Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Year in Movies: The Dark Knight Tops My List
2008, overall, was an impressive year for movies. That's despite the fact that smaller and even some mid-size film production companies have called it quits.
And it's been sad watching the ranks of film critics -- including several in Florida - thin out: The worst news about that, aside from the fact that friends/colleagues are facing a job search in an awful economy, is the reality that fewer critical voices will be around to champion smaller films that otherwise would get lost in the shuffle.
And the competition for attention from audiences is as tough as ever. More than 600 films opened in New York in 2008, as A.O. Scott pointed out today in the New York Times.
A few notes about the movies that are, and are not, getting the love this year:
1)The Dark Knight isn't on more Top 10 lists simply because too many folks are quick to turn up their noses at a big-budget fantasy film.
2)The Reader, Milk and Wall-E are overrated, IMO, largely because so many critics couldn't separate those movies' respective messages from the medium. They loved those films because, you know, they were supposed to.
3)It's astonishing to me that a feature as well acted, as thoughtfully created and as downright moving as Frozen River, the tale of a down-on-her-luck single mom's inadvertent involvement with a smuggling operation (upstate New York near the Canadian border), isn't getting more attention.
4)What happened to all of that critical enthusiasm, earlier this year, for the Katrina documentary Trouble the Water?
So, without further ado, here's my Top 10 list, along with some of the choices I made for year-end ballots submitted to the Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC) and the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). And yes, I cheated a little, turning some of my first/second choices into ties (something I could not do when submitting my ballots).
1.The Dark Knight
9.Vicky Christina Barcelona
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED OR ORIGINAL)
Justin Haythe, Revolutionary Road
Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Let the Right One In
Kung Fu Panda
Trouble the Water