EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Readers---the ones who are still here, anyway---after a year in which I frankly started to feel lost in a thicket of indecision and anxiety about my future, I am resolved to start 2009 off on in the right direction.
Thus, here below is a list of the 10 best films I saw in 2008 (and, in one instance, on the first day of 2009).
Keep in mind, of course, that there are still a handful of films released in December that I haven't yet seen---Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road, Gran Torino, the French film The Secret of the Grain, among others---and others that I simply missed on both the big screen and/or DVD in 2008---Woman on the Beach, The Silence Before Bach, Alexandra, My Winnipeg, Reprise, Let the Right One In and a slew of others I can't think of right now. I'm also hoping to catch one of my picks again sometime this week just to make sure it holds up on a second viewing. (And then there's Charlie Kaufman's problem child Synecdoche, New York, which I keep wanting to see a second time even though I honestly found it a pretty endless slog the first time around.) Lots of blind spots then...but I don't care. I'm pretty darn satisfied with my picks as they are right now, and I feel like sharing it with the rest of the world. Sharing things with the world is something I simply didn't do much of down the stretch of last year, and I want to start rectifying that as soon as possible.
I'll just list the titles for now; I'll annotate it later on in the week---hopefully before the Golden Globes on the 11th. Who knows? This list may well change slightly before then...
In rough order of preference:
1. Flight of the Red Balloon (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
2. Still Life (Jia Zhangke)
3. Profit motive and the whispering wind (John Gianvito)
4. In the City of Sylvia (José Luis Guerín)
5. Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme)
6. Diary of the Dead (George A. Romero)
7. Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman)
8. Encounters at the End of the World (Werner Herzog)
9. Boarding Gate (Olivier Assayas)
10. Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh)
More to come, in due time...