Monday, 11 January 2010

Belated Films of 2009 List.

Here are nine films that I liked in 2009. Not necessarily the best, just some good ones that I reckon you should watch if you haven't already. If you have seen them: WEREN'T THEY GOOD?


Along with "Star Trek" and "Let the Right One in", this is a contender for the "best film I done see this year" award. A whimsical tale of a grumpy old geezer who decides to fly to South America by tying a load of balloons to his house. Moving, exciting, funny, quietly profound and perfectly structured; this might even be Pixar's best film yet. Sheer belter.

Quote of the Year: "It's like America... but South!"

Let the Right One in

A teenage vampire-romance with more guts and heart than a thousand instalments of the Twilight "saga". Grim and grisly, but ultimately warm and optimistic (in a bloodthirsty way), this is an inspired take on the vampire mythology and a tenderly touching story of two lost, lonely souls finding one another. If you haven't seen it, do so before the American re-make comes out.

Quote of the Year: "You stay under water for three minutes. If you can do it, I'll just nick you. But if you can't, I'll poke one of your eyes out."

Sherlock Holmes

Rip-roaring buddy-adventure yarn. Downey is a perfect Holmes (apart from not being tall enough), and Law is a surprisingly sturdy Watson, but together, they are one of the most consistently watchable screen pairings since Zig and Zag. What is essentially a fairly standard caper is elevated onto this list by a few inventive flourishes from Guy Ritchie, some brilliantly exciting set-pieces and, primarily, the bromantic flirting between Downey and Law. It's a Victorian "Lethal Weapon"!

Quote of the Year: "NUT HIM!"


It's "2001" with heart, it's "Logan's Run" without jumpsuits, it's the best lo-fi sci-fi in many a long year. Rockwell is relentlessly awesome, deftly balancing comedy and tragedy as called for, the home-made special-effects are surprisingly effective, and the initially familiar plot soon becomes an original and powerful human story which achieves an existential beauty not seen in sci-fi since Roy Batty chatted some shit about tears in the rain.

Quote of the Year: "I just want to go home..."

Inglourious Basterds

Tarantino's return to form after the slightly drab "Death Proof". The performances are uniformly excellent, especially Michael Fassbender and the movie-mugging Cristoph Waltz. Perhaps a little long, but the episodic narrative never feels overstretched, and the tension is ratcheted to stratospheric levels. QT seems to have realised that his digressive dialogue works best when tempered with dramatic subtexts, and runs with this in several grandstanding set-pieces which involve little more than apparantly irrelevant conversation and suffocating dramatic irony.

Quote of the Year: "That's a bingo!"

Paranormal Activity.

Scariest film I've seen in a long time. Won't have much impact on those looking for cheap scares and jumps, but delivers a creeping dread which actually pays off with a few big shocks and haunts the imagination for a long time after the lights come up.

Quote of the Year: "I think we'll be okay now..."

Star Trek

Fast-paced, rollicking space-based action-adventure. Expertly reintroduces characters in a manner easily accessible to those unfamiliar with the Trek mythology, yet remains loyal to their established personality traits. Nerds will cry over the plot's wilful distancing of itself from established Trek history, but the changes are well integrated into the time-travel/parallel universe plotline and the film attacks the prospect of a "Franchise Reboot" in a brave and interesting way. Genius casting and performances pitched at just the right mixture of light and dark make this true to the heart of the original Trek, being more about the human element and its dealings with the extraordinary, rather than techno-babble and pontifications about interstellar politics. The first Star Trek film in years that can actually be called "A Good Film", rather than "Good, For a Star Trek Film". Bring on the sequel.

Quote of the Year: "I may throw up on you."

(500) Days of Summer

Romantic comedy built on a refreshing combination of cynicism and optimism. JGL kicks arse as the downtrodden everyman pursuing his dreamgirl, and Zooey Deschanel makes said dreamgirl believably earthy and human despite her ideal status. Whimsical without being twee or patronising and featuring an unusually eclectic and fitting soundtrack, where most indie films would settle for self-conscious cool. Fun times.

Quote of the Year: "Darling, I don't know how to tell you this but... there's a Chinese family in our bathroom."

District 9

Barnstorming debut from Neill Blomkamp which establishes both him and star Sharlto Copley as forces to be reckoned with. The film is inventive, hilarious, exciting and surprisingly moving, with the minimal budget utilised to great effect. Plus, it has guns what make people properly explode and that. If there's any justice in the world, Copley will at least get an Oscar nomination for his nuanced performance which convincingly covers pretty much every conceivable human emotion, and never once seems forced or rehearsed.

Quote of the Year: "I would never have any kind of pornographic activity with a fokkin' creature!"

And that's it. This is by no means a definitive list of the years movies, but these were the ones what I liked. Or the ones I can remember, anyway. And to finish, here's some I'd rather forget:

Fingers crossed for this year, eh?


  1. I think you've accidently mixed your movies up, as I certainly don't remember Kevin James being in "Observe and Report"... You've also missed out "Whip It", "The Box", "Gamer", "Bad Loo Attendant" and "The Lovely Bones", but I guess we'll wait and see what the Golden Globules make of that.

  2. Nice list. I think we would all do well to forget those at the end of your post.

  3. Maf: Only "The Box" and "Gamer" have been released in this country so far, so the others will have to wait 'til next year's list. I'm sure they will all make an appearance.

    TS: I will never forget those films, no matter how hard I try.

  4. Really? Shit, the internet is fast with rips these days. Whip It's a goddamned BluRay!

  5. You was scared by the overrated film that is 'Paranormal Activity'. you say scariest film you have seen in a long time. I say hype that carries the film is the thing that is scary. When hype starts to carry films you know i will never live up.

    you pussy whipped shithouse.

  6. Maf: I think it's out on Bluray in America already.

    John: I assume that's you again? I can tell by your eloquent and balanced tone. I find it amusing that a fervent supporter of the Avatar juggernaut would complain about the dangers of over-hyping.

    PA genuinely unsettled me, not necessarily through anything I saw on screen (although there were a couple of good surprises), but the suggestion of things unseen. I enjoyed it while it was on, but it was later, when I was alone, that I realised its true skill as a horror film.

    It had awakened childhood fears of the dark and solitude and things that go bump in the night, it "captured my imagination" in the way that Disney films always claim to do.

    Horror and comedy are, of course the most subjective genres, so it's always difficult to argue about them, but I found PA to be a interesting, simple concept explored to its full potential and beyond.

    Being aware of the budgetary limitations, I didn't expect events in the film to go as far as they did, so was genuinely shocked and surprised at certain points, which I can't say for a lot of films, including Avatar.

    And remember, you don't have to be anonymous! Select "comment as name/url" and then type your name! Don't be shy!

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  8. Cool list! DEFINITELY agree with Inglorious Basterds, however that might be expected from me, considering I'm a huge tarantino fan, but i think this is definitely his masterpiece. Star Trek was also AMAZING, I'm looking forward to future installations.

    Most of the others I haven't seen yet, but are definitely on my MUST SEE list. and yes PLEASE forget those last ones! :P

  9. I've watched UP four times now and I cry for 37 minutes at exactly the same point...every single time.