Monday, December 29, 2008

My TOP 61 Movies of 2008

Not been updating for so long!! But I HAVE TO post this haha. So many things happened; for one, I started work! But shall update photos and other stuff after the new year. Meanwhile, enjoy this!

Gosh, did I really watch that many movies this year? I guess I did =x

Yup it's the time of the year again. Still remember last year's TOP40 movies?

For your benefit, here's a RECAP of 2007's TOP 10:

#10: Sunshine - Scary sci-fi film with dazzling effects.
#09: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Fantastic acting.
#08: Lust, Caution - Bold, sexy and heartbreaking.
#07: Meet the Robinsons - Grossly underrated animation. Very charming.
#06: 300 - Three words: This is Sparta!!
#05: The Bourne Ultimatum - Exciting and smart spy thriller.
#04: Ratatouille - Who didn't enjoy this film?
#03: Hot Fuzz - Hilarious spoof with great action.
#02: Hairspray - Infectious songs and energy.
#01: The Pursuit of Happyness - Happiness never got this touching.

So... One year and 61 movies later... my personal list of the Best and Worst movies of 2008 is officially done.

Are you ready? Here we go!

As always, starting with the Worst.

The 1.5star category:

#61 Ah Long Pte Ltd (1.5/5)
"Are you going to kill us for starring in this horrible movie?"
It’s a shame Mr Jack Neo has lost his touch so drastically. A really bad and pointless comedy. I can’t believe I liked Fann Wong (Just Follow Law) last year, and suddenly hate her so much this year (this movie and the box-office bomb Dance of the Dragon). Jack Neo does very bad movie endings.

#60 Meet the Spartans (1.5/5)
"My fake abs are probably the funniest thing here."
Load of lame rubbish. You’ll chuckle here and there, but it’s still quite a waste of film and 65mins of a person’s life.

#59 Kung Fu Dunk 功夫灌篮 (1.5/5)
"Guy in black: I'm bored."
Awful plot, non-existent love story, humourless and just plain bad. Secret was still an okay-effort, but Dunk just stinks like…something that rhymes with dunk. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it after half an hour (but I still endured through). Don’t get me wrong, I really admire Jay Chou’s talents…as a singer.

The 2.0star category:

#58 You Don't Mess With The Zohan (2.0/5)
"Don't I look cool? Not."
Largely stupid, Adam Sandler’s brand of crass humour officially don’t go down well with me. The biggest misleading advertising campaign - what a waste of money.

#57 Meet Dave (2.0/5)
"Those dancing people are the size of my nostrils!"
Sparsely funny; this movie about Eddie Murphy as an ET trying to fit in works only when he’s doing the gags. Besides that, the story is rather flat.

The 2.5star category:

#56 10,000 B.C. (2.5/5)
"Easy, tiger."
Nonsensical storyline but spectacular graphics. An old-fashioned and rather lame fable.

#55 Vantage Point (2.5/5)
"Get your hand off me, I can't breathe."
Interesting but implausible plot. Great, intense car chase that deserves a mention. In the end, it’s too gimmicky to be taken seriously.

#54 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2.5/5)
"Ride me out of this boring movie!"
Biggest Disappointment of the Year! Definitely not as fun as the first two rollicking adventures, probably because this time, it doesn’t technically involve a real mummy. Although the effects are not bad, the new cast members are the disappointments (where’s hot mama Rachel Weisz!?). Besides, it’s a gigantic waste of Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li’s talents.

#53 Jumper (2.5/5)
"Does that really give you a smaller waist?"
Good effects, potentially exciting but ultimately bland. Although Rachel Bilson can’t act (there’s no need to mention Hayden Christensen), she’s still a treat for the eyes.

#52 Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon 三国之见龙卸甲 (2.5/5)
"I'm Maggie Q. I'm hot. Bow down to me now."
Strong starting but let-down by a very lame and sloppy ending. This retelling of one of the greatest generals from Romance of the Three Kingdoms is sketchy, but not without its moments of splendour. Andy Lau shines, as usual, while Maggie Q is useless in this film.

#51 Baby Mama (2.5/5)
"I don't think that's how it works."
Uneven, formulaic and lacking heart, but we’re not asking much from an SNL-cast-led comedy. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do deliver, thanks to the snappy dialogue.

