July 20, 2009

My Top Ten Movies of 2009...So Far...

The year is coming towards its half way mark and in imitation of one of my favorite TV shows, At The Movies, I decided to give my list of top ten movies for 2009...so far. I've judged my top ten based on entertainment value, story line, artistry, acting, originality, and the fulfillment of original intent. I expect this year to be like 2008 in which some of its best movies will be released towards the end of the year for Oscar impressions, which is why this list was difficult to come up with and why I also include some honorable mentions. Keep in mind that I have not seen every movie that has received high critical reviews, but I've seen enough to make a list of my recommendations. I've seen a few clunkers to, so I will also mention what I consider to be the worst movie of the year that you should by all means avoid.

Top Ten Movies of 2009

10. Public Enemies - The only negative about this movie is that it does not give enough background information to fulfill its ultimate purpose of making John Dillinger a sympathetic figure and instead does it through a few historical inaccuracies. It gets its high mark for filming in many of the actual historical locations. It also has three of my favorite actors in film today whose abilities highly elevate this film - Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard.

9. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - As much as I love the X-Men series, I will have to give this latest installment the highest praise. A very entertaining film with a surprisingly tight story and lots of action.

8. Coraline - A beautifully done 3-D animation sci-fi/fantasy film with a gothic edge. Dakota Fanning does a masterful job in bringing out the troubled emotions of Coraline.

7. I Love You, Man - Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are very funny in this movie and make for a classic comedy duo. I laughed throughout the movie and it was intelligently well made.

6. Hangover - This is a rare film that mixes raunchiness with intelligence to make it the funniest movie of the year. It is perfectly cast to give a unique chemistry between the four main characters, and the outrageousness of the story is mixed with a reality that makes it plausible and believable.

5. Star Trek - A highly anticipated film by Star Trek fans of the original series, as I am, that does not disappoint. Perfectly cast and great story with effects, it takes the Star Trek franchise to another level.

4. Drag Me To Hell - The best horror movie of the year so far and a film that stars the director above everybody else. Only Sam Raimi could make such a great horror film in the spirit of Evil Dead 2 that has just as many laughs as it does scares. An excellent story line and production that is well acted and contemporary while remaining nostalgic of the great horror films of the 1970's.

3. Up - For this computer animated film to be on my list of top 3 films is a big deal since I hardly ever see animated films in theatres, but I find it hard to resist a good 3-D film. This is not just good however, but excellent. It contains one of the best opening montages in movie history and beautifully crosses the generations to make this movie as entertaining and lovable for adults of all ages as it is for children. And I highly commend this film for making an old man the hero of this children's story.

2. The Hurt Locker - An intense war film set in Iraq that is not to be missed. The realism and authenticity of the film is so staggering, you are left wondering if this movie was actually filmed in Iraq (it was filmed in Jordan 3 miles from Iraq). The authenticity of the film is accentuated by the fact that they used actual Iraqi displaced war refugees to play the Iraqi's.

1. Sin Nombre - This gets a 10 on all my categories above and in my opinion is the Slumdog Millionaire of 2009. This is a true classic masterpiece yet beautifully simple.

Honorable Mentions For Top Ten Movies of 2009

- Bruno - Though many hated this film and were offended by it, I cannot deny the extreme hilarity of the film. From beginning to end the film is funny and I found it to be an excellent commentary on the prejudices of society and the narcissism involved in trying to be famous. What I find a lot of people denying in reviewing this film is the reality it depicts and the fact that reality is much much worse than anything depicted in this film. Shocking, but great!

- Notorious - A surprisingly amazing film about famed rapper Notorious B.I.G. that is well acted and draws you in.

- Taken - A great over the top action film that also depicts the harsh realities of human sex trafficking.

- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter series and this does an excellent job in the evolution of this story line. It does an excellent job showing the children going through puberty and maturing. There is no climactic ending, but fulfills its purpose in building anticipation for the next film and conclusion.

Worst Movie of 2009

1. My Life In Ruins - This movie is horrible to say the least. It is a comedy that is not humorous at all. As a Greek, in many ways I found it offensively bad and does a terrible job in describing the authenticity of the Greek people. And the only time it mentions an Orthodox Church is when they visit one on their tour and all they do is make fun of everything in there. It shows kefi (a hard to translate word that expresses passionate enthusiasm and a party spirit) to be the soul of the Greek people, which I would disagree with, but in the end this kefi is taught by an overweight American tourist who plays a sort of guru figure throughout the film. He teaches this by having sex with a younger woman inspiring everyone else to have sex as well. Bruno has more class than this film. The only positive in this film is the scenery.

Runner Up For Worst Movie of 2009

- He's Just Not That Into You - I expected something good from this romantic comedy that had some great actors, but in the end it does not deliver and there is not a shred of intelligence or humor in it. The script does great injustice to an excellent cast.