2009 Films

2010 is here and I hope that it will brink better films that the year that has so recently departed. There were a few gems, but they were outweighed by the mediocre and down right terrible.

Right at the head of the terrible, or more accurately at the base of it was Michael Bay’s train wreck of a film; Transformers 2. This was an insult to the audience and the entire British nation; as they flew the Union flag upside down. The other Michael, Michael Mann, created Public Enemies. This was not as bad as Transformers 2, but was still a disappointment; a film that rarely got beyond mediocre. Unlike Bay, we know that Mann can do such better.

I was also disappointed by “Let the Right One”, which was a good film, but reviews had led me to expect something even more monumental. This is a film worth watching if you can see it and evaluate it on its own merits. Just make sure that you see it subtitled and not dubbed.

My films of the year are, in no particular order:

Slumdog Millionaire
Gran Torino
District Nine

Up is a yet another near masterpiece from Pixar; a children’s movie that tackles adult themes and is extremely emotionally involving.  Anyone who says they saw this movie and not have at least a tear in their eye is either lying or so devoid of feeling that they are probably not actually human.

Slumdog Millionaire is not a good reflection of the book from which it is adapted. It is a great film in its own right; visually stunning, emotionally involving, and with another humour to offset the darkness at its heart. A worthy winner of Oscar for best picture.

Moon shows that Science Fiction does not need to have lots of explosions and robot on robot battles. This thoughtful, claustrophobic mystery story was a hidden gem. Sam Rockwell and a computer voiced by Kevin Spacey are essentially the entire cast.

Gran Torino demonstrates the skills of Clint Eastwood as both actor and director. The story tackles racism and violence and has one of those endings that is neither happy nor sad, but is the correct one for the film without any Hollywood cop-out.

Apart from a certain unevenness in style between the “mockumentary” and the dramatic portions of District Nine, it was a thought provoking and entertaining film on racism and humanity.

Avatar is a film who plot is unoriginal, predictable and with wholes through which you could sail the Titanic. This is not a film for which these flaws a fatal. This is less a story and more of a journey to a fully realised alien world. It is a spectacle; a triumph of style over substance, but with such style that the absence does not lessen its impact. It will be interesting to see if this movie does have the long term impact of classics like Wizard of Oz or Star Wars. It is so dependent on technology, that my guess it will be fade like a latter day Tron. Right here and now, though, it is an incredible achievement and deserves its place in a list of best movies of 2009.

Published in: on 10 January, 2010 at 15:07  Leave a Comment  

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