Posts Tagged ‘2009

06
Jan
10

Top Ten Movies of 2009

What a year it has been for movies. From a film for fanboys (“Watchmen”) to a teeny-bopper supernatural romance (“New Moon”), from a Jarhead visiting a world of blue people (“Avatar”) to ugly aliens visiting our own (“District 9”), from man’s continuing struggle to against the machine (“Terminator Salvation”) to the machines having taken over and a scientist’s soul divided into mini-creations trying to survive (“9”), from the return of 80’s cartoons as live action (“G.I. Joe”) to the return of 80’s horror (“The Stepfather”) and everything in between (there were TWO movies about mall security cops), it truly has been a year.

As far as film goes and in my own opinion it’s been a tough year. One can blame the economic recession/depression for monetary aspects, but it’s been an overall success for the Industry for the year. This year was more about the aftermath of the 2007-2008 writers strike than any other single factor.

It was difficult making this year’s list because the overall feeling from watching movies this year was “meh.” I enjoyed quite a few movies, but the indies seemed to have peaked the year that “No Country for Old Men” saw release and the blockbusters haven’t held the caliber of “Iron Man” (although “G.I. Joe” was more fun than “Transformers 2”) Another problem with constructing the list was that three of my favorite films I saw this year (“Frost/Nixon,” ‘The Wrestler,” “Gran Torino”) were limited release 2008 in cities such as NY and LA and therefore had to be struck from the list.

Here, in order of release/when I viewed them, are my Top Ten movies of 2009 and my thoughts:

“Star Trek” – “Alias” and “Lost” creator JJ Abrams was given the keys to Kirk and Company and made a fun and enjoyable movie that was truly a reason to go to the movie theatre. Chris Pine channeled a bit of Shatner while Zach Quinto did a spot-on Spock. Some have called it “Star Trek for Star Wars fans” and that may have a bit of truth to it, but it doesn’t take away from being a solid, enjoyable film.

“Up” – If this year had a theme it would be “films that other people thought shouldn’t work but did.” “Up” was being crucified before it got to the theatres. I saw an article where “Wall Street” experts were predicting it as a failure for Pixar. The result? A heartfelt, beautifully colored solid story about a former balloon salesman uprooting his house for the ultimate adventure of his life taking along a stowaway who needs a father figure. It may not have the technology of “Avatar” but the story was original and solid and Pixar up’d their technology work with the brilliance of their color palette.

“The Hangover” – A movie I probably would not have watched had it not been for the free screening. The initial WB test screening went so well they ordered a sequel, which I had never heard of happening before. My brother and I went to a PACKED screening at the Commerce Crossings theatre two weeks in advance. Walking out of the movie my brother gave it the best endorsement I’ve ever heard for a movie: “I would pay to see that again.” So would I.

“District 9” – Following “Moon,” (which gets Honorable Mention) director Neil Blomkamp took racial prejudice in South Africa and changed it to alienation of aliens. Shot on a limited budget and handheld/doc-style, it was an innovative sci-fi film and one that should raise the bar for doing science fiction films.

“Inglourious Basterds” – Tarantino threw everything but the blender into this one: a hodge-podge of war films, exploitation, film geekness, and World War II. This film ran the risk of being exclusively for those who love films and/or Tarantino and while that concept may seem to be running on fumes, and trust me it has its faults, overall it tied together at the end. It’s not “Kill Bill” or “Pulp Fiction,” but it’s a worthwhile addition to the Tarantino catalog.

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – One of the most personal of Michael Moore’s films and his best since, “Bowling for Columbine.” It got snubbed for next year’s Academy Awards and that just goes to show Californians DO love their money…

“Paranormal Activity” – Most likened to being this decade “Blair Witch,” this really IS the little movie that could. Done for $15,000 and shot in one location this preyed on those times when you sit in a house, alone, and hear the creaking of the floors, strange noises, etc. This is a film that works best on people who have imaginations, as opposed to those who enjoy the “idiotic group of college teenagers going out to an abandoned shack” formula. I caught a late showing on a Tuesday night and couldn’t get the final scene outta my head. On DVD next week!

“The Blind Side” – So I had to put another “heartwarming” movie on the list. It wasn’t groundbreaking and you could tell the smarminess from the get-go, but I enjoyed the film. Not everything I watch has to be earth-shattering or socially conscious; sometimes it’s nice to fit in an “uplifting” movie.

“Me and Orson Welles” – Charming, amusing movie rooted in its when and where. I am not a big fan of Orson Welles as a person or his personality, but Christian McKay did such a spot-on job with playing Orson Welles it’s uncanny. It was great speaking with Ed Hart about this one; it truly deserves to be recognized. I wish it luck.

“Avatar” – I initially thought against putting this in the Top Ten but Cameron’s attention to detail and use of 3-D technology make this one to be seen. It’s not a great story; in fact, you’ve already seen it as “Dune,” “Dances with Wolves,” etc. The attention to detail and world of Pandora that Cameron created are what sets this above the others.

There are others that deserve mention (“Moon,” “Zombieland”) but these were the ten best for the year (that I watched). Feel free to give your comments. Happy holidays and see you at the movies!

Chas Andrews

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30
Nov
09

December Movie Release Schedule

“Armored” – A crew of armored transport guards engage in a heist against their own company. Stars Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, and Fred Ward. Pushed back from its original release date of 9/18. Opens December 4, 2009

“Brothers” – Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire are brothers. When Maguire goes off to war and is presumed dead, Gyllenhaal helps out his brother’s family and falls in love with his sister-in-law (Natalie Portman). When Maguire is found and returned home, family dynamics and loyalty come into question. Opens December 4, 2009

“Everybody’s Fine” – Robert De Niro is a father who, upon realizing his late wife was his only connection with his children, sets out to reunite with them. Also stars Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell, and Kate Beckinsale. Opens December 4, 2009

“Invictus” – Clint Eastwood-directed movie about how Nelson Mandela joins forces with the captain of the South African rugby team and rallies behind them as they go for the 1995 World Cup Championship. Stars Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. Opens December 11, 2009

“The Lovely Bones” – Peter Jackson (“LOTR,” “King Kong”) movie based on the Alice Sebold novel about a girl who views life after death –literally. Stars Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, and Susan Sarandon. Opens December 11, 2009

“The Princess and the Frog” – Disney’s re-imagining of “The Princess and the Frog,” taking place this time in Louisiana. Opens December 11, 2009

“Crazy Heart” – Jeff Bridges is a country singer who has lived more than the song. When a journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) interviews him, he opens up to her in hopes for redemption. Opens December 16, 2009

“Avatar” – James Cameron has spent the last 4 years working on this one: a complete CG movie filmed in IMAX 3-D. Tickets are on sale now! Opens December 18, 2009

“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” – Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are a couple headed for separation until they witness a death and are put into the Witness Relocation Program where they have to spend time with each other. Opens December 18, 2009

“Nine” – Daniel Day-Lewis plays film director Guido Contini who is struggling between personal and private life while making his current picture. He tries balancing between his wife, mistress, mom, a movie star muse, and others. Opens December 18, 2009

“Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakuel” – The Chipmunk voices are back, but Jason Lee isn’t. Opens December 23, 2009

“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” – Long-awaited Terry Gilliam movie about a traveling magician who sells his daughter’s soul for magical powers and the person who is trying to get her soul back. Heath Ledger’s last performance on film. Opens December 25, 2009

“It’s Complicated” – Alec Baldwin is Meryl Streep’s ex-husband and Steve Martin is Baldwin’s friend who falls in love with her. Romantic comedy directed by Nancy Meyers. Opens December 25, 2009

“Sherlock Holmes” – Guy Ritchie directing a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie with Robert Downey, Jr. as the detective and Jude Law as Watson. Also stars Rachel McAdams. Opens December 25, 2009

“Up in the Air” – George Clooney is a jet-setting corporate hatchet-man who is required to spend more time at home just as he falls in love with a woman and is close to his goal of 5 million frequent flyer miles. Also stars Vera Farmiga and Jason Bateman. Opens December 25, 2009

“The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” – Bryce Dallas Howard plays Fisher Willow, a Memphis debutante who falls for a farmer’s son (Chris Evans) and tries to pass him off as a socialite. When a diamond comes up missing, their relationship is further strained. Based on a screenplay by Tennessee Williams. Opens December 30, 2009

30
Sep
09

October Movie Releases

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – Greed. Avarice. Michael Moore. Documentary. Opens October 2, 2009

“The Invention of Lying” – Ricky Gervais movie about a world in which everyone tells the truth and his character ‘invents’ lying. Barring any fibbing, the movie opens on October 2, 2009

“A Serious Man” – Coen Bros. movie about a man trying to find clarity in the Sixties. Opens October 2, 2009.

