The 25 most surprising films for 2008.
A film from the UK that showed what one man did to rise to power and how he became a better man because of it. I had no idea about this film but the preview looked good and I decided to watch this film. A small film that deserve a viewing for all film fans.
24. Death Race
I really should have hated this film. I was a huge fan of the original and saw no reason for a remake. I went to the CGV to watch the film and I liked it. This film is a simple action film and nothing else.If you like action, then watch this film. I think that you will like it.
23. Tropic Thunder
I have never been that much of A Ben Stiller fan, so when I heard that this film was coming out with a small role for Tom Cruise, I groaned and watched the film. I had no idea that the film would actually be this funny. Robert Downey, Jr. as Kirk Lazarus and Tom Cruise as Les Grossman were brilliant ideas of casting. Just seeing Cruise's last part in this film dancing was just too funny.
22. 12 Lotus
What if your favorite song from your childhood would be the exact story of your life? Would you even recognize it as you were singing it? Would you even want to admit it? Or better yet could you ever admit it? A small film that i saw at the PIFF that needs to be seen at least once by the film viewer to see a movie about love and pain.
21. Quantum of Solace
This film, for some strange reason, had a negative vibe to it. I never could figure out why. I am slowly getting used to the idea of Daniel Craig as James Bond and this film really helped to see the younger version of Bond turn into the legend that we have seen with Sean Connery playing Bond. A good film with a great story.
20. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
I have no idea why this film was a hit in some markets and a failure in others. As I stated in my review of this film, What I really liked about the film, was the usage of Jet LI (Emperor Han) and Michelle Yeoh (Zi Juan). Every time that these 2 actors were on the screen I felt that I was looking and the forces of evil and good trying to destroy each other. When you see these 2 together, it really helps the film become a good film. In Korea it sold over 4 million tickets.
19. The Machine Girl or Kataude mashin gâru
The only reason I watched this film is because a friend of mine wanted me to get her some recent films from Japan and this one looked interesting. I had no idea that I would like the campyness of it as much as I did. he movie will have a direct to video sequel in 2009 called Hajirai Mashin Gâru or The Hajirai Machine Girl.
18. Red Cliff or Chi bi
I had remembered studying this battle years ago in college, so I was familiar with the story of it. I was not ready for this film. As of the time of this writing, Red Cliff is the most expensive Asian-financed film to date; With an estimated budget of US$80 million. This is part one of the film and part 2 was released in Korea in Jan 2009. Please see both films together when you can for a great epic story.
17. The Incredible Hulk
as I stated in my review of this film, I have never been that huge of a fan of the “Hulk”, so when Ang Lee’s Hulk bombed, I was not that surprised. I was hopping that we would never hear from the “Hulk” ever again. That would have been a shame because I like the New Hulk film, The Incredible Hulk. I hope that the relaunch would work because I have always liked this character. We should have a new movie by 2012.
A small film starring Liam Neeson as an ex-CIA agent faced with recovering his daughter after she is kidnapped by sex-traffickers in Paris, France. I had heard of the film and went to see it at CGV and was quite impressed with the film. It has a good story and a believable plot. It deserves a DVD rental.
15. The Forbidden Kingdom
This is the first film to star together two of the best-known names in the martial arts film genre, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. How could I not like this film with 2 of my favorite actors in it? I knew that the film was going to be a bit over-the-top but, to me, it had a great story, a great plot and one heck of an ending that reminded me of why I have always loved the martial arts genre.
14. Goodbye Bafana
The film is a drama about the relationship between Nelson Mandela and James Gregory, his censor officer and prison guard. I first saw previews of this film and I knew that I had to see this film. It's a small film that deserves a viewing.
13. An America Carol
The film is a parody of liberal filmmaker Michael Moore that "lampoons contemporary American culture, particularly Hollywood." It uses the framework of A Christmas Carol but moves the setting of the story from Christmas to Independence Day. This film was one of my guilty pleasures of the year. It will not be enjoyed by the majority of my readers. Please see this film at your own risk.
