As I had feared, it's not three posts about the movies of the year, anymore. This one got so big I've split it in sort-of half. The other will be up tomorrow, if you can bear the wait.
Best Hero: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. - Iron Man)
Racer X (Matthew Fox - Speed Racer)
Po (Jack Black - Kung Fu Panda)
Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor - Redbelt)
Zen (Yanin Vismitananda – Chocolate)
James Bond (Daniel Craig – Quantum of Solace)
Best Villain: The Joker (Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight)
Brett (Jack O'Connell - Eden Lake)
Roland Cox (Samuel L. Jackson – Jumper)
Tai Lung (Ian McShane - Kung Fu Panda)
Prime Minister Cao Cao (Fengyi Zhang - Red Cliff: Part One)
Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons - Appaloosa)
Worst Hero: D’Leh (Stephen Strait - 10000 B.C.)
Rick O’ Connell (Brendan Fraser - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor)
Dr. Jack Gramm (Al Pacino - 88 Minutes)
Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra - Doomsday)
David Rice (Hayden Christensen – Jumper)
Joe the Depressed Assassin (Nicolas Cage - Bangkok Dangerous)
Worst Villain: Jon Forster (Neal McDonough – 88 Minutes)
Gallian (Ray Liotta – In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale)
Marriage and the restrictions placed on the human soul by societal conventions (The 1950s – Revolutionary Road)
Man’s inhumanity to his fellow man (Humankind at its worst – Blindness)
The cynicism of people in modern Britain (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Random vaguely Arabic looking Warlord ZOMG Fear of the Other!!! (Affif Ben Badra – 10000 B.C.)
Most Tragic Villain: Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart - The Dark Knight)
Honourable Mention: Prince Nuada (Luke Goss - Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
Most Lovable Character: Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim - Kung Fu Panda)
Character Who Is An Affront To Humanity And Logic And Must Never Be Emulated: Poppy (Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky)
Most Annoyingly Passive Character: Jamal Malik (Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire)
Dishonourable Mention: Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Most Thought-Out Character of the Year: Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
It was a hell of a tough sell, making the audience care about and accept the young turk who would, if rumour was to be believed, take over the whip and fedora in future Indiana Jones movies. That's less likely now, but even so, Spielberg, Lucas, David Koepp (and Frank Darabont from his previous draft) took great care in crafting the character of Mutt Williams, and Shia LaBeouf brought him to life beautifully. Sadly, all involved should have spent as much time getting the final half of the film right as well.
Character We Want To See Suddenly Appear In Every Movie Ever Made Just To Insult Everyone With His Piercing Insights Into The Hypocrisy Of Bourgeois Middle-Class Life: John Givings (Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road)
Gupta of the Year: Jack Lira (Diego Luna – Milk)
Dishonourable Mentions: Professor Harold 'Ox' Oxley (John Hurt - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Ashley Kowalski (Dreama Walker - Gran Torino)
Most Lovable Cranky Hardass of the Year: Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood – Gran Torino)
Honourable Mention: The Chief (Alan Arkin - Get Smart)
Badass of the Year: Zen (Yanin Vismistananda - Chocolate) If you don’t believe me, check out the stunt at 3:14.
What a woman. Can we make her the Queen or something?
Best Scene: Scary prisoner Tiny Lister makes a fateful decision in The Dark Knight.
Philippe Petit completes his high-wire walk between the Two Towers in Man on Wire.
The twenty minute single take conversation in Hunger.
Tony Stark bickers with his enthusiastic robot helper in Iron Man.
The BPRD enter the troll market in Hellboy II.
Po's kung fu dream in Kung Fu Panda.
Best Action Scene: The various mini-battles within the Eight Trigrams Formation in Red Cliff: Part One.
Tai Lung escapes from prison in Kung Fu Panda.
The mid-movie blowout chase sequence in The Dark Knight.
The first stage of the Casa Cristo 5000 from Speed Racer.
The eighteen minute showdown at the end of Chocolate.
The mental car chase at the end of Vantage Point.
Mike Terry (Chiwetel Ejiofor) defends the honour of himself and his training academy against thoughtless corporate exploitation in the final few minutes of Redbelt.
General Ma Xinyi (Jet Li) takes on a line of cannons in The Warlords.
Most Upsetting Sight of the Year: Whatever the hell that thing was that terrorised poor Manuela Velasco in the apartment penthouse at the end of [Rec].
A topless Robert De Niro having rough sex with Carla Gugino in Righteous Kill.
Mickey Rourke getting stapled in The Wrestler.
Tim Roth getting kicked across a campus into a tree in The Incredible Hulk.
Jeff Anderson discovering the downside of filming anal in Zack and Miri Make A Porno.
Stephen Rea trapped in a windshield for several hours in Stuck.
Long-Awaited Showdown Between Action Icons of the Year: Jet Li versus Jackie Chan in The Forbidden Kingdom.
Not-So Long Awaited Showdown Between Action Icons of the Year: Jason Statham versus Craig Fairbrass in The Bank Job.
Scene I Cried At Most This Year: Matthew Fox's final scene in Speed Racer. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Honourable Mention: Mutt Williams picks up his father's hat in the final scene of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Most Satisfying Finale of the Year: The Dark Knight
Honourable Mentions: The Wrestler, Speed Racer, The Orphanage, Step Brothers
Worst Garbled and Re-Edited Ending of the Year: Babylon A.D.
Dishonourable Mentions: Dante 01, Jumper
Most WTF OMG Brain-Altering Applause-Inducing Moment of the Year: Batman brings the Batpod to a very abrupt stop during the bravura chase sequence from The Dark Knight.
Best Bad Guy Death: Random Burmese soldier shot in the head with an arrow prior to falling onto a landmine in Rambo (It's at the two minute mark.)
Rosie Perez crushed by an exploding car in the pitch-perfect action-homage finale to Pineapple Express.
No. 8 (Pongpat Wachirabunjong) plunges several floors to a very painful death (see also several of his cronies who suffer a similar bone-crunching fate) in the demented finale of Chocolate.
The tragic fall of Prince Nuada in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
Best Location Shooting: The Dark Knight
As silly as it sounds, filming almost entirely in Chicago is one of the things that makes The Dark Knight such a distinctive movie. Even though Chicago has been used many times before as a location, Christopher Nolan and his crew made it feel like a new place, somewhere that doesn't exist in our world. Here's a feature showing the locations, which is making me want to visit and do a big tour. Nolan's attempt to show as much of "Gotham" as he can, making it a character in the movie, means he also films a lot of interiors in corner offices with large windows looking out over the city. Especially in IMAX, the effect is breathtaking.
The Incredible Hulk - Judicious use of New York locations make the big FX finale shot in Canada look more convincing, and the early scenes in Brazil, with astonishingly long shots of the huge favelas, are fantastic.
In Bruges - Obviously.
Slumdog Millionaire - When you can tell what the hell is going on.
Right, the next one will be the last one, I hope. It'll be even more miscellaneous than this one, if you can believe that.