Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Buckshot: 2008: The Year in Film

Similar to my post on the books I read in 2008, this is all of the films release in 2008 that I was able to see. Of course, this doesn't include all the critical darlings released during awards season. I'd love to see them, but unfortunately can't make it to the theaters as often as I'd like (Many of these were viewed after hitting DVD.). So enjoy an exhaustive list of the films I did see, along with brief comments.

NOTE: Some of these are repeats from this post from July.

The Bank Job
Grade: B+
Jason Statham leads a fun cast in this based-on-a-true-story tale of a caper gone wrong in 1970s London. Turned out to be more violent that I anticipated, but not bad.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Grade: B+
It lacks some of the magic of the first installment. Eddie Izzard's swashbuckling mouse was fun, but I miss Ray Winstone's Mr. Beaver. Still, an enjoyable fantasy romp.

The Dark Knight
Grade: A
I doubt I could say anything that Hooper and I didn't cover in our review from July. Recommended.

Definitely, Maybe
Grade: A-
A rather good romantic comedy anchored by a very strong performance from Ryan Reynolds. It didn't hurt that it came from the producers of Love, Actually, which I love...actually. (Yes, that was a terrible pun.) Recommended.

Eagle Eye
Grade: A-
Crazy action in the grand tradition of Michael Bay. Shia and Michelle Monaghan do a good job as the leads, but Billy Bob Thornton steals the show as an aging FBI agent. Recommended.

Fool’s Gold
Grade: B
Hudson and McConaughey had better chemistry in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but this was a fun diversion nonetheless.

Get Smart
Grade: A-
A few too many "Hey, remember how funny this was on the 1960s TV show?" moments keeps it from receiving an A, but this was better (and had more straight-up action) that I'd expected. Recommended.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Grade: B+
Visually, it's amazing. But I can't get behind the films' decision to make Hellboy and Liz lovers (they aren't in the comics), and to have Hellboy be a bit of a dunce at times. Thus, it gets a slightly lower grade than I'd like it to receive. But Guillermo del Toro and Co. turn in a really solid mythical adventure. Recommended.

In Bruges
Grade: A
At times hysterically funny, at times almost heartbreakingly sad. Outstanding work by Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes. Recommended.

The Incredible Hulk
Grade: B+
I didn't hate Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk venture, but it wasn't everything it could have been either. This year's Hulk was tons of fun, with good work from Norton, Tyler, and everyone involved. Recommended.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Grade: B+
Like I said in a previous post, it's still better than half the films that get released. A little goofier than I might have liked, but still a fun flick.

Iron Man
Grade: A
There's no doubt about it, one of the best superhero movies yet. Downey was superb, and the effects were great without completely disregarding realism. Recommended.

Jumper
Grade: B+
A fun action ride from director Doug Liman, but it almost feels like half a story at times. I wouldn't have minded another half hour or so of movie with some beefed-up backstory.

Kung Fu Panda
Grade: A-
As the voice of the lead, Jack Black lets loose with a few too many "Jack Black-isms," but this was a really fun one. Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane are standouts among the voice cast.

The Other Boleyn Girl
Grade: B+
I'm not normally one for the period romance, but this was pretty good. Eric Bana was excellent as historical asshole Henry VIII.

Quantum of Solace
Grade: A-
See my review from November. Recommended.

Sex and the City: The Movie
Grade: B+
It's certainly not a guy movie, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
Grade: B+
Mrs. Buck is a fan of this series, and truth be told, I found myself enjoying both the original and this sequel.

The Spiderwick Chronicles
Grade: B+
Our chief complaint was the that movie barely pauses to catch its breath after it gets going. You could almost call it a chase movie, except the characters hardly leave their house; it just has that sort of feel. Freddie Highmore was great, though. I look forward to seeing if he can carry his child stardom through adolescence and become a truly great actor.

Street Kings
Grade: B+
Brace yourselves: I think Keanu Reeves turns in a very good performance in this film, written by crime fiction master James Ellroy. Chris Evans, Forest Whittaker, and Hugh Laurie turn in decent supporting performances (Evans continues to be an underrated actor, in my opinion.). Recommended.

Tropic Thunder
Grade: A
Robert Downey Jr. IS Kirk Lazarus IS Sgt. Lincoln Osiris in one of the most hilarious performances ever committed to film! The rest of the guys are pretty funny, too. (Only complaint? Tom Cruise's Les Grossman bit is too much of a good thing, and they kind of run the gag into the ground.) Recommended.

27 Dresses
Grade: B+
Heigl's not bad, but James Marsden really stole the show (much like he did in Hairspray). A not-too-shabby date movie.

Wall-E
Grade: A
Pixar does it again, with this delightful story of a robot that starts out finding love and ends up saving the planet. Seeing live-action Fred Willard in the middle of it all was a little odd though. Recommended.

-Buck

5 comments:

The Den of Mystery said...

So...you didn't see a movie last year that you'd rate below a "B"?

Were there no "Worsts" viewed in 2008?

-Hooper

The Den of Mystery said...

I try not to watch the ones I know are going to suck.

-Buck

Anonymous said...

I guarantee anyone that read The Other Boleyn Girl would have given that movie a C, very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Are you a fan of Indiana Jones? this was the worst one yet!

The Den of Mystery said...

To respond to both Anonymous (Anonymi?) in turn:

1) You may very well be correct. Having not read the source material, I can only judge The Other Boleyn Girl on the version I've seen, which I didn't think was terrible.

2) Yes, I am a big fan of Indiana Jones. And did I say this was the best one yet? Heavens, no. It's easily the worst of the series. I just meant that the worst Indiana Jones film is still more enjoyable than a lot of the crap Hollywood churns out.

-Buck