Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Best Films of 2009

The ten best films of 2009 in no particular order.  It was a year of great performances, stellar Sci-Fi, and pure emotional substance that we all needed and could relate to in a year filled with recession, violence, and all that normal BS that surrounds us all.  Read about each one after the jump.

Avatar:  It takes mere seconds into James Cameron’s Avatar until you realize that you are about to witness something truly unique. Here is a film that is quite literally a visceral experience in storytelling and presentation. Visually, the film is unlike anything ever seen before. The screen disappears and in an instant Cameron breaks down the fourth wall of filmmaking by inviting us into his total immersion experience. Enjoy the ride.

Up in the Air:  The quintessential 2009 movie.  Clooney shines brighter than ever, in this comedic exploration of a nation in economic strife, a people searching for the human connections they need to prevail, and flight connections they need to escape.

The Messenger:  An oddly voyeuristic look into the lives of two soldiers tasked with being the first to inform the families of fallen soldiers.  A genuine drama starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson that invites us into the darkest corners of personal grief, in the many forms grief may take.

Up:  Pixar, yet again, delivers a magical film that touches the young and old alike.  This time, Pixar chooses age as its protagonist, in a story that rings with the hopes and dreams of us all.

Broken Embraces:  Pedro Almodovar, the most consistent auteur working today again uses the stunning Penelope Cruz as his muse in this color popping modern noir, perhaps an homage to the Master of Suspense himself.

The Hurt Locker:  The best film to come out of the Iraq war yet.  Through the story of a ballsy bomb tech, Kathryn Bigelow’s film touches on pure emotion without the need for overwrought effects or forgone conclusions.

Inglorious Basterds:  Tarantino’s most mature work to date, here is an incredibly entertaining reimagining of World War II featuring the shocking violence and celebrations of cinematic history that only a director as twisted as he can deliver.

The Hangover:  Funniest movie of the year.  A non-stop exercise of epiglottis constriction on the larynx.  In other words, you will laugh your ass off from start to finish.

The Cove:  An incredibly haunting documentary that will give you a renewed respect for our intelligent porpoise brethren.  Here is a look at a dark world none of us new existed, and a team of devoted activists, scientists, and former dolphin trainers who take James Bond like steps to reveal this horror to the rest of the world. 

Moon:  An amazing Sci-Fi film that does not rely on armies of robots, or a galaxy of alien races.  Here is Sam Rockwell, alone, in a role that captures the solitude of space, and inhumanity of science in ways that are truly unexpected.

Honorable Mention:  Politically charged sci-fi awesomeness in District 9, inadvertent John Hughes tribute Adventureland, second funniest film of the year I Love You Man, comic book greatness Watchmen, and romance reinvented in (500) Days of Summer

The Movie MacGuffin is Tony Nunes

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