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Old 31st Dec 2009, 11:19   #1
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Default Films of 2009

Either films released in 2009, or films viewed in 2009. Whichever you like. I'm not fussy.
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Old 31st Dec 2009, 11:21   #2
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Default Re: Films of 2009

I'm going with films (well, DVDs, mostly) viewed in 2009.
  1. Oldboy. D: Park Chan-wook. Sick, brutal film about revenge delayed, redeemed by the fact that it is brilliant in every way. It is important that there are still people this crazed and talented making films.
  2. Darwin's Nightmare. D: Hubert Sauper. Lives of Tanzanian fishermen and the pending collapse of the lake's eco-system. Grim and objective account of human degradation and environmental destruction to sate western appetites.
  3. Der Dritte. D: Egon Gunther. A woman seeks love amid the socialist realism. Stylish, nouvelle vague comedy drama from GDR. yes, you read that correctly.
  4. The Sweet Smell of Success. D: Alexander MacKendrick. Crackling script, brilliant musical score and ace performances as human louse Tony Curtis weasels his way about the screen. Brilliant.
  5. Nackt Unter Wolfen. D: Frank Beyer. Concentration camp cat and mouse as prisoners conceal a child. Stark, brilliant, only slightly weakened by some clumsy pro-USSR propaganda.
  6. La Chinoise. D: Jean luc Godard. Godard renounces radical leftism in charactertistically off beat tale of student terrorists. Alternates typically confrontational mis en scene with touches of casual brilliance.
  7. All the Kings Men. D: Robert Rossen. 1950s take on political corruption. Swaggering performance by Broderick Crawford as sleazy politician.
  8. Architekten. D: Peter Kahane. East German architects run up against institutional inertia. More interesting than it sounds, shot in a low key, realist style, with understated excellence in all areas.
  9. Angelus. D: Lech Majewski. Weird fable about individuality, spirituality, shagging and the end of the world, set in communist Poland. Captivatingly strange.
  10. No Country for Old Men. D: Joel & Ethan Coen. Film noir with cowboy hats. Impressive, but spoiled by a cartoon villan.
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Old 3rd Jan 2010, 22:51   #3
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Default Re: Films of 2009

Top 10 films released (over here) in 2009 in no particular order:

Gran Torino
Like he did in Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood returns to the genre that made him – the lone gun-toting badass who, almost against his will, takes on the world to protect the weak – and picks it apart, refusing to scrap it completely but also unable to not see its problems. Get off my lawn, says the 78-year-old director to all of Hollywood.

My Name Is Bruce
It's Bruce Campbell being conscripted to save the world from the patron saint of tofu, despite protesting that he's not an action hero, he's just a fat and aging actor who's happened to be in a few horror movies. A completely uncritical love letter to the B movie.

The Wrestler
And what Gran Torino does to Dirty Harry, The Wrestler does to Rocky (and for that matter, every "coming out of retirement" movie ever). Rourke was never this good before. The sheer mundanity, you get up in the morning and you go to work-ness of it all. It's all old hair metal that never could grow up, and all the more heartbreaking for it.

A child who doesn't want to grow up has a nightmare about never growing up.

Drag Me To Hell
Raimi comes back to where he left off when he gave up on the horror genre about 10 minutes into Evil Dead II. This is a horror movie made as if Kevin Williamson had never been born. Raimi doesn't try to deconstruct, comment, parody or even reconstruct the genre; he just makes a horror movie as if that's all there is to it. And scares the fertilizer out of us.

Synecdoche, New York
Moving, hilarious, ugly, beautiful, heartbreaking, smart, and hopefully more so on repeated viewings. Sort of both the companion piece to and the absolute antithesis of Lynch's Inland Empire.

Very bleak and uneasy comedy about group pressure, social norms and the trappings of things you don't say out loud. Half a dozen separate storylines with no ordinary narrative, it mostly looks like a series of unconnected documentaries of everyday life that gradually find common themes and get more intense. Painfully spot-on, with no easy ending.

Tourette's: the zombie movie. A small Canadian radio station suddenly finds itself caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. So, what, you lock the doors, stay safe, and report on what's happening... right? Except this virus is memetic rather than genetic, and they can't not communicate... terrifying and thoughtworthy.

The Hurt Locker
Again, you get up in the morning, you go to work and you try to not die. The Hurt Locker is one of the most nail-biting war films I've seen in years, and all the more a great film because it refuses to make politics one way or the other, doesn't try to be a big statement on anything, doesn't force a cookie-cutter plot onto it, just puts its characters and the viewers through hell.

In The Loop
"If only you knew, my son, with how little sense the world is run..." A completely fictional account, I'm sure, of how junior ministers and senior advisers try to stop two the US and the UK from going to war with an unnamed middle-east country. And everyone agrees it's a bad idea, but everyone is also not as competent as they might be (apart from the glorious Malcolm Tucker) and looking out for their own careers and their own personal agendas, and somehow it keeps moving ahead anyway... I don't think I've laughed this much in a movie theatre in years.
See the cat? See the cradle?

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