24 December 2009

Best of the 00s, 2009 Films Edition

2009 isn't over, and I haven't seen all I want to see given I wait for the home releases on a lot of pictures, lately. But I've seen enough to know what I've liked so far.

2009 Films

Films I liked;
Adventureland, Coraline, I Love You, Man, Observe and Report, Crank: High Voltage, Star Trek, Drag Me to Hell, The Hangover, Cold Souls, Inglorious Basterds, Broken Embraces.

Films I might like once I've seen them;
The Hurt Locker, Sunshine Cleaning, Bright Star, Funny People, Sherlock Holmes

Films that I could have liked a lot more if they weren't terribly flawed in some way;
Watchmen, District 9, Year One, The Brothers Bloom

Films that I have strong opinions about both positive and negative, yet don't feel like articulating;

The tentative top three of 2009

An amazing opening, a full life and decades' worth of loving and heartbreak unfold before your eyes. That alone makes it one of the movies of the year. Add to that remarkable images, solid use of 3D, talking dogs (and Doug), and great vocal performances from Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer, and you have yourself one fine picture.

I wanted to like this picture, and luckily the filmmakers delivered. It's really a typical indie sensitive boy becoming a man coming of age story, with zombies and gore splatter thrown in for good measure. Doesn't seem like two genres that would meld successfully, yet there it is up on the screen, being entertaining as hell. It's funny in smart ways, and smart in funny ways, so long as gore doesn't put you out, this is a must see film. Jesse Eisenberg might be playing the exact same character he did in Adventureland, but he's still excellent in both films. Emma Stone is her usual solid self, and Abigail Breslin seems like a kid actor who might be able to keep acting as she gets older. Woody Harrelson gives a strong and endearing comic performance as a sort of reluctant patriarch/Obi Wan Kenobi type character. Woody Harrelson!

Up in the Air
Clooney, playing Clooney, a less glamorous, more nakedly cynical Clooney than we are used to, but Clooney nevertheless. Jason Reitman delivers again. His third feature, and all three have made the top three in their given year according to me. I have a mancrush on his directing prowess, and I don't care who knows it. Less light than his other two pictures, and does get a bit heavy handed in spots, but the characters are so well conceived, their interactions so honest, and the way the story is spun out, so skillful, that it's easy to forgive the moments when Reitman chooses to hammer home a few points too forcefully. He even makes Vera Farmiga compelling. Vera Farmiga!

1 comment:

blake said...

Interesting selection. In some cases (where you agree with me) your taste is remarkably good.