I decided that instead of a Top 10 list (which would piss off the likes of Leon), I will simply go through all the films I've seen this year in chronological order of their release date from January to December; this is gonna be a long one.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop:
Twelve months ago, 2009 wasn't looking too hot when this became the first big blockbuster of the year. I waited until my sisters rented this during the summer, but even then I wasn't prepared for how awful this would be. Lame jokes, one dimensional characters and an overall stench of below mediocre quality, this film is not even fit to serve as a coaster. Rating: 1/5.
Another lame foreign horror remake. Not much to say, except that the ending was so out of nowhere and had such a lame twist that it would make M. Night give himself a face palm. Rating: 0.5/5
Dear god; a really good movie released in January?! One of the better surprises of this year; Liam Neeson was quite the bad ass, the action was well done and the story flowed at a brisk pace. Save for a few lackluster performances (Famke Janseen really got on my nerves), this was fine entertainment all around. Rating: 4/5
An imaginative and creatively stimulating stop motion film that's sure to haunt the nightmares of kids for years to come. The voice work is excellent (especially for those who play two different versions of their characters), the production design and score is enchantingly creepy and the animation was so well done that it was spewing with blood, sweat and tears. Rating: 4.5/5
This one's easy to sum up; mediocre movie with one of the best shoot out sequences ever filmed that takes place in the Guggenheim Museum. Rating: 3/5
This is definitely worth noting; while better than the trailer made it seem to be, this film managed to be bipolar with its humor. There would be a really funny joke, then immideatly followed by a terrible joke. I was amazed at how the person who wrote that funny joke could find that following joke to even be tolerable! Most of these good jokes came from Eric Christian Olsen (who's been really funny on shows like Community) and John Michael Higgins. Rating 2.5/5
I think enough has been said on this film. To me, I was amazed at how faithful this adaptation was and how actors like Jackie Earle Hayley and Billy Crudup inhabited their characters, but there's still a couple of bad performances (particularly the Silk Spectre(s)) and over reliance on slow motion action that docked this down a few notches personally. Interesting note: my father thought this was the best comic book film he's ever seen, putting it above Dark Knight
. Guess this apple fell a few feet away from the tree. Rating: 3.5/5
I Love You, Man:
A pleasently surprising romantic comedy... about two dudes becoming friends. Jason Segel and Paul Rudd had great chemistry and the gags consistently hit their targets directly. If anything, the few jokes that didn't hit were the gross out moments and Rudd's really awkward exchanges with other characters. Rating 4/5.
While not a bad action-disaster film with some nice sequences of destruction, this really suffered from an obvious religious over tone and an unbelievably hammy performance from Nic Cage. Rating 2.5/5
Haunting in Connecticut:
Boring, stale and deplorable in everyway possible. A bad Amityville Horror knock off that doesn't even need to be remembered. Did I mention its lack of entertainment? I'm falling asleep due to the boredom of trying to remember this piece of s....zzzzzzzzzzz. Rating: 0.5/5.
Remember Die Hard With a Vengence
? Just replace Bruce Willis with a robotic wrestler, Jeremy Irons with a fake Irish terrorist and quality with unintentionally funny bullshit. Rating: 1/5.
An underrated dramedy with a solid cast; even the Twilight
chick managed to hold her own. I was disappointed to hear that Cyrus and Jason disliked it
, but I guess it has to do with my age group. I'm almost at the age these guys are and can relate to the anxieties they have, which made for a fun, yet engaging piece of entertainment for me. Rating: 4/5
Observe and Report:
This one was such a disappointment. Between the lackluster toilet humor and deranged violence, I saw the potential for Seth Rogen to seriously play a dangerous and unstable bipolar mall cop. With a huge rewrite, this could have been a great dark character piece; instead it's just a mess. Rating: 2.5/5.
This one impressed me. While far from perfect and filled with cliches, Zac Efron managed to hold this film together with some nice comedic timing. This and his SNL appearance to promote the film have me hoping that this kid breaks out of the squeaky clean Disney image. Rating: 3/5.
State of Play:
A nice little adult thriller that doubles as a fitting tribute to the dying art of print journalism. The performances are good, the mystery unravels at a quick pace and the action is well shot. However, that final twist wasn't all that necessary. Rating: 3.5/5.