The idea of this film just sounded interesting. What if Jean-Claude Van Damme actually was in a real life situation, what would he do? It sounded interesting and the more that I watched of this film,the more that I liked it. I loved the Van Damme’s six-minute, one-take monologue, it was just too funny.
With director Guy Ritchie, it has always been either I have loved it or hated it. Once again with Guy's new film, I loved it. The story was great and what an ending this film has. Ritchie has stated that he hopes to extend RocknRolla into a trilogy if the film receives enough positive attention. Well with this one, I hope we get a trilogy.
10. The Children of Huang Shi
It is a good film that was hampered by the strange ignoring the role of Rewi Alley a New Zealander celebrated in China's revolution. Conversion of the nurse played from a New Zealander to a fictional American, also received negative attention. The film ends shows some of the survivors of the childrens long march and how much they still miss George Hogg.
The film was really hurt by the horrible acting of Renée Zellweger. I just felt that ever scene she was in hurt this film. Take her out of this film and you have a great western here with 3 good actors making you believe that a war is going to happen. I really liked the film but the horrible miscast is what might make a lot of people not want to see this film. That would be a shame because the film, in the end, does overcome Renee.
8. Man on Wire
At the time of this writing this is an Academy Award-nominated 2008 documentary film, that is being projected as the winner in this category. The film chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center. This is a good look at history and needs to be seen.
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This film will open in Korea on 12 February 2009. At the time writing this article the movie has been nominated for The film received 13 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for David Fincher, Best Actor for Brad Pitt and Best Supporting Actress for Taraji P. Henson. I am in the minority of critics with this film, It is a good film and worth you, the reader, going to see in February, but the film is not a great one and it was not included in my top 20 films of 2008. I saw where this film could have been great but to me, it was a poor mans' slow version of Forrest Gump, but only in reverse. To me I never saw the great love between the stars and that's what has to happen, if this film will work for you.
6. Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert 3D
After watching this concert film, I soon realized, I am so not the target audience for this film. I can see how this film made as much as it did and with the 3D added to this movie brought in $8,651,758 on its opening day, it continued on to gross $31,117,834 to finish off the weekend, making it the highest-grossing opening weekend for a film to be released under 1000 theaters. It was a film for girls and they rushed to see it making this low cost film into a huge money maker for Walt Disney.
What if "The Blair Witch" met "Godzilla" in a movie? Then throw in New York city and 9/11 and you have the makings of a great monster film. It was shot with a jerkey camera style that could make the audience very sick but it made me believe that the monster was real. A great monster film that will hopefully have a part 2 with it.
4. Iron Man
I knew that this had the hope of being a decent film. The main question was, could Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark work? Would anybody believe it? After seeing it, I can not imagine anyone else playing this role. What I really liked about this film was the very end where you saw a familiar face tell you get ready for some more with Iron Man and the Avengers Project. Hopefully in 2010 #2 will be even better.
3. What Happens in Vegas
I really hated this film and it looks like the New York Post did also (The film scored a fourth place in the Post's Top 10 Worst Movies of 2008). The film cost about 35 million to make and did reasonably well with the box office. It was a money maker for Fox Studios but this gained them no credibility on ever making any more great films.
#2 Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis or Welcome to the Land of Shtis
I had a hard time following this film but I saw the subtle humor in this film. The film has broken nearly every box office record in France: it debuted as the top movie with US$31.67 million at 793 sites. The film has grossed over US$193 million in France alone. A story surfaced that Dany Boon was in the process of signing a deal with Will Smith to make an English adaptation of the film. This new film will be called Welcome to the Stick. I could understand the difference between the Southern French/ Northern French accents, due to the exact same thing with the English that is spoken in Texas is different that the same English spoken in New York. Please see it when you can.
Now for the biggest surprise of 2008 was
With all of the recent cases of Child indecency involving the Catholic Church, I went into this film not knowing what i was getting myself into because I had not yet read the book nor seen the play about this film. I saw a nun, who was trying to protect her flock from what she saw as an evil man. i kept listening to her evidence, i kept waiting for the smoking gun and in this film it never shows up. The end of this film is what really made it work for me. A real surprise that I did not see coming.
Now for the 25 disappointments of the year 2008.