The 3.0star category:

#50 21 (3.0/5)
"Do I look like 007 in Casino Royale? No? Ok."
The only mistake this movie makes is the cliché-after-cliché it throws to the audience, from the caricatured characters (smart bloke turns edgy after being given the Vegas-treatment) to the predictable mini-twist in the end. But the story (inspired by true events) is interesting enough, and the leads Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth do ooze charm and charisma in their roles.

#49 Rule #1 第一诫 (3.0/5)
"Behind you!! Just kidding. I hope."
Singaporean director Kelvin Tong proves he’s reliable in the Asian horror genre with this average offering of an interesting ghost story. Kudos to Fiona Xie for her surprisingly impressive debut movie performance. There are rumours she’s going abroad to pursue a film career!

#48 CJ7 长江七号 (3.0/5)
"Dad, that's not a toy."
Although not as fantastic as Kung Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer, it’s still an admirable effort. Touching and funny. The titular green alien is a delightful creation.

#47 Yes Man (3.0/5)"Harry Potter: 40 years later."
NO, man, give us back our funny man! But Jim Carrey did his best in this sometimes sloppy, sometimes funny comedy. Could be a potentially uplifting story but the screenwriters probably gave up halfway. Most of the funny moments are available in the trailer.

#46 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (3.0/5)
"Project Runway: Medieval"
A useless Prince Caspian aside, this is a competent sequel to the beloved The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Although the pacing and the lack of a solid villain marred the movie, it boasts beautiful cinematography and light humour, which is actually a good thing.

#45 Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay (3.0/5)
"Erm, dude, where're our parachutes!?"
A genuinely hilarious buddy-flick buoyed by the great chemistry of the two dorky leads. Although it’s stupid at times, this sequel to the first cult-favourite is racy and raunchy; and it even serves up sensible social commentaries about the American culture amidst its mindlessness. Cock-meat sandwich, anyone? (Yuck)

#44 High School Musical 3: Senior Year (3.0/5)
"Singin' in the rain."
The actors got too big for their roles. And there’s just too little drama. But there are a few impressive musical numbers to watch out for. Can’t think of a better way to say goodbye (yeah, right, as if Disney is going to put an end to this cash cow).

#43 Sky of Love 恋空 (3.0/5)
"I'm not talking to you until you dye your hair back."
Quite a big let-down, considering the fact that it had positive word-of-mouth. Probably unsuitable for a movie, as the source material is a cell-phone novel. Though it’s sappy and predictable, this popular Japanese love story is still not without it’s sweet and tender moments (no complains about the cute female lead also).

#42 Hancock (3.0/5)
"I'm not X-Men."
Enjoyable and very interesting plot but it was not handled well. The second half of the movie was potentially exciting but it suffered due to bad pacing. Still, Will Smith and Charlize Theron delivers thumbs-up performances.

#41 The Love Guru (3.0/5)
"You need more office space."
I laughed till I cried; which means this Mike Myers comedy isn’t half-bad. Way better than Zohan, the word-plays and Jessica Alba are what made this film so funny and good.

#40 The Forbidden Kingdom 功夫之王 (3.0/5)
"Stand around. Look serious. Get paid."
Surprisingly good Hollywood movie loosely-based on a Chinese legend. Stilted English and nonsense plot aside, seeing Asian legends Jet Li and Jackie Chan battle it out in the amazing fight scenes is worth your ticket price.

#39 The Bucket List (3.0/5)
"You sure we're gonna do this?"
For it’s goodwill message and beautiful imageries it paints with its script, this film warrants a recommendation. It’s definitely touching - death is always a sensitive issue. Other than that, the movie gets a little tiresome; which is a pity, because Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson deserve to shine.

#38 Speed Racer (3.0/5)
"Did I just mount a kerb?"
Dazzling effects by the Wachowski Brothers (yes, the Matrix guys) but let-down by a boring and uninspiring plotline. But if you love psychedelic stuff, you’ll love this movie for sure.

#37 What Happens in Vegas (3.0/5)
"Honey, we're so happily married."
A cliché-filled rom-com that’s made very enjoyable by the high-energy pairing of Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. It’s Laugh-Out-Loud from start to finish. This is how a date-movie should be: funny, sassy and of course, sweet.

