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My 2009 in film

Movies I liked in 2009:
  • Coraline

  • Watchmen
    I really hope that the Academy doesn't overlook Jackie Earle Haley's outstanding performance as Rorschach.

  • Star Trek
    I have a few quibbles with it, but it was a much-needed revitalization of the franchise. A very entertaining passing of the torch.

  • Julie & Julia
    What food lover didn't see this film? I know people are all Meryl, Meryl, Meryl, and she's wonderful as always, but Stanley Tucci was excellent as Paul. I also liked Jane Lynch as Julia's sister before I saw her in Glee as Sue.

  • Inglourious Basterds
    I think many critics assume that they're going to hand Christoph Waltz the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at this year's Academy Awards, and I certainly wouldn't be surprised. This is some of Tarantino's best work, and I cannot think of a film that I enjoyed more in 2009. I left the theater with a big smile on my face.

  • Avatar
    You'll rarely hear me say this, but the plot is just about irrelevant. This is one that you simply must see on the big screen. You have my permission to watch it with the sound off (though the script actually isn't dreadful), but definitely see the spectacular visuals before it leaves the theaters.

  • Sherlock Holmes
    Saw Sherlock Holmes tonight and enjoyed it, particularly the atmosphere and score. It's the tiniest bit slow in spots, but it's clearly the first of several films, so I'll forgive a little exposition. I wouldn't say it's the best film of the year or anything, but I was entertained. Robert Downey, Jr. can do the Charming Rogue in his sleep, so no acting challenge for him here. The script was a bit meh, your basic two-dimensional dark rites fare, but Jude Law and RDJ had good chemistry, and I was pleasantly surprised by Law disappearing into the role of Watson.

Movies that were okay or about what I expected in 2009:
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    The young leads have really improved as actors, especially Daniel Radcliffe, who may well actually have a career after this. I quite enjoyed the Tom Riddle flashbacks, too. I just ... I guess I find the movies a little anticlimactic at this point, given how disappointed I was with Deathly Hallows.

  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
    I went somewhat reluctantly, expecting to hate it, but so much of it is done with self-aware good humor, I just couldn't. It didn't take itself seriously, and for that, it was a bit better than I thought it would be. Just about every actor in it knows that he or she has been in better films, so most of them just decide to have fun with it for the paycheck.

  • District 9
    Good film for its budget. I'd heard enough about it before seeing it that it was exactly what I expected: a moving story with better-than-average performances in a well-directed script. It wasn't what I was in the mood to see at the time, because I just wasn't really in the right frame of mind for a message film about man's mistreatment of other sentient beings, but I didn't have strong objections (it's just a movie, for crying out loud), and I was outvoted, which is okay. It isn't all about me. :)

Movies that disappointed me in one way or another in 2009:
  • Angels & Demons
    I expected that the movie would be at least as entertaining as The Da Vinci Code, which is to say, about average for its genre. This was a bit below average, in my opinion: Tom Hanks seemed to really be phoning it in. Props to Ewan McGregor, though, for at least trying to demonstrate some enthusiasm and energy. He chewed the scenery a little bit, but at least he actually showed up and attempted to give the audience a good time.

  • Up
    I know some people will flip out about this one, so I'll go on and give my reason: it wasn't a bad movie; technically, I liked it. Unfortunately, it had one of the most misleading trailers I've ever seen. After a week from hell, I thought, "This will be a nice, light film that will make me laugh." Instead, I found myself bawling in the first fifteen minutes. Not what the trailer had led me to expect at all.

  • Public Enemies
    This had such potential. :( Again, it's not that it was bad, but with that cast and that topic, I thought it'd be a sure-fire Oscar candidate (the Academy loves period pictures). Billy Crudup was excellent, but otherwise, it wasn't all that.

Favorite movie of 2009: Inglourious Basterds


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Coraline rocked! I loved it.

Watchmen was fantastic. A great interpretation of the comic. And blue penis was fun. I'm such an advocate of equality of the sexes in the arts, and I think full-frontal for males is an important step. :)

Star Trek was exciting. I heard lots of people complain it wasn't the original actors. But someone pointed out, when MacBeth and other plays are performed, we don't complain about different actors then. We enjoy the new spin on the same characters. I went in with that feeling, so I loved it.

