Monday, 28 December 2009

A Decade of Movie Memories: 2008


2008 really doesn't seem that long ago to me. Although there are clear movie markers like the overall love for festival sweetheart film Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in, and being coined the year of 'the comeback' with several actors popping up back on the screens to much love (Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man, Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler and Jean-Claude Van Damme in JCVD) I still feel it's too close behind us to get a sense of what kind of year it was. There were many great films, and there certainly is crossover on this movie memory list with my favourite films of 2008, but as a year it's hard to pin it down what it was about. But, the memories still hold strong.

As with previous years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 the parameters or the list are films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. This is a list of favourite movie memories, not a best of list.

Up the Yangtze/ 沿江⽽上
Haunting documentary about the relocation of people for the huge dam built. The stories of the families hold still in my mind and heart as is the vivid imagery I can literally still feel in my body almost two years after seeing the film. If you haven't seen it yet, you really should.

Then She Found Me
Kudo's to my buddy Danette for suggesting we go see this fantastic film. It also shook me up to realize I hadn't considered going to see it myself which made me feel like a total jerk. Since then, I've been way more conscientious about seeing films from women directors and / or with female protagonists.

My Blueberry Nights
First time I got to see a Wong Kar-Wai film in the regular theatre and I was in heaven. I wanted to lick the screen. Was that an overshare? Anyhow, I loved this film as I've loved all of his films for their emotional expression and personal journeys. It was a slightly bizarre, but fitting, double bill night where I also saw Son of Rambow.

One of my few treks out to The Rainbow theatre because the film was in such limited release. I really thought I would be the only one there and brought my knitting with me. But - I wasn't, there was at least 4 other people but it was the weirdest floorplan on seating .... about 60 seats total but none of the rows had the same number of seats. Very strange screening. Very strange.

Mamma Mia!
Another Danette recommendation and oh wow, I had no idea how much I would love this movie! And I believe it was the first film I saw at one of the big theatres at AMC Yonge & Dundas (likely #6 which now is close to if not my favourite theatre in Toronto). I almost wanted to singalong with the film (ABBA's just like that), but resisted singing, but did end up seeing it three times in the theatre with all the lovely ladies in my family (because the movie is like that). One of the funnest films that I'd seen in a long time.

Rachel Getting Married
Like the Squid and the Whale back on my 2005 list, Rachel Getting Married makes the list not only for being an excellent film with fantastic performance, but for also having that oh so familiar dysfunctional family feeling. And I cried and cried and cried. Pools of tears settled in my clavicles. I had no idea I would have such a reaction to it but oh nelly I did.

Okay, this is a bit of a cheat because I saw it at TIFF'08, but I went again to see it at the theatre - the big one at AMC Yonge & Dundas as it happens. There are many festival films that hit regular theatres, but you usually know which ones those are and this one I hadn't anticipating to do so which is what made seeing it at the regular theatre so special, especially as it had a pretty good freaking audience during the screening. That made me so happy that people were getting to see this great film.

There is no doubt that seeing Twilight was one of the highlights of the year. Being in the packed house on opening night with my sister Jamie was surreal, from people wearing Team Edward shirts (which I didn't know what that meant at the time), got getting free bookmarks, to seeing all the nervous laughter and cheering throughout the film. It's been wild to watch the effect of the phenomenon as it continues to stretch out wider than I ever would have ever imagined. The film also got me into podcasting by cohosting a Twilight Podcast - Before the Dawn. And I love the film.

This is by no means a good film, but on that particular day I just needed to see something and this was the choice so I took it. In that sense, it made for a good laugh as there is no reason to remake the film it's based on [REC] as it is fantastic in it's own right. But, from the posters and publicity I was curious about if they were showing what I thought they were showing - and they are, which totally should put them in the publicity hall of shame.

Another in the list of 'got out of work early - lets see what's playing at the theatre' and so I headed out for this Bollywood adventure which I didn't realize was actually pretty much a version of Memento. That aside, the performances were pretty strong and Aamir Khan went through amazing physical transformation for the role which I found very inspiring. The soundtrack was the first one I've bought of iTunes and has severals song by AR Rahman - whom also did several songs on Slumdog Millionaire including "Jai Ho".


blake said...

This is a very intriguing list. I hate, hate, hated RGM. But you reminded me of how much I liked My Blueberry Nights.

I also can't believe I forgot to put The Squid and the Whale on my list in 2005. Damn it!

The Mad Hatter said...

Now the question is Shannon...did you eventually manage to track down one of those sing-a-long screenings of MAMMA MIA?

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Wow, Blake you didn't like Rachel Getting Married? That is the first dislike of it I've heard. Very interesting. Squid & the Whale totally rocks though.

I did see that there were singalong screenings of Mamma Mia Hatter, but every time I went to the film I was going with at least 1 person who hadn't seen it so that didn't seem all that fair to put them through it :) I singalong at home though...

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