Thursday, December 31, 2009

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The Best of 2009, For Sure

And finally, after much delay and suspense, my Top Ten Films of 2009. These are the movies what made me happy that I spend as much time at the movies as I do. It's no coincidence that I experienced all of these in a movie theater -- it is, after all, the way films were meant to be experienced. I've struggled with my Top Three, having changed and rearranged it multiple times. Hell, my ranking of those three could change between now and now-oh-one. But I'm going to commit myself.

My Top Ten Films of 2009:

10. JENNIFER'S BODY

For nailing the insecurity of adolescence. For using horror to explore eating disorders, perceptions of beauty, and teen sexuality. For the subtle looks between Needy (Amanda Seyfried) and Jennifer (Megan Fox). For proving Diablo Cody earned that Oscar. For "Through the Trees", one of the best songs written for a movie ever.

9. EASY VIRTUE

For bringing classic wit to a modern screen. For its gorgeous production values. For making every character real human beings instead of comic caricatures. For revealing Jessica Biel's gifts as an actress. For making "Car Wash" and "Sex Bomb" into 1920s foxtrots.

8. UP IN THE AIR

For knocking the wind out of me with its finale. For making George Clooney vulnerable. For fine supporting turns from Vera Farmiga and Amy Morton. For delighting and upsetting me simultaneously. For a surprisingly great score.

7. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

For bringing Disney magic back into my life. For the incredible voice cast. For fantastic songs like "Dig a Little Deeper". For the sheer beauty of 2D animation. For an ending that got me misty-eyed.

6. JULIE & JULIA
(Number Nine on 25 Most Anticipated)

For making something delightful and fun out of an atrocious book (the titular one, not Julia Child's memoir). For the costumes. For Alexandre Desplat's score. For the chemistry between Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep. For being worth three viewings.

5. BRIGHT STAR

For engaging performances by its ensemble. For the sexless yet sexy passion between Fanny (Abbie Cornish) and John Keats (Ben Whishaw). For Greig Fraser's breathtaking cinematography. For Jane Campion's light yet ever-present touch. For haunting me with its beauty.

4. A SERIOUS MAN

For finding the absurd in the awful. For its use of Jefferson Airplane. For the Rabbi scenes. For an ensemble firing on all cylinders.For "accept the mystery".

3. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
(Number Ten on 25 Most Anticipated)

For giving me just what I need at the time I saw it. For a realistic portrayal of a modern relationship. For that dance number. For using wardrobe and set dressing to accentuate Zooey Deschanel's eyes. For being a romantic-comedy that didn't condescend to the audience.

2. FANTASTIC MR. FOX

For dancing foxes. For Wes Anderson finding the perfect medium for his style. For that wonderfully offbeat sense of style. For making a kid's movie into a caper comedy for adults. For being a cussing great movie.

1. PUBLIC ENEMIES

For Colleen Atwood's costumes. For Johnny Depp's haunted performance. For turning a mainstream genre into cinematic art. For Elliot Goldenthal's period-perfect score. For that devastating final scene. For playing with the facts to give us a gripping story. For just being the best at what it did.

3 comments:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

All that about Public Enemies and nothing about Marion :)

Damn, I still have to see Bright Star!

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Ah, you're right! And she's one of my favorite things about the movie! So, let me say here and now, that Public Enemies also benefits from Marion Cotillard's performance in the role Billie Frechette, Dillinger's girlfriend. Wary yet excited, Cotillard gives one of the year's best performances. The interrogation scene, the beach scene, the race track scene, the last scene....all amazing, thanks primarily to Cotillard, but also to her scene partners and the wonderful work of Michael Mann.

Nigel said...

I'm surprised Jane Lynch's delightful perfomance in Julie and Julia is being over-looked by many. After a series of bland scenes from Adams and a few flashbacks, I gladly welcomed Jane's entrance...it was refreshing.