My three favorite films that came out this past year were children's films. That never happens. Usually I love Pixar and hate every other film aimed for children. (Except an occasional Peter Pan and Babe 2: Pig in the City.)
Best films I saw were Coraline, Where the Wild Things Are and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Here are all the films from 2009 I saw this year.
Movies I loved unreservedly and would love to see again:
A Christmas Carol: The 3D was spectacular. Not sure if I'd like it in 2D
Coraline: Really unnerving children's movie.
Drag Me to Hell: I was so right about this one.
Fantastic Mr. Fox : So scared I'd hate it. Very relieved when I laughed all the way through.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: I don't like the Harry Potter movies, but I'm a sucker for camera shots from the viewpoint of malevolent witches going through the streets of London. I wish more movies had them. This is best Harry Potter movie yet.
Up - Pixar has only made two films that I don't care for. First ten minutes are the best things Pixar has done.
Where the Wild Things Are: My favorite movie of the year. The first fifteen minutes hit me hard. The soundtrack is great.Movies I really, really, really liked but don't care if I see again:
Extract - Best acted movie of the year. Everyone knocked it out of the park.
Observe and Report - Boy this was dark and funny and touching.
Star Trek - I hate Star Trek but I really liked this.
Knowing - I don't care what anyone says. I thought it was good. I had it playing at the library and the last fifteen minutes everyone in the teen room stopped what they were doing and gathered around the TV. It was a nice moment.Movies I loved mostly but had parts that I hated:
500 Days of Summers:
This feels unfair because I loved this movie, far more than I disliked it. I really only disliked the scene when they embarrass each other by shouting obscenities in the park. (So what? I'm a prude). The scene made me cringe and made me like the characters less. The rest of the movie was outstanding, but it took awhile for me to like the characters again.Movies I feel nothing about:
The Hangover: So-so.
17 Again: It seems like I should have hated this more. I didn't find it funny but I was touched in parts.
Zombieland: It seems like I should have liked this movie more. I'm not sure why I didn't.
Funny People: I liked what it was doing and I liked the acting and the story. I don't know. I liked it without feeling strongly about it.Movies I mildly didn't like:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs : Why do animated films think I want to see a joke every 4 seconds? I don't. I want a story thrillingly told. The Life of the Party is always a bore. Don't try to be the life of the party anymore animated films. (I blame Robin Williams in Aladin.) No more joke a minute cartoons, please.
Bruno: I loved this film when I saw it. I laughed a lot and thought it had important things to say. But the review in The New Yorker was such a good take down of the movie, that it flipped me from enjoying to mildly not liking. (Does that make me easily swayed or is the reviewer in The New Yorker that good a writer. Probably both.) The best paragraph in the review is :
Brüno” ends appallingly, with a musical montage of Sting, Bono, Elton John, and other well-meaners assisting mein Host in a sing-along. Here’s the deal, apparently: if celebrities aren’t famous enough for your liking (Ron Paul, Paula Abdul), or seem insufficiently schooled in irony, you make vicious sport of them, but if they’re A-listers, insanely keen to be in on the joke, they can join your congregation. Would Baron Cohen dare to adopt a fresh disguise and trap Sting in some outlandish folly, or is he now too close a friend? To scour the world for little people you can taunt, and then pal up with the hip and rich: that is not an advisable path for any comic to pursue, let alone one as sharp and mercurial as Baron Cohen.
Here is the complete review http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2009/07/20/090720crci_cinema_lane?printable=true
Monsters vs. Aliens: See comment about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.Movies I didn't like:
Friday the 13th: It gave me a headache. Forgot I'd seen it till I made this list.
Paper Heart: I would have loved it when I was 23. I can understand why others would love it.
Movies I wanted to like but found disappointing:
Jennifer's Body - A horror film by the writer of Juno? I was so excited.
The Invention of Lying: Biggest disappointment of the year. I love Ricky Gervais. Love, love, love him. But this movie just did not work. At all. Except for one hilarious scene where Gervais makes up 10 commandments. I wasn't offended by the religion bashing. That was the funniest stuff in the movie. Everything else was bleh.