Okay, so we’re into March already and this list of the Top 10 Films of 2009 should have been up in January but, as they say, better late than never.
Why James Cameron made us wait 12 years for “Avatar” only he knows. Perhaps its taken him that long to spend the money he made on “Titanic”. Anyway, thankfully he’s produced a fine adventure film that further proves he is the finest exponent of the science-fiction action genre. “Avatar” isn’t original, it’s only thought-provoking for teenagers, and its dialogue can be cringe-worthy at times. However, it’s a visual feast that will leave you in awe and Cameron’s an eye for dramatic set-pieces will thrust you into this make-believe world with gusto. Not worthy of Best Picture at the Oscars, but still worth the price of a cinema ticket.
9. Let The Right One In
Some will say our choice at number 9 shouldn’t actually be here. Not because it doesn’t deserve to be recognised as one of the top films of 2009 but because it’s actually a 2008 film. It was released in Europe at the beginning of 2008 and had a limited US release later in the year. But, here in the UK, it was released in April 2009, so because of that fact, we’re putting it right here at number 9 in our Top 10 films of 2009.
“Let The Right One In” is a brilliant modern vampire film about a troubled young boy who befriends a vampire in 1980s Stockholm.
8. The Wrestler
I was blown away by the ending of “The Wrestler” – poignant and perfect, heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Mickey Rourke gives probably his finest performance in a film that seems to echo his own life and troubles in the Hollywood spotlight. “The Wrestler” is technically a 2008 film but it was released in the UK in 2009.
7. Inglorious Basterds
Infuriating and languidly paced but also beautifully composed and an ode to the medium Tarantino lives for. “Inglorious Basterds” isn’t his best work but it’s still leaps ahead of most Hollywood product from 2009.
6. Up In the Air
Jason Reitman again proves that nepotism, though helpful, does not guarantee success. The talented filmmaker follows up “Thank You For Smoking” and “Juno” with “Up In The Air”, another quality character-driven film that is racking up the awards.
5. (500) Days of Summer
A fine romantic film that tells its story in a unique way and breathes new life on a tired genre.
4. The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow has been deserving of greater recognition for what seems like years. Perhaps “The Hurt Locker” is the moment she finally relieves herself of cult classic director-for-hire status. After all, she has won more Oscars than any other female director living or dead! That might have something to do with the fact she is the first woman to ever win Best Director at the Oscars, but take nothing away from her talent as a filmmaker, or the sheer quality of her Iraq-based bomb-disposal movie “The Hurt Locker”.
Can Pixar do wrong? Answer: No. Beautifully realised, brilliantly plotted, wonderful characters – “Up” is the best animated film of 2009.
2. District 9
Original, funny, frightening, and infinitely rewatchable. It also features South African actor Shalto Copley firing out the word ‘fuck’ a thousand times with the strange undertones of a disgruntled Liverpool football fan. Peter Jackson may be caught up in his overlong fantasy movies but at least his eye for new material and new filmmaking talent is still keen and alert. “District 9” came about after Jackson’s failed attempt to bring video game “Halo” to the big screen left collaborator Neill Blomkamp to search for alternative ideas. The two decided extending Blomkamp’s successful short film “Alive in Joburg” which formed the basis for the “District 9” film we see today.
1. Looking For Eric
Uplifting and heart-warming with the character-driven social realism (albeit with an added fantasy element) that Ken Loach does so well. It might switch tones too easily but this is Loach at his most accessible and his most fun.
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