Films retrospect 2008

Posted By yonghow on January 2nd, 2009

Total tally for films watched in 2008 stands at 17 in theatres and 92 on dvds/blu-ray, making that a total 109, averaging out to about 2 films per week. You can see the entire list here.

I love watching movies on the big screen, but a movie ticket at the cinemas here in Tokyo costs a whopping 1800 yen ( 29 singapore dollars by today’s exchange rate ), which explains why I haven’t been to the theatres that often. As if that wasn’t bad enough, film releases in Japan are almost always slower than the rest of the world ( by about 4-6 months ), so I seldom get to watch the latest films when they come out.  ( At the time of writing this post Hellboy II has yet to hit theatres here, when I’ve already seen it on blu-ray more a month back. ) The only consolation is that the video rental stores here ( Tsutaya, GEO ) stock quite a lot of titles.

With that, here are my 10 favourite films of 2008, in no particular order :

崖の上のポニョ (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, Miyazaki Hayao)

Kungfu Panda ( Mark Osborne/John Stevenson )

Atonement ( Joe Wright )

No Country for Old Men ( Coen Brothers )

Life in Cold Blood ( Documentary, David Attenborough )

Perfume ( Tom Tykwer )

Eastern Promises ( David Cronenberg )

Iron Man ( Jon Favreau )

Sakuran さくらん ( Ninagawa Mika )

Horton Hears a Who! ( Jimmy Hayward/Steve Martino )

Perhaps I’ve been watching far too many mainstream films again this year – I’ve been lazy and more often than not opted for the easier to digest popcorn flicks rather than the more arthouse and independent films. Another reason is that foreign language films in Japan come with only Japanese subtitles, and its just not as easy to understand (as compared to english subs), so I usually end up overlooking them completely.

Outside the ten that listed above I also enjoyed Across the Universe and Fur : An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, both of which were most handsomely photographed, and Jumper, Beowulf and Hellboy II for their amazing visuals effects and CG. I must be one of the few people out there who aren’t crazy about The Dark Knight or Wall E, excellent movies as they are.

Some rather distasteful films I saw this year were 88 Minutes, Shaolin Girl, and The Fountain. ( I liked Aronofsky’s Requiem For a Dream, but The Fountain was just too abstract for me. )

I hope to catch up on more foreign films this year, ( especially Korean films, for which I watched none this year ) to begin with I’m going to hit my stash of Sight and Sound magazines and make a list of all the films I want to catch.

What about you folks ? I’ll love to hear what good/bad films you guys have caught this year. Recommendations are more than welcome.

My top 10 fav in 2007
My top 10 fav in 2006



Posted in Film

8 Responses to “Films retrospect 2008”


i didnt find “dark knight” all that it was hyped up to be either. Great cinematography…kinda poor on the storyline


I recommend you “Into the wild”.


Dude. Abit late but Happy New Year man. Hope everything is good on your side. 🙂


Ponyo: cute as hell

Atonement: wasn’t that from 2007?

Life in Cold Blood: BBC – you did it again

Perfume: cannibalism!

Iron Man: Err…no

Sakuran: beautiful as hell


Hey Happy New Year! 2009 should be a better year for movies, can’t wait for the 2nd part of Red Cliff and Watchmen.


jonhohx – I didn’t have any problems with the story, its just not as enjoyable as Batman Begins, at least for me.

louki – Oh yes I’ve heard about this film ! Thanks for reminding me !

torei – Yoyo, happy new year.

choco – Atonement’s from 2007 alright, but it didn’t get to Japan till 2008… :[

Brandon – Ditto that ! Won’t mind watching Red Cliff part 2 at all. :]


I enjoyed ‘ There will be Blood’, ‘I’m not there” and of course ‘Dark Knight’. Some others not exactly this year but rented.. “Little Miss Sunshine” turned out surprisingly great and a few other movies i can’t really remember. I think you do watch alot of movies. i totally understand the difficulty of watching foreign films with Jap subs.. but i try my best to give cheap flicks a miss…


Speed Racer-Underrated
Slumdog Millionaire-I
highly recommend this movie
The Dark Knight-Best damn comic book movie ever in my opinion.
Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk

Good but not good enough
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army