This is my definitive list (no more of those bullcrap ties) of my top ten favourite films released during 2009!
10) BLACK DYNAMITE – I’m happy to say that I participated in the bizarre experience of watching this movie 20 minutes after watching Barack Obama be sworn in as the first African American President of The United States. This movie blended comedy, action, and the funky grindhouse style of blacksploitation really well. On par with Pootie Tang greatness. Was that last part racist?
9) THE HANGOVER – Zach Galifianakis destroyed this movie. Tore it apart & puked it back out for millions to enjoy. I had so much invested in Mr. Galifiankis’ first big attempt at a mainstream movie since 2001’s OUT COLD, mostly because I loved him in 2008’s VISIONEERS, & because I have a beard-crush on him. However, Ed Helms’ musical interlude in the film sealed the deal for me.
8 ) MOON – Fun fact: MOON was directed by David Bowie’s son! Another fun fact: turns out he’s a really great director! That mixed with the superb talents of Mr. Sam Rockwell, and an awesome dark, ominous script create a film that unfolds at a comfortably manic pace.
7) UP & FANTASTIC MR. FOX – Alright, so I lied. I made up this list before I watched FANTASTIC MR. FOX, so we’ll just say that the number seven spot is reserved for my favourite animated films of the year? Deal. UP made me smile-cry three times, and FANTASTIC MR. FOX was one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen, and also had some of Wes Anderson’s most-accessible characters to date; well, it was made (partially) for kids, so maybe that’s why. Me = plain.
6) DISTRICT 9 – This film was my favourite film all year in terms of delivering on expectations. The trailer, and other short films by Neil Blomkamp had my expectations so high, that I feared that they could not be met. This year has been fairly heartbreaking for me in terms of getting way too excited for films based solely on their trailers (ie. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, ZOMBIELAND), so when I was sitting (literally) on the edge of my seat, hoping for Wikus to redeem himself, I knew that the film delivered.
5) (500) DAYS OF SUMMER – This is a damn cute film with Joseph Gordon Levitt & Zooey Deschanel. Moving on.
4) A SERIOUS MAN – I would definitely nominate the Coen Brothers as my favourite film makers working today, considering that my favourite film of all time is THE BIG LEBOWSKI (and I love 99% of their stuff), so when they released BURN AFTER READING, which I had mixed feelings for, I had a lot invested in A SERIOUS MAN. And now it sits in my number four spot.
3) CHE (Part 1 & 2) – I reccomend that you watch the two parts seperately (but close together) to maintain a proper sense of the narrative. The first film fills you with inspiration and hope, and the second film robs you of everything that you gained from the first, and manages to take a little bit more than you came in with (in a very good way). Steven Soderbergh + Benicio Del Toro = Yes. Clear your schedule, and get ready to watch a very long movie crafted by very capable hands.
2) THIRST (Korea) – This is a twisted vampire movie brought to you by the director of OLD BOY, one of the most effed up films I’ve ever seen. THIRST manages to be a bit more accessible (even though there was still 11 people who walked out of my screening) balancing wonderfully comedic moments, with disturbing & spellbinding imagery. One of the best performances of the year I’ve seen coming from Kang-ho Song who plays the lead. Check it out, if you’re alright with a bit o’ blood.
1) INGLORIOUS BASTERDS – I think this films’ advertising campaign was one of the greatest bait & switches in history. The trailers and television advertisements advertised this film as a bunch of guys (lead by Mr. Handsome Brad Pitt) who ruthlessly murdered Nazis in war-torn France.
Murdering Nazis appeals to “dudes”, while Mr. Pitt appeals to “chicks”. That covers two very large demographics. Another large demographic is the one who is going to see anything that Tarantino decides to serve up. This is the demographic that I belong to, and this is why I was worried when the trailer seemed to feature no real story, just a lot of hamming it up by Pitt, and Nazi’s getting their asses killed.
It should also be noted that I never read the screenplay that was leaked online (although I did receive it for Christmas this year).
I’ve worked at a movie theatre. I know movie going audiences. They’re too stupid to tolerate a film with subtitles, if there had even been a hint of that in the trailers, I think they would have instantly lost 20% of their box office bounty.
So I think you know how I feel about the film’s ad campaign. T’was brilliant.
At the end of the film, Brad Pitt’s character says “You know somethin’, Utivich? I think this might just be my masterpiece.”, well put. I loved the film, through & through. I think Tarantino masterfully released a magnificently crafted artsy film under the disguise of a blockbuster release.
Honorable Mentions: STAR TREK, that should not have been so good! 17 AGAIN, Zac Efron can act! TAKEN, Liam Neeson can kick ass!
What I haven’t seen: Crazy Heart, Nine, Precious, The Brothers Bloom, The Informant, Coraline, Jonas Brother’s Concert Experience, Sin Nombre, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, The Girlfriend Experience, Cold Souls, Paper Heart, Ponyo, Broken Embraces