Digital Movies in 2008
Your only official source for information on Paul's Digital Movies in 2008.
We watched 15 movies in 2008.
  The movie number refers to the number of movies watched since we bought our first DVD player in April 2000.  



The Movies




Movies in 2000

Movies in 2001

Movies in 2002

Movies in 2003 (I)

Movies in 2003 (II)

Movies in 2004

Movies in 2005

Movies in 2006


Friday, January 11, 2008
The Bourne Identity
Remarkably good. In fact, it is a genuine surprise (and pleasure) at how good this movie really is. The acting is excellent, the story is sound, and it is all pretty much credible--unlike so many other secret agent movies. Matt Damon must have been a hard sell to make this, but he's terrific. While the director got bounced for the next one due to some apparent problems in shooting this one, the end product really works well. I thought the direction was great. A vudu movie in HD!
Made in: 2002
Director: Doug Liman
Owned: No
Category: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
Movie #846, #1 in 2008
Stars: 4

Monday, April 07, 2008
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Pretty bad. Some of the effects are good, but the writing and the acting are atrocious. It says something when the best actor of the movie is a metal guy who can't seem to move his face. I did like seeing Dr. Doom come back; he actually provides a nice lift to the movie, but there isn't nearly enough of him.

This movie was rented from iTunes and watched on my Apple TV. I selected the HD version and it looked pretty good--about as good as an upscaled DVD, but not quite equal to a good HD movie on broadcast TV.

Made in: 2007
Director: Tim Story
Owned: No
Category: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Movie #847, #2 in 2008
Stars: 2

Friday, April 18, 2008
The Bourne Supremacy
A very nicely done movie. The acting, story, editing (especially) are all very well done. It's not quite as good as the first one because there isn't the same sense of discovery and confusion about who Bourne really is. The link to Russian oil magnate also was not too interesting, nor was the Russian assassin as threatening or fleshed out as he might have been. Back to a real DVD for this one.
Made in: 2004
Director: Paul Greengrass
Owned: No
Category: Action, Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Movie #848, #3 in 2008
Stars: 3

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Bourne Ultimatum
Really a terrific movie. It was a bit better than the second one in the series and certainly did a very effective job in building suspense. The action scenes were excellent. I still think that the first one was best because Bourne did such a good job of acting out his slow realization of who he really was. This one though was about as good as action movies get these days. That is, the action was great, but the character work still leaves a bit to be desired.
Made in: 2007
Director: Paul Greengrass
Owned: No
Category: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
Movie #849, #4 in 2008
Stars: 3

Sunday, May 04, 2008
The Simpsons Movie
The big worry with this movie was that it wouldn't hold up over close to two hours. Although it really only lasts for about 90 minutes, there was no need to worry. The movie is consistently funny and manages to be a very good example of a Simpsons episode while also being comprehensive enough to stand on its own as a kind of "ultimate" Simpsons experience. The extra time allows for a lot of the minor characters to have roles and the humor is consistently good throughout. The usual caveats are there: Homer doesn't need to such a complete fool as he is now so frequently portrayed. Overall, though, it is pretty darn good. It's tough to beat the sheer looniness of the "Spider-Pig."

This movie was also bought on iTunes and watched on my iPod, rather than via DVD.

Made in: 2007
Director: David Silverman
Owned: No
Category: Action, Comedy
Movie #850, #5 in 2008
Stars: 4

Friday, September 05, 2008
Black Book
Quite decent war, mystery movie with a good twist at the end. It's got some classic Verhoeven touches which helps make it pretty watchable and enjoyable. The problem is that there really isn't much more to it than that. Compared to much of Verhoeven's great work in the past, this is fairly workmanlike. basic stuff. Nothing super interesting or insightful, just a well-told story about how both sides had some bad people and some good people.
Made in: 2006
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Thriller, War
Movie #851, #6 in 2008
Stars: 3

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Gate of Flesh
This is one very bleak movie. After the war life is cheap and people are cruel, selfish, vicious, and uncaring. The Americans are to blame, but the Japanese are even more so. More importantly, that's the way human nature is--even the priest is susceptible. And this dark story is told via the bright searing colors and jumping crosscuts of Suzuki's usual style. It's a beautiful movie for all its nastiness. The colors of the women's dresses contrasts against the drabness of their environment--even the water sucks light out the air.
Made in: 1964
Director: Seijun Suzuki
Owned: No
Category: Drama
Movie #852, #7 in 2008
Stars: 5

