Without further ado, here is the list of my Top 10 films (that I HAVE seen) from 2009:
Jane Campion has made the best film of the year and her best film since 1996's The Portrait of a Lady. Passionate, breathtakingly beautiful, with a surprisingly serene quietness about it, this film is everything I want filmmaking to be. I'm shocked by the lack of attention this film is getting so far during this awards season. Abbie Cornish deserves every Best Actress award out there!
Pixar does it again. Are we surprised? I cried tears of sorrow and tears of laughter during this film. There is no better review than that.
The Brothers Bloom
This is my biggest surprise of the year. Charming, silly, romantic, with that wonderfully modern yet retro feel that Rian Johnson is becoming known for, this is an overlooked gem.
Carey Mulligan is getting the attention that I think really deserves to be foisted upon Abbie Cornish, but that doesn't mean she didn't put in a lovely breakthrough performance in this film. The entire cast is great in this one. Alfred Molina elevates any film he's in and Peter Sarsgaard deftly plays a character that in the hands of a lesser actor would come off as smarmy. Peter makes him charming and even sympathetic.
Henry Selick is an amazing artist. What he has done with stop motion animation in this film is nothing short of astonishing. It took years to make, and you can see it in every lovingly framed image. Every time I watch it, I catch something new.
This is another film that I think was overlooked this year. It's one of those sweet, nostalgic, coming of age films that although get made all the time, do not usually get made well. This is a smart and funny film and although it's set in the late 80s it has a real lived in feeling; the 80s details never feel gimmicky or forced. Every character is fully drawn, not just the leads, which again, lends to the authenticity of this film. Oh and it shows once more that Kristen Stewart can be more than Bella Swan.
Yep, Star Trek is on my list. For tongue-in-cheek, action filled, adrenaline rushing good fun. Oh and Karl Urban can examine me any time he wants.
(500) Days of Summer
I liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt before I saw this film, but now I love him. Some people felt this film was trying too hard to be quirky, but I think therein lies its charm. JGL and Zooey Deschanel together rise above the obvious quirkiness to create a surprisingly realistic romance. And they are just fun to watch!
I can't wait to watch this film again and catch all the bits of dialogue that I missed the first time around. Yes, Tarantino is wordy, but I revel in his wordiness! Who knew a WWII film could be this fun?
Fantastic Mr. Fox
I've always kind of wanted to be a character in a Wes Anderson film. Or at least to live for a time inside the world of a Wes Anderson film, which is always so meticulously crafted. With this animated flick, Wes Anderson has found the medium that will allow him to create his worlds with absolutely no limitations. This is unlike any animated film I've seen before and that includes Coraline. Although stop motion animated, the word "stop" never applies. It's constantly moving, dynamic and vibrant. I love that Wes didn't use sound booths to record the dialogue. Instead he had the actors work together and act out the scenes like they were in a play. If the scene was set outdoors, the actors acted outdoors; if their character was running, the actor ran; for the motorcycle scenes, the actors rode motorcycles! At first it sounds kind of strange, but ultimately it just makes it all the more real. I look forward to more animated films from Wes Anderson.