For better or for worse, we are in the age of big-budget movies. Every year it seems the budget for films gets higher and higher with studios paying top dollar for A-list starpower and successful intellectual properties to base their films on. One of the downsides to this system is that, due to marketing and publicity, only about 20 films make lasting impressions from any given year, with the rest getting pushed by the wayside or slipping through the cracks. 2008 is one such year.
To help make sure you aren’t missing out on great movie experiences from 2008, here are five films from five years ago that you probably haven’t seen, but should.
Penelope is a somewhat modern-day fairy tale about the daughter of wealthy aristocrats who has an unsightly curse, a pig nose, that can only be broken by the power of true. Tired of living a forced sheltered life meeting an endless stream of shallow suitors, Penelope ventures out of her enclosed world and meets unlikely friends while one her new adventures.
Penelope boasts an impressive cast that includes Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Dinklage, and Catherine O’Hara while delivering a light-hearted tale of self-discovery and what it means to really love someone. It’s just a really fun, feel-good movie that’s rated PG, making it perfect for the whole family.
Comic book based movies are all the buzz these days and have been since the early 2000s, so it was a little surprising that Hellboy II flew under the radar, especially since it was directed by Guillermo del Toro. This sequel continues the awesome action and comedy from the first film that’s based on the independent comic series as a demonic warlord threatens to invade the human world with his giant army. Only Hellboy and his teammates from the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense can stop him in this visually dazzling action film.
It’s constant action and laughs with eye-popping visuals and creatures. And since del Toro is old school and like to use make-up and prosthetics for his creatures, it’s even more fun since it isn’t all just a CGI party.
If you liked Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch, then you’ll love the much lesser known RocknRolla. It’s another gritty crime-comedy about a real estate scam that draws out every mobster and thug in London to try to cash in on the millions of euros at stake. Soon bullets are flying and everyone is double-crossing each other in an attempt to out-scheme rivals and temporary partners while walking away with the money.
Gerard Butler leads the cast as street criminal, One-Two (think Jason Statham in Snatch) with a supporting cast that includes Idris Elba, Jeremy Piven, Ludacris, Tom Wilkinson, and Gemma Arterton. Try to follow along this hilarious crime-riddled thriller and see if you can figure who is going to walk away a richer… or at least alive.
Don’t discredit this film just because it’s a cartoon. Ponyo was written and directed by legendary Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki. Inspired greatly by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, Ponyo tells the story of a fish princess that goes to the surface of the ocean and befriends a small boy. After meeting him, she decides that she wants to be human too, however, this causes all kinds of problems for her father and the surface world.
Like all Studio Ghibli films, Ponyo is artistically stunning with beautiful hand-drawn cels that weave a magical story that is both familiar and new at the same time. It’s a movie that will be enjoyed by viewers young and old and stars the voice talents of Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, and Cate Blanchett.
Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody star in this “con man comedy” about two brothers who attempt to pull-off one final con before one goes legitimate. The last swindle is to hoodwink a beautiful and eccentric heiress while accompanying her on an adventure around the world. Will they be successful in pulling off a con that will have them living the high-life for the rest of their days or will everything backfire landing the brothers in jail?
Rachel Weisz co-stars in this comedy that pits the love of family versus doing the right thing. The Brothers Bloom is fun, funny and the cast sizzles with charming chemistry. Be the first person you know to watch this little-known gem. You won’t regret it.