Film 2009

At the end of every year someone inevitably asks me the question, “What were your favourite films this year?”

This is equally inevitably followed by the question, “Did I see such and such this year? No, that must have been the year before. Did we even see that at the pictures?”

I need very little excuse to make a list, and with this in mind I decided to keep a record of all the films I would see at the cinema this year. It doesn’t matter how old the film is, if I saw it at the pictures this year, it makes it on to the list. What follows, then, is a copy of the list along with my on the spot notes.

Films Seen at the Cinema in 2009

Inkheart – lacking something, but it had a pretty weasle

Yes Man – decent Carey comedy, nothing special.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – too long but impressive. Almost cried.

Vicky Christina Barcelona – pretty funny and interesting, Woody’s best for a while.

Watchmen – overlong but couldn’t think of anything to cut, entertaining but I can understand why some of the general public have been disappointed. I’ve never read the graphic novel.

Gran Torino – fantastic swan song for Eastwood, his The Shootist.

My Name Is Bruce – pretty funny, annoying hipsters in the audience, naff ending.

In the Loop – Consistently very funny. Fuckity bye.

Wolverine – Excellent Opening Credits. Good solid action movie. Shame about Deadpool being misused.

Star Trek – Good, solid Star Trek film. Not the best – score wasn’t brilliant and phasers were poo, but very fun. 100 times betten than Nemesis or TMP.

Star Trek x2 – Enjoyed it more second time round. Got to watch it as a cinema goer as opposed to a trekkie.

Night at the Museum 2 – Not as good as the first film but still a very enjoyable family movie. Oscar the Grouch! Balloon Doggy!

Drag Me To Hell – A proper Sam Raimi film. Scary, very funny, but most of all fun.

Terminator Salvation – Takes a long while to kick into gear and lacks a sense of humour but the final Skynet based act was damn good – especially the T800!

Synecdoche, New York – Barmy and brilliant, need to see this one again.

Moon – A very good, but not great, slice of science fiction. I look forward to the follow up as it may make the film feel more of a complete experience.

Bruno – Mediocre when compared to Borat. Seems to be preaching to the converted and probably sets the course of gay rights in America back ten years.

The Time Traveller’s Wife – An interesting story hampered by some not so good performances and a lack of distinction between time periods, or maybe that was the point.

Inglourious Basterds – A good film but way to talky and static in the opening half. Excellent nail biting finale though.

Miss March – A pretty funny effort from two of The Whitest Kids You Know, not as good as the sketch show though.

Zombieland x 2 – Thrilling and quite funny. Wish it HAD sold as a TV pilot as I’d like to see more of these characters. Sequel please.

Evil Dead 2 – Great filmed marred by awful Tyneside Cinema presentation. They projected a widescreen film squashed horizontally into a square frame. Grr.

Saw VI – Enjoyable fluff, but like all of the Saw films not a one I’m interested in watching again.

The Thing – Surprisingly plodding although the effects hold up really well on the big screen.

An American Werewolf in London – Great film that was great to be seen on the big screen. I wish this had been the first time I had seen it. Frank Oz’ first line got a good laugh, perhaps from his comic performance or perhaps because people realised this was Fozzy Bear.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Very enjoyable and barmy Gilliam epic. Had the behind the scenes story of the film been so well publicised you never would have suspected that the changing faces of Heath Ledger’s character were a salvage effort.

The Fantastic Mr Fox – Fantastic to look at, great voice work, slyly funny script but not quite up to par with Anderson’s live action work. Christ knows what the kids made of it.

Harry Brown – Although enjoyable – Caine is fantastic – this is almost a Daily Mail wank fantasy and towards the end the gang violence gets so silly it feels like you have slipped into Children of Men. The camera work, editing and particularly the sound design are top notch.

It’s A Wonderful Life – As good as ever and, for once, a flawless digital print.

And now to the first annual Illegible Me Film Awards!

Best Film 2009

Gran Torino

Released in the UK in February, Gran Torino is a film that has stuck with me throughout the year. A fine film in its own write, this tale of old age, loss and revenge prompted me to reconsider the work of Clint Eastwood to such an extent I now consider myself a great fan. It also helped me to decide the topic of my ongoing MA dissertation.

“Get off my lawn!”

Notable Runners Up –  ‘In The Loop’, ‘Synecdoche, New York’

Biggest Disappointment 2009

Neither particularly funny or as groundbreaking as it would like to be, Bruno pales in comparison to Cohen’s previous film, Borat. In my original note on the film I pointed out that, while I have no doubt that the filmmakers’ hearts were in the right place, Bruno may actually do more damage to the cause of gay equality than good – I stick with this assessment.

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4 Responses to “Film 2009”

  1. good round up!

    The ‘My Favourite’ award goes to: inglorious Bastards.
    I thought the start was brilliant – really intense!

    I am yet to see Gran Torino though so maybe that will change!

    as for bruno – you summed that up just right!

    • illegibleme Says:

      I should really be more specific about Basterds because I too loved the opening scene. That was an example of Tarantino’s talkative characters working really well to build tension. It was the following twenty minutes or so I had problems with. There was a lot of talking going on, without it providing much insight into the characters or plot. All in my opinion of course.

  2. Hi Drew – nice to read your extensive thoughts on the year’s films.

    Whilst I haven’t seen many this year (more in the latter part – e.g. “Moon”, which I quite agree on), the best for me has been “A Serious Man”, the Coens making a rather more personal movie than usual, yet still refining their trademark style. Didn’t you see “Dr Parnassus”? I’d say it is rather flawed, but good fun all the same.

    Watched “An American Werewolf in London” for the first time on Christmas day; it is quite an achievement, offering something for everybody – comedy, affecting horror, romance and plenty of gags for the British cinema nerds.

    • illegibleme Says:

      You would point out the one film I forgot to add to the list! I did see and enjoy ‘Parnassus’ and have now added it above!

      I would have loved to have seen ‘A Serious Man’ but unfortunately its release coincided with a period of financial hardship for me; one for DVD I think!

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