I watched a lot of movies in 2009. Not all of them were released in 2009 (most weren’t), but if they’re good movies that hold up over time, they’re worth mentioning again.
- Some of the animated ones are just too impressive not to enjoy just watching, regardless of storyline and such. Up, Bolt, 9, Coraline, Wall-E, Beowolf (realistic cgi still counts as animated right?) all look great.
- For serious animated fare, Waltz with Bashir and Persepolis are actually serious works about the 1982 war in Lebanon (Waltz) and growing up as a teenage girl in Iran (Persepolis)
- Burn After Reading had some great performances. I think I like Clooney as a deranged paranoid. Also great in Men Who Stare At Goats for the same reasons.
- Couple of guilty pleasures: Crank 2 and Transporter 2. Jason Statham in two completely ridiculous roles. Especially Crank 2 where the characters are essentially treated like they’re in a video game with constant powerups and extra lives. The whole Transporter series has this odd supernatural thing with his car. Other people’s cars he ‘borrows’ get destroyed, but HIS car is almost always completely untouchable. Especially in Transporter 3. And I’m totally gay for Jason Statham.. except in Dungeon Siege. Even he couldn’t save a Uwe Boll production.
- Flash of Genius – Who knew a story about the guy who invented the intermittent windshield wiper would be so interesting?
- Moon – It’s a shame it’s getting passed over for awards, it was a really cool movie.
- Paranormal Activity – Even though it didn’t scare me at all, I thought it was a cool movie for what it was and what it accomplished on such a small budget. It was well paced and timed and was really creepy even if it didn’t give me nightmares or make me wet myself
- Star Trek (2009) – JJ Abrams and crew did a great job with this reboot of an old franchise. Much more accessible to non-nerds. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great action flick and added something interesting to an old favorite.
- There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day Lewis was amazing. Not sure I’ve been this riveted to the screen since No Country for Old Men. Drink your milkshake right up, indeed!
- Vexille – One more animated flick to mention. Anyone who likes good futuristic/cyberpunk type animation.. along the lines of Ghost in the Shell… should check this out. Definitely a random movie choice that turned out for the best (especially since anime tends to be kind of weird/crappy/etc.. this is a rare gem).
- Wristcutters: A Love Story – One of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen. If you’re a fan of Terry Gilliam or things like Repo Man, Donnie Darko, etc… well, this isn’t really like any of those, but it’s close enough to the same mindset that you should check it out.
- World’s Greatest Dad – Robin Williams in an awkward but well made movie written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. What’s not to like?
- Yojimbo (1961, Kurosawa) – I’ve seen my share of Samurai Champloo and Afro Samurai, which have both taken cues from some of the classic samurai movies (and added a new, hip, urban spin to them) and after going back and watching this Kurosawa classic (which holds up well even today.. it was actually interesting to watch), you see how those old influences are really captured in some of the new samurai anime series. Little things amazed me too, like the fact that the buildings seemed like rundown hovels, but they had such interesting and intricate engineering for their windows and such. It’s like the building was an old puzzle box. Complicated but functional. Anyway, fans of things like Samurai Champloo or Afro Samurai would enjoy this one.
- Battlefield Earth – And old stinker. The book was amazing, the movie was horrible
- Funny Games – Lots of reviews said “if you didn’t like this masterpiece, you just don’t GET IT”. I like to think I can see good filmmaking even if it disturbs me or I don’t personally like it. I think this american adaptation was 100% garbage.
- S. Darko – Donnie Darko hit so many notes perfectly. It was this great, weird, awkward, WEIRD (again) story with great execution and musical score. S. Darko is the ill fated attempt at a sequel that tries entirely too hard not just to copy DD, but to link itself directly to every major plot point in DD to the point of trying WAY too hard. Fail. But everyone, except the people who made it, knew that you shouldn’t even try to make a sequel to Donnie Darko. And if you DID need to make a sequel, it really should have been weird in a different way. Wristcutters: A Love Story could have been a fitting sequel to Donnie Darko, or something similar. Not a direct copy of DD with a few situations changed.
- Transformers 2 – I thought the first one was bad. I didn’t think it kept to the spirit of the series I grew up with, I think Shia LaBeouf is one of the biggest douches on the planet, and I think it’s crap that they didn’t let the the guy who did the voice of the original Megatron do it for these movies. But putting all that aside, Transformers 2 was just this overindulgent piece of shit that Michael Bay thought would fly if he slapped a popular franchise name onto. Please see Topless Robot’s Transformers 2 FAQ and this “exclusive preview” of Tranny2 that about sums it all up.
- Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – Way to take the title of the movie and stretch a basic concept into 2 hours of filler. This movie doesn’t seem to add any kind of value to the franchise at all. The Lycans exist. They rise up against the vampires. End of movie. There’s absolutely nothing interesting about how the story progresses or is told.
- War Wolves – I was really hoping for another Dog Soldiers type movie, but not so much. It quickly turned into a cheap (bad) T&A/crappy blood and gore flick that shouldn’t even have been worthy of a SyFy channel mid-day showing
There were other movies I saw that were good, but I didn’t necessarily enjoy. The Wrestler was well made and heartfelt and deserves all the awards and accolades it got, but I’m just not that into wrestling or drama and it struck deep with both of those. In the end, it was just ‘ok’ to me.