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Review Of The Year 2008 | The 50 Films That Defined The Year

1 ~ 10
4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days
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.
The Baader-Meinhof Complex
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.
Burn After Reading
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.
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?!"
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!

The Dark Knight
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.
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
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.
Eden Lake
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.
The Escapist
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.
Napoli's Camorra crime network takes the spotlight in this tense, grimy patchwork study.
Defining Moment
Hunted by the Mob for running with a rival gang, a designer sees his creation worn on a red carpet by Scarlett Johansson.


Have Your Say
How do you rate the movie year? What movie summed up 2008 for you? What would you say is your cinematic high or low? Register or login now to have your say.

Your Comments
What counts as a 2008 film? Juno and no country for old men were released at the end of 2007 ... Read More

twinkie About me

00:07, 27 January 2009 | Report This Post
There Will Be Blood for me
for me There Will Be Blood was film of the year. Paul Dano was great supporting actor and personally Day Lewis' performance one of the greatest ever. I also really enjoyed In Bruges, No Country For Old Men, Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, Wall E and the surprise film for me was Man On Wire. Great Documentary. Biggest disappointments - Righteous Kill. Great introduction to film and then utter crap. Also disappointed with Hancock and Indy IV. ... Read More


19:11, 19 January 2009 | Report This Post
You's a dick?
Surely it's 'Use a Dick' as Bren has just verbally violated the ultrasound nurse? ... Read More

adored About me

17:42, 12 January 2009 | Report This Post
What about 'Lars And The Real Girl'? ... Read More

Hugo Z. Hackenbush About me

11:24, 12 January 2009 | Report This Post
Oh yeah and the worse film was definitely Righteous Kill. Utter tosh. Nuff said. ... Read More

Dr Fear About me

23:14, 11 January 2009 | Report This Post
RE: Where's the rest...
L: cayado L: cunnaw Come on Empire, I thought you always did a Top 25 List, with other things to go with it such as Best Score and Worst Line of the Year. Surely I'm not the only one who wants a more detailed round-up of what has been a fantastic year for film in all areas. Totally agree, I wish the Empire top 25 yearly list. ame here, the round up this year has been very disappointing. ... Read More

D.J About me

15:11, 07 January 2009 | Report This Post
RE: Where's the rest...
There is something in the Wolverine Covered issues, which does list their top 10 in order, but it's not quite what we're used to. ... Read More

cunnaw About me

22:11, 06 January 2009 | Report This Post
RE: Where's the rest...
Sorry for the double post, forgot about Wall.E! ... Read More

no1psh About me

17:23, 06 January 2009 | Report This Post
RE: Where's the rest...
To be honest besides the big three films of the year The Dark Knight, No Country For Old Men and The Dark Knight it was hard to think of seven other genuine movies to justify a top 10. ... Read More

no1psh About me

18:27, 05 January 2009 | Report This Post
RE: Where's the rest...
L: cunnaw Come on Empire, I thought you always did a Top 25 List, with other things to go with it such as Best Score and Worst Line of the Year. Surely I'm not the only one who wants a more detailed round-up of what has been a fantastic year for film in all areas. sp; Totally agree, I wish the Empire top 25 yearly list. ... Read More

cayado About me

13:42, 05 January 2009 | Report This Post
cloverfield is the most frightning monster movie since king kong 1933 version. thanks to the teaser trailer which gave nothing away i was in the same boat as the cast and on the edge of my seat not knowing what was attacking new york. a ground breaking classic and no film came close this year to better it.not a big fan of hand held camerawork but it worked for this. other top films for me were THE MIST,MAMMA MIA,FEMALE AGENTS,HAPPY GO LUCKY,MONGOL and THE DUCHNESS but i am in love with keira k... Read More

JAMES M About me

23:54, 03 January 2009 | Report This Post
RE: Some Good, Some Very Disappointing.
L: joanna likes films It's been a sort of strange 2008 for movies, I have seen plenty of them and they can be either good or bad. The Dark Knight was brilliant, broke so many records and still be getting the money from the DVDs, it may be the best film of 2008. Mamma Mia was great, maybe a close second, RockNRolla was funny and sexy, Indy 4 was up my expectations, Wanted was cool, can't wait to see Eden Lake, The Oprhange is scary stuff and Max Payne, The Happening, Inkheart and Twligh... Read More

richCie About me

13:32, 01 January 2009 | Report This Post
RE: too true you're wrong!
The films I enjoyed the most this year, in no order would be: The Dark Knight Wall-E There Will be Blood Indiana Jones Quantum of Solace The biggest dissapointment would have to be Hellboy 2. I really wanted to love it, but it was too disjointed and not much fun And the Happening was unintentionally hilarious ... Read More

Drew_231 About me

13:21, 01 January 2009 | Report This Post
too true you're wrong!
Just popped in to say thanks to Ivan_Drago and napier. Glad Im not the only one who saw that the Empire statement on TIH seemed like a pretence of being high-brow when it's true that " Empire likes the cheap seats and popcorn just as well as the rest of us!" And I'll say it again - Ang is great but he just did not get the hulk. Louis may not be a great visionary but guess what - he got the hulk and that means a lot. ... Read More

vineethchacko About me

09:24, 31 December 2008 | Report This Post
A bad movie can be 'defining' too
Just to make it clear this is a list of defining movies - not best movies. Bad movies like 'The Happening' (Which I'm ashamed to admit I liked.) or 'The Love Guru' can be defining in how badly they were received. And as it seems to be the main theme of debate here now - Ang Lee's Hulk for me :) ... Read More

Mooncalf About me

09:00, 31 December 2008 | Report This Post
Damn right, "you're wrong!"
The Incredible Hulk was a brilliant comic book movie - and on repeat viewing it actually nudges ahead of Iron Man for Marvel movie of the year. Edward Norton gave a pitch perfect performance as the fugitive wrestling with the inner monster - far superior to Ang Lee's almost metaphorical take on the inner conflict. And there was a nod to reality too, in much the same way as Iron Man looked into the logistics of the suit, so we have small nods to the comic (purple stretch pants!) that actually mad... Read More

napier About me

19:44, 30 December 2008 | Report This Post
Pish Posh
"Louis Leterrier's daft, punchy Hulk-take isn't as good as Ang Lee's, and made less money at the box office. " Wrong,wrong,wrong, wrong. Wrong,wrong,wrong, wrong. You're wrong. You're wrong. You're wrroonngg! The writers cocked up Hulk with a bull, made-up origin. The Incredible Hulk was faithful to the source material. Norton was a way better Bruce than Bana. The Incredible Hulk looked much better than that Shrek/Wayne Rooney combo from Ang Lee's effort. ... Read More

Ivan_Drago About me

17:00, 30 December 2008 | Report This Post
The Happening?!!!!
Tell me how that hay-fever horror movie helped define 08?! It was godawful and noone saw it... But other that that its been a pretty good year... happy new year! ... Read More

frederik About me

13:05, 30 December 2008 | Report This Post
The Dark Knight
I like "The Dark Knight" most because it's maybe the most powerful movie I've ever seen in 2008! and this movie have a lot of great actors/actress specially Heath Ledger. His role "Joker" scares me when I watched this movie in theater. It's very realistic. ... Read More

Eyeshield21 About me

13:40, 29 December 2008 | Report This Post
Where is Hunger? Surely an aspect of you're love for film is an appreciation of independent filmaking anr the film was very well recieved at Cannes. I preferred the top 25 films you did, Waltz with Bashir aside, this list is very mainstream ... Read More

Ace Rothstein About me

02:22, 29 December 2008 | Report This Post
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