Steele’s Picks for Best Films of 2008

1. Slumdog Millionaire

A magical film and so, so, so brilliant. It’s about dreams and love and never giving up hope. The film, directed by Danny Boyle, is absolutely original, special and imaginative from beginning to end. It is thrilling and lovely and romantic, all wrapped up with a spectacular Bollywood ending.

2. Happy-Go-Lucky

This reminds me a lot of Voltaire’s Candide except that Poppy is [Sally Hawkins] less naive–she knows about the world and its darkness, she just chooses to ignore the evils most of the time– and ends up with less scrapes. She is the ultimate optimist and regardless of the situation she finds herself in she sees it positively.

3. Milk

A moving, inspirational film. Sean Penn [The Interpreter, Mystic River] portrays Harvey Milk in a powerful, profound, commanding performance. He is ebullient and convicted to the end result and wins you over from the first frame. He makes you love Milk right off. He also makes you feel like you are watching a documentary at times. He has the mannerisms and affectations down. And when he’s with his lover, played by the talented James Franco [Pineapple Express, Spider-Man 3], the sex appeal oozes. The duo has smoldering and intense chemistry.

4. Rachel Getting Married

The screenplay, by Sidney Lumet’s daughter Jenny, combined with direction by Jonathan Demme makes this a strong, insightful glimpse into a flawed weekend of one family. Anne Hathaway’s layered performance is dark, moving, unapologetic and brilliant.

5. Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Loved it! Just fantastic. The neuroses, the craziness, and the cast of Scarlet Johansson, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Rebecca Hall is divine.

<br /


>6. Wall-E

The messages of caring, compassion, and environmental awareness do not overwhelm the viewer but are clear throughout this heartfelt, inspirational film about a futuristic recycling robot with a penchant for old song and dance films and collecting odd objects like Rubik’s cubes and light bulbs.

7. Mongol

Very, very well made film with wonderful cinematography, fanastic fight scenes and an intense love story. It’s all about the rise to power of Genghis Khan in Mongolia. He overcomes tremendous adversity including losing his father as a young boy, enduring slavery, torment by those in his father’s trust, being betrayed by someone he considered to be a “blood brother,” and numerous prolonged separations from his wife.

8. The Secret Life of Bees

Lovely film with wonderful cast: Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys and Sophie Odeneko. It’s the 60s and a young girl escapes her abusive father to live with a group of independent minded women in South Carolina who support themselves by making honey.

9. Be Kind Rewind

Be Kind Rewind is a love story to film. It’s also a commentary on the state of big business. We all know how hard in can be to find a copy of a particular, somewhat obscure film and wonder why there are 25 copies oLif something really banal on the shelves. Be Kind Rewind is a gem amidst a lot of mediocrity.

10. Doubt

Shades of gray. Did he or didn’t he? Guilt, right and wrong, convictions, circumstances, hunches, and the hierarchy or the Church all come into play in this powerful, brilliant film based on the Broadway play. In 1964, Sister Aloysius Beauvier [Meryl Streep] and young, naive Sister James [Amy Adams] are rather dutiful sisters in the congregation, while Father Flynn [Phillip Seymour Hoffman] is the priest running the show. Things seen and heard can be easily misinterpreted and who knows who to trust or to believe?

, , , ,

%d bloggers like this: