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.
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.
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.
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)
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!