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Best and Worst Films of 2009

Posted by: Matthew Turner 11/12/2009 @ 16:15
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 437
Films seen this week: Masquerades, Whip It, The Stepfather (original version), Where the Wild Things Are (again), The Stepfather (remake), Unmade Beds (again), Toy Story 2 (3D), St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold, The Lovely Bones

The Best and Worst Films of 2009
I used to really love the end-of-year list-making period. Actively look forward to it, even. It's been real agony this year though, what with over 430-odd films to choose from. The list below represents several hours of screaming, tearing my hair out and openly weeping but this is the final version I'm sticking with.

The Best Films of 2009
1. Sugar
2. Fish Tank
3. Synecdoche, New York
4. (500) Days of Summer
5. Inglourious Basterds
6. Anvil! The Story of Anvil
7. Where the Wild Things Are
8. District 9
9. Watchmen
10. Let the Right One In

The following films are the 10 also-rans. To be honest, I'd have been equally happy with a top ten that was just these films too. In a couple of cases, I bumped a film from the list above because it was similar to something already on the list, e.g. it was a toss-up between Star Trek and Watchmen, but I felt Watchmen could use more love and I bumped Sounds Like Teen Spirit, because there wasn't room for two heart-warming not-exactly-competition-based documentaries with Anvil in there too. Also, in the list below, it was a toss-up between Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Up, but Cloudy just edged it.

The also-rans, then, are: The First Day of the Rest of Your Life, Moon, Star Trek, Love Exposure, Coraline, Sounds Like Teen Spirit, An Education, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno, In The City of Sylvia, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.

Picking the year's real stinkers was a lot easier and much more enjoyable, though I should point out that my actual worst film of the year, The Heavy, ended up going straight to DVD, so was ruled ineligible.

Worst 10 Films of 2009
1. Lesbian Vampire Killers
2. Transformers 2
3. Seven Pounds
4. The Boat That Rocked
5. The Ugly Truth
6. Dance Flick
7. Imagine That
8. Charles Dickens' England
9. The Life Before Her Eyes
10. The Spirit

Films I'm Looking Forward To: Toy Story 3 (3D)
This week I went to a screening of Toy Story 2 in 3D (utterly brilliant, looks like it was made for 3D in the first place) and while I was there, a friend was telling me about the Toy Story 3 trailer, which I hadn't seen yet. I'd been nervous about the film because my feeling is that if you can't make it at least as good as Toy Stories 1 and 2, then you shouldn't bother, but the hints of the plot we get here are enough to convince me that I can relax and start looking forward to it properly. Although, to be fair, Cars aside, Pixar have never let me down yet.

Anyway, the plot seems to be that Andy is off to college (bold move, setting it several years after the last film) and decides to donate his toys to a day-care centre. It's not clear if Woody and Buzz end up there on purpose or accidentally, or whether they go there to rescue their friends, but at any rate, that's where they all end up and it's not as much fun to be played with again as they'd hoped. As a lifelong Cheers fan, I'm always delighted when I hear John Ratzenberger's voice in Pixar movies (I'm not sure what his connection to them is, but they seem to think of him as their lucky mascot or something, as he's in every one of their films) and I love his delivery of the line “Come on, let's see how much we're going for on e-Bay...” Also, the Spanish Buzz Lightyear development is inspired and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. The UK release date is currently late July 2010. Colour me excited.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Only three new entries this week, with Spike Jonze's wonderful Where the Wild Things Are, post-viral apocalypse thriller Carriers and Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Contol all making it into the top ten. I should probably take this opportunity to say that judging by the reactions of fellow film reviewers, Where the Wild Things Are and The Limits of Control won't work for everyone, but I absolutely adored Where the Wild Things Are (I highly recommend seeing it twice, as you get much more out of it on a second viewing) and really enjoyed the surreal quirkiness of The Limits of Control. Interview round-up: porn star Sasha Grey, director Remi Bezancon and the Zac Efron, Claire Danes and Christian McKay, the stars of Me and Orson Welles.

1. Where the Wild Things Are
2. The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
3. A Serious Man
4. Paranormal Activity
5. The Informant!
6. Only When I Dance
7. Me and Orson Welles
8. Carriers
9. The Limits of Control
10. Up

DVD of the Week: The Hurt Locker (out Monday 28th December, RRP £19.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is The Hurt Locker, although, strictly speaking, it's not out until the 28th. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film is based on a script by a former, bomb-squad embedded journalist and follows a crack US bomb disposal unit in post-war Iraq.
Sharply written and superbly directed, the film is packed with several incredibly tense sequences and features a terrific central performance from rising star Jeremy Renner. The DVD package is a little disappointing, however and only has a 10 minute Behind The Scenes featurette and five two minute interviews with cast members Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, David Morse and Jeremy Renner. So, sadly, no commentary, no deleted scenes and no blooper reel. Fortunately, ViewLondon has an exclusive interview with actor Brian Geraghty that you can read here to make up for it...


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