Thursday, 1 January 2009

NWI Awards: Most Under-rated Movies of the Year

The movies 2008 unfairly ignored, or dismissed with an unenthused shrug. A very uncool thing to do.

Most Under-rated Movies of the Year

6) Definately, Maybe

Whilst clearly no kind of masterpiece, this was a funny, clever romantic comedy in a genre full of cynical cash-ins. Proof that Ryan Reynolds is a great actor and even more proof that Kevin Kline rules. It even survives a cutesy kid.

5) Brick Lane

Not a movie for the London tourist board. After a beautiful Indian set prologue, London looks like a piece of shit, dying under a plague of council houses. It is a tightly told piece of human drama that seemingly came and went with little to no fuss. Its a shame because lesser British movies have received more acclaim.

4) Margot at the Wedding

Squid and the Whale helmer Noah Baumbach's follow up was much derided for its bitterness and aloof tone. But that's totally the point. Nicole Kidman's intellectual ice queen is a fantastically engaging self-absorbed monster, but its not the only great performance in a great ensemble.

3) The Mist

Yet another Stephen king adaptation, except this is one of the good ones. Directed by King's go to guy Frank Darabont, who has Shawshank redemption and The Green Mile under his belt, this is high-concept horror turned classy, with a terrifically scene-stealing performance by Marcia Gay harden as an opprtunistic religious bigot.

2) The Duchess
A period drama by the director of Bullet Boy? Hells yeah, and with yet another great corseted performance by Keira Knightley. Its a shame she can't be this good in a movie set in this century. The movie is a tragedy at heart, with a great woman trapped in a loveless, dutiful marriage to introvert duke Ralph Fiennes, who delivers yet another awesome performance. Painfully ignored at awards time, this maybe Knightley's best yet.

1) Before the devil knows you're dead

A quiet february release befell this film, which apart from some minor state critic accolades got majorly rejected at the big show. It contains what may be the great Philip Seymour Hoffman's best performance to date, a fantastically done slow-burn journey into darkness. The film may be a melodrama, but its a damn good one. Hunt this down.

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