Top 10 - Films of 2009
My Top 10 Favorite Films of 2009
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|SirPant's Rating||My Rating|
Lourdes 2010, Unrated)
Destined to be misunderstood it seems, Lourdes - a film about a young woman in a wheelchair, paralysed with MS embarking on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, the holy retreat in the southwest of France that many believe to be a place of miracle healing after a visitation of Mary to a local many years ago - to be a film about religion (Christianity), faith, the existence of God and the possibility of miracles. It's not though, that's just a narrative to uphold what the film is really about, people (although obviously faith is explored but in the context of the human condition rather than as in religious/catholic faith). Every human emotional trait is explored, and quite wonderfully so. It's subtle and accurate but never preachy, pompous or pretentious. It is also my favourite film of the year/decade so far. Jessica Hausner is a director I'm definitely going to be looking out for and Sylvie Testud is a wonderful actress who I'm equally on oar of. I could write so much more but I'm not going to, do yourself a favour and just go see it asap!
The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band) 2009, R)
Typically of Michael Haneke films the importance here is not who but why. Dissect and you will find the answer and nobody does cinematic autopsies like Haneke. I though The White Ribbon was excellent, it's not my favourite of his, but I would argue however that it is his greatest achievement as a director. The black and white cinematography is sublime, the performances powerful and the steady pace and slightly different editing approach were perfect. I think the Palme D'Or was well deserved, although he still remains the most love/hate director working today it seems. For what it's worth, I very much love his work.
Moon 2009, R)
The brain-dead seem to have missed the point with Moon. What, a space-mission sci-fi with no explosions, space-ship chases or evil bug-eyed aliens? It's a real shame that a film that tackles fundamental questions like the existence of God, the human soul and highlights the frailty of man, the good and the bad of creation and the flaws of the human race can be simply passed off as 'Too long and too boring'. In my opinion Moon is a perfect film, brilliantly conceived and realised. Sam Rockwell's performance is awesome and Duncan Jones's direction is outstanding, especially considering it's his debut. He could have easily cashed in on his real identity and I'm glad he didn't, he's a genius in his own right, much like his father. Both he and Rockwell have been unforgiving overlooked for their work here but I'm sure time will put it right and it will be regarded as the classic it really is. Oh, and can we all please put an end to the lazy 2001 comparisons, they're not really that similar!
Inglourious Basterds 2009, R)
An exciting but far from historically accurate War film in the vein of The Dirty Dozen and of course the Exploitation film from which it got its name. I've had issues with Quentin Tarantino for some time now, a film fan who assembles other peoples ideas, makes a cake out of them and claims credit for himself. Here he proves me wrong. Sure some of his ideas have been inspired from elsewhere but this is truly a film, made by a film fan, for other film fans that is both original and outstanding. Wouldn't it have been great if this was historically accurate? A sure sign of a great War film, as most of them inherit an artistic licence when it comes to History, at least with Inglorious Basterds they don't even try to be accurate and go all out into the realms of fantasy. There are so many standout scenes to cherish here and the script is brilliant, ten times better than the drivel that was so highly praised in Pulp Fiction. The finest Quentin Tarantino film so far and the most entertaining war film in years. The only thing i don't like is the stupid spelling of the word Basterd! Apart from that, this is something very special and I can't recommend it enough.
World's Greatest Dad 2009, R)
Wonderful is word often misused and certainly rarely used in describing a black comedy but I think it's quite apt here. Bobcat Goldthwait, of all people, has produced something beautiful out of something absolutely horrid, although I think it's lack of success might have something to do with people's misinterpretation. Audiences have been so dumbed down over the years they no longer see something truly wonderful and selfless as this is. Finding beauty in something so tragically ugly is a gift. I'm gushing. I'm so impressed though, as a fan of original cinema and the odd black comedy. It made my wife cry. If you knew my wife I wouldn't have to write a review, you'd just know it was brilliant because she wept.
My Dog Tulip 2010, Unrated)
Although My Dog Tulip will appeal to Dog lovers for obvious reasons, it will probably appeal more to fans of J.R. Ackerley. I haven't yet read the book but I have read 'We think the world of you' and it now seems obvious that Evie the German shepherd from that story was based on the real life Tulip, which excited my quite a bit as it is one of my favourite books. My Dog Tulip is a warts and all story about dogs; dogs bark, they jump up at you, they poo and do other such uncivilised things. They do not skateboard or wear baseball hats! Everything about this animated adaptation is perfect, I wouldn't change a thing and it is now quite firmly in my favourite films of all time.
Where the Wild Things Are 2009, PG)
This one seems to have split opinion big time, a real love it or hate it film - although I do feel many have missed the point. I believe it to be a good adaption of the book (which I have read many times) which was always open to interpretation, I mean, a film version of the book as it is would be either really short or really boring! I think Jonze's style was perfect for the film version, he really understands Sendak's writing but also adds his own ideas to the mix, tapping into the mindset of a wild child and actually a very normal child. When you analyse the book, it's not really that imaginative or 'out there', it's quite simple and that was always it's charm and Jonze understands this. Disney fans need not apply, but branding it depressing and dark is a little lazy, it's very sensitive in exploring what is an amazing time in a persons life but also a very difficult one, again handled brilliantly by Jonze. I have to admit I was very impressed by this, I think it's wonderful, one of those few films that come around once and a while that really inspire. Brilliant!
District 9 2009, R)
Like it or not, Blomkamp has done something special here. It's certainly not the first intelligent sci-fi film but it's probably the most important since the original Godzilla. Blomkamp's message is blatantly political, social and racial, unlike Godzilla though, it's focus is not so much on fear (The hydrogen bomb) but of segregation, racism and conflicts of power - realism not paranoia. He would tell you otherwise, so would I if I was him, he shouldn't have to explain, the writing is on the wall, and for those who can't read, enjoy the excellent sci-fi adventure anyway. I'm keeping my reviews short from now on, no one ever seems to want a proper discussion anymore, all I get is about 100 messages from kids saying 'You can't have seen that many films, you're a lier!!'. Yawn! Anyway, Loved it and can find few faults!
Crazy Heart 2009, R)
It seems Jeff Bridges is not only a great actor but a great singer too! His performance in Crazy Heart is brilliant, he thoroughly deserved the recognition he got. The film itself though was a little overlooked I feel, I thought the pace, script and overall ambiance of the film captured the mood of country music rather well. I personally found it a joy to watch, it's definitely my kind of film and the music is ace too!
The Road 2009, R)
I'm a big fan of Cormac McCarthy but I'm yet to have read this one yet and therefore cannot comment on the film as an adaptation, although it sounds as if they are two very different beasts. It feels like a Cormac McCarthy story at least - bleak, desperate and somewhat depressing - definitely my kind of film. That said, sometimes when life becomes so bad and so unbearable, only then can you often see what is so wonderful about life. That was the message I got anyway, and I believe that was the intention and that it was portrayed brilliantly. John Hillcoat has made a harrowing but beautiful film, a future classic.