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Added by Nonfictionguy on 4 Jan 2009 01:36
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Review of the Year 2008

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Riveting examination of the notorious German terrorists. Brilliant performances, plus hot girls with machine guns.

Defining Moment
Martina Gedeck's Oscar-worthy turn as Ulrike Meinhof.
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Gripping, airtight, 1987-set drama about a college girl trying to get an illegal abortion in Romania.

Defining Moment
Sleazy abortionist Mr. Bebe raises his fee, knowing full well that the girl has no other choice.
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Second Coens of the year, lesser to No Country but still solid Joel 'n' Ethan: a zany crime caper, this time with an espionage flavour.

Defining Moment
Brad as fitness doofus Chad, ineptly attempting to intimidate John Malkovich.
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People who added this item 2046 Average listal rating (1205 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
Clint compels with this weird true-life tale of child abduction and substitution, while Angelina Jolie defiantly weeps her way to an Oscar shoo-in.

Defining Moment
The film's 15th Oscar clip: "Did you kill my son?!"
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People who added this item 2467 Average listal rating (1690 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7
J. J. Abrams-produced monsterpiece, remaking Godzilla via The Blair Witch Project and a Doritos ad.

Defining Moment
Big squiddy Pumpkinhead thing is slapping the bridge about! Panic!
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People who added this item 7410 Average listal rating (4954 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 9
The box-office smash of 2008 it's okay - nay, compulsory - to like. Proof that comic-book blockbusters can be, like, proper movies. And a great swansong for Heath Ledger.

Defining Moment
The Joker's magic trick with the pencil. Wincey.
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The world through the eyes of totally paralysed writer Jean-Dominique Bauby. Lyrical, thoughtful, moving.

Defining Moment
Bauby's wife communicating his thoughts to his lover.
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People who added this item 620 Average listal rating (398 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
Evidently too harsh to please crowds at the multiplex, this none-more-dark hoodie horror slaps hard, and there's nothing happy about it.

Defining Moment
That final look in the mirror. Gut-churning.
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People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 4.8 IMDB Rating 0
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.
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People who added this item 701 Average listal rating (379 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7
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People who added this item 1245 Average listal rating (773 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.7
That Ben Affleck is really a rather good director. His adaptation of the Dennis Lehane kidnap thriller is restrained, complex and intriguing.

Defining Moment
Casey Affleck's Patrick badmouths an entire bar of hardcases. Kid's got balls.
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People who added this item 3002 Average listal rating (1939 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.4
Hancock (2008)
Will Smith wasn't the best casting (too slick) and it's a bit confused (duff twist), but director Peter Berg did offer an intriguing super-movie take.

Defining Moment
The clip of a drunk Hancock 'saving' a beached whale by literally throwing it back to sea.
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M. Night Shyamalan set out to shock. So why did he make his eerie threat… foliage? Still, it's better than The Ruins. Oh. It isn't.

Defining Moment
Mark Wahlberg negotiating with (and outacted by) a plastic pot plant.
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People who added this item 569 Average listal rating (350 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Mike Leigh makes something genuinely feelgood, showcasing the raw talent of Sally Hawkins as the super-cheerful teacher, Poppy.

Defining Moment
Poppy's weird driving lesson with the paranoid Scott (Eddie Marsan): "En-ra-HA!".
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Guillermo del Toro feeds his Pan's Labyrinth twisted-fairy-tale aesthetic into the smashmouth antics of Mike Mignola's Hellboy. Bodes well for The Hobbit.

Defining Moment
The Barry Manilow sing-along.
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Toby Young's memoir of disaster is tastefully softened into… The Devil Wears Prada for men!

Defining Moment
Sidney (Pegg) tells PR Eleanor (Gillian Anderson) why he won't write her a puff-piece.
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People who added this item 1885 Average listal rating (1308 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9
Colin Farrell convinces us he should really do more comedy. And Belgium actually does look very attractive.

