Top 20 Performances, Moments, etc. of 08

Here be the last of the “bests;” well, okay I’ll do videogames and that’s it.  

2008 Performanes to Remember

  1. Christian Bale/Heath Ledger/Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight
  2. Sally Hawkins in Happy Go Lucky 
  3. Michelle Williams in Wendy and Lucy
  4. Sean Penn in Milk
  5. Meryl Streep in Doubt
  6. Jean-Claud Van Damme, JCVD
  7. Samuel L. Jackson in Lakeview Terrace
  8. Ron Perlman in Hellboy II
  9. Chiwetel Ejiofor in Redbelt
  10. Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges
  11. Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino
  12. Brian Cox in Red  
  13. Wall-E in Wall-E
  14. Samantha Morton in Synecdoche, New York 
  15. Melisa Leo in Frozen River  
  16. Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road
  17. Mickey Rourke (playing Mickey Rourke) in The Wrestler
  18. Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long, Tell No One and to a lesser degree The Other Boleyn Girl
  19. Jason Statham in… nothing really seeing as how Death Race/In the Name of the King/Transporter all sucked but I’m afraid to leave him off. 
  20. Red Baloon in Flight of the Red Balloon (overrated film, great balloon)

Best Moments of the Year

  1. March of thea Penguin. A little guy breaks from the pack and waddles towards certain doom in Encounters at the End of the World. He’s had enough of the pack life. Can’t blame him. This moment could be most haunting and poignant moment ever captured by a documentary. 
  2. Heads Up! The penultimate scene in Let the Right One In.
  3. The zero cut action opening of JCVD–great action followed by a great Buster Keaton moment.
  4. Horn-E. Little Wall-E‘s junk yard serinade. Kid’s got game.
  5. An Asian gang gets the fuck off Clint’s lawn. 
  6. “Want to see a magic trick!” The Joker makes a pen disappear in Dark Knight.
  7. God, so many moments from In Bruges to pick from. How about: Brendan Gleeson stops Colin Ferrell from committing suicide, so he can shoot him.  
  8. “die…” The last word uttered in Synecdoche, New York. God damn, gives me chills.
  9. The zombie party in The Signal (argh, I forgot to put this film on my 20 best).
  10. Ram Rod. The Ram’s final turnbuckle wrestling move in The Wrestler. Turns out to be more poetic and original than anything preceding it in this cliche of a movie. 
  11. Gay shoes. The Italian shoe gift that Frost gives Nixon is actually quite touching; at this point I even felt sorry for the self sabotaging Nixon. His asking Frost if he really called him while in a drunken stooper is touching and tragic.
  12. The final, bongo playing shot of The Visitor (my theory: Jenkins has, in fact, lost his mind at this point)
  13. Zen Master Ejiofor helps a rape victim heal in Redbelt by jumping her from behind. That’s a new one.
  14. U2 song + shaggy dog + Internet cafe = great moment (that goes nowhere). Tell No One.
  15. We find out what the title Waltz with Bashir means.
  16. It can’t possibly get any worse, can it? We find out about the baby in Dear Zachery.
  17. Punisher throws a grenade at a thug in War Zone. The guy looks at it and dismissively shrugs, too lazy to even react to his own death. *boom* Funny reaction/stupid movie.  
  18. So long and thanks for all the fish. The notion that a mantle with fish and popcorn sitting on it will, with great certainly, outlive humanity in Encounters at the End of the World. So that’s what the title is referring to. That’s so Herzog!
  19. Awkward Dan White moment #583: He pops his head into Harvey Milk‘s office and says “hey guys!” Is he being antagonistic, does he just want a friend or is he gay? All three!
  20. Putting the cock in Hancock Will Smith punches a hole in the roof with his, uh, super load.

Best Director
  1. Christopher Nolan, Dark Knight
  2. Thomas Anflerson, Let the Right One In
  3. Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
  4. Kelly Reichart, Wendy and Lucy
  5. Woody Allen, Cassandra’s Dream
  6. Andrew Stanton, Wall-E
  7. Clint, Gran Torino
  8. Mabrouk El Mechri, JCVD
 
Best Screen Story
  1. Dark Knight by the Nolan Brothers
  2. …no number 2, that’s it.
Best Poster Art
 
 
and
Best Trailer
The Cloverfield teaser is better than the “Cloverfield” movie. As an aside, I love how JJ Abrams gets so much credit for “Cloverfield” and “Lost,” two things he has very little to do with.
  
