2009 is in the rearview mirror and I’ve read a lot of critics, bloggers and people who fancy themselves cinema sophisticates complaining that 2009 was a weak year for film. As Bugs Bunny would say, ‘they’re maroons’.
Now I review, I blog and I even ‘Tweet’ (because, really, who doesn’t – right? Right?!) but most importantly, I simply love going to the movies. I love my heavily buttered and salted popcorn with a large cola chaser. I love experiencing a good movie for the first time with a packed movie house. I love the way movies make you laugh, think, feel and cry (because they’re sad or because they stink).
Below are the movies I saw in 2009 – you might find the list helpful come your next on-foot trip to Blockbuster or online trip to NetFlix.
I’ll be back next week with reviews for 2010’s first offerings: CRAZY HEART, LEAP YEAR, YOUTH IN REVOLT and DAYBREAKERS.
Have a very happy and safe New Year and thanks for reading!
THE MOVIES I LOVED
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Brad Pitt; war/drama) I loved these bloody basterds.
AVATAR (directed by James Cameron; sci-fi/action) Visually stunning.
UP IN THE AIR (George Clooney; drama/comedy) Clooney knocks it out of the airfield.
THE BLIND SIDE (Sandra Bullock; drama/comedy) Sandra Bullock scores a touchdown.
THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX (animated) Fantastic.
PRECIOUS (produced by Oprah Winfrey; drama) Bleak and powerful.
AN EDUCATION (Carey Mulligan; drama) Live life, love life.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (based on the children’s book; adventure/drama) A deep and dark kids movie that’s not for kids.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (horror) Low budget, high chills.
STAR TREK (sci-fi/action) Now you can consider me a ‘Trekkie’.
UP (animated) I’m down with this movie.
DRAG ME TO HELL (horror) Wish this movie stank – then I could have really used the title.
THE HANGOVER (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms; comedy) Happiness can be found at the bottom of this bottle.
CORALINE (animated) Vivid and imaginative.
THE HURT LOCKER (war/drama/action) Powerful and action-packed.
500 DAYS OF SUMMER (Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Zooey Deshanel; romantic/comedy) Offbeat and fun.
DISTRICT 9 (sci-fi/action) So good I’m calling it ‘District 10’.
TAKEN (Liam Neeson; action) Awesome, B-movie action.
PONYO (animated) A sweet treat for children.
THE MOVIES I ENJOYED
NINE (Daniel Day Lewis and Nicole Kidman; musical) I’d say more like a seven and a half.
SHERLOCK HOLMES (Robert Downey Jr.; action/mystery) No mystery here – this movie was fun.
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (animated) Disney returns to 2-D animation.
INVICTUS (Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon; sport/drama) Freeman, Damon, Eastwood.
BROTHERS (Tobey Maguire; drama) War is hell…even when you come home.
THE ROAD (Viggo Mortenson; drama) A bleak road, but take it you should.
PIRATE RADIO (Philip Seymour Hoffman; comedy) Turn it up.
2012 (John Cusack; action/disaster) Can’t wait for ‘2013’ and better script.
THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS (George Clooney; comedy/war) Take a good look…even though everyone I’ve recommended it to has hated it.
MICHAEL JACKSON’S THIS IS IT (musical/documentary) Hey, let’s make some money of this whole MJ debacle.
A SERIOUS MAN (drama) Seriously offbeat and Jewish and directed by the Coen Brothers.
WHIP IT! (Ellen Page; comedy) Whip it…good.
THE INFORMANT! (Matt Damon; comedy) Damon in mustachioed goofy mode.
LOVE HAPPENS (Jennifer Aniston; rom-dram-com) Hey look, Jennifer Aniston is playing another version of Jennifer Aniston.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (animated) Outlook...fun.
THE PROPOSAL (Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds) Engaging.
BRUNO (Sacha Baron Cohen) Very nice…and graphic.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE (Danielle Radcliffe) Better than 1 and 2, not as good as 3 and just about as good as 4.
FUNNY PEOPLE (Adam Sandler & Seth Rogen) Should have had a better sense of humor.
JULIE & JULIA (Meryl Streep & Amy Adams) Have seconds of Julia and wrap Julie in a doggy bag.
I LOVE YOU, MAN (Paul Rudd; comedy) Best bro-mance movie ever.
SUNSHINE CLEANING (Amy Adams; comedy) Solid performances.
AWAY WE GO (comedy) Quirky.
17 AGAIN (Matthew Perry and Zac Efron; comedy) Sometimes it’s fun to go back.
ADVENTURELAND (comedy/drama) You’ll like it if you were a teenager in the 80’s.
STATE OF PLAY (Russell Crowe; drama) Yeah, I still have no idea what the title means…but it’s got Russell Crowe.
THE MOVIES THAT I THOUGHT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BETTER
IT’S COMPLICATED (Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin; rom-com) It’s not that complicated – just write a better script next time.
PLANET 51 (animated) Not out of this world.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON (based on the books) This vampire series sucks.
DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Jim Carrey; animated) Humbug.
ASTRO BOY (animated) Does not blast off.
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler; drama) Violent and unbelievable.
THE INVENTION OF LYING (Ricky Gervais; comedy) Great concept, poor execution.
PANDORUM (sci-fi/horror) Uninvolving.
SURROGATES (Bruce Willis; sci-fi/action) Bruce Willis wears a goofy hair piece.
JENNIFER’S BODY (Megan Fox; comedy/horror) …is about the only thing good in this movie.
9 (animated) More like a five.
EXTRACT (Jason Bateman; comedy) Watered down Mike Judge comedy.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (Hugh Jackman; action) Declawed.