Defining Moment
Brendan Gleeson's wonderful "two manky hookers and a racist dwarf" comment. Still tickles.
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People who added this item 2546 Average listal rating (1661 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.8
Louis Leterrier's daft, punchy Hulk-take isn't as good as Ang Lee's, and made less money at the box office. There's a lesson there...

Defining Moment
Hulk smacks l'il Tim Roth into a tree, breaking every bone in his wee body.
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CG prairie dogs didn't quite rape our childhood, but Indy IV wasn't quite the final bow we'd hoped. Still dig the bright '50s vibe, though.

Defining Moment
The swarm of ravenous giant ants. Nip nip.
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People who added this item 4884 Average listal rating (3317 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Iron Man (2008)
The fun-lovin' yin to The Dark Knight's brooding yang. Also phase one of Robert Downey Jr.'s triumphant return to the A-list.

Defining Moment
Tony Stark perfecting his prototypes: "Yeah. I can fly!"
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People who added this item 4796 Average listal rating (3137 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
Sassy, heart-warming indie hit of the year which managed to be entirely uncontroversial about teen pregancy.

Defining Moment
Juno's stepmom Bren (Alison Janney) gives the ultrasound technician a hard time. "Bren! You's a dick!"
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An insight into the strange sub-subculture of retro-arcaders - fantastically entertaining.

Defining Moment
Wannabe Kong champ Steve is interrupted mid-game by his distressed kid announcing he's shat himself...
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A terrific mix of chopsocky moves, visual splendour and Jack Black comedy stylings. Easily the best DreamWorks' 'toon since Shrek.

Defining Moment
The slo-mo training montage.
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Mike Myers returns with a truly abhorrent creation - creepy guru Pitka - and wrings zilcho laughs. Car crash of 2008.

Defining Moment
The film climaxes… with two elephants rutting.
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People who added this item 552 Average listal rating (278 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
Caused a stir with its explicit steaminess, but Ang Lee's latest is a cracking spy thriller.

Defining Moment
Wong Chia Chi (Wei Tang) explains to her stiff-collared boss precisely what it's like sleeping with the enemy.
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Ropey A-list ABBA karaoke or just, y'know, a good laugh? Either way, it's a box-office phenomenon, making more at UK cinemas than The Dark Knight. Eek!

Defining Moment
Brosnan doing SOS. Piercing.
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People who added this item 607 Average listal rating (326 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
Fascinating documentary on the famous tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. Also a heist movie in disguise.

Defining Moment
Wire-walker Philippe Petit steps out on the tightrope and realises all will be well.
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People who added this item 1981 Average listal rating (1318 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
Frank Darabont's third Stephen King feature is debatably the year's best thriller - B-movie chills with A-list craft and intelligence.

Defining Moment
The most powerful ending of the year, bar none.
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The Coens dial back the zany, check most of their trademarks at the door and respectfully adapt Cormack McCarthy: gritty, gripping and a rightful Oscar-winner.

Defining Moment
That gas station coin-toss.
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People who added this item 1498 Average listal rating (917 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
J. A. Bayona's debut, produced by Guillermo del Toro. More chilling than a wifebeater full of icecubes, with a killer midpoint twisteroo.

Defining Moment
A medium does a tour of the haunted house. With all the lights turned off!
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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Astonishing, distressing and tense reconstruction of a spree-killing in a sleepy '90s New Zealand community. No happy ending here.

Defining Moment
The heroic little ol' lady who crawls for help as the bullets fly.
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Marjane Satrapi's autobiographic novel gets animated, as she wryly views the 1979 revolution in Iran.

Defining Moment
Young Marjane heads down to one of Tehran's dodgy areas to buy illicit contraband: punk albums.
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People who added this item 1734 Average listal rating (1118 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7
The Apatow Express delivers again, with Seth Rogen and James Franco on top form as stoners on the run. Like, totally funny or whatever.

