For my last Year in Review post I wanted to review my Top 5 films of 2009. I try to see a lot of movies throughout the year, and typically I try to hit the major ones. I usually miss a few, including a lot of the Oscar bait. So my list is comprised of all the movies I personally saw last year, so it may not include movies that you watched or even all the films that I wanted to watch. Last year I did a Top 10 List but this year I reduced it to 5, mainly because I don't think this was the most fertile year of quality film making and that a top 5 really forces you to evalute what you watched. Still despite a weaker year of cinema, my Top 5 still has some really great films, including a few that are all time classics in my mind. So if you don't see your favorite movie remember that this is simply a list of my favorite movies of the year. Enjoy!
One of the most fun times I have had at a movie this year, I really enjoyed the fresh take that Zombieland offered, breathing some new life into a very overplayed zombie genre. Woody Harrelson re-establishes himself in films with his performance, bringing a manic kind of energy to the film. It finds such a perfect blend of horror and comedy, straddling a line that was established by Shaun o the Dead, but keeping the action sequences fun and exciting. I'd also like to point out it has one of the best and certainly one of the funniest cameos in film history. Just a purely fun movie and my second favorite comedy of the year, easily beating The Hangover.
4- Star Trek
I have never been much of a trekker, but J.J. Abrams reboot of the beleaguered franchise changed the face of Star Trek as a whole. It manages to ride a fine line between updating the classic series while still giving it ties to the old one, thus allowing hardcore Star Trek fans to keep the old stories in continuity while creating a whole new world for the series to explore. Abrams proves he knows how to do action on screen the right way, and bid maybe the best job of casting of the year, with Chris Pine as Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and an especially surprising performance from Karl Urban as McKoy. Add in Leonard Nimoy to lend some credence to the film, and you have one of the best films of the year. Let's hope for some Khan in the sequel.
Pixar as an animation team really can do no wrong. Up was a wonderfully beautiful and poignant tale about a very lonely old man named Carl and a young Wilderness Scout named Russell who embark on a journey that changes both of their lives. Up surprised me in so many ways, the humor, the pity, the pathos, all were so deftly brought together in such a way that these characters are more human than most live action films. Pixar continues its winning ways with a film that touched me, I actually cried as the story of Carl was laid out. Up is a beautiful movie that raised the already high bar set by Wall-E.
2- Black Dynamite
This is without a doubt the most fun I have ever had at a movie. No film made me laugh harder, cheer more, or become such a quotable part of my daily vocabulary in such a short time. A modern day blaxpoitation film that is so good at skewering what it's making fun of, that it becomes the best example of it itself. Michael Jai White is hilarious as the title character and his surrounded by some of the best cameo performances ever. It's fun, funny, and an instant classic. A movie so bad, that it is brilliant. Black Dynamite is easily my favorite movie of the year, but I realize that it is a flavor that not everyone understands or appreciates. Still I loved this movie.
Black Dynamite was my favorite film yes, but Watchmen was the BEST film I saw last year. I thought it was such a wonderful adaptation of a book that truly means a lot to me. Watchmen the graphic novel was one of the first books that really opened up my eyes to the possibilities that comics could contain. Director Zach Synder's almost slavish adaptation was really great. I know a lot of people didn't really get Watchmen, but it really spoke to me. The casting was totally perfect and the attention to detail really brought out all of the qualities of the Watchmen series that made the series work. Jackie Earl Haley, Malin Ackerman, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson and Billy Crudup all brought the characters to life for me. It's not the story itself, or the acting, or the directing, it was all of the features that came together to make the movie one of my all time favorite films. The simple fact is that I loved the Watchmen for its attention to detail and the obvious reverence the entire cast had to the work. Who watches the Watchmen? I do.
There you have it, my top 5 films of 2009. You may notice a few films missing from my list, like Up in the Air which I have not seen and thus couldn't review, or even Avatar, which I thought was great but not quite top 5 worthy. Also missing was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a good film but one that ultimately cast to much of the source material aside to make the list. I am also sure someone will see how high I put Black Dynamite and call me crazy. That's okay, this is my list. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear some feedback on my choices and what kind of films you think I have omitted. Thanks for reading and I will see you at the movies this year!
End of Line.