Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The year in review

There have been quite a few articles listing movies with Scottish actors for year end lists. Here are some of the picks of the year's most memorable movies:

The Brother's Bloom - starring Robbie Coltrane
Almost top 10 movies of 2008

Following a lukewarm reception at the Toronto Film Festival, Summit moved this one to a May opening date. Two things occur to me regarding this. First, screw the reaction out of Toronto. This isn't a festival film, precious and dignified. Far from it. Rian Johnson's second film is a rowdy road comedy, a brotherly buddy movie, and a sweet daffy love story all disguised as a con man movie. In reality, the cons are the least important part of the film, a mere excuse to pinball all these characters off one another. Ever since "The Sting," this genre has been an excuse to build a mousetrap and set it off, which can certainly be fun. But "The Brothers Bloom" isn't trying to con you at all. It's heartfelt and earnest, and if Summit thinks they can stand one more date change, can I urge you to consider Valentine's Day? Really sell the shit out of the interplay between Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz, who does some of the loosest, warmest work of her career here. Everyone looks like they're having a blast, but I particularly fell for Rinko Kikuchi as Bang Bang, a very quiet little eccentric who packs a big punch, sort of like Harpo Marx if he were a really cute Asian chick. I love the look of the film, the sort of cartoon ballet that Johnson pulls off with it. It's very sweet, and I think this could turn into a "Princess Bride," a film that people grow very passionate about with time.

The Escapist - starring Brian Cox
The 50 films that defined 2008

File under 'Tragically Overlooked'. Brit helmer Rupert Wyatt's prison-breakout debut features one of Brian Cox's finest performances.
Defining Moment
The escapees discovering a Stygian underworld stretching out before them.

RocknRolla - starring Gerard Butler
Best Ensemble Casts of 2008

I'll be in the minority with RocknRolla on any list -- but if there's one thing Guy Ritchie can do, it's ensemble casts. It's a shame RocknRolla played second fiddle to Madonna and Ritchie divorcing, because I thought there were some fine performances in it, particularly from Tom Wilkinson, and The Wild Bunch of Idris Elba, Gerard Butler, and Tom Hardy.
The 50 films that defined 2008
Guy Ritchie's return to form: a cocky, confident, occasionally perplexing but always kinetic crime caper.
Defining Moment
Gerard Butler being chased by unstoppable Russian Mafiosi.

Summer - starring Robert Carlyle
Films that showed us the world

Ken Loach - Director
The film I really enjoyed was Kenny Glenaan's Summer, starring Robert Carlyle and Steve Evets. It's a story set in the East Midlands, about two childhood friends in their forties who are mutually dependent on each other. They are both on benefits and one is ill and dying. It is full of humanity and humour. It is very simply done and compassionate. You get drawn into the characters as the intricacies of their relationship are gradually revealed. You see the bright hopes they had as children and what happens to them later in life.

Wanted - starring James McAvoy
The 50 films that defined 2008

Comic-book action from Night Watch director Timur Bekmambetov. James McAvoy turns macho and Ms. Jolie proves she's a true movie star.
Defining Moment
McAvoy curves a bullet around Jolie's self-assured form.


1 comment:

  1. Don't know about the others - but both WANTED and 'RocknRolla' deserve ANY and ALL Awards they care to give !


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