#36 I Am Legend (3.0/5)
"Was that an earthquake?"
There’s no doubt that Will Smith can act (remember my #1 movie last year?). But this movie was a good example of ‘taking itself too seriously’. Although the message here of mankind’s scientific research vs. ethics is outdated, the movie does still promise some chilling zombie-moments.

#35 Mama Mia! (3.0/5)
"Out of the way - middle-aged women coming through."
Pity. It could’ve been so much better (remember Hairspray last year?). But the songs and the high energy cast are what made this movie a hit after all. There’s no denying the irresistable charm of ABBA songs. Wow, and Meryl Streep sure can sing.

The 3.5star category:

#34 Forgetting Sarah Marshall (3.5/5)
"Honey, it'll be best if you can stop touching your butt."
Wacky and off-beat, this comedy cruises on an already-funny premise. The classic opening 'naked breakup' is definitely memorable. Pardon the pun, but we won’t forget this one just yet.

#33 The House Bunny (3.5/5)
"Out of the way - hot women coming through."
An ace movie of physical humour and Anna Faris’ brand of dumb-blondeness. Besides being knee-slapping funny, this bunny has heart, too. Also starring a slew of celebrity affiliates - Bruce Willis’ daughter, Tom Hanks’ son and Ashley Tisdale’s sister.

#32 4bia (in Thai) (3.5/5)
"Boo! times 4."
These four horror stories strung together by four of Thailand’s leading genre-directors are very different in their content - but there’s of course one thing that’s collectively common: they’re scary! This omnibus of short films work on a level that’s unsettling, in-your-face, and will leave you cowering in your seat.

#31 Across The Universe (3.5/5)
"Let's get it over with. I can't breathe."
Yes, the take on the Beatles’ songs are inspiring and this film is not without its admirable moments (Let it Be, Strawberry Fields Forever), but there’s no excuse for bad pacing and relatively weak character development. Still, beautiful visuals and soulful songs more than made up for it.

#30 Step Up 2 The Streets (3.5/5)
"Shawty had them apple bottom jeans, boots wit da fur.."
Corny title but after watching, you’ll know what ‘The Streets’ mean. Simply put, this movie is slammin’, featuring mind-blowing choreography and a killa soundtrack. Feel-good to the last scene. Way better than the first. Briana Evigan is smokin’ hot.

#29 Kung Fu Panda (3.5/5)
"Fat, furry, and lovin' it!"
With talented voice-overs (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan …), this hilarious animation by DreamWorks (probably their best since Shrek - part 1, disregarding 2 and 3) is an enjoyable butt-kicking romp for everyone.

#28 Charlie Wilson's War (3.5/5)
"I hope that's not a trash bag you're wearing for a dress."
An unbelievable-but-true story behind the Afghan’s defeat of the Russians in the 80’s. It’s told by an amazing team: director Mike Nichols, and acting heavyweights Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Suitably light-hearted and entertaining, it’s a neat little movie.

#27 National Treasure: Book of Secrets (3.5/5)
"Am I holding... dog poo?"
Adventure movies with clever, fast-pacing plots are always fun to watch. This film achieved that along with the bonus of a worthy cast. Let’s wait patiently for a part three.

#26 The Incredible Hulk (3.5/5)
"Wow, you definitely look bigger in person."
Not very incredible but still, it’s a fine, action-packed and straightforward telling of the Green Monster. Edward Norton and Liv Tyler turn in nuanced performances in their title roles.

#25 Get Smart (3.5/5)
"Your hair stinks, by the way."
Funniest Movie of the Year! You’re guaranteed to have a good time with the brilliant leads Steve Carrel and Anne Hathaway (looking oh-so-fine) in this remake of the much-beloved TV series. Although the plot was generic, the gags and jokes here just keep coming. This is first-rate entertainment. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is officially a credible Hollywood actor.

#24 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Cyrstal Skull (3.5/5)
"Be careful where you point that thing!"
Absurd but wonderfully old-school, with great effects. Steven Spielberg’s beloved franchise might’ve lost it’s steam a little, but it’s still undeniably well-filmed and enjoyable. Cate Blanchett steals the show with her ugly mob and delicious accent.

