Compared to 2007 and 2009, I thought 2008 was weak (almost as weak as 2006). That isn’t to say there weren’t great films from 2008 but the quantity (nor the quality) wasn’t as on par, in my opinion.
I have a difficult time keeping track of “years”. There’s the issue of release dates for international cinema in the first place, and then there’s simply the vague “Wait, was that four years ago or FIVE years ago?”
This thread was opened I believe close to the end of 2008 or early 2009, so it had a lot more precedence then, but I don’t think it’s as significant three years down the line.
In case anyone is wondering, I think 2012 is looking to be a pretty good year for cinema. But I’m pretty sure there’s other threads on that topic as well.
See I think it’s kinda interesting to revisit this with some historical perspective. It’s like how we talk now about how great 1974 or 1999 is. At the time though, did people know that 1974 would be such a standout year? It seems like in old episode of Cavett that I’ve seen, whenever the issue of cinema is brought up with a guest, it’s usually in regards to “Is Cinema dead?” indicating to me that at the time, they didn’t fully know how groundbreaking it was.
I do think that 2012 is going to be a great year for cinema although I feel like I say that every year and every year I’m slightly disappointed (the last two years have been good but not as much of a standout as 2009).
These are great films
Helsinki, Forever / Helsinki, Ikuisesti (Peter von Bagh, Finland)
Nights and Weekends (Joe Swanberg & Greta Gerwig, USA)
Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, United Kingdom)
Still Walking / Aruitemo, Aruitemo (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan)
24 City (Jia Zhangke, China)
The Sun Also Rises (Jiang Wen, China)
Momma’s Man (Azazel Jacobs, USA)
Extraordinary Stories / Historias Extraordinarias (Mario Llinas, Argentina)
Revenge / Revanche (Gotz Spielmann, Germany)
Hunger (Steve McQueen, United Kingdom)
35 Rhums / 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, France)
The Beaches of Agnes (Agnes Varda, France)
Hulahoop Soundings (Edwin, Indonesia)
9808 (Hafiz/Anggun/Edwin/Lucky Kuswandi/Otty Widasari/Wisnu, Indonesia)
Synecdoche, New York
Let the Right One In
The Dark Knight
No complaints about 2008 here.
Amazing year, actually, perhaps only second to 2007/2009.
Every year is great! There are no bad movies!
Vying with 2005 as best year of the new millennium.
I can make a pretty long list and I still have quite a few more to see from that year before it will become definitive.
01LOVE EXPOSURE Sion Sono
02TWO LOVERS James Gray
03GOMORRAH Matteo Garrone
04REVANCHE Götz Spielmann
05CHE Steven Soderbergh
06IL DIVO Paolo Sorrentino
07JULIA Erick Zonca
08HAPPY-GO-LUCKY Mike Leigh
09TONY MANERO Pablo Larraín
10TOKYO SONATA Kiyoshi Kurosawa
11IN BRUGES Martin McDonagh
12MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT Jean-François Richet
13MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1 Jean-François Richet
14SUMMER HOURS Olivier Assayas
15WENDY AND LUCY Kelly Reichardt
16LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Tomas Alfredson
17GRAN TORINO Clint Eastwood
18THE CHASER Na Hong-jin
19THE HURT LOCKER Kathryn Bigelow
20BREATHLESS Yang Ik-Joon
21THREE MONKEYS Nuri Bilge Ceylan
22THE CLASS Laurent Cantet
23THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX Uli Edel
24LOS BASTARDOS Amat Escalante
25THE BANK JOB Roger Donaldson
26FROZEN RIVER Courtney Hunt
27DREAM Kim Ki-duk
28A CHRISTMAS TALE Arnaud Desplechin
29GOOD DICK Marianna Palka
30SOMERS TOWN Shane Meadows
31BALLAST Lance Hammer
32THE ESCAPIST Rupert Wyatt
33WILD BLOOD Marco Tullio Giordana
34RUDO Y CURSI Carlos Cuarón
35FLAME & CITRON Ole Christian Madsen
36$9.99 Tatia Rosenthal
37LEMON TREE Eran Riklis
38CHOKE Clark Gregg
39SUGAR Anna Boden
40THE HEADLESS WOMAN Lucrecia Martel
41ELDORADO Bouli Lanners
42THE STRANGERS Bryan Bertino
43ELEGY Isabel Coixet
44LYMELIFE Derick Martini
45LORNA’S SILENCE Jean-Pierre Dardenne
46LOFT Erik Van Looy
47TRANSSIBERIAN Brad Anderson
48PONTYPOOL Bruce McDonald
49ADORATION Atom Egoyan
50GOLIATH David Zellner
51AFTERSCHOOL Antonio Campos
52RACHEL GETTING MARRIED Jonathan Demme
53THE WRESTLER Darren Aronofsky
54THE DARK KNIGHT Christopher Nolan
55BURN AFTER READING Ethan Coen
You got better, Santino?
