Saturday, January 30, 2010

2009's Film In Review

My girlfriend and I saw a ton of movies in 2009. More than she's probably seen in one year ever. 2009 was a definitely fantastic year for movies, including a couple films that I would consider some of the best ever....

Here are my personal top ten films of 2009.

10. A Serious Man
The Coen Brothers' most personal film, it's very funny, very dark and very allegorical... The lead actor was absolutely amazing. Very deserving of an Oscar nod.

9. Watchmen
I hated this in the theatre. It was three in the morning and I was falling asleep. The plot twists couldn't keep me awake, considering I studied the book in university I was familiar enough with it. But... the director's cut on Blu-Ray? Well, it fixed all the problems I had. The pacing felt better, the scenes were fleshed out. It's certainly not The Dark Knight, but it's a damn good enjoyable flick.

8. L'ennemi public n°1
A four hour French movie split into two parts, this came out in 2008, but I saw it in 2009. Absolutely balls to the wall crime movie about the real Jacques Mesrine, a bank robber and all around badass. Great action scenes, great character building and great performances make this movie.

7. The Hangover
Infinitely quotable, this was the surprise of the year. I wasn't expecting much, but I was blown away. I wish most comedies were this tight, this well written and this entertaining.

6. Paranormal Activity
Another 2008 movie, but it hit theatres in 2009, Nadya and I saw this at home, in the dark (with the vastly superior original ending) and both of us had problems sleeping. Very effective horror is mostly suggestion, and this movie delivers.

5. Up
I cried harder in the first ten minutes of this movie than I ever have in a theatre. In ten minutes, Pixar manages to elicit a more real emotional response than thousands of other movies. Anybody who says animation is for kids is a complete idiot. Even after the perfect intro, the movie continues to amaze, astound, and move. The sensational character of the year? Dug....

4. Avatar
The amazing visuals alone would make this movie, but it's got more. It's got a great performance from Sam Worthington and a fantastic one from a sixty year old Sigourney Weaver. I never felt that this was a three hour movie; I was enthralled the entire time.

3. The Hurt Locker
Edge of your seat action movie. A war movie that isn't ABOUT war. It's about the men serving and the crazy stuff they must put up with. Jeremy Rennie, as the lead, is a revelation. Add in the amazing camera work, the cameos from Guy Pearce and Ralph Fiennes, this is a great action movie.

2. Drag Me to Hell
This is what horror movies are all about. Sam Raimi announces his dominance of the genre with his trademark humour, gore, slapstick, and nihilism. Absolutely hilarious and a perfect use of sound in a movie. Unfortunately it won't get the Oscar for Best Sound, but it damn well should.

1. Inglourious Basterds.
What a fantastic perfect film. Hilarious, offbeat, violent, engaging, and filled with tons of that trademark Tarantino dialogue. In 2009, I saw this movie THREE times. Once in the theatre and then twice at home. I love the odd structure to the movie, the disparate plot threads that come together, the odd tangents and the musical cues.

Movies that didn't quite make the cut?
District 9 was really good, but I fell asleep in the theatre, so I missed like half of it.
I Love You Man was very funny, and enriched my life with Rush fandom.
Last House on the Left is the winner for most uncomfortable theatre experience of my entire life....
The Lovely Bones was superficially entertaining, but the murky philosophical undertones ruined the experience for me. See Roger Ebert's articulate review for details and why I hate this movie.
Star Trek was good, but I could write a whole essay on the plot holes in the screenplay.
World's Greatest Dad was a fantastic dark comedy starring Robin Williams that nobody saw, but I did and I loved it. Its reliance on its pop music soundtrack is a negative, but that's it.
The Final Destination was okay.
Bolt was okay.

I didn't see Public Enemies although I wanted to. I also have waiting to be watched on DVD The Fantastic Mr Fox, Where The Wild Things Are and Up In the Air, all three of which I'm excited to watch.

Most movies I saw this year I liked. There was only a couple movies that I outright disliked, and even then I was able to find some positive aspects.

I look forward to 2010... but it has some stiff competition from 2009, that's for sure.

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