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 TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2008, from blockbusters to small films

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DonnaKat
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PostSubject: TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2008, from blockbusters to small films   Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:32 am

TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2008 From blockbusters to small films

BY JAMES WARD • December 27, 2008

At the movies this year, "The Dark Knight" dominated the box office. The summer blockbuster was rare in that it exceeded all the pre-release hype.

"The Dark Knight" raked in the money, but Tulare County also saw a diverse lineup of movies in 2008. Almost all the films on my top 10 list have appeared or will play in local theaters.

On the local indie-film scene, Visalia's Regal Entertainment Group brought back its Independent Film Series, which brought interesting foreign and independent films to the county. The IFS is expected to return in early 2009.

I have yet to see several films playing in major markets and getting Oscar buzz, including "Gran Tornino," "The Reader," "Let the Right One In," "Revolutionary Road" and "The Wrestler." Those titles will probably play in Tulare County in January or February.

With that in mind, here are my picks for the best movies of 2008:

1. "Milk" — A beautifully written and acted look at the political life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to office in America. Sean Penn gives a charismatic, unforgettable performance as the slain politician. (Should open in January in Visalia. Now playing in Fresno.)

2. "The Changeling" — Clint Eastwood's graceful and powerful based-on-true-events film featured a powerful performance by Angelina Jolie as a mother battling authorities over her missing son in 1928 L.A. (On home video in February.)

3. "The Dark Knight" — This summer blockbuster featured a compelling screenplay and great performances, especially by the late Heath Ledger. It was big-budget Hollywood filmmaking at its best. (Now on home video.)

4. "The Black Balloon" — A tough, moving and beautifully acted drama about how an Australian family deals with a severely autistic teenage son. Its frank depiction of the problems the family faces are sometimes hard to watch, but ultimately the film is about the power of love and the importance of family. (May come to Visalia as part of the Independent Film Series in January or February.)

5. "Slumdog Millionaire" — This tale of an impoverished Muslim teenager who enters India's version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" was like a 21st century version of a Dickens novel. Compelling, vibrant filmmaking at its best. (Should open in January in Visalia. Now playing in Fresno.)

6. "The Curious Case of Benjamin" — This rich, leisurely paced fantasy/drama about a man who ages backward tells both a sweeping and deeply moving personal tale. The movie unfolds like a novel, enveloping you with its richly drawn characters and situations. (Now playing.)

7. "The Visitor" — A beautifully written and acted drama about the relationship between a lonely, widowed professor and an undocumented immigrant featured an Oscar-worthy performance by star Richard Jenkins. It's a quiet, powerful film. (Now on home video.)

8. "Doubt" — Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley triumphantly brings his play to the big screen with Oscar-worthy performances by the entire cast, especially the ferocious Meryl Streep as a nun who suspects one of her students is being molested by a popular priest. (Now playing.)

9. "In Bruges" — This profane, violent and funny romp about two hit-men who hide out in the popular Belgium tourist destination of Bruges featured top-notch direction by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh and great performances by stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. (Now on home video.)

10. "RocknRolla" — Guy Ritchie returns to the colorful world of London gangsters in this fabulously entertaining crime thriller/comedy. Lots of critics despised the film, but they missed the point: The movie was a whole lot of debauched fun. (On home video Jan. 27.)

Honorable mention:
"WALL-E,"
"Mamma Mia!"
"The Express,"
"Australia,"
"Kung-Fu Panda"
"The Secret Life of Bees."

www.visaliatimesdelta.com
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greyeyegoddess
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PostSubject: Re: TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2008, from blockbusters to small films   Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:57 pm

And the only movie I've seen is Rnr. Man, I need to start up my Blockbuster account again.

Oh, this was from a local paper, too.
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Oggy
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PostSubject: Re: TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2008, from blockbusters to small films   Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:42 pm

I just watched Burn before Reading this weekend.

A sick, funny movie.
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