You want me to whip out my 2007 list? Is that what you’re asking?
PS – How dare you add Pontypool to your list. That’s filler and you know it!
I agree with you Ari about 2005 being spectacular. For the most bizarre, inexplicable of reasons that year always gets dumped on.
“PS – How dare you add Pontypool to your list. That’s filler and you know it!”
It’s pretty far down though! But it has its charms. The bottom of the lists are generally the lightly likable or the intriguingly flawed.
Whip out 2007. Mine is longer. You know it.
lol – but you got Rachel Getting Married and Batman at the bottom! Those two would be at the top of my list for 2008! haha
but this isn’t the bottom bottom – solid 3 star films (7 out of 10). Rachel Getting Married is flawed for me despite its strengths. The Dark Knight is, yeah, very good for what it is but I’m not a huge fan of Nolan or comic book movies (i found it overly serious and too long).
Synecdoche, New York
All that needs to be said! Automatically makes 2008 a great year for film for me. Not to mention the other films mentioned here that I loved, like In Bruges, Let the Right One In, The Dark Knight, Revanche, Burn After Reading, etc.
^ Synecdoche, New York. That is one of those films that are made for Jazzy’s divisive film discussion. I personally hated it as a convoluted, interminable, pseudo-philosophical, self-indulgent mess but I understand people love it. It seems more people love it rather than hate it around these parts.
Yeah, Synecdoche was boring.
No other film’s resonated with me the same way/to the same extent as that film, so yeah… I’m sorry it was boring for you Santino. And Ari, it is convoluted and self-indulgent – but pseudo-philosophical? I’d just say… philosophical; Jungian in a lot of ways. Interminable? I guess that was just your experience.
It’s definitely not a movie that works for everyone. But I do think people should watch it twice before making any definitive statements.
Yeah, seriously. When I first watched Synecdoche, I was like “meh”, that was decent.
My second viewing blew me completely out of the water. The film is insane (as in insanely good.)
It’s true. Maybe i need to give it another chance. Perhaps I was in the wrong frame of mind to see the film (which would probably be a good mood). I generally like depressing films but the suffocating atmosphere/repetition was just too much for me and it seemed to run out of ideas midway through…
Give it another shot for sure Ari, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
“Perhaps I was in the wrong frame of mind to see the film (which would probably be a good mood)”
2009 was far weaker in my opinion. In Bruges and good many political and crime films films came out that year. Sure it was not 2007, which to me was one of the best years in recent film history, but I would take 2008 over what came out the last couple of years.
In Bruges is a good example of a film that went largely unnoticed when it came out but seems to have really gained momentum years after (not I, of course, who saw it in the theaters and was then scorned by many film friends when I ecstatically recommended it to them because they hated Colin Farrell movies).
In Bruges is one that I didn’t get at all.
Not even a little?
It helps to have Carter Burwell score your film I’m told.
I remember not having difficulty in making my Top 10 list for 2008, so you could say I disagree with 2008 being a weak year compared to 2009 and 2007, but 2007 I had reservations about.
Synechdoche was quite dreadful.
@ari: I couldn’t help but notice the movies that were technically 2008, but didn’t get a theatrical release the same year here in U.S. (Love Exposure was released just last year). Just a heads up. And 2001 was the best year of the aughts.
“Not even a little?”
Pretty much, yeah. I thought John Dahl’s You Kill Me handled roughly the same thing far better.