Looking back on the year in film that was 2008, I’m left with but one question for Hollywood: “Why So Serious?”
I wish I could say it was the best of times, but mostly it was the worst of times. Still even in the worst of times, there are plenty of alcoves to hide treasures. As the world financial markets crumbled, a great depression engulfed the multiplexes from the darkest of comedies (all those alcoves In Bruges) to the darkest of popcorn flicks (The Dark Knight) to the saddest, coldest of Decembers. 2008 produced not only some of the worst films I have ever seen (Be Kind Rewind, The Day the Earth Stood Still), but also some of the most depressing (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Revolutionary Road).
The year’s best film , There Will Be Blood, closed in a orchestral flourish with this amazing piece from Brahms. It was a fantastic way to end a wonderfully strange year at the cinema.
2007 ended up being a great year for films, possibly the best since 1999. While 2006 was consistent in its passably entertaining mediocrity, filmmakers seemed to take more chances in 2007 leading to more highs (see below), more curiosities (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Beowulf, Sweeney Todd), and more lows (I Am Legend–not quite legendary). The year’s two greatest films explored Greed and the American Dream. There Will Be Blood took an epic approach to explore how greed driven and focused can build nations while slowly devouring the soul of the individual, while Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead took an intimate approach and explored how greed ill-planned and misdirected can destroy a family in the blink of an eye. While Hollywood seemed to cash in on more name brand sequels and three-quels than ever before (and the public ate them up ad-naseum only to quickly forget them a few weeks later) three trends stood out in my mind that I feel defined 2007: Continue reading →