The good, the bad, and the overrated – cinema in 2008

Well, you win some and you lose some. That is the way life goes. Unfortunately it is no different in the world of cinematic glory, you have to take the good with the bad, and as cinema reviewer for the Galway Advertiser I have seen it all. So here is my list for the best, the worst, and the most overrated and underappreciated films of 2008.

The Best

The Dark Knight

An explanation seems unnecessary for a film that has topped every “best of 2008” list there is out there, but I’ll be honest, I initially had my reservations about this film, thinking (like many others ), what if the whole thing was being blown out of proportion because of the untimely death of Heath Ledger? Well, everyone likes to make a martyr of a man but luckily this time around it was completely deserved and The Dark Knight is likely to go down in cult – and Oscar – history.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Based on the children’s novel by Irish writer John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was undoubtedly one of the most powerful films to hit the cinema this year, telling the tragic tale of two young boys who befriend each other during the Holocaust. Absolutely heart-wrenching, you will need plenty of tissues to make it through this one.

Changeling

As I said a few weeks ago in my review of this film, if Angelina Jolie does not receive an Oscar for her role in this emotionally charged film about a mother whose son has gone missing, then I could possibly lose all faith in the Academy. Clint Eastwood’s stunning direction is just an added bonus.

The Worst

Death Race

A remake of the 1975 cult classic Death Race 2000, this macho flick is great for those who love unnecessary violence without having to think too much...or at all. With a dull plot and atrocious acting, there isn’t much good you can say about this film other than to tell movie-goers to save their money.

Love Guru

When did Mike Myers become so not-funny? A poor concept with an even poorer cast, this film had ‘flop’ written all over it and didn’t fail to live up to its lack of expectations. Looks like we have another reason to blame Canada.

The Overrated

Pineapple Express

Yes, it was funny, but no, it wasn’t that funny. I walked out of the theatre after seeing Pineapple Express wondering exactly what all the fuss had been about. I don’t know, maybe you have to be male to understand this violent hilarity? Or maybe you just have to be a stoner. I’ll go with the latter.

Sex and the City

I know a lot of women out there will hate me for this, but really when you think back on it, SATC didn’t really live up to all the hype it generated. Sure it was good fun to get dolled up with your ladies and see what happened to Carrie and Co, but do they really need to make a second one? I think not.

The Underappreciated

Mamma Mia!

Astronomically cheesy Mamma Mia! the film adaptation of the popular West End stage musical of the same name, was one of the most highly anticipated and most highly feared films released this year. Loved by some and hated by others there was no denying one thing, this film was just plain fun!

In Bruges

Martin McDonagh’s directoral debut took dark humour and unpredictability to a whole other level in a story about two hitmen hiding out in the Belgian city of Bruges. Undoubtedly one of Colin Farrell’s best performances in years, the film received mountains of film festival praise but undeservingly failed to make waves in the cinemas.

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