Brandon’s Ten Favorite New Movies of 2008

As usual, only counting just-released movies I saw in theaters in 2008.

1. Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant)
More youth poetry from Van Sant – nailed it this time.

2/3.
Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)
There Will Be Blood (P.T. Anderson)
TWBB is better than Wall-E in many ways, but I’m feeling more generous towards the lovestruck robot than the miserable oil-baron right now. They were both the visual and story delights of the year.

4. Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito)
The only movie I watched three times this year.

5/6/7.
Let The Right One In (Tomas Alfredson)
Don’t Touch The Axe (Jacques Rivette)
The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin)
Three exquisite foreign flicks.

8. Youth Without Youth (Francis Ford Coppola)
FF Coppola’s universally ignored return to cinema. Due for a major critical re-evaluation sometime after his death, I imagine.

9. Milk (Gus Van Sant)
I had my problems with it, but it’s still great, and wins points for being extremely relevant.

10. Ashes of Time Redux (Wong Kar-Wai)
Both of Wong’s least-liked films (see My Blueberry Nights below) opened to empty theaters this year, and I’ve gotta say I enjoyed them both. Even his worst work still has a gorgeous power to it at times.

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Honorable Mentions:

Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog)
Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu)
Opera Jawa (Garin Nugroho)

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Special Categories:

The Edward Burns Memorial Award, given to the movie I saw this year which I have already mostly forgotten, is mercifully awarded to Namibia: The Struggle For Liberation

The Alien Resurrection Award, given to a movie I liked which nobody else did, goes to My Blueberry Nights

The Kyle Cooper Award, given for greatest achievement in opening or closing credits: Michael Clayton

The Big Ehh Award, given for the least enthusiastic reception of an eagerly-awaited movie: Be Kind Rewind

The Batman Begins Award, given to a movie which everyone else must have been tripping while they watched because I can’t see what’s so great about it, goes to The Dark Knight – and what’s more, given the academy award buzz the movie has garnered, this will hereafter be renamed in its honor The Dark Knight Award!

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