ANGELS & DEMONS (Tom Hanks; drama) Tom Hanks runs around Europe pointing at stuff.
TERMINATOR SALVATION (Christian Bale; action) Should have been much, much cooler.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN (Ben Stiller; comedy) Headache inducing.
THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 (Denzel Washington & John Travolta; action/drama) Half a good movie.
IMAGINE THAT (Eddie Murphy; comedy) Not as bad as most recent Eddie Murphy movies…imagine that.
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (Shia LaBeouf; action) Takes itself way to seriously.
MY SISTER’S KEEPER (Cameron Diaz; drama) Hollywood sap.
PUBLIC ENEMIES (Johnny Depp & Christian Bale; drama) Beautifully dull.
ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS (animated) Not thoroughly thawed.
A PERFECT GETAWAY (thriller) Perfectly goofy.
G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (action) Knowing this is pure cheese is half the battle.
THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE (Rachel McAdams & Eric Bana; drama) Get a divorce already.
SHORTS (family/kids) Too long.
MONSTERS VS ALIENS (animated) Big, colorful, uninspired.
KNOWING (Nicolas Cage; sci-fi/drama) Cage doesn’t wear a goofy hair piece…for a change.
DUPLICITY (Julia Roberts and Clive Owen; comedy/drama) Double-crossing to the point of confusion.
PUSH (action) Should have been called Fantastic Four 3.
THE SOLOIST (Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx) Downey Jr. and Foxx are unspectacular.
THE INTERNATIONAL (Clive Owen; action) Strong action, ridiculous plot.
OBSERVE AND REPORT (Seth Rogen; comedy) I observed a mediocre dark comedy.
FIGHTING (action/drama) A movie about fighting that’s not called Fight Club can never be quite that good.
HOTEL FOR DOGS (comedy) For the dogs, but kids will love it.
OBSESSED (Beyonce; drama) Cat fights should always be more fun than this.
FIRED UP (comedy) Guys crash a cheerleader camp. Mayhem ensues.
SORORITY ROW (horror) Scantily clad sorority girls get terrorized. I so wanted to give this an ‘A’.
UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS (action) Another underwhelming vampire flick.
HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE (Miley Cyrus; comedy) She really does have the best of both worlds.
RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (Dwayne Johnson; action) The Rock races to a mountain.
THE MOVIES THAT I’M SORRY I HAD TO SEE AND WILL PROBABLY CAUSE HARM TO PEOPLE WHO SEE THEM
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEKQUEL (animated) We basically get a newly created word out of this – nothing more.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS? (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker; rom-com) The only thing you’ll hear is the sound of no one laughing.
ARMORED (action) …yet still unprotected from bad reviews.
EVERYBODY’S FINE (Robert Deniro; drama) Deniro was fine – everyone else was not.
NINJA ASSASSIN (action) Creative title, guys – well done.
OLD DOGS (Robin Williams and John Travolta; comedy) Can’t teach an old dog how to make a good movie.
THE FOURTH KIND (horror) Actually, the twelfth kind of movie like this I’ve seen in the past 12 months.
THE BOX (Cameron Diaz; horror) Wrap it up. Throw it out.
CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT (drama) Another vampire movie that bites.
AMELIA (drama) Hilary Swank gets lost.
THE STEPFATHER (horror) Step back. Walk away.
COUPLES RETREAT (Vince Vaughn; comedy) …as will audiences.
TYLER PERRY’S I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF (comedy) Yes he can…and he did.
WHITEOUT (Kate Beckinsale; action/drama) They should have used Whiteout on the script.
ALL ABOUT STEVE (Sandra Bullock; comedy) Made me want to heave. Sandra Bullock’s one blemish this year.
GAMER (Gerard Butler; action) Was looking forward to this – and then I got played.
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST (Matthew McConaughey; comedy) At least he kept his shirt on.
NEXT DAY AIR (comedy/action) Return to sender.
LAND OF THE LOST (Will Ferrell; comedy) Worst movie of the year.
MY LIFE IN RUINS (Nia Vardalos; comedy) Her movie in ruins.
YEAR ONE (Jack Black; comedy) Because it looks like it was made by one year olds.
I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER (Hayden Panetierre; comedy) Actually, no I don’t.
THE UGLY TRUTH (Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler; comedy) Ugly, indeed.
G-FORCE (semi-animated) Because a ‘G’ is worse than an ‘F’.
ORPHAN (thriller/horror): Because no one wants it.
THE GOODS: LIVE HARD, SELL HARD (Jeremy Piven; comedy) Nothing good here.
POST GRAD (comedy): Time to get a job – preferably not in the field of making movies.
WATCHMEN (action) Unwatchable men.
BRIDE WARS (Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway; comedy) Don’t say ‘I do’.
CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (comedy) I confess…it’s horrible.
THE PINK PANTHER 2 (Steve Martin; comedy) …because it’s twice as bad as the first one.
DANCE FLICK (comedy) Another spoof movie. ‘nuff said.
CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE (Jason Statham; action) Low thrills.
ALIENS IN THE ATTIC (comedy) And bad actors, writers and producers working on this movie.
FAME (musical/drama) This movie shouldn’t live forever…and no one will remember it’s name.
INKHEART (Brendan Fraser; fantasy) Next time use pencil so you can erase the bad parts.
NEW IN TOWN (Renee Zellwegger; comedy) Charmless. Hope you enjoyed your stay – now beat it.
TYLER PERRY’S MADEA GOES TO JAIL (comedy) Lock her up. Throw away the key.
HE’S JUST NOT THAT IN TO YOU (comedy) I wasn’t in to this movie.
FAST AND FURIOUS (Vin Diesel; action) Stalled action.