Welcome to my first article for my new site! And this being my first article for the new year, or even the new decade (if you consider 2010 as part of the new decade) I thought why not look back at what a great year it has been as far as my movie-going experience is concerned. I’m just thankful that I was able to go to the theaters at least once a week because 2009 was a great year for watching movies! And just to be clear these are the movies that I was able to watch this year, so this list doesn’t include a lot of movies that haven’t been released internationally yet and movies that I chose not to watch for personal reasons e.g. paranormal activity (because scary things, scare me). And I’m not gonna even try and rank these movies because that will just hurt my brain.
These are the Best of the Best, movies that I had high expectations for and were able to deliver or exceed those expectations.
- Avatar – the biggest movie event of the year also has the biggest budget, but like what Roger Ebert said I’m glad someone in Hollywood still knows how to spend 350 million dollars. This movie can actually save cinemas because thats the only way to fully experience Avatar, in the biggest screen possible and in 3D. Its good that James Cameron never backed down and just didn’t stop until he realized his dream. Finally this generation has their Star Wars, not in the sense of an excellent movie series just yet but I’m just referring to an epic movie per se. I’m totally aware of the cheesy dialogue but thats fine with me the story was good (not great) anyway. I’ll just leave the epic dialogue to some other movie but at least Avatar uses technology well enogh to push the boundaries of story-telling. As for the soundtrack, meh.
- Star Trek – if you plan to reboot a franchise, this is how you do it (also Dark Knight). You make it epic, you make it appeal to both fans and non-fans alike and you don’t mess with previous lore. This is just a really entertaining film, the visuals are great, thrilling action sequences, great cast and dialogue that occassionally panders to fans of the series. Everything except the villain was right for this film. It’s not that the acting was horrible or that the character was completely empty but I felt that the villain just wasnt right for the story, his purpose was too weak. Oh, and big monsters getting eaten by bigger monsters just before they get to the hero is getting really old. Also.. lens flares!
- District 9 – definitely in my top 5 for this year this movie is a joy to watch. The lead is very likable as a character and an actor. The cgi is flawless and almost makes you forget the aliens weren’t real. The story is extremely relevant to our times and more importantly its message is not on the nose, its not being shoved in your face but rather you have to search for it and the realization is the reward.Oh and its funny when it needs to be as well.
- Up – had me in tears during the first few minutes of this film. Any scene that had Carl and Ellie is just pure gold. There are so many things in this movie that keeps pulling the strings on my fat-clogged heart like “its the boring things that you remember.” Admittedly the rest of the film, the actual adventure part, didn’t live up to the first part of the film only because the first half was so perfect.
- The Brother’s Bloom – ever since I saw brick I knew there was Rian Johnson is gonna be a great filmmaker and boy did he deliver in Brother’s Bloom. I like Brick a little bit more than this movie but this is still a fun ride plus the performances were great across the board. The dialogue is really witty and the twist and turns of the story are really entertaining.
- Inglorious Basterds – the dialogue is definitely the main attraction for this film, Quentin Tarantino is such a master of building tension just through character interaction. The violence is over the top but still has a certain style to it. I like the fact that theres more dialogue in this film rather than action mainly because the script is so intelligent.
- Watchmen – the fact that someone had the balls to create a film based on the graphic novel and remained extremely faithful to the source material just blows my mind. The visuals are amazing and I’m completely aware that the complicated plot may not appeal to everyone but that just makes the film even more special. The fact that it doesnt dumb it self down for the rest of the world and just remains focused on delivering the point across. Also Rorschach is such a bad-ass.
- He’s Just Not that into you – this is just a standard chick flick, its not even close to the film Love, Actually but its the best out of all the standard chick flicks this year in my opinion. Thats because despite being formulaic it actually has clever dialogue from time to time. The cast is stellar and no one in particular sucked but of course if you have so many characters to follow you won’t have enough time to explore their stories.
- 500 days of summer – this film is not a love story, its a story about love.. this is the best couples movie this year, heck I’d even recommend single people to see it. Yes it feels like an indie film in every way, but when is that a bad thing? Great soundtrack, quirky scenes, funny dialogue and characters that you just fall in love with.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Probably the installment with the darkest theme yet, the cinematography in this film is just awe-inspiring. I know people always say its not as good as the book and I agree, the movie didn’t devote enough time to the half-blood prince making the reveal at the end fall flat and the final scene where raise their wands to honor Dumbledore was just too short. You can definitely feel the series mature in this film and they sort of take risks as well. All the teen stuff actually come out as cute and romantic rather than being corny to a person as old as me.
- Monsters vs Aliens – its not quite kung-fu panda but it comes close. The film definitely delivers a few good laughs plus theres also the obvious albeit shallow ‘girl power’ message of the story.
- Sherlock Holmes – why would a film trying to make a lot of money get a release date so close to Avatar, well I guess if they’re really confident about their product they just don’t care. If not for Avatar this movie might’ve been the holiday event for this year. And boy is it a great movie, Guy Richie’s style fits perfectly in this movie and doesn’t feel forced like in Rock ‘n Rolla. And of course the bromance between Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law is entertaining. This film is most certainly a welcome take on Sherlock Holmes.
- I love you, Man – my 2nd best comedy film for 2009, I just love the plot of this movie its a simple story but it has a lot of heart. It touches on a lot of topics such as music and growing up and underneath all the funny moments theres a sadness in the film thats also heartwarming. I watched this film because I’ve loved Jason Segel’s work so far and I knew that he was gonna be awesome but after watching the film Paul Rudd delivered an equally amazing if not more memorable performance.
- The Hangover – this is my favorite pure comedy for 2009, with an outrageous and totally impossible plot this film just delivers the laughs. Another interesting things to note is that its a summer movie that has a relatively low budget. Performances were great most notably Ed Helms. This is the years movie that delivers the highest LPM (laughs per minute).
- Ong Bak 2 – this is action porn just like the first movie, a lot of things don’t make sense, some people fight for no reason, the acting is over the top, fewer jaw-dropping stunts compared to the first one but still its a unique action film and I’m glad I saw it.
- Zombieland – nut up or shut up, its cool and cheesy at the same time and its something you won’t forget; that pretty much sums up the movie as a whole. Its a nice take on the zombie genre, its entertaining, the dialogue is great and the lead is of course totally relatable. This is probably the first film where I found Emma Stone to be attractive oh and Woody Harrelson is such a bad-ass.
Thanks for reading, be sure to come back tomorrow to checkout my list for most surprising movies of 2009!