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My Top 10 Movies of 2009

December 29, 2009

10. Extract – R

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Many reviews I’ve seen of this film have complained that the characters weren’t developed enough (particularly Kunis’ character), or that the plot is aimless.  I don’t see justification for either of these criticisms, as Kunis’ character isn’t really a major character.  The story is about Batemen’s character.  He’s the protagonist.  Everyone else just helps him on his journey, and therein lies the plot.  I enjoyed it.  I laughed.  I have to wonder if the drug use in the film is the reason for the R rating.  If so, yet another reason to almost completely ignore the rating process.

09. Pandorum – R

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Science-fiction might be my favorite genre, and this year had several strong films within the genre.  I’m glad to see that it’s regaining some traction in the industry.  Pandorum is yet another examination of humanity, and the affects of space on the oft frail human spirit.  Strong performances from the relatively small cast of major characters makes their interaction quite believable, and the story, although not exactly original, is still engaging.

08. Moon – R

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Moon is what 2001: A Space Odyssey is supposed to be, but actually enjoyable.  Sam Rockwell turns in an outstanding performance as a lone miner on a three year operation on the Moon.  His only companion is a Kevin Spacey-voiced robot aid.  The movie again examines just how easily humans can fall apart due to extreme conditions. 

07. Inglourious Basterds – R

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This movie actually deserves its R rating, but the violence is far less pervasive than the trailers or critics would have you believe.  There are three scenes of violence that I can think of, and only one made me cringe.  The other two were typically stylized ala Tarantino.  The trailer also emphasizes the titular group, but the film really focuses on a Jewish resistance fighter in France.  As usual for Tarantino, the soundtrack was fantastic.  All in all, I really liked it.

06. Up – PG

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I’m not big on cartoons or animated features in general, but this film was awesome.  It’s quite moving, and a nice story that everyone in the family can enjoy.

05. The Hangover – R

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I watched the unrated version, so I can’t really say how the theatrical played out, but the content is far more graphic than Basterds.  Lots of language, comedic violence, and nudity galore (factoring in the still shots during the credits).  In fact, the stills go beyond traditional nudity in American cinema.  The language is part of the joke as Zach Galifianackis’s character avoids course language entirely.  There’s also a nice cameo from Mike Tyson.  Definitely good for more mature laughs.

04. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – PG-13

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This is probably my favorite of the Marvel comic films.  It showcases Wolverine and his life prior to the X-Men flicks.  It was paced well, and I can’t wait for another sequel.

03. Watchmen – R

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Zack Snyder did a fantastic job of adapting the legendary graphic comic to the big screen.  The cast was just about perfect, the soundtrack stellar, and despite its length, didn’t seem to drag.  My only complaint is that my favorite scene from the book was altered for the movie.  I don’t want to specify which, but it involved Rorschach’s back story.  I thought the book was an edgier character depiction than was shown in the book, and less violent.  Speaking of which, this movie earned its R rating via violence to be sure, but that should be no surprise to anyone that read the books.

02. Zombieland – R

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Shaun of the Dead is one of my top five films of all time, and Zombieland follows in that trend of quality, comedic, zombie action.  It also has one of the best cameo appearances of all time.  I don’t want to say who, nor how, but it was awesome.  I don’t think it should be rated R at all.  Yeah, it’s violent, but they’re zombies!  That’s like saying Tom and Jerry should be rated R because of violence.  Ratings = poop.

01. Star Trek – PG-13

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I went into watching this film with the understanding that Berman had driven the Star Trek universe into the toilet, and therefore this reboot of sorts couldn’t be any worse no matter what.  J. J. Abrams exceeded that low expectation significantly.  While not strictly a reboot (which I wouldn’t have appreciated by the way, curse you Battlestar Galactica), Abrams essentially gave his team a clean slate via alternate realities.  Therefore those extremely lame Trek fans who hold on to the ship that Berman torpedoed for so many years, have no justification for ANY of their lame complaints.  Furthermore, Abrams and crew focused on the most important aspect of the original series: Kirk and Spock’s relationship.  Sure, the relationship altered drastically due to the aforementioned alternate reality, but by movie’s end, was much like that developed by Shatner and Nimoy so many years ago.  I cannot wait for another film in the series, and would like to see the rest of the bridge crew, superbly cast by the way, fleshed out more in subsequent films.  Also, a flyby by R2-D2 needs to be in every film from here on out as it was in this one.

 

Honorable mention: Inkheart, The Great Buck Howard, Whatever Works, The Boat That Rocked, Invictus, and Observe and Report.

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