I’m behind again on watching films this year, but I’m slowly catching up. Below is a list of films I’ve seen in 2009 that most impressed me, for various reasons. These are in no particular order. I’m sure the list will change once I’m able to catch up on all that I’ve missed this year.
1) Inglorious Basterds: Tarantino is back and true to form! A lot of fans did not like this movie at all, because they were expecting more action and gore. I loved the film because it not only featured some amazing performances, but it also had some of the most suspenseful scenes that I’ve seen on film in a very long time. Some may hate the excessive violence, some may hate the subtext – but I don’t normally take those things into consideration in judging a film for my own tastes. Some of the more violent scenes were overkill to me, but overall the film is outstanding. I think that Christoph Waltz’s performance as Col. Hans Landa is the best I’ve seen in anything this year. Tarantino’s strengths, in my opinion, have always been dialogue, suspense, music (songs and score), and outrageousness. I think he scores an A+ with this one.
2. Star Trek: I went to see this film not expecting to like it as much as I did. Because J.J. Abrams was involved, and because reviews were good, I decided to give it a try. I thought it was fresh, fun, and unexpected – and full of surprisingly good performances. I was especially impressed with Zachary Quinto as Spock. He was excellent at portraying the emotion (or lack of it) of the evolving Spock, and he actually made Spock as sexy as hell…which is a feat!
3) Paranormal Activity: This was by no means the best film ever made, but it’s different, and it’s the kind of creepy that unsettles me. There is no visible Freddy or Jason killing teens because they are partying too hard. There’s an unseen, creepy, determined demon haunting a woman, and her boyfriend has decided to videotape these nightly paranormal activities in an attempt to figure out what is actually going on. I wasn’t a fan of the ending, actually, but the overall atmosphere of the film was great, and for virtually unknown actors, I thought that Micah and Katie were very good.
Films I Waited to See on DVD – And I Was Very Disappointed in Them:
1) Watchmen: Hated it; it “looked” good, but overall it was just plain crap.
2) Adventureland: Pointless & cheesy; a waste of everyone’s talents.
3) Observe & Report: Why did they make this?
4) The Brothers Bloom: Trailer was great, and I love Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, and Rachel Weisz – but the film was just not good.
Surprises I Found on DVD or Cable:
1) Up: Wasn’t sure how I would like this film, but I loved it. It goes a little astray at one point, but the first half of the film is amazing.
2) The Cake Eaters: A bit odd, but very touching and with very good performances. Bruce Dern is fabulous in this one.
3) Yes Man: I’m so not a Jim Carrey fan – but this film was warm and funny & he totally did not get on my nerves . . . much.
4) In Bruges: From 2008, this is a great little film, though definitely not a happy one.
5) Knowing: This Nicolas Cage film was heavily panned. There are a few mega-cheesy moments, but overall I was surprised at how quickly I was drawn into the story, and some of the special effects are pretty spectacular (especially the plane crash scene).
6) My Life in Ruins: A bit corny, as expected, but I watched this on a long flight and it was sweet & funny, and it kept my mind off of the long trip.