The most remarkable films of 2008 were small, smart, and complicated. While they're surely worth seeking out for their own pleasures, they also represent the sort of movies that will find theatrical releases even harder to manage in the shrinking economy.
Unlike previous years, where classics came crawling out of the celluloid woodwork with regular reckless abandon, 2008 was more calm… and considered. That's not to say that choosing 30 top titles was hard. The difficulty in placing them in some manner of rank order suggests the actual depth of quality involved.
With many indie/international films receiving more and more mainstream approval from unfamiliar audiences, many of the titles here could be considered part of the overall 2008 Best Of. But their individuality and multicultural appeal keep them a quality concept apart.
Twenty talented ladies, 20 performances worthy of multiple little gold men. Unfortunately, as in all years, someone has to come out on top. But after looking over this impressive list, picking the preeminent turn of 2008 seems almost impossible.
Oddly enough, while the major studios continue scratching their heads over how to sell yet another new format (Blu-ray) to disinterested consumers, several outside distributors made sure that this would be a digital year to remember.
From Julian Schnabel's artsy The Diving Bell and the Butterfly to the legendary Coen Brothers splendid adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, PopMatters counts down the 30 best films of 2007.