#23 Painted Skin 画皮 (3.5/5)
"I am beautiful, no matter what they say.."
This is a movie that begs to be taken seriously. And if you do, you’ll find its themes of love and sacrifice so touching it’ll bring a tear to your eye (as of mine). Moving performances by Zhou Xun, Vicky Zhao and Chen Kun.

#22 Journey to the Centre of the Earth (3.5/5)
"He's actually just yawning."
Although I didn’t catch it in its full 3D-glory, but I still enjoyed this rollicking film through and through. There wasn’t a single dull moment and the effects are thrilling enough to keep you almost at the edge of your seat. Intended for the younger crowd but this will make adults remember the good ol’ times of fun adventure movies.

#21 Cape No.7 海角七号 (3.5/5)
"We beat Titanic, so we can wear whatever we want."
Charming, funny and poignant - this sleeper hit of 2008 is officially the biggest movie in Taiwan after Titanic, which is a great feat. Interesting supporting characters and great music covers up the lack of acting abilities in the leads (Van Fan and Chie Tanaka). Still, watching this after my recent Taiwan trip was definitely a treat.

#20 Four Christmases (3.5/5)
"Get that puking machine away from me!"
This one was quite a find. People expecting a predictable Christmas comedy is in for a pleasant surprise. This film about a couple visiting their four divorced parents is hilarious thanks to the witty dialogue and the great comedic performances by Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon and the brilliant supporting cast. Funny stuff.

#19 Wanted (3.5/5)
"We get it - there's a lot of shooting."
Kick-Ass Movie of the Year!
Very loosely-based on the cult-classic-comic by Mark Miller (I’ve read it and it’s good), this movie adaptation will give enough thrills and spills to the average movie-goer. It’s very stylised with the comic’s trademark devil-may-care attitude; plus a sexy performance by Angelina Jolie and breakthrough star James McAvoy, what’s not to like?

The 4.0star category:

#18 Be Kind, Rewind (4.0/5)
"I'm not Robocop. I'm Garang Guni Man."
Quirky and brilliant - this is a hilarious homage to movies. Stars the very comically-talented Jack Black. It’s heartwarming, too.

#17 Horton Hears a Who! (4.0/5)
"You can run, but you can't hide!"
With funny men Jim Carrey and Steve Carrel helming this delightful animated flick, you know nothing can go wrong. A really funny children’s story given modern jibes of humour. It’s self-help messages gives the movie that extra depth to propel it to the 4-star level.

#16 Cloverfield (4.0/5)
"You can run, but you can't hide!"
Yes, some of you hate this film. (Shaky-cam isn't for everyone, I know) But I belong to a significantly large percentage who thinks this landmark monster movie is indeed worth the hype. It’s different - but shockingly effective. Technically a feat. I hope people will still remember this movie in years to come (for the right reasons, please).

#15 Bolt 3D (4.0/5)
"If I could just flick this noisy hamster off the edge.."
The only movie I watched twice this year: once in 2D and once in 3D. And boy was it a visual treat. Besides being hilarious (Rhino the hamster is an instant favourite), it is very well-drawn. As of all Disney movies, it has a wholesome, heartwarming story to tell as well. Extremely enjoyable.

#14 Tropic Thunder (4.0/5)
"All muscle. No brains."
This is definitely the comedy event of the year, with mega stars (Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr and Jack Black) spoofing the very industry their lives depended on - Hollywood. As absurd, violent and grotesque as it is funny, this ‘fake real war movie’ is already destined to be a classic. And Tom Cruise absolutely rocked in his special appearance.

#13 Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street (4.0/5)
"Are you ready for your final cut?"
Macabre and yet, sickeningly delicious musical-adapted-film that is fully drenched in Tim Burton’s trademark goth. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter’s song numbers are backed up by a strong supporting cast. A guilty pleasure indeed.

#12 Murder of the Inugami Clan (2008) (in Jap) (4.0/5)
"Honey, there's a dead man on our window."
This cool, classic Japanese Kadaichi (金田一) whodunit is a steady, stylish movie re-directed by the original 1976 director, Kon Ichikawa. A crime-mystery that’s slow but intriguing, this film’s plot and excellent ensemble acting is something you won’t witness in conventional Hollywood movies. Recommended.