Best Indivdual Shot of the Year
The bathroom attack in Let the Right One In as seen from the outside. I took the color out and cropped it but this is a beautifully composed shot. The most effective (and artful) image of horror that I can recall. Note to”Saw”: NOT showing what happens is better!

Review: Crank: High Voltage

  • What’s Good: Crank
  • What’s Not: The impossibility of a third “Crank.” Sigh, the world is just not ready to embrace this series–or perhaps I’m dumb for embracing it. Either way I’ll be made fun of for rating the film so high. I would call it way ahead of its time but that would only get me made fun of more.

Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank is destined to be misread and/or dismissed as being another dumb action flick that’s more video game than movie, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank,Filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (music video guys of course) do a marvelous job of keeping the high wire pacing of the first (or, another way to put it: repeat themselves) and yet still manage to surpass the OC (original “Crank”) by throwing caution to the wind and allowing this follow-up to be more random, over the top and funny. Crank, Crank, Crank, You want sex? Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Severed heads… Crank, Crank, Crank … that talk! Crank, Crank, Shotgun sodomy? Crank, Crank, Crank,Hookers coming at us from all angles (this film can boast the first ever appropriate usage of Bai Ling in the history of cinema)? Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Drugs? Crank, Crank, How about Cory Haim with a mullet and a shit load of random-ass cameos ranging from the Troma guy to Maynard James Keenan to the dude from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” brilliantly reprising his thirty second role from the first “Crank?” Crank, Crank, Oh, and how about gangs? Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Not just thug gangs either but motorcycle gangs run by gay black cowboys? Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank,It’s all here even if the finer comic subtleties may be hard to tolerate for most seeing as how a lot of what happens might not even perceived as funny or amusing, parody or not, (slicing one’s nipples off is not for everyone after all) in addition to the fact that film stretched beyond all reason to the point of meta-action and hyper(bolic)fiction. Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, The joy of the film, though, is that it also throws into the melting pot things I didn’t know I wanted in a “Crank” sequel. Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank,Like a scene where, after running around with the protag’s heart in a cooler, a pierced Triad throws the Duracell Bunny protagonist (Jason Statham) into a live power line. Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, This is a mistake seeing as how his body feeds off electricity after Chinese organ thieves took out his heart (to give it to his leader Poon Dong… but of course) and replaced it with a battery. Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, This sudden burst of Joules sends the bald Brit into a blitzed-out state of half plasma/half man-ness and what happens next nobody could expect… Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank …an honest to god Godzilla style homage featuring Jason Statham in a Jason Statham costume (!!!) engaged in a man-on-man fight across a miniaturized battlefield! Crank, Crank, Crank, So, yeah, the film will try anything. Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank,It never stops and the stylized-to-the-point-of-motion-sickness filmmaking taps right into Stathem’s fiery id gone wild. Crank, Crank, Crank, If the first “Crank” is the movie “Speed” transplanted onto a person, then “Crank: High Voltage” must be, um, “Crank” on a person– which is to say overkill layered on top of more overkill. Crank, Crank, Crank,From going down the list of Kama Sutra moves in public (as a life saving measure to generate static electricity in case you wondering) to getting cigarettes put out on his gaping, still beating heart, Statham is up for anything. Crank, Crank, And EVERYTHING. Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank,The actor and character literally gives his body up for this experimental film (what else can it be called?) where the human body is tested to it’s limits, dies, revives and lumbers around like a crazed Frankenstein video game monster who feeds on the stuff of pure energy (the tagline “he died… but he got better” says it all doesn’t it?). Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Never has an action film delivered so thoroughly on its title. Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank, Crank… Crank.

Grade: CrAnk 

Best of the Year: 11-20 and beyond*

*yeah, I didn’t forget about Wall-E

The Full List

  1. Let the Right One In
  2. Dark Knight
  3. Wendy and Lucy
  4. In Bruges
  5. Happy Go Lucky
  6. Gran Torino
  7. Cassandra’s Dream/Vicky Christina Barcelona
  8. Hellboy II
  9. Synecdoche, New York
  10. JCVD
  11. Wall-E
  12. Redbelt
  13. Encounters at the End of the World
  14. Frozen River
  15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
  16. Iron Man
  17. Doubt
  18. Lakeview Terrace
  19. Man on Wire
  20. Tell No One