Up (2009)Dir. Pete Docter
After all the hype and “OMG! Best animated movie EVER!” I was actually kinda disappointed with this. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Up‘ is a beautifully crafted, lovely film which Pixar knocks out of the park (as per usual), but I actually preferred both ‘The Princess and the Frog‘ and ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox‘. I’m part of a minority, but I still don’t think Pixar have gotten humans quite right, there’s just something overtly artificial about them. (I know, I know, it’s ANIMATION, but) I feel like I could reach into my TV and touch the animals, the toys, the fish, but the human characters look like a series of computer generated polygons from a video game cut-scene. It’s still only a minor gripe and by no means stopped me thoroughly enjoying the flick. You’d have to be made of stone not to at least like this. Very good, but not the best animated movie of last year, let alone ever.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)Dir. Danny Boyle
While not in my Best of ’08 list, this is still a highly enjoyable flick that transcends genres and audiences and connects to pretty much everyone. The cynic in me knows damn well that in real life the scrawny underdog NEVER gets the insanely beautiful girl, but it is a film after all. It’s edited with a modern style that utilizes a pumping sountrack to really plant you in the movie. A wee bit overrated, but a great movie nonetheless.

American Gangster (2007)Dir. Ridley Scott
Masterful stuff from Ridley Scott, who presents this period tale in vivid detail and with sophisticated camera-work. Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe are both fantastic, as are all the supporting cast. Epic, entralling and on par with the likes of ‘Goodfellas‘ and ‘The Godfather‘ (well, nearly).

Wild Strawberries (1957)Dir. Ingmar Bergman
A very enjoyable flick, with a solid performance by Victor Sjostrom and simple, old school direction by Bergman. It plods along at a steady pace as we witness the main character’s outlook on life gradually change, and gives us rich and interesting characters along the way. This movie movie was just too gosh darn pleasant not to like and as strange as it sounds, ‘Wild Strawberries‘ is one of my favourite ‘road trip’ movies now.

The Crazies (2010) Dir. Break Eisner
Man, it’s just so great to see a horror flick that doesn’t cater to teenagers or cop out in some shape or form in the name of making more money. Eisner clearly knows what he’s doing, getting good actors (no ‘One Tree Hill‘ or ‘High School Musical‘ alumni here), and using unflinching violence that feels sophisticated because it isn’t just blood for the sake of it (hello ‘Saw XXVI‘). With simply a far better understanding of what makes a good film , ‘The Crazies’ is very cool, and deserves alot more recognition.

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