#11 No Country for Old Men (4.0/5)
"I warned you not to insult my hairstyle. But you didn't listen."
One of the most chilling movies to catch in the cinemas. It’s been a long time since Hollywood created a dead-scary serial killer; and this film succeeded very well. Carries a social undertone that’s subtle but relevant. A cinematically-great movie. (FYI: 80th Academy Award for Best Picture)

Are you guys ready for the TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2008? Here we go!

#10 Iron Man (4.0/5)
"Now, I can iron with my hand."
Coolest Movie of the Year!
With intense advertising and a stellar cast, this is one of those movies that lived up to expectations in every sense. Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow shine in their roles. The effects are spectacular. Snappy dialogue. Plus! One of the most satisfying movie endings I saw this year.

#09 20th Century Boys 20世纪少年 (4.0/5)
"If you think this is scary, wait till you see my face."
Part 1 of a trilogy, this Manga-turned-Mega Movie lived up to its (relatively unknown) hype. Intriguing, effectively creepy and ironically funny, this definitely whets our appetite for more to come.

#08 Vicky Cristina Barcelona (4.0/5)
"It's not easy living with two hot women."
Favourite Actress in a Movie! (Penelope Cruz)
Off-beat, sexy and extremely funny (c’mon, it’s Woody Allen), this ode to one of Spain’s most beautiful cities is a treat for the mature crowd. Penelope Cruz shines in her hilarious role as Maria. A wonderfully lyrical movie.

#07 Ip Man 葉問 (4.0/5)
"Talk to the fist."
It’s been a long time since kung fu looked so graceful but strong on a film (霍元甲 is so weak compared to this movie). Beautifully directed, dedicatedly acted and the martial arts expertly executed - this is the last great movie of 2008.

The 4.5star category:

#06 Red Cliff (1) 赤壁 [上] (4.5/5)
"Battle of the pissed-off men."
For us Chinese, this is one of the most important movies of our generation. With a powerful cast that includes Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro, and directed by the deft hand of John Woo, this historical epic is both majestic and beautiful. It contains the wits and action as a stand-alone film, and builds up enough tension and suspense for the concluding part two of the movie.

#05 Juno (4.5/5)
"Are you sure fast food is good for the baby?"
Defines our teenage-going-on-adult era perfectly. I’m sure all those who just turned twenty (as of yours truly) will appreciate this funny, sweet and warmhearted film. Won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Ellen Page (as Juno) officially rocks! Plus, the soundtrack is a quirky masterpiece.

#04 The Orphanage (in Spanish) (4.5/5)
"Will you play with me, please?"
When was the last time you couldn’t forget a ghost story, long after it was told? This was it for me: Orphanage was a frighteningly original and extremely creepy ghost story. Excellent storyline. Scary - but ultimately - a heartbreaking and poignant film.

The 5.0star category:

#03 Wall-E (5.0/5)
"This taxi is fun. Does it come with fuel surcharge?"
It’s so common for a Disney/Pixar film to enter the Top 5 but they earn it. Amazingly drawn and extremely charming, the studios have once again created an icon that’s instantly lovable. Out of all the ‘save-the-Earth’s-environment’ stuff that came out this year, all it takes is an animation to get us all sit up and take notice. Genius.

#02 The Mist (5.0/5)
"You won't want to know what they saw."
Don’t be fooled by the title. It’s not just another cheesy monster movie. In fact, it contains so many insightful (and very thought-provocative) social issues it’s scary. As a monster movie, it’ll grip you and never let go. Based on a novella by Stephen King, this grossly-underrated film has an ending that will haunt you for a long, long time.

Without guessing, I'm sure you should know which movie tops my list this year. Here's presenting to you the highest-grossing, most thrilling and best-loved movie of the year:

#01 The Dark Knight (5.0/5)

"Only one thing to say - Why..So..Serious?"
Favourite Actor in a Movie! (
Heath Ledger) Intense, big-scale excitement and gripping storyline propel this Batman flick to the top of the game. The late Heath Ledger’s bone-chilling performance as the Joker has got to be the most dedicated on-screen acting in a long time. Kudos, also, to director Christopher Nolan for this excellent production. Blockbusters never got this perfect - but no one’s complaining.
Note: The Dark Knight will be re-released beginning of next year to coincide with the Oscars race. Will it finally break Titanic's record? We'll see.

Yup that's all folks!

Here's to another year of great movies.

Merry christmas and a happy new year!

Take care, peeps!


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