‘Son of Rambow’ – a homemade odyssey on Amazon Prime Video

Meek Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner), a wide-eyed naïf in a repressive religious sect, and “devil child” Lee Carter (Will Poulter), a belligerent school troublemaker, becomes unlikely partners in Garth Jennings’ fanciful, funny Son of Rambow (2008). They’re odd couple buddies born of convenience (on Lee’s part) and naiveté (that would be Will) but forged in […]

Donnie Yen is legendary martial artist ‘Ip Man’ on Netflix

Hong Kong martial arts star Donnie Yen plays the legendary Ip Man (Hong Kong, 2008), teacher and grandmaster of Wing Chun, in this biographical drama (one in a long line of such tributes) based on the master’s life during the Japanese occupation of China. Yen is a superb screen fighter with an often bland presence. […]

James Franco and Seth Rogen ride the ‘Pineapple Express’ on Amazon Prime Video

The Judd Apatow factory refreshed the coming-of-age comedy (for all ages of adolescent men) in comedies like Knocked Up, Superbad, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall before stretching itself thin (that’s my best explanation for Drillbit Taylor and Step Brothers). One of the smartest things he did was to seek out directors not normally associated with his […]

Iron Man – Photo credit: Marvel Entertainment

‘Iron Man’ – the MCU begins on Disney+

Iron Man (2008) is a superhero in both the mythic mode and the modern world, the hero felled by his own arrogance and revived with an Achilles heel. Behind the mask of the heavy-metal superhero is a playboy gazillionaire and armaments mogul with a bad heart and a high-tech pacemaker that powers not just his […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on HBO Max

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett , and Taraji P. Henson star in the film by David Fincher

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ on Netflix

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story is expanded into a sweeping survey of 20th century history and culture as seen through the eyes of a man who is born old and grows younger through the century. Brad Pitt completely commits to the part of the old/young man who […]

‘WALL•E’ – robots in love on Disney+

An animated robot love story with an environmental theme and a slapstick delivery, WALL•E (2008) is a charmer of a film and a delightful piece of storytelling. Directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) with the animation wizards at Pixar, it takes on the challenge of delivering an animated feature that is predominantly wordless (and even […]

The original ‘Cloverfield’ on Netflix

A 21st century Godzilla movie for the (pre-video phone) camcorder generation, Cloverfield (2008) is a high-concept reworking of an old-fashioned creature feature with a DIY aesthetic. The conceit of the film is essentially the home video record of an alien invasion as shot by a wise-cracking default cameraman recording every movement of a group of […]

Bradley Cooper stars in the Clive Barker horror film directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

‘The Midnight Meat Train’ – Clive Barker horror on Hulu

Curiosity is a killer in The Midnight Meat Train (2008), adapted from the short story by Clive Barker (one of the first he wrote) and directed by Japanese style-bomber Ryuhei Kitamura in his American feature debut. Leon (Bradley Cooper), a street photographer who chases police calls for a living but prefers to document the underbelly […]

Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant in Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece 'Let the Right One In '

‘Let the Right One In’ – A Swedish vampire tale, free on Kanopy

Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire film / young love horror piece Let the Right One In (2008) is grounded in a devoted friendship that bonds two outcasts in a predatory world. Bullied schoolboy Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a loner so blond he looks albino, meets twelve-year-old Eli (Lina Leandersson), a fellow loner hanging around the snow-covered playground of […]