Friday, February 20, 2009

Guest Columnist: Gianna's Best & Worst for 2008

The Best

Slumdog Millionaire

A practically perfect film. One of the few films this year that I walked away completely bowled over. Danny Boyle is fast becoming one of my favorite directors, with his wide directing range. Every scene in this film perfectly builds to it’s very satisfying end. Just brilliant.


Have I said lately how completely in awe I am with Pixar? As an animated movie junkie, I have grown so disheartened by the glut of slapdash animated films. Thankfully, Pixar seems committed to bringing gorgeously animated films that actually have a great story at the base. WALL-E does what Happy Feet wanted to do, but couldn’t-tell an environmental story to children. It does so by wrapping it around a beautiful little love story, and it never feels at any moment like it’s hitting you over the head with it’s message.


Milk could have very easily been a big message film, your typical Oscar bio-pic of (fill-in minority of your choice) rises up only to be shot down. Instead we have very human face put on Harvey Milk, showing who he was and not focusing exclusively on what he did. Van Sant expertly weaves documentary footage, with faithfully recreated scenes. Go watch the great documentary Times of Harvey Milk, (either before or after) and your appreciation will undoubtedly increase.

Man on Wire

One of the best documentaries I saw this year, a thrilling reminiscence of one man’s obsession. Like Touching the Void, you are on the edge of your seat-even though you full well know that everything turns out okay. Ultimately there’s something very uplifting that stays with you long after you’ve seen the film

The Fall
This film just blew me away! I am an unapologetic sucker for visually stunning films. Some of my favorite directors have incorporated stunning art direction into their films (Kubrick, Gilliam, Burton, Jeaunet & Caro). I loved Tarsem’s first film The Cell, which had some of the most creepy visuals I’ve seen in a long time. The Fall continues his wonderful visual style, while telling a very sweet story. What’s even more impressive is the director’s claim that not one CGI effect was used.

The Worst

The Women

I wasn’t sure if contemporary filmmakers could pull off the catty bitch-fest that is The Women, and I was right. What’s even more disheartening is that a good amount of the film is almost word-for-word recreations of the play and film. However, Diane English decides that she’s going to use the film to make a warm fuzzy comment on sisterhood in the 21st century. Sorry, this ain’t that film. Claire Booth Luce’s play is a vicious attack on the New York society women she encountered in the 30’s, not a ‘no matter what happens, I’ll always have my girlfriends’ story. Let’s be honest too, with all the strides we have made as women, we have all encountered this ‘type’ of woman. More obsessed with some other woman’s misfortune, gossipy, placing a premium on the men in their life. It’s like ordering a completely decadent dinner and then getting some meager Weight Watcher meal. Ick.

An American Carol

The biggest crime any comedy can have is to be completely unfunny and this film has it in spades. Even though I am an unapologetic ‘secular progressive liberal’ from the ‘evil’ state of Vermont, I would have no problem with a right wing comedy if it was actually funny. This one isn’t. In a nutshell-Michael Moore (well they call him Michael Malone, but really), wants to start a ban on July 4th. In true Dickensian fashion, he’s shown the error of his ways by our past political figures-JFK, George Patton, George Washington and Trace Adkins(Yup, Trace). At the base is the common (and obnoxious) notion that if you differ from the far right, then you’re clearly anti-American, immoral etc. etc. There’s also a completely ridiculous scene in which Bill O’Rielley (playing himself) is just as polite (yes POLITE) to ridiculous Mr. Moore. Yeah, this is a man who attacked the son of a 9-11 victim-just.don’ The film is so busy hitting you over the head with its message ‘Conservatives-Good, Liberals-Bad’, that it forgets to be funny. That’s more offensive than any of it’s idealogy.


The infamous ‘Dakota Fanning gets raped movie’. It’s just one long ugly depressing film. Over-done, over-acted and pointless. There’s a reason it went straight to video.


The documentary about Intelligent Design, except it’s really not. I was expecting, and hoping that this little doc would actually make a case for why Intelligent Design, should be considered a valid scientific theory and not just Creationism wrapped up in a spanky new name. No it’s more a parade of people saying ‘I put my name on a Intelligent Design Webspace and now I lost my job.’ Which is a great kickoff point, but it doesn’t go much farther than that. Yes we can see the victims of the ‘Science Elite’, but we never hear anything to validate I.D. as a practical scientific theory.

No comments:

Post a Comment