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Highlights of 2009 by Ben Mortimer

Posted by LiveFor on December 31, 2009

Here is a great list of some of the cinematic highlights of 2009. It is by the excellent Ben Mortimer who writes for HeyUGuys and ComingSoon.Net amongst other things.

  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Frost/Nixon
  • The Wrestler
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – I know it’s got little critical or artistic merit, but it makes me feel very happy.
  • Watchmen – hopelessly flawed, incredibly faithful adaptation, but the presentation I watched (in a nightclub set out like a series of scenes from the comic) made it worthwhile.
  • Bronson – Bat-shit-fuck-balls crazy. Loved every minute, particularly the violence set to opera.
  • Let The Right One In – Beyond exceptional. Words cannot describe how good this film is.
  • Observe and Report – Much maligned, hopelessly flawed, but one of the funniest films of the year.
  • Coraline – A wonderful piece of cinema that demonstrated the beauty of stop-motion animation, and the storytelling possibilities of 3D.
  • Star Trek – Best pre-credit sequence of any film made. EVER. If the rest of the film had lived up to the first ten minutes it would have been the best film this year. As it was it won the summer hands down. Not bad for a film that was so badly affected by the writer’s strike.
  • Drag Me To Hell
  • Looking For Eric – Witty, touching and clever. Ken Loach’s most watchable film, and the most realistic portrayal of crime on the streets of Britain yet committed to film.
  • Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince – Every Harry Potter film so far has improved upon the last. In addition to a great fun action flick, the romantic scenes played like a UK, public school version of American Pie. That’s a good thing.
  • Moon – Terrific film. Surpasses almost everything made this year. Sam Rockwell and Clint Mansel should win an OSCAR. Duncan Jones, Stuart Fenegan and Gavin Rothery should run the British film industry
  • Funny People – Best comedy of the year. Far too industry-centric to make the megabucks reaped by The Hangover, but the heartfelt and touching story, and the exceptional performances set it head and shoulders above other movies in the genre.
  • The Hurt Locker – In twenty years time this will be considered the definitive Iraq war movie. Biggelow’s film combines overwhelming tension and heart-pounding action expertly. If possible watch the entire series of Generation Kill, then finish the day with The Hurt Locker. It’ll be a hard watch, but you’ll have a better understanding of how drama works afterwards.
  • UP! – The first film to make me cry since I was twelve. Like Star Trek, fails to live up to the promise of the first act, but nothing has ever affected me like this movie. Better than anything Pixar have put out, and by a long margin better than 95% of the films released this year.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – Any other year a serious contender for Best Animated Feature OSCAR. Terrific adaptation that transcends the idiosyncrasies of its director.
  • An Education – A few years ago Carey Mulligan revived my interest in Doctor Who. In an Education she carries a film with elegance and grace. Despite my love for Moon, and I really do love it, this film is my favourite Brit-flick of the year. In another universe this has been turned into a Richard Curtis-style comedy. Be grateful you don’t live there.
  • Starsuckers -If you lie in the 21st Century you need to watch this film.
  • Taking Woodstock – Manages to evoke the spirit of the sixties without overt musical refernces. A perfect companion piece to Almost Famous, and all the better for Liev Schrieber’s transvestite security guard.
  • Bunny And The Bull – Proof that innovation and a commercial sensibility can live side-by-side in the British film industry.
  • The Princess and The Frog – NOT RELEASED IN THE UK UNTIL FEBRUARY 2010 – I haven’t enough superlatives to describe this film. I would hate to be voting for the best animated picture this year, particularly when the three main contenders are essentially the best three films of the year.

A great list there. Quite a few films there I’ve still got to see. Cheers Ben.

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