Best Movies Of 2009
By The Colonel
It’s that time of the year again, time to recap the best movies of 2009. Call me a pragmatist, but the fact is that I believe there’s a fine line between each cinematic genre from another, a line which defines the expectations of each movie. For example when you watch a horror movie, you expect blood and gore and psychological fear, you don’t expect slap-stick comic scenes and dirty sex jokes. Consequently, when you watch a comedy, you expect slap-stick comic scenes and dirty sex jokes instead of blood and gore and psychological fear. It is based on such approach that when watching or making a porn movie, I’d like that movie to be filled with wall to wall nasty, raw, sweaty sex instead of redundant dialogues and god awful attempts at acting and cheap costumes and schmocky sets. With this foreword note, let’s get right to it:
1. Public Enemies: Michael Mann’s retelling of John Dillinger adventures during the great depression era is an epic masterpiece, the best gangster movie of the year, if not the decade. Everything works perfect in this movie, from solid, memorable performances by Johnny Depp and Christian Bale to the haunting, gloomy soundtrack and intense action sequences shot by video camera in order to increase the realistic effect. You get the feeling if Dillinger was robbing banks today, and people were shooting videos of him using their handycams and cell phones to post on YouTube, this is how it would have looked like: Brutal, fast, raw and real. A great movie from a great director.
2. Antichrist: This year’s most bone chilling, gut wrenching and mind shattering horror movie, the story of a grieving couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) who after the loss of their child, retreat to their cabin in the woods (a place symbolically named Eden) to heal their wounds and save their marriage. But instead, face unexplainable supernatural events and unbelievable terror. Director Lars Von Trier hits every right note, and the result is simply astonishing. This is how a superb horror movie should make you feel, it should disturb and terrify you, challenge your senses of logic and reality; and at the same time, engages you on an emotional and personal level. This movie manages to do all that and then some.
3. The International: In this action packed, fast paced, thought provocative thriller, Clive Owen plays an Interpol agent who with help from a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney played by Naomi Watts attempts to expose a high profile financial institution’s role in international arms dealing, espionage and political assassination. His quest to uncover this global conspiracy takes him from the streets of Berlin and Milan to Guggenheim Museum in New York and finally a medieval mosque in Istanbul. This movie will take your breath away. Bet on it.
4. Up in the Air: Opinions are debatable, facts are not. Fact: George Clooney is one of the best actors of his generation. Fact: In Up in the Air directed by genius Canadian Jason Reitman, George Clooney delivers one of his best performances as a man whose job is to travel from town to town and fire people in a disaster-ridden economy. He intentionally avoids any and all emotional attachments until one night in the hotel/bar, he meets his match, played wonderfully by Vera Farmiga, a woman whose job requires her to travel all the time and wants no extra baggage, in other words emotional attachments to get on her way. From that point, things go on a different direction, and the movie takes you on a fascinating journey to a bitter, and I mean bitter end. If 25 years from now, people tend to look back and get a glimpse of how life in America was in the first decade of the 21st century, this movie will give them the right idea. No exaggeration, no sentimentality, just cold, hard reality.
5. Sherlock Holmes: In the contemporary British cinema, Guy Ritchie has done something similar to what Martin Scorsese has done in American cinema: Scorsese has made several powerful movies featuring New York City as a key factor of the story, and Ritchie has done the same featuring London. So naturally, he was the perfect candidate to kick start a new Sherlock Holmes franchise featuring the Victorian era London as an inseparable key of the story. Let’s check the facts: Guy Ritchie directing Robert Downey Jr. as the father of all detectives in a fist fight and battle of wits against The Freemasons and Professor Moriarty. The possibility of going wrong with such outstanding project? Second to none. The possibility of an extremely pleasant movie watching experience? Elementary. One thing that may needs further explanation, is that the movie is very accurate and faithful in depicting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary character; and if you’re familiar with the original Sherlock Holmes stories and have seen the movie, you know that.
6. Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino’s best movie since Pulp Fiction, featuring Brad Pitt as the leader of a group of Jewish American soldiers who in Nazi occupied France during World War II, spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and killing Nazis. Brutal, funny, sharp and extremely violent with an ending that you must see to believe. Tarantino is back at the top of his game, and hopefully he’ll stay there.
7. Watchmen: Finally, after years of delay and speculation, the book that’s considered Citizen Kane of graphic novels comes to the big screen. The story, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, takes place in an alternate universe. The year is 1985, America had won the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon is still the president, and the world is on the brink of nuclear war. The remaining members of a group of outcast masked heroes whose glory days are long gone, reluctantly team up to investigate the death of their murdered colleague; and in the process discover a far greater conspiracy. Director Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the legendary dark, gritty and revolutionary graphic novel is faithful, perhaps too faithful to the source. It certainly satisfies the fans of the book, while those who are not very familiar with the story, at times may find the movie confusing. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating, superb movie.
8. Avatar: The most expensive movie ever made which is on a track to become the highest grossing movie of all time. However, what intrigued and moved me were not the graphics and special effects, although they’re absolutely spectacular. In fact, I was captivated by the story of the journey of a paralyzed soldier (Sam Worthington) through his consciousness, the journey that leads him to the ultimate truth about the existence of life throughout the universe; that all is one. James Cameron manages to utilize the highly advanced 3-D technology to tell a timeless, universal story which also contains contemporary cautionary messages about the dangers of greed, war and destruction of nature; and he succeeds on every level.
9. The Invention of Lying: British comedian Ricky Gervais, the man behind the hit TV series The Office and Extras co-directs this brilliant social satire based on the story he co-wrote with Matthew Robinson. In a world where nobody has ever lied, a writer (Ricky Gervais) gets inspired and invents lying. What he starts as a gimmick to pay his past due rent, eventually leads to the invention of the greatest lie of all: The religion. Wait until you see what he does to The Ten Commandments and Jesus Christ.
10. The Box: The most bizarre, jaw dropping and shocking sci-fi movie of the year, straight out of The Twilight Zone. Richard Kelly is one of the best writer/directors of his generation. With only three movies in his resume, he has established himself as an avant-garde, daring and visionary filmmaker. In this movie, based on a short story by Richard Matheson, we’re introduced to a couple whose lives are falling apart: The husband (James Marsden), a NASA researcher is about to get laid off, and the wife (Cameron Diaz) is under constant pressure at the school where she works as a teacher. Things change when a stranger with a mutilated face (Frank Langella) shows up on their doorstep and makes them an offer: He gives them a wooden box which contains a button, and tells them if they push this button, two things will happen: First, somewhere, somebody they don’t know will die; and second, they will receive a payment of one million dollars. They have 24 hours to decide. Do you want to know what’s the connection between the black magic, NASA underground tunnels, radio signals from Mars and the afterlife? Then watch The Box. Be warned and be prepared: This movie will blow your mind.
So that right there is the list of my most favorite movies of 2009. If you liked my list, god bless you. If you don’t, god bless you. Feel free to post your own list if you wish.