Inglourious Basterds wasn't that great to me. It didn't "hold" my attention like some of his other films. I felt it lacked his touch.

Avatar was okay. It was ruined for me by someone pointing out it was (kinda) a message against consumerism and such, but it was becoming one of the biggest consumer items. It left a taste of hypocrisy in my mouth. But it was beautiful and the story was very interesting.

Sherlock was bland to me. There wasn't enough banter. There wasn't enough display of Holmes great perception. It just made him seem super-smart, and he was so much more than that. He was logical, rational, insightful, and thought in more than merely three dimensions.

Harry Potter is fluff. Pure and simple.

GI Joe was okay. Gordon's (Cobra Commander) performance was astounding. I've been a huge fans of his since 3rd Rock from the Sun. If you want to see more of his incredible acting skill, rent "Mysterious Skin". He plays a gay sexually abused kid.

District 9 was horrible. I liked it, but it so didn't live up to the hype. And it did a horrible job of portraying the aliens as anything sympathetic.

Angels & Demons didn't have enough secrets and figuring things out. It had just 1 mystery, and that was pretty obvious.

Up was fantastic. Yes, it made my choke back a few tears, and yes, I was not expecting it. I was thinking I was getting a off-brand chocolate bar and instead wound up with a chocolate souffle. Amazing.

Didn't see Public Enemies.
Jan. 12th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
I had intended to respond to this sooner, but I fainted from shock over you being back on LJ. :)

I'm off the floor, now. I am so glad to see you!

You know, it's funny, but I hardly noticed Dr. Manhattan's genitals. In fact, I didn't even think about it until they covered them up in one scene. Like you, I am absolutely pro-equality on that. I guess they did such a good job of conveying how removed the character was from the common concerns of humanity that I just sort of didn't think about the character like that. I know there was that one scene, but that just demonstrated how difficult it was to connect with him mentally and emotionally. Physical interaction might be technically possible, but it seems to me like it would be about as much fun as interacting with a statue like Michelangelo's David on that level, if that makes any sense?

Mysterious Skin, eh? I'll have to make a note of that one.

I'm relieved that I'm not alone -- that there's someone else who didn't think District 9 was all that.

*hug-hug-hug* Again, just so very glad to see you return!
Jan. 14th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
If you want more of Godon-Levitt, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0330687/ is his IMDB page. Everything I've seen him in, I've loved. He is one of those truly under-appreciated actors.

I thought Dr. Manhattan was sexy. :*

*hugglies* right back to you. :D
Jan. 25th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
I added both Mysterious Skin and Brick to my Netflix queue, based on your recommendation and Jason's. :)

Edited at 2010-01-25 09:08 pm (UTC)
Jan. 25th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
I actually have "Brick" now. I just have to find time to watch it.
Jan. 6th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
Of the films you listed I've seen Watchmen, Star Trek, Avatar, and GI Joe, and I agree pretty much with you entirely on all of them. GI Joe especially surprised me by not sucking nearly as much as I thought it might and would actually enjoy a sequel to it where they might flesh things out a bit more. Star Trek was great, Avatar had great visuals (and really needs to be seen in 3D to appreciate them). Watchmen had its flaws but I think when you factor in the the complexity of the comic it really is an accomplisment for the film to be as good as it is.

I'm looking forward to catching Inglorious Basterds, Disctrict 9, Up and probably Sherlock Holmes on DVD. And thanks for reminding me of Coraline, I'm adding that to my Netflix list right now.

Oh and Ferret, if you haven't already, check out Brick, a great film with Gordon-Levitt in a noir-fashioned story (including dialogue) set in a modern day high school.
Jan. 12th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
I agree about Watchmen probably being the best-case scenario for adapting the comic for the big screen. I hope there will eventually be a DVD release that includes both the film and the Black Freighter content -- I'd really rather not purchase them separately.

I look forward to hearing your impressions of Inglourious Basterds and the others. :)

I added Brick to my Netflix queue. I should get to it by the time I'm 80. :)
Jan. 14th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jason. Grabbing now. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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