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Stephen King’s Top 10 films of 2009

Posted by LiveFor on January 7, 2010

I do like a bit of King. True, many of the film adaptions of his books have been poor, but then you get The Shining, The Mist and The Shawshank Redemption. I got Under the Dome for Christmas so looking forward to starting that.

As usual (check out his faves of 2008) King has listed his top films of the year over at EW and here is the list:

1. The Hurt Locker – Bomb disposal is one of the great staples of war movies, but it has never been depicted in such terrifying detail as it is here. Locker is more than suspenseful, however. Director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break), who has explored the destructive impulses of young men before, outdoes herself in this perfectly honed drama that speaks to the addictive attractions of risk and violence. Want to know why it’s so easy for the pols to feed the war machine? Look here for answers.

2. The Last House on the Left – Easily the most brilliant remake of the decade, and not just because the 1972 original was such a crapfest. This beautifully photographed — but hard to watch — movie is the standard by which all horror/suspense films should be judged: The acting is superior (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul is especially fine), the story makes sense, and, most importantly, Last House’s moral compass points to true north. We don’t want these creeps back for six or eight sequels; they are monsters, and we want them dead. This film is on par with The Silence of the Lambs.

3. The Road – Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the apocalypse comes to the screen with all its spare and deadly beauty intact. It’s often painful to watch (at my screening I actually heard the projectionist sobbing as the film neared its end), but Viggo Mortensen’s performance as the dedicated father is Oscar bait.

4. Disgrace – John Malkovich shines as an arrogant Cape Town professor who exiles himself to his daughter’s farm rather than apologize for his sexual excesses with a student. He is forced to reevaluate his behavior after his daughter is raped. The scenery is gorgeous, and the story — sorrowful but never sentimental — is hypnotic.

5. The Reader – I know, it was released in 2008, but my lists go from December to December, and it would be criminal to leave out this wrenching exploration of guilt and atonement. Kate Winslet’s Hanna Schmitz was the best performance I saw all year.

6. District 9 – This quasi (not to mention queasy) documentary sci-fi pic is a clever parable about the price of racial prejudice, but what really struck me about it was how the special effects served the story, rather than the other way around. If 2012 is good cheese, then District 9 is a fine wine.

7. Law Abiding Citizen – The outraged husband and father decides to punish the baddies himself when the wimpish legal system won’t: Yeah, yeah, we’ve seen it all before, but this version’s script is wound tight and clever enough to draw blood.

8. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 – Director Tony Scott’s most lucid and suspenseful movie. The real pleasure here is watching John Travolta’s balls-to-the-wall star turn as the villainous Ryder (called Mr. Blue and played by Robert Shaw in the 1974 version). This makes Public Enemies look pretty tame

9. Fantastic Mr Fox – A screwball comedy that just happens to be animated.

10. 2012 – No filmgoing diet is complete without some cheese, and this throwback to the great disaster movies of the ’70s (Earthquake, The Towering Inferno) amply filled the bill.

A few different films to most other lists. What do you think of his list?

2 Responses to “Stephen King’s Top 10 films of 2009”

  1. Deckard said

    from the looks of the list he’s clearly better off sticking to books over film reviews

  2. pat said

    hahaha exactly. anyone who puts 2012 on such a list seriously has some issues.

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