Best Films of 2008
In Case You Missed Them, Six Must-See Movies
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Based on the original short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the film revolves around a man named Benjamin who is born as a shriveled up old man deemed “on his way into the grave.” As those around him grow older, Benjamin discovers himself getting younger. While the brilliant cast, including Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, may draw an audience in themselves, the movie is deeply touching and engaging. “Life isn’t measured in minutes but in moments” — the film provokes us to reconsider the concept of age and time, presenting a story about love and life in an unconventional form.
Pixar proves itself again with its love-child of the year, Wall-E. At face value, it’s unbelievably cute. It’ll make you coo, make you gasp, and even make the faint-hearted teary-eyed towards the end. Most of all, it can be likened to a funhouse mirror found in carnivals, presenting a warped, yet representative, portrait of our society. What will life for humans be like in seven hundred years if we continue to live the way we do? At first glance, another whimsical animated film about blossoming robot love, Wall-E proves to be a contemplative outlook at the world we live in.
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is not for the faint of heart: it’s an action thriller with more of a philosophical spin than its prequel. Of course, that lies beneath an action film with plenty of explosions, snazzy gadgets and villains for the hardcore DC Comics fans. The late actor Heath Ledger left his legacy in the film, with his chillingly glorious portrayal of the Joker, while Christian Bale does a good impassive Batman. Complete with the growl of a lifelong chain smoker, Ledger really makes the film; gone are his prettyboy looks, replaced by a madman with a penchant for carving smiles into his victims’ faces.
A riveting look at the less glamorous side of India, Jamal Malik, a boy born in the slums, becomes a formidable Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant. The film is split into flashbacks and the present and takes us through all the Millionaire questions and how Malik was able to answer them. Slumdog is so brilliant because it’s not afraid of showcasing the squalor that exists in India and how those who grow up in the squalor are able to rise up and find their own place in society. Superb acting, witty screenplay and a soundtrack featuring M.I.A. and you’ve got one of the best dramatic comedies of the year.
Math Club has never been very glamorous and the media has seldom made attempts at glorifying it. However, when you have British actor Jim Sturgess play an MIT-soon-to-be Harvard Med student who is plunged into the world of blackjack and ‘card counting,’ you have yourself a killer film. With a lot of big-shot names, including Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey, a lot of eye-candy and the adrenaline rush of Las Vegas, the dynamics of the film are pretty dead on. While it’s been criticized for straying from the original book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, one should remember that this is a product of Hollywood.
A film for those who’ve always had a soft spot for Love Actually, the decidedly simple but sweet film follows the bittersweet memories of a middle-aged man going through a divorce. Provoked by his young 10-year-old daughter to dig through his past romances, we are led through three love stories and three women who have redefined who this man is and helped make him what he is today. It is romance-comedy fluff at its best. The fact that adorable Abigail Breslin costars in this makes it a keeper.