10. My Winnipeg
Canadian oddball surrealist Guy Maddin creates a masterpiece about his hometown, leading me to believe that if you live in Winnipeg, you must think like this man. Astonishing visuals and a surprisingly warm feeling.
9. Standard Operating Procedure
Errol Morris takes on the current mindset that torture is okay because the ends justify the means. Or do they? Morris, the legendary documentarian, makes a strong case that maybe, just maybe, what happens in Iraq should not stay in Iraq, and that those who excuse the methods as necessary need to think about what is ultimately more important- humanity or being right.
8. In Bruges
A sleeper, this droll little film about two hit men in the titular Belgian city is honestly one of the most charming, funniest films of the entire year. And Colin Farrell is actually good in this one!
It’s brave to use silence in film. It’s braver still when you use it in an animated film designed to get kids thinking. Entire stretches of Wall-E have no dialogue. But visually, it makes an impact that no Pixar film has done since Toy Story.
6. Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist
So sue me, I love this joyful little film about two people connecting over music. Possibly because that’s how I meet everyone myself. Charming, funny, and perfectly shot. Kat Dennings is one of this years great discoveries.
5. Rachel Getting Married
This tragic tale of family and pain remains the one film that truly made me feel all year long. Anne Hathaway’s Kym is a revelation. Rarely have I wanted to be a part of such a family. But I really wanted to be there. Props to Bill Irwin’s devoted, broken father, and Debra Winger’s astringent, vicious mother.
4. Tropic Thunder
Yes, the plot is more confusing than a Joyce novel. But I enjoy Joyce. And the performances are as such as I didn’t care the film made no sense, particularly Robert Downey Jr.’s amazing performance as method man extraordinaire Kirk Lazarus, Matthew McConaughey’s surprisingly sharp turn as the world’s most devoted agent, and a stunning Tom Cruise cameo that made me forget I now hate him.
3. The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan has done the impossible- make an accessible superhero film that doesn’t distract from the mythology, but actually adds to it. Christian Bale is by far the best, most believable Bruce Wayne in cinema history, and Heath Ledger’s Joker is a villain for the ages.
2. Slumdog Millionaire
This delightfully charming film tells a story of class and achievement, hope and despair, and game shows. An Early front runner for best picture during this award season, it would have been my number one, if not the fact I had more fun and totally adore one other film more. No other list will have it at number one, but I can’t help myself.
1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Jason Segel did the impossible- he took the Judd Apatow formula and made it sweeter, raunchier, and funnier. This charming little love story/ break up disaster tale balances the sad story of Peter with the destructive overtures the world throws at him. Mila Kunis shines as the girl he meets in Hawaii, Kristin Bell is a perfect bitch, and Russell Brand’s star making turn is the greasiest, funniest thing on the big screen all year.