Monday, December 28, 2009


Jason Reitman's third film Up In the Air is definitely on par with his previous two films, Juno and Thanks for Smoking. He is really coming into his own. Every scene looks very professional and the story is taut and intriguing. The one knock I have on the film is it isn't very grandiose. You could say that about all of Reitman's films, but I feel this one needed to be. It needed to have a few larger-than-life scenes. The final scene with stars George Clooney and Vera Farmiga was indeed very good, but the film left me wanting more. It was a very good film, and very relevant to the times, but most importantly it was a serious and adult film. Something missing from the Honorable Mentions listed below. This was a real film, with real emotion. And I loved it for that, but I felt it was missing a few scenes that could have put it higher on this list.

Honorable Mention: 2012, WATCHMEN, TRANSFORMERS 2


I'm a huge Coen Brothers fan, so I see everything they make, but I wasn't too sure what to expect from the no name cast of A Serious Man. The opening scene is confusing and esoteric as is the conclusion. I don't want to give too much away, but I don't think I could if I tried. A Serious Man is a very layered film filled to the brim with Jewish traditions. It's hilarious, odd, but most importantly human. The main character struggles with insecurities in his romantic, family, and professional life. Supposedly he is cursed, but it just comes off as a person who has to deal with life.


2009 was the year of the Clooney. The star of the #10 film is also the star of the #8 film Fantastic Mr. Fox. Director Wes Anderson has made a career of making small films about underachieving, upper-class outcasts. To say this is a departure from those films would be an understatement. This is Wes' first animated feature and the cast of characters are all animals. Yet it stills feel like a Wes Anderson film. There's the strange family dynamic that is present in all of Wes' movies, but most importantly it's got that quirky sense of humor that no one can pull off but Wes.


We already posted our feelings about Inglorious Basterds on Popcorn Junkies, and my feelings have not changed. Everything Tarantino touches is amazing. His love for film spills out onto the other side of the screen. He seems like he's having so much fun making his films, it's hard not to have a ton of fun watching them. And I still felt Inglorious Basterds was a let down because it wasn't the best film of the year. But, it was a very good film and there were some very amazing set pieces and the cinematography was incredible, not to mention one of the best bad guys of the decade. I smell a few Oscar nominations for this film coming next month.


Notorious is the accurate and well told story of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. I remember being one of the only people who thought this film was great when it was released earlier this year. I find that baffling. First time actor Jamal Woolard did a great job making me believe that he was really Biggie Smalls. Even if you didn't like the story-telling or the acting, you got an hour and a half of music from the B.I.G. This movie hit the head of the heart for me, because Biggie's death marked the beginning of the end for real Hip-Hop.


For all us fanboys Avatar was a huge deal simply because it was the first James Cameron movie in 12 years, and for a lot of Cameron fans Titanic didn't really count. So when Avatar was released a couple weeks ago and was actually amazing, it was a huge sigh of relief. The film contained some of the most breath-taking special effects ever captured on film and seeing it in IMAX 3-D made it a very unique movie-going experience. You could tell that Cameron really spent a long time on this film. The world they created on Pandora was so intricate, you almost believe that Cameron had been there before. I hope this means James is back and will be releasing more mind-blowing sci-fi for us in the near future.


I saw the preview for The Road earlier this year and I knew immediately that I had to see this film. I love hard R-Rated films that hold nothing back and treat the viewer like a grown up who can handle some real shit. There are some scenes in this film that will have you talking for days. The story is about a post-apocalyptic Earth where the few humans that are left are probably cannibals. It's dark, pessimistic, scary, and honest. In other words its damn near perfect.


District 9 is a rare movie, nay film. It's got great action sequences, mind-blowing special effects, and a personal, well-constructed story. Disctrict 9 is very similar to Avatar, but I will almost always take the Rated R version over the PG-13 one. What impressed me so much about the film was its originality. I haven't really seen anything like it. The first half hour feels like something you would see on the Discovery channel, while that last hour and a half or so feels like Cloverfield. I would have to say this was the biggest surprise of the year and an instant classic. Can't wait for the sequel.


Who would have thought that the 11th Star Trek film would have been the biggest film of the year? With J.J. Abrams at the helm, much needed new life was brought to the Star Trek franchise. J.J. Abrams started in TV, creating hit shows like "Felicity" and "Lost" then made his directorial debut in 2006 with the incredibly under-appreciated Mission Impossible III (which suffered at the box office because of Tom Cruise's crazy antics on Oprah). He Executive Produced last year's phenomenal Cloverfield, which would make Star Trek only the second film he's directed. I don't know if there is another director who took on such a hefty task for their first two films with such great success. The story is intriguing, the special effects are great, and the cast, especially the unrecognizable Eric Bana are top notch.


District 9 was probably the biggest surprise hit of 2009, but the lack of success for Funny People was probably equally surprising. Judd Apatow's third film which starred Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen should have crossed the $100 million mark easily, but it barely squeaked passed $50 million. Not only did it fail at the box-office, but it wasn't very well-received with fans either. I thought the story was equal parts dramatic and hilarious. I love the usual Apatow suspects of Jonah Hill and Leslie Mann as well as crazy cameos from the likes of Eric Bana (again), Eminem, RZA, Ray Romano, and way too many to name. The film brought us into the celebrity world in a way not many films have been able to. It blurs the line between reality and fiction, but most importantly it is entertaining for each one of it's 146 minutes.