stone. It is a re-telling of the life and times of George W. Bush as he grows into one of the most controversial Presidents in American history. It features what is arguably one of the top two performances in film this year. Josh Brolin was amazing as W. People may not know this, but Christian Bale was originally cast in the role of W. He spent months researching the role, but ultimately dropped out because he didn’t like the look of the prosthetic. So Brolin was selected as a “last minute” replacement. And the movie overall would not have been as good without his performance. He deserves Oscar consideration for that. The movie as a whole was not what most people would have expected. George W. Bush has been bashed throughout his Presidency, and many people have said that he will go down as the worst President in history. So with all that considered, you would think that W. would be a Bush-Bashing all the way. But it had a very human element in it, delving into the family dynamic. And Oliver Stone said all along that he wanted a fair portrayal of the controversial President. And that there would be surprises for both Bush supporters and the anti-Bush camp. It did contain surprises for both sides. For the ability to show the life of W. without bashing him un-necessarily, I say this movie is a MUST see!
2. IRON MAN
Iron Man was the first big hit of the year. And it is easy to see why. The movie is loads of fun. It is a realistic take on one of Marvel’s “B-List” characters, and the realism helped to draw fans to the theaters. It made tons of cash. One of the main reasons this movie was so good was the team of lead actor and director: Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau. Downey Jr was genius as Tony Stark. I simply cannot imagine anyone playing the character any better than he did. And Jon Favreau had a vision for this film from the start. His vision certainly helped steer the project in the right direction. Between the two of them, they managed to inject life into the script, and add their own unique sense of humor to the film. It was action packed and very funny. All of the actors worked well together, and despite what some people may say about a certain character (Rhodey) I felt that all the actors played their parts very well. I enjoyed every second of this film. In every way, Iron Man was a success. It provided Marvel a great start to their new venture of producing the movies for their characters. Because of the success of this film, other Marvel films will be given a “fair shake” and will have a chance to succeed like Iron Man did. When your movie can affect films years down the line, you know it is good.
1. THE DARK KNIGHT
Was there any doubt which movie should sit in this slot? Not in my mind. The Dark Knight was the best film of the year, hands down! It boasted the best director, best writing, best performance, and possibly even the best score of 2008. This movie changed the way we look at the superhero genre. Because of this film, DC Comics (creator and distributor of Batman comics, in case you didn’t know) has ramped up their production of other characters. And they decided they wanted to run with the dark approach, The Dark Knight took every chance they can. Can’t forget about the legendary (yes, I said legendary) performance of the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. The movie would not be the same without him. That makes Ledger’s untimely death even more tragic. He deserves posthumous awards for that performance. It was simply the best performance by any actor, male or female, in the past 2 years. The character was dark and twisted, yet funny and even likeable at times. The movie as a whole was more than just the story of a superhero fighting a super villain. It was a social commentary. It was a drama. It was a thriller. It was action packed. Even though it was extremely long, it didn’t feel that way. I could keep talking about this movie all day. There are not enough good words for me to describe this flick. Easily the best movie of 2008!