Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 10 Films of 2009

And now the most important list you'll read all... day. All in all I was kind of underwhelmed by what 2009 had to offer, but I suppose we're still feeling the aftershocks of the WGA strike. Anyway, here they are, my top 10 of 2009:

#10: The Road

A haunting and intense film that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since seeing it. It seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle where awards are concerned, but I think it'll stand the test of time a lot better than some of the year's more acclaimed films.

#9: Pontypool

A stark, stripped down monster movie about a community undone by a virus spread through the English language. Stephen McHattie is great in the lead role as a DJ trying to piece together the horror occurring outside from the (relative) safety of his booth.

#8: Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's latest rewrites the rules about war movies and entertains from beginning to end. Per usual, his casting is spot on and the film features two of my favourite performances of the year courtesy of the much recognized Christoph Waltz and the criminally under appreciated Melanie Laurent.

#7: Bright Star

Jane Campion's beautiful (visually and narratively) movie about John Keats' relationship with Fannie Brawne deserves a lot more attention that it's received. Same goes for Abbie Cornish's wonderful, nuanced performance as Brawne.

#6: Precious

One of the more divisive films of the last year, this saga of a life of poverty and abuse is sometimes hard to watch. What makes it really worth it is the extraordinary performances of the cast. Mo'Nique and Gabourey Sidibe are almost assured of getting Oscar nominations and part of me kind of hopes that Mariah Carey gets one too, since she appears to be showing up drunk to every award ceremony lately.

#5: (500) Days of Summer

This is not a love story, but it is one of the great films about unrequited love. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel render charming and effective performances, alternating easily between the comedy and the drama of their characters' brief relationship.

#4: Polytechnique

A stark, powerful film about one of the greatest tragedies in Canadian history. Available in both English and French versions, the importance of this film cannot be underestimated. It's a great tribute to 14 women senselessly murdered simply for being women.

#3: An Education

A star is born in Carey Mulligan, playing a girl wise beyond her years in some respects, but hopelessly naive in others. Directed by Lone Scherfig from a screenplay adapted by Nick Hornby, An Education is clever, well-paced and often delightful.

#2: Moon

Why isn't Sam Rockwell a bigger star? If there was ever any doubt that he deserves it, his dual performances in Moon ought to put it to rest. This wonderful tribute to 1960s and 70s era science fiction is one of the best films of the last decade, let alone the last year.

#1: The Hurt Locker

Without question, the best movie of 2009. Kathryn Bigelow's war drama is a winner on every level, with the performances of Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty being of particular note. War movies don't get much better than this.


Andrew K. said...

Yay for An Education. I like your choices, for the most part.

Danny King said...

Great list, and a very impressive website, I don't know how this is the first time I've come across it...

Good to see that someone else loved "The Road". Not quite sure why that film was overlooked. I thought the performances were terrific, and the visual atmosphere is breathtaking.

filmgeek said...

Great list. I've only seen (500) Days (my favourite of the year) and Bright Star (also awesome) but really want to see The Hurt Locker, Precious, An Education and Moon. I ordered The Hurt Locker on Blu Ray over a week ago but my post has been held up because of the ridiculous amount of snow we've been having :(

Norma Desmond said...

@Andrew: Yay indeed. I loved that one, can't wait to see it again.

@Danny: I think the fact that it got pushed back a year played a pretty big role in The Road being largely ignored. People had already written it off as yesterday's news and moved on to other things.

@filmgeek: That sucks. I hope you like The Hurt Locker when you finally have a chance to see it.