Film 2009

Without Jonathan Ross

2008 was undoubtedly a brilliant year for films with the releases of Cloverfield, The Dark Knight, Wall•E, Iron Man, Burn After Reading, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Wrestler and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to name just ten.

So how did 2009 do? First of all, I’ll admit that there were some major films released this year that I still haven’t managed to watch (read: Coraline, The Soloist, Public Enemies) but when Film 4 asked via Twitter what everyone’s favourite films of the year were I felt like writing down my thoughts.

Star Trek

Star Trek Screencap

I’m not what you would call a Trekkie by any means. Although I often found my eldest sister watching Star Trek when I was younger, I never became a fan of the series and so understandably I wasn’t as hyped up about this film as a lot of other people I know.

Despite this I really enjoyed JJ Abrams “reboot” of the series. Abrams managed to introduce and develop the characters in a way which allowed him to draw in non-Trekkies like myself without boring the existing fans. This was helped by a good, if at times slightly convoluted, story and some great performances from Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban.

This is exactly what I wanted from a summer blockbuster and I’m looking forward to Abrams’ sequel.

District 9

District 9 Screencap

Neill Blomkamp was due to direct a film based on Halo. Luckily for everyone that fell through and producer Peter Jackson gave Bomkamp $30 million to make whatever he wanted. The result is a brilliant sci-fi film based on Blomkamp’s original short film Alive in Joburg.

While I did enjoy this film I felt that they should have kept the documentary style throughout instead of ditching it in the latter half of the film. I also felt that the final act was a bit clichéd at times although not enough to detract from the rest of the film. This is far from your standard action sci-fi however as there is a clear message to be found at the heart of the film. The previously unknown Sharlto Copely delivers an excellent performance Wikus Van De Merwe, superbly ad-libbing the entirety of his dialogue in the documentary sections of the film. I often find that having a big name actor in the lead role in a film can have a negative effect as I see them more as the actor than as the character they are playing. After seeing District 9 I’m wondering if more films should use an unknown cast.

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds Screencap

All the trailers and marketing touted this film as starring Brad Pitt, but in reality he’s barely in it. The film’s focus is more on the stories of SS Colonel Hans Landa and cinema owner Shosanna Dreyfus with Mélanie Laurent and in particular Christoph Waltz delivering outstanding performances.

With superb dialogue, brilliant pacing, great tension and fantastic humour, Basterds marks a return to form for Tarantino after the disappointment that was Death Proof. This is definitely his best work since Pulp Fiction.

Up

Up Screencap

Pixar have done it again, again… again. In the past, Pixar’s films have seemed to me to be stories aimed at children with some adult humour sprinkled on top so that the parents who are taking their kids to see the film aren’t entirely bored. Up feels to me more like an adult story with elements of childish humour injected into it.

The early montage following Carl and Ellie’s life together is astounding and endears the viewer to Carl who otherwise may have appeared to be a quite grumpy and unlikable character. In fact, this scene was so good that it was listed as “The Greatest Moment in Movie Animation” by Total Film magazine.

Moon

Moon Screencap

Prior to Moon I had only seen Sam Rockwell in two films, his not-so-great performance in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and his pretty decent appearance in Choke. As such I wasn’t entirely sure about him as an actor going in to Moon, thankfully his performance is superb.

Moon takes on the sci-fi genre in a different way to Star Trek, proving to be a much more cerebral experience compared to Trek’s fast-paced action. The twists and turns are all revealed gradually in a way which keeps you guessing and doesn’t resort to simple shock tactics.

It feels very 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of the overall aesthetics of the film, as well as Sam’s HAL-esque companion GERTY, but it is an homage rather than simply stealing the set designs and when combined with Clint Mansell’s score the atmosphere which is created fits the story perfectly.

So those are my favourite films of 2009, how about you?


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 at 18:52 and is filed under Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Comments

Ashley Baxter

09/12/2009

I’m not a movie buff by any means, nor did I even make it to the cinema very much this year. I did enjoy Up though, much more than I expected to (even though I am a big Pixar fan). Biggest disappointment for me was Transformers 2, and I love, loved, loved 500 Days of Summer.

Dan

10/12/2009

Death proof was awesome…

Iron man was over rated.

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