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Ace in the Hole
This one plays like of mash-up of Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. It's a pretty dark take on human greed, this time through the eye of a newspaperman. It isn't just the journalists who are bad though. Only the father of the victim and the grandmother really escape condemnation. The problem is that there isn't the same style or pleasure in the movie that Wilder had in his other ones. Kirk Douglas is just loathsome; we can't even understand why the editor of the paper hires him in the first place. Of course, he gets his in the end, as the Hays Code required, but it isn't even that satisfying. That's not to say it isn't a very interesting movie to watch. I give it four stars because it has a lot of the Wilder quality, especially in the writing. At the end of the day though, it's not quite up to the level of Wilder's other great ones.
Made in: 1951
Director: Billy Wilder
Owned: No
Category: Drama, Film Noir
Movie #853, #8 in 2008
Stars: 4

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Speed Racer
This movie seemed to be almost universally reviled on release. It's too bad, because the movie is just loads of fun. The story is exactly as silly and formulaic as the original series, but actually pretty well acted. The terrific part is the non-stop visual action. The colors are retina-scarring, and the editing is rediculously fun. Add in the really cool racetracks, the ridiculous cars, and the even more ridiculous physics of the races and the whole package is a winner.
Made in: 2008
Director: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski
Owned: No
Category: Action, Family, Sport
Movie #854, #9 in 2008
Stars: 4

Saturday, November 08, 2008
There are some parts in the first half that are really funny. Amazingly crude, but still very funny. Then it really goes downhill. The stab at some real emotion near the end is not enough to make it a decent movie. If anything, it shows just how hard it is to make a good John Hughes movie. This movie is the first one I've watched via Netflix download, thus expanding the ways in which I watch movies. The quality was good, and certainly more than adequate for this movie.
Made in: 2007
Director: Greg Mottola
Owned: No
Category: Comedy
Movie #855, #10 in 2008
Stars: 2

Saturday, November 15, 2008
March of the Penguins
This is an amazing movie, filled with incredible shots and a story which simply defies imagining. As cute as it is at times, it's also incredibly sad and violent, such as when the seal eats a penguin ("taking not just the life of the mother, but also her chick who will die of hunger.") I saw this movie in the theater and it is well worth the second look. This one was also watched via Netflix download.
Made in: 2005
Director: Luc Jacquet
Owned: No
Category: Documentary, Family
Movie #856, #11 in 2008
Stars: 5

Friday, November 21, 2008
The Fearless Freaks
This is all about the band "The Flaming Lips." The band members seem pretty normal at first, and the lives they led in Oklahoma were not really that interesting at first. The slight tedium is accented by the fact that the movie seems to be made for people who already know a lot about the band. It didn't really feel like there was enough explication of what was going on. Then, about halfway through, the really interesting stuff starts to happen. The band members have lots and lots of problems, and their families seem totally dysfunctional. The most horrific part is when we watch the best musician of the group slowly prepare his herion fix. It's quite frightening. So by the end, it's really quite a happy story of success, although it does make one wonder how it's all going to turn out in the end. This is another instant Netflix download and it worked perfectly.
Made in: 2005
Director: Bradley Beesley
Owned: No
Category: Documentary, Music
Movie #857, #12 in 2008
Stars: 3

Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tinker Bell
Okay, so not every movie here is Citizen Kane. However, this one was a big hit with the four-year old, and actually it's not nearly as bad as it might have been. The new mythology of fairies is a little goofy, but the treacle is kept to a reasonable minimum and there are some fairly intense parts that make it more than just an exercise in marketing. Most importantly, it really looks good, with terrific animation and design that make even the boring parts worth watching through.
Made in: 2008
Director: Bradley Raymond
Owned: No
Category: Animation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Movie #858, #13 in 2008
Stars: 3

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Iron Man
With this entry I guess I've now seen the two biggest movies of the summer--perhaps leaving only The Hulk to finish things off. This movie is not bad, and, yes, Robert Downey Jr. is terrific. The problem is that the movie feels incredibly thin, like it's a movie schematic much more than a full-fledged movie with a story. Even the romance with Gwyneth Paltrow is less explained or developed than simply hinted at. Presumably the audience is so familiar with the stereotype of unconsummated relationships with secretaries that there is no need for actual plausibility, or even chemistry. I liked Jeff Bridges as the bad guy--even hidden in a suit his voice work was terrific. As I said, Downey was good, but he really only seemed to have one note, its a great note, but just the one note nevertheless.
Made in: 2008
Director: Jon Favreau
Owned: No
Category: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Movie #859, #14 in 2008
Stars: 3

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Charlie Chan's Secret
This is actually the first Chan movie I've ever seen. It starred Warner Oland and it was not a bad way to spend a nicely quick 72 minutes. The story was good, not too many plot holes, the acting passable, and the whole thing fairly reasonable. Again, not everything here is Citizen Kane, but I'm certainly not sorry I watched it. Fairly fun for an end of the year movie as well.
Made in: 1936
Director: Gordon Wiles
Owned: No
Category: Comedy, Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Movie #860, #15 in 2008
Stars: 3



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