9 February 2009

Top Ten Films and Performances of 2008

Here is my list of what I saw as the best films of last year. Also, as per usual, I've included my favourite ten male and female performances, and also a bit on a few unexpected and/or underrated mini gems - those that may not necessarily be exactly the best, but have what I consider some great qualities about them (whether that be purely genre pleasures or films that have left a small but memorable mark). All films by-and-large received a theatrical release in the UK between January 1st and December 31st.

Male Performances:

Top row: 10 - 6; Bottom row: 5 - 1

01. Michael Fassbender as Bobby Sands in Hunger
02. James Franco as Saul Silver in Pineapple Express
03. Michael Shannon as Son Hayes in Shotgun Stories
04. Pat Shortt as Josie in Garage
05. Thomas Turgoose as Tomo in Somers Town
06. Eddie Marsan as Scott in Happy-Go-Lucky
07. Mos Def as Mike in Be Kind Rewind
08. Albert Finney as Charles Hanson in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
09. Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield in In the Valley of Elah
10. Karl Urban as Nick Harvey in Out of the Blue

Also good, in no order: Colin Farrell In Bruges / Michael Pitt Funny Games U.S. / Diego Luna Mister Lonely / Ricky Gervais Ghost Town / Gary Oldman The Dark Knight / Benicio del Toro Things We Lost in the Fire / Brad Pitt Burn After Reading / Samuel L. Jackson Lakeview Terrace / Baki Davrak The Edge of Heaven / Toby Jones The Mist

Female Performances:

Top row: 10 - 6; Bottom row: 5 - 1

01. Julianne Moore as Barbara Baekeland in Savage Grace and as doctor's wife in Blindness
02. Asia Argento as Vellini in Une vieille maîtresse
03. Jennifer Jason Leigh as Pauline in Margot at the Wedding
04. Juliette Binoche as Suzanne in The Flight of the Red Balloon
05. Sally Hawkins as Poppy in Happy-Go-Lucky
06. Isabelle Huppert as Jeanne Charmant-Killman in A Comedy of Power and as Pascale in Private Property
07. Anamaria Marinca as Otilia in 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
08. Helena Bonham-Carter as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
09. Mary Beth Hurt as Ruth in The Dead Girl
10. Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs. Carmody in The Mist

Also good, in no order: Nicole Kidman Margot at the Wedding / Jennifer Garner Juno / Pauline Malefane Son of Man / Galina Vishnevskaya Alexandra / Wei Tang Lust, Caution / Maria Bello Butterfly on a Wheel / Hanna Schygulla The Edge of Heaven / Samantha Morton River Queen/Mister Lonely / Cynthia Nixon Sex and the City / Melonie Diaz Be Kind Rewind

Top Ten worst and 10 disappointments:

Worst, in order: 01. Funny Games US (Michael Haneke) / 02. Wanted (Timur Bekmambetov) / 03. Scar 3D (Jed Weintrob) / 04. Charlie Wilson’s War (Mike Nichols) / 05. The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan) / 06. Smiley Face (Gregg Araki) / 07. My Blueberry Nights (Wong kar-wai) / 08. Ghost Writer (Alan Cumming) / 09. Sex and the City (Michael Patrick King) / 10. Pathology (Marc Schoelermann)

Disappointments, in no order: Dan in Real Life (Peter Hedges) / Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Steven Spielberg) / The Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona)/ Redacted (Brian De Palma) / Reservation Road (Terry George) / Quantum of Solace (Marc Forster) / Changeling (Clint Eastwood) / Diary of the Dead (George A. Romero) / Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck) / Eagle Eye (D. J. Caruso)

A Few Underrated/mini gems, in no order: Tu£sday (Sacha Bennett) / P2 (Franck Khalfoun) / The Dead Girl (Karen Moncrieff) / Butterfly on a Wheel (Mike Barker) / The Duchess (Saul Dibb) / Awake (Joby Harold) / Black Water (David Nerlich/Andrew Traucki) / All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (Jonathan Levine) / The Good Night (Jake Paltrow) / What Happens in Vegas (Tom Vaughan) / WTC View (Brian Sloan)

Top Ten films:

10: Our Daily Bread/Unser täglich Brot (Nikolaus Geyrhalter/Germany, Austria)

09. Garage (Leonard Abrahamson/Ireland)

08. The Mist (Frank Darabont/USA)

07. The Flight of the Red Balloon/Le Voyage du ballon rouge (Hsiao-hsien Hou/France)

06. Shotgun Stories (Jeff Nichol/USA)

05. Private Property/Nue propriété (Joachim Lafosse/Luxembourg, Belgium, France)

04. Blindness (Fernando Meirelles/Canada, Brazil, Japan)

03. Margot at the Wedding (Noah Baumbach/USA)

02. Still Life/Sanxia haoren (Zhang Ke Jia/China, Hong Kong)

01. Hunger (Steve McQueen/UK, Ireland)

Films, 11-20: 11. Savage Grace (Tom Kalin) / 12. Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas) / 13. You, the Living (Roy Andersson) / 14. Out of the Blue (Robert Sarkies) / 15. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Sidney Lumet) / 16. Somers Town (Shane Meadows) / 17. Mister Lonely (Harmony Korine) / 18. Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh) / 19. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton) / 20. Une vieille maîtresse (Catherine Breillat)

Also good, in no order: Pineapple Express (David Gordon Green) / The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin) / Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry) / Alexandra (Aleksandr Sokurov) / The Savages (Tamara Jenkins) / [●Rec] (Jaume Balagueró/Paco Plaza) / WALL·E (Andrew Stanton) / My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin) / We Are Together (Paul Taylor) / 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu)

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