The decade has ended and to remember the final year of the decade here is my Top Ten of the year to round out my Decade Remembered series of pieces. This year was honestly a great year for films. I know that we had to struggle through the initial stages of rubbish (as we do every year) with movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Legend of Chun-Li, The International and Dragonball. However, eventually the summer came and with the heat came the blockbusters that rocked us like Star Trek and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and by the end of the year we we're treated to gems like Precious and Brothers. However, in this humble man's opinion, the ten BEST movies of 2009 that I had the treat of seeing are:
TEN - Funny People
I know a lot of people weren't a fan of the last 20 or so minutes of the movie where it slowed down to finally handle all of the dramatic moments that it decided to set up for the previous hour but I did. I loved everything about this movie and thought it was one of the best touching comedies of the year which decided to tackle the idea of celebrity and what celebrity does when he has to come to terms with his own mortality. He's made so much money but at the end there is noone there for him to connect to anymore. It's a great drama with a side of comedy. (review)
NINE - Moon
Here is one of the biggest breakout films of the year. Written and Directed by first time filmmaker Duncan Jones on a budget of $5Million. It isn't only one of the smartest science fiction films but it also gives us one of the best performances of the year. Sam Rockwell playing Sam Bell against Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell. We've seen numerous movies where an actor plays multiple roles and has to go through scenes over and over as each character and has to talk to tennis balls, but none that brought out such emotion and at the same time had absolutely noone else to work with. The only other actor in the film is Kevin Spacey and he's not on set, he's the computer so for all I know Sam never actually heard his dialogue while filming the movie.
EIGHT - Away We Go
I love these small indie romantic comedies that hit every year. I think this is the one that comes to us with some of the most realistic couples and characters you can imagine. From the first scene of the film you're in stitches from the way these two interact and play with each other. Then we are treated to a road film as they try to find where they want to be their new home and it just makes me smile from town to town and family and friends that they are looking to reconnect with and see how they're doing and if this is the place for them.
SEVEN - Inglorious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino delivers his best film since Pulp Fiction here with this WWII fantasy about his Basterds terrorizing the Nazis in France. From beginning to end the film is an exercise in mind-bending cat and mouse chases through interrogation and manipulation and Lt. Aldo Raine tries to get closer to his quota of scalps and Hans Landa (my favourite character of the year) tries to figure out where the Jews are hiding. (review)
SIX - UP
Pixar did it again. They made one of the most entertaining and imaginative stories that you'll be able to enjoy with your younger cousins and children all year. From the first ten minutes of the film If you're not in tears yet it means you have no soul. Carl Fredricksen and Russel go on an adventure to Paradise Falls and meet with adventure and a slew of unlikely characters including Dug, a talking dog, and Kevin, a snipe, to teach everyone what's really important in life. I've watched this movie more than five times already this year and since I have it on BluRay already it will make for great viewing week to week.
FIVE - District 9
Another smart science fiction film which works as it's own social commentary on the apartheid that was occurring in South Africa up until the mid-90s. However, instead of it being the blacks being forced to live as second class citizens in the slums it's these aliens that accidentally landed here and are now unable to leave. To tell you anything about the plot of this movie would ruin it for you since all you need to know is the basic idea. There is the MNU corporation which is in charge of controlling the alien's in their area and they are planning to move them to another (even worse) slum further away from the town so as to appease the locals. The film is brilliant and once again from a first time filmmaker, Niell Blomkamp, who I can't wait to see more from. (review)
FOUR - The Brothers Bloom
"Wow is the word you're searching for" - Stephen. This is a film that I wasn't sure exactly how much I loved it when first I saw it but after acquiring a copy on DVD and sitting and rewatching it over and over and discovering its numerous layers of not only character details but plot details I can't help but fall in love with what might just be the best gentlemen thieves I've had the pleasure of meeting. It's hilarious to notice things like the fact that Bang Bang has more presence in this film than most leads in others and she says about four words for the entire runtime of the movie, Bloom doesn't has a first name (unless we assume his name is Bloom Bloom) and the beautiful score that Nathan Johnson cooked up for this almost masterpiece of a movie. Rian Johnson I approve and I can't wait to see more.
THREE - The Hurt Locker
Who is this Jeremy Renner man you speak of? Best actor? I agree. Here is one of the most intense characters you will discover all year. From the moment we are introduced to him you know that this guy isn't here for any reason other than he needs to get his fix, and his drug is adrenaline. He is a bomb technician in Iraq, and we follow him as he and his team try to survive day to day for the remainder of their rotation in Iraq. It's almost refreshing when I'm able to watch a movie and be treated to a character that never wavers in his convictions or personality. In most films it's about showing someone another way of life and they realize how they are wrong or different but no matter what you do he knows that he is here to do this and he's going to have fun while he does it. I will never forget that car bomb scene.
TWO - Where the Wild Things Are
I'm a huge fan of those films from the 80s where we're treated to the imaginations of children and how they deal with their feelings. Here Spike Jonze gives us a film that won't be forgotten anytime soon. For those of us lucky enough to have been born at exactly the right time to know and love things like The Muppets this is a return to those days of storytelling and filmmaking with a slight update. The movie doesn't look cheap and it doesn't compromise in its idea. It is perfect in almost everyway it can be and I love it for that. (review)
ONE - (500) Days of Summer
This movie is the best love story you will ever see. It is not a story about two people falling in love, but a story about love. You may call it the most guy centric love story you'll ever seen because you can see every detail of the story painted with Tom's perspective of the events so for any guy who's ever been in love you will relate to exactly what is happening, and for those of you who's had your heart broken that's there as well. I love it and even though I'm sure a lot of people will tell me that I'm being ridiculous about it I don't care. I know it won't win best picture at the Oscars but it just touched me and made me smile at everything. (review)
Adventureland, The Cove, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Girlfriend Experience, Observe and Report, Public Enemies, Sin Nombre, Star Trek, Sunshine Cleaning, Watchmen, World's Greatest Dad, Zombieland. What's your favourite film from 2009?