Top Ten Films of 2008

28 January 2009

Catching up from 2007

For my top ten films of 2008 list I’ve decided to only include films given a theatrical release in Australia in 2008. So I would like to first mention the following films that I finally saw in 2008, which I would have included on my 2007 list had I seen them in time:

No Country for Old Men (Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, 2007)
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
The Jammed (Dee McLachlan, 2007)
Noise (Matthew Saville, 2007)

While there is not much for me to say about No Country for Old Men and 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days that hasn’t been said already, it was tremendous coming back to Australia mid way through 2008 and discovering that films of the calibre of The Jammed and Noise were being made and getting the acclaim that they deserve.

Top Ten films released theatrically in Australia in 2008*:

1. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis)

Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) from There Will Be Blood

Every new Paul Thomas Anderson film is somehow better than last and There Will Be Blood is his greatest triumph yet. While Anderson’s previous films have a distinctive American independent film feel to them, There Will Be Blood takes on the grand narrative of a classical Hollywood epic but is closer in tone to the maverick spirit of Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941). In the final scene, the low angel shot of Daniel Day Lewis charging down the bowling lane is a spine tingling moment of perfect cinema. This is probably the only film released in 2008 that will eventually be regarded as a classic.

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Film review – Waltz with Bashir (2008)

23 September 2008

Waltz with Bashir begins with the arresting image of a pack of savage dogs hurtling through the street, terrifying onlookers. It is an exhilarating and unsettling opening and like the rest of the film to follow, it is completely animated with bold brush strokes that give an almost hallucinogenic quality to what is appearing on screen. This sequence, which is grounded in reality but looks like something straight out of a dream, is a fitting introduction for a film that magnificently blends reality and fiction to become the first ever animated feature documentary.

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