Top 10 Movies of 2008

1. The Dark Knight
2. Frost/Nixon
3. Wall-E
4. Gran Torino
5. Religulous
6. Cloverfield
7. Kung Fu Panda
8. Iron Man
9. Pineapple Express
10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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REVIEW: ‘Marley & Me’

Cast:
Owen Wilson
Jennifer Aniston
Eric Dane
Kathleen Turner
Rating: PG

It’s always great walking out of a theater enjoying  a movie that you expected to be poor.

This latest film to star Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston is “Marley & Me.” The two lead actors play a newly wed couple who get a young puppy named Marley in their first home. The film follows their lives with Marley and also shows how Wilson’s character, who works at a newspaper, writes a column about the family dog.

The film continues through the ups and downs of marriage along with the couple having children, all while having Marley close by.

Upon first seeing the trailer, I was mostly expecting something along the lines of “Beethoven,” with nothing but a bad dog crashing into things and being nothing but a nuisance. While this movie does feature some of these aspects here and there, the picture is much more focused on exploring the relationship of its two leads.

Watching these characters go through their life together, including all the moments that Marley provides the family, makes for an engaging and endearing romantic comedy. This is one of those movies that can make a person laugh and cry and walk away with a smile on their face.

Helping this along are solid performances from Wilson and Aniston, who both have a great chemistry with each other and are both very likable in their roles. Their interactions feel genuine and never forced.

With that said, the movie does run nearly two hours and unfortunately that time starts to get felt after a while. While the movie never truly drags, it does have a few lull.

“Marley & Me” is still a nice feel good movie, though, with plenty of heart. Plus, the dog is just pure cuteness. High 3 out of 5.

REVIEW: ‘Gran Torino’

Cast:
Clint Eastwood
Christopher Carley
Bee Vang
Ahney Her
Rated: R

Clint Eastwood stars and directs in this picture, and he does both very well.

In the film, Eastwood plays Walt. Having just lost his wife, Walt now lives alone and unfortunately has a poor relationship with his kids. His quiet life takes a turn, though, when a young man is caught snooping around his 1972 Gran Torino. The boy, Thao (Vang) begins doing chores for Walt to earn his respect and eventually Walt begins a friendship with Thao and his family.

The situation turns bad, though, because of Thao’s extended family, many of whom are involved in gang violence.

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REVIEW: ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’

Cast:
Keanu Reeves
Jennifer Connelly
Kathy Bates
Jaden Smith
Rating: PG-13

All this made me want to do was watch the original.

“The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a remake of the 1951 picture of the same name, tells the story of an alien named Klatu (Reeves) who comes down to our planet and is immediately met with a cautious military.

After escaping from the government, though, Klatu meets a woman named Helen and informs her that he has plans to save Earth’s species, except humanity.

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REVIEW: ‘Australia’

Cast:
Hugh Jackman
Ray Barrett
Nicole Kidman
Bryan Brown
Tony Barry
Rating: PG-13

Being in the outback for two hours and forty five minutes is a little too long for me.

Named after its setting, “Australia” tells the story of Sarah (Kidman), a woman looking to settle a cattle ranch in a rural area of the country. To do so, she gets the help of Drover (Jackman), a cowboy who assists Sarah in building up her business.

Conflict arises in the outback, though, as World War II is getting started and a romance starts blooming between the two main characters as well.

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REVIEW: ‘The Haunting of Molly Hartley’

Cast:
Haley Bennett
Jake Weber
Chace Crawford
Shannon Marie Woodward

This is the worst movie I’ve seen since I started reviewing by far.

The film follows the titular character, played by Haley Bennet, whose own mother tried to kill her because when she turns 18, she could become evil. The movie picks up with her at age 17 with Molly moving to a town right next to an insane asylum where her mother is at… for some reason.

The film follows both Molly’s experiences as a high school student and her searching for answers into the mystery of why people think she will become evil when she turns 18.

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REVIEW: ‘The Express’

Cast:
Rob Brown
Dennis Quaid
Darrin Dewitt Henson
Omar Benson Miller
Nelsan Ellis
Charles S. Dutton

As a major college football fan, I was hoping for a little more to this picture.

“The Express” tells the story of Ernie Davis (Rob Brown), a star running back for Syracuse University who went on to be the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy.

The film follows his youth, recruitment and eventual exploits on the gridiron, in which he also has to deal with racism in some parts of the country.

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REVIEW: ‘Eagle Eye’

Cast:
Shia LaBeouf
Michelle Monaghan
Rosario Dawson
Billy Bob Thornton

“Eagle Eye,” also known as Big Brother is watching you.

This spy-like thriller follows the character Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf), an everyman whose brother happens to work in the military.

Because of his connection, Jerry ends up getting sucked into a violent, dangerous mission by a government operative to stop some type of attack.

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REVIEW: Righteous Kill

Righteous Kill
Cast:
Al Pacino
Robert De Niro
50 Cent

Two of Hollywood’s best star in a movie that’s unfortunately quite mediocre.

Both Pacino and De Niro play New York City Police Detectives who’ve gained plenty of experience in their jobs.

A new case comes up that challenges the officers, though, in a serial killer who’s murdering other criminals in the Big Apple. After some research, the two conclude that the suspect must be a cop, and the result is some friction with the force.

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