Defining Moment
Franco imitates the action movies he's seen and tries to kick loose a car window.
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People who added this item 1324 Average listal rating (890 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7
Huff. Puff. Oof. Ka-boom! Stallone grows old gorily as John Rambo drags his lumpy ass through another pointless jungle adventure.

Defining Moment
With the help of bad CG, Rambo outruns a giant explosion. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
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Al Pacino. Robert De Niro. Er, John Avnet. Makes Heat seem much longer ago than 12 years. And most obvious 'twist' ever?

Defining Moment
Bobby works out in the gym. Check out those buff stunt limbs!
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People who added this item 1293 Average listal rating (826 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
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.
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People who added this item 2199 Average listal rating (1449 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
The first direct 007 sequel continues the lean, mean Royale reinvention, with Daniel Craig growing into the tux.

Defining Moment
The Aston-smashing pre-credits sequence sets the tone.
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The Girls were back in town, and the girls turned out in force at the 'plex to welcome them. Just a feature-length episode, but that didn't seem to bother anyone.

Defining Moment
Carrie being jilted at the altar.
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People who added this item 339 Average listal rating (212 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
Son of Rambow (2007)
Garth Jennings does sweet-not-saccharine as two oddball boys bond over a love of First Blood and DIY film-making.

Defining Moment
Will and Lee experience the heady delights of the Sixth Form Common Room.
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People who added this item 817 Average listal rating (532 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6
Speed Racer (2008)
Those elusive Wachowskis adapt a Japanimated TV series about a universe dedicated to car-racing into a "living cartoon".

Defining Moment
Speed trumps teen angst to win final race. Look - the chimp in dungarees is cheering!
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It's Episode II.5! But nobody cared. Still, those who ignored it missed out on stylish CG-animation and some cracking action scenes.

Defining Moment
The vertical race/battle. Either that or Jabba's gay pimp uncle...
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A triumvirate of geniuses - Burton, Depp, Sondheim - create the most arresting musical of the year.

Defining Moment
Sweeney's victims hitting the floor with a bone-crunching thwack.
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People who added this item 103 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Alex Gibney directs his way to an Oscar: this exposé of the US government's implicit endorsement of torture is compulsive viewing.

Defining Moment
Gibney's core revelation that torture doesn't even work.
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The movie. The performance. Amounts to the same thing, really. Daniel Day-Lewis arguably achieves a career best as misanthropic, vampiric oilman Daniel Plainview.

Defining Moment
"I drink it up!"
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People who added this item 2636 Average listal rating (1747 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7
RDJ's storming of the multiplex, phase two: As blacked-up Metod-idiot Kirk Lazarus, he's funnier than the rest of the cast put together. The r-word caused some upset though.

Defining Moment
"Never go full retard."
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People who added this item 4039 Average listal rating (2610 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.2
The first adaptation of the cult novels boasts great performances and a stunning aesthetic. Scream!

Defining Moment
When Edward bites into Bella's flesh to extract nasty vampire poison, will he be able to resist feasting on her blood?
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People who added this item 458 Average listal rating (267 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.3
Oliver Stone does Dubya, but it's softer than you'd expect, and suffers as a result. Great turns from Josh Brolin and Richard Dreyfuss, though.

Defining Moment
Cheney reveals why the US has to invade Iraq. Something to do with oil, apparently.
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People who added this item 751 Average listal rating (453 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8
Ari Folman's animated doc is astonishing: the most surreal, impactful account of combat since Apocalypse Now.

Defining Moment
A fearful Israeli soldier dreams of a giant nymph carrying him away to safety.
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People who added this item 2578 Average listal rating (1699 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
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.
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People who added this item 5069 Average listal rating (3399 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.4
Pixar gets bleak, but turns cutesy (aw, wook at dose adorwable big lenses) and distressing (humanity destroys Earth, Wall-E harvests body parts from his dead brothers).

Defining Moment
Wall-E and Eve's cascading space dance.
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Empire Magazine's list of 50 Movies that defined 2008!

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