This was Idris Elba's chance at breaking out; he's a character actor I've always enjoyed and it's a shame that the dude had this film stolen from him by a pop singer with an inflated ego. That being said, not even Idris could advance this mediocre Fatal Attraction
rip off... although more Ali Larter in lingerie could have helped. Rating: 2.5/5
A forgettable, yet well done drama with some good performances. Also had a few spark of visual creativity with Jaime Foxx's character and how he "sees" music. Rating: 3.5/5.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
Despite my own anti-film piracy ideals, I'm sure watching the unfinished effects version of this film would have been more entertaining than the final product. With the exception of a cool opening montage and a decent performance from Liev Schriber, this is totally worthless. Rating: 1.5/5
The film that's converted a whole generation (including myself) into the Trek subculture. While this had fans bitching up and down, I was pleasently suprised by how enjoyable the film was. It looks amazing, had a fun cast and manages to separate the elaborate action with fun character moments. Rating: 4.5/5
The Brothers Bloom:
If you haven't seen this (and due to its very limited release, I'll guess you haven't), I feel jealous; you still have the chance to discover one of the most original and interesting movies of the past few years and enjoy every bit of it. Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Naomi Watts are such incredible leads and director/writer Rian Johnson shows how original and creative a voice he is amongst this new generation of filmmakers. It's part of a three way tie for my favorite film of the year. Rating: 5/5
One of the more disappointing films of the year. With the promise of Christain Bale as John Connor, this had the potential to dignify the Terminator franchise after Rise of the Machines.
While this was better, I still felt that it was quite hollow and didn't provide the great cerebral science fiction qualities that mixed so well with the action of the first two films. It did introduce the mainstream film world to Sam Worthington, who was consistently the best thing on screen during the film's duration. Rating: 3/5
Drag Me To Hell:
Sam Raimi tries and succeeds at what he does best; casting a victim and beating the shit out of them for a full length feature film. Raimi was obviously enjoying himself for this horror comedy and it shows. All the physical comedy is brilliantly choreographed like a great musical number, though musical numbers rarely involve flying dentures and snot spewing gypsies. This might have been uninteresting for teens hoping to see a "scary" horror movie (like my sister), but this was exactly what I wanted. Rating: 4.5/5
I don't think I need to elaborate on this one. This is part of that three way tie I spoke of earlier; the film is so well written, beautifully animated and had such an ingenious voice cast that it is pretty much flawless. Rating: 5/5
The comedic mystery that took the country by storm. I found it so impressive that a film staring three relative unknown actors could make so much bank and I found it to be quite entertaining. Ed Helms was a special stand out to me and I hope his success here as well as on The Office will lead him to greener pastures. Rating: 4/5
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3:
I was a bit nervous about this one. I really enjoyed the original film and found Robert Shaw's performance to be the second best of his career (following Quint, of course). Here, John Travolta and Denzel Washington manage to make this film suspenseful and engaging by simply shouting into radio receivers. They have great chemistry when they aren't even looking at each other. When they do see each other, however, the film starts to sag, with director Tony Scott going chase movie on us. Still, this was a surprisingly good remake. Rating: 3.5/5
Due to my taste in older stuff, many in my family call me "an old soul." Amongst that older stuff are the comedies of Woody Allen, particularly those from the late 1960s-1970s. Whatever Works
felt like one of those films, especially with Woody's expy in the film being Larry David, who consistently brings me to tears on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm
. He manages to embody the pure snark of Woody so well that the film suffers whenever he's off screen, which is seldom but sadly does happen. Rating: 4/5.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:
In November, many were willing to point out how bad a certain vampire fantasy film for teenage girls was (don't worry, I'll get to that one later); even Leon called it the worst film of the year. I beg to differ. The second Transformers film was a true cinematic failure on every level. I wanted to go into this film and at least be able to somehow connect with any of these characters on a simple emotional level. That is the one basic thing a film can do; manipulate me into caring about their characters. This film made me feel NOTHING, except pain, disgust and exhaustion. Nothing can save this over long piece of dreck. To quote John Tuturro from this very film: "Let's not get episodic, okay, old-timer? Beginning, middle, end. Facts, details. Condense: Plot. Tell it."
That's a nice way to end this part. Part 2 coming soon!