Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Top NINE Films of 2009

Why top nine films when everyone else does ten? Because like everyone else, it’s always a struggle to pick out the best ten of anything and thus becomes stuck over whether to choose A over B out five others... so I’ve eliminated that problem altogether and just cut the tenth number and all those other potential films in the process.

Another thing I should point out is there are many films classed as 2009 but have or will be released in the UK in 2010 that are usually the award winning line up. Despite that however, for this year I have also not included those films released in 2008 but 2009 in the UK that are also award winners, quite simply to start off fresh. If I did however, the number one would be The Wrestler.

Next year the early 2010 award winners, if any worthy, will be mentioned in a 2010 top nine.

Further more, there are no doubt some 2009 foreign films I have yet to see or even hear of that would probably destroy all the other competition. So without further delay...

9. Paranormal Activity

(Directed by Oren Peil)

Despite the shakey-cam technique being the usual clutter of distortion and camera movement too fast for a handheld, by simply using a tripod and one shot, Paranormal Activity instantly becomes more coherent, realistic and ultimately scary as a result.

8. Zombieland

(Directed by Ruben Fleischer)

While not an entirely original concept, this comedic adventure of a zombie apocalypse delivers a perfect balance between grotesque slaughter and crude dialogue with all the characters fitting a role suited for a zombie survivor... not to mention an excellent Bill Murray cameo as himself.

7. Drag Me To Hell

(Directed by Sam Raimi)

Sam Raimi returns to form with an over the top story of gypsy curses and keen demons thats creepy and funny at the same time. A great comeback after the cliche ridden Spiderman spectacles to return to a better suited cliche ridden horror but this time it’s on purpose.

6. Moon

(Directed by Duncan Jones)

An unusual sci-fi drama about the story of a lone astronaut and his future-set mission to the moon under the watchful eye of an industrial powerhouse, although such a description hardly does this unique film justice. Quite simply it is a film with philosophy and psychology; hard science fiction.

5. The Fantastic Mr. Fox

(Directed by Wes Anderson)

Probably the most tame of the list, using old fashion stop-motion animation (original once more by today’s standards) and a quirky sense of humor, this tale of sly woodland critters over the top feud with upper class farmers is both amusing to and pleasant to watch... if not at times slightly weird.

4. Inglorious Bastards

(Directed by Quentin Tarantino)

Quentin Tarantino merges a Pulp Fiction story with Third Reich spin following the seedy plots of a rag tag band of Allied butchers and slick yet sinister Nazi leaders. The plot rarely takes itself seriously and is clear on staying as far from historical accuracy as possible, which makes it all the more fun to watch.

3. District 9

(Directed by Neill Blomkamp)

The excellent and engaging premise of extraterrestrial refugees slots together perfectly with the deranged plot of a human peace keeper’s transformation into the said alien insectoids. At first the audience is ushered in with a semi-documentary style story structure before becoming a more personal tale of the alien-human hybrid’s struggle with the military giant he once worked for. While one of the most violent films of 2009, there’s plenty of context to set itself apart from violence for the sack of violence flicks.

2. Watchmen

(Directed by Zack Synder)

300 director Zack Snyder takes on the hefty mantel of the classic graphic novel Watchmen, the downright bleak works of Alan Moore. Unlike most superhero adaptations that follow the traditional plot structure of “man becomes hero, struggles against villain”, Watchmen is about the washed up lives of ex-costumed crusaders who as normal people are hardly the ideal humans that are usually painted. Given it’s dark and downright depressing take on the genre, it captures the gritty realism of its alternate 1980s backdrop while inserting a good dose of social and political commentary. Mark my words, this will be remembered more than any blockbuster in the years to come.

1. The Hurt Locker

(Directed by Kathryn Bigelow)

Kathryn Bigelow’s take on America’s current war in Middle-East, despite some questionable advertising is hardly your conventional affair of Hollywood celebrities running and gunning through explosions set off by cliche arab militants or corrupt oil company henchmen. No, this is the real deal, war as it is. The plot quite simply follows a long years work of a three man Bomb Ordnance Disposal team and their increasingly hostile tasks at hand. There is no tale of revenge or redemption, and the small portion that nearly steps into such territory only lasts 10 minutes before getting back in line. And with the actors as normal humans, they all convey their own forms of fear, anger, humor and at times scary enjoyment that comes in the line of duty. Further more the message is not black nor white since while many will interpret the context as anti-war, the reason being is that it just shows war and war is hell but then again even the pro-war know this. The fact that America itself has made a well made war film that neither relishes in the glory or bloodshed of modern warfare is worthy of praise.

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