Friday, January 1, 2010

MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 2009

Another year has ended as well as the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. I saw exactly one hundred films in a theater this past year and out of all of them, I can say that the films listed here I loved. Then there are a small number of them that I really liked but most were just average. Finally, there were the few that I really didn't like at all, which I'll get to on another post. I tend to wind up not seeing a lot of bad films because if the trailer doesn't convince me that I should go and see it, I don't waste my time. Sometimes, the trailer leaves me ambivalent and that's when reviews and word of mouth help me make a final decision, but then there is the very few instances when I just read about an upcoming film that sounds very interesting and it features a favorite actor or director and that's all I need to know and I'm so there.

Although there are still a few films out that I haven't seen yet, like "Avatar", "Nine", and "Invictus" that could have possibly found a place on this list, I think this is still a pretty accurate round up of my favorite movies of 2009. I decided not to limit the number of the films on this list because there is no point in doing that. Besides, I didn't think that there were that many great films released in 2009. I also didn't have the time to be able to write a review on some of the films on this list, so this is my chance to give a shout out to some wonderful moments in cinema.

So. here are the films, in no particular order, that either left a deep impression on me or they just simply made me feel good.

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER: Sweet, sunny and funny. It was the perfect summer movie and it is now recently available to rent. It will warm you on these cold winter nights. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel star as we watch the rise and fall of the relationship between a young couple over five hundred days.

THE HANGOVER: My favorite comedy of the year. The story of four friends who go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. The next day, they can't remember what happened and lose the groom. As they try and retrace their steps to find him. they discover exactly what they did. This film was hilarious and full of very funny surprises.



A SERIOUS MAN: The Coen Brothers have never made a bad film and their 14th film is another winner. The story of a man who suddenly has many troubles in his life and he is in search of some understanding and answers. Dark, funny and strange which is what I love about this film. This film also had one of the best trailers of the year.



A SINGLE MAN: Tom Ford's film debut is beautiful and visually exciting and features a great performance from Colin Firth. This is a story about a man who loses the will to live after the death of his lover and wants to end it all but discovers it's much more complicated than he thought. Another great trailer.

UP: My favorite animated film of this year. This is a story of an elderly widower who is trying to escape an eviction by tying helium balloons to his house and floating away (If only it was that easy) but a young wilderness scout has stowed away on his porch. A funny and poignant film.

UP IN THE AIR: George Clooney stars as a corporate down sizer who travels the country and doesn't have time for any emotional connections. He thinks his life is perfect but several events occur that shakes things up for him. Great performances and another great film from director Jason Reitman plus another really great trailer.

STAR TREK: I was never really a big "Star Trek" fan but this film refreshed and reinvigorated the long running film and television series. This story starts from the beginning and we are introduced to all the beloved characters. Fun, thrilling and surprisingly sexy plus a great cast makes this one of the best popcorn flicks of the year.



INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS: Quentin Tarantino is another film maker who has not made a bad film. Of course, some are stronger than others and this film is certainly one of the better ones. Brad Pitt leads his army of men to try and put an end to Hitler and the Nazi party. A superior script and a brilliant performance from Christoph Waltz help make this another classic film by Mr. Tarantino.

SUMMER HOURS: A wonderful French film by Olivier Assayas that stars Juliette Binoche as one of three siblings who must face the loss of their childhood memories and their family heirlooms after the death of their mother. A warm and touching movie that I highly recommend you check out when it's available on DVD.



I LOVE YOU, MAN: Paul Rudd stars as a man who lacks a close male friend and starts a bromance with Jason Segel. Paul's girlfriend is okay with the idea until it starts to interfere with their relationship. A Hollywood comedy that is also smart and touching.



EVERY LITTLE STEP, THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE, TYSON, GOOD HAIR & VALENTINO- THE LAST EMPEROR: I saw some really interesting documentaries last year and these were the ones that interested me the most. They aren't very deep but they are fun, entertaining and worth seeing. "Every Little Step" is about the casting of the latest version of "A Chorus Line" on Broadway and we follow the lives of some of the possible performers for the show; "The September Issue" is about the creation of the September issue of Vogue magazine and it's powerful editor, Anna Wintour; "Tyson" is about boxer, Mike Tyson and the fascinating look at his life; "Good Hair" is about Africian-American hair and what is considered "good" and "Valentino - The Last Emperor" is about fashion designer, Valentino creating his last collection before he retires.



PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL "PUSH" BY SAPPHIRE: Gabourey Sidibe gives an amazing and heartbreaking performance as an obese, young woman trying to find a better life for herself and her children but is being abused and kept down by society and her own mother played by Mo'nique. Director Lee Daniels is an interesting film maker and I'm looking forward in seeing what he will do next. This is hard to watch at times but it is a great and powerful film and well worth seeing.



HONORABLE MENTION: BROKEN EMBRACES, THE HURT LOCKER, THE MAID, MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, CORALINE and JULIE AND JULIA