“Whip It” – Ellen Page returns to the screen as a teen who finds her calling by joining a female roller derby team. This is also the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore. Opens October 2, 2009

“Zombieland” – As if we can’t get enough zombie movies, this one has Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as two guys who must escort a band of survivors to safety. Also stars Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray. Opens October 2, 2009

“Couples Retreat” – Couples are on a tropical resort island to work out their marriages. Stars Kristen Bell, Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, and Jean Reno. Opens October 9, 2009

“Law Abiding Citizen” – Gerard Butler plays a man whose family is murdered. Jamie Foxx is a hotshot lawyer presiding over his case. Butler goes to jail and after 10 years begins plaguing the city by executing carefully-plotted assassination plans from his jail cell. Opens October 16, 2009

“The Stepfather” – A guy returns home from military school to find his mother with a new man. Is he everything he’s cracked up to be? Remake of the 80’s flick with Terry O’Quinn. Opens October 16, 2009

“Where the Wild Things Are” – Spike Jonze adaptation of the classic kids book. I’m there! Opens October 16, 2009

“Amelia” – A look at Amelia Earhart, the aviator who disappeared flying over the Pacific in 1937. Stars Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Virginia Madsen and Ewan McGregor. The film lands on October 23, 2009

“Saw VI” – Are you tired of playing games? Evidently they’re not. The mayhem ensues on October 23, 2009

“The Vampire’s Assistant: Cirque Du Freak” – A boy named Darren Shan meets a mysterious man who turns out to be a vampire, then takes him on the long road to becoming one. Stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Fugit. Opens October 23, 2009

“Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’” – The documentary on MJ’s last days. There ya go. Opens October 28, 2009

“The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” – Sequel to the 90’s cult classic about two brothers defending their neighborhood from Russians wanting to take over. This time around they’re in seclusion in Ireland when word of the death of a priest brings them out of hiding to solve the case. Stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and Billy Connolly. Opens October 30, 2009

“Youth in Revolt” – Michael Cera is a teenager who falls for the girl of his dreams and develops a split personality who creates havoc. Wasn’t this “Fight Club?” Also stars Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, M. Emmet Walsh, Justin Long, and Fred Willard. Opens October 30, 2009

28
Aug
09

September Movie Release Schedule

“All About Steve” – Sandra Bullock is a crossword constructor who finds true love with a CNN cameraman (Thomas Hayden Church) and crisscrosses the country trying to prove it to him. Originally slated for March 6, 2009, pushed back to September 4, 2009

“Carriers” – Chris Pine is one of a group of four friends fleeing a viral pandemic that soon learn they are more dangerous than the virus itself. Opens September 4, 2009

“Extract” – Mike Judge movie that follows the professional and personal life of a flower-extract plant owner. Stars Justin Bateman, Ben Affleck, and Mila Kunis. Opens September 4, 2009

“Gamer” – It’s the future and humans can control other humans in a mass-scale game. Gerard Butler is a player trying to escape this prison game and take down its mastermind, Michael C. Hall. Opens September 4, 2009

“Pandorum” – Sci-fi movie with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster about two men who crash-land on a planet and have no memory of who they were, how they got there, or why. Opens September 4, 2009

“9” – In a post-apocalyptic world a being with the name “9” wakes up. Upon looking around he finds others like him and that it’s up to him to save what’s left of the world from the Machines. Stars the voices of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer. Opens September 9, 2009

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” – Michael Douglas in the remake of a 1956 film about a writer’s plan to expose a district attorney that go awry. Opens September 11, 2009

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” – Another Madea story, this time she stops a 16-year-old girl and her brother from looting her and sends them to live with her hard-drinking nightclub singing aunt. Opens September 11, 2009

“Sorority Row” – Five sorority sisters murder a fellow sister in a prank gone wrong. After graduation, a killer goes after each one. Originally slated for October 22, 2009, now opening September 11, 2009

“Whiteout” – Kate Beckinsale is a U.S. Marshal assigned to Antarctica who must solve a murder case in 3 days or else be stranded with the killer. Based on a series of graphic novels. Opens September 11, 2009

“Armored” – A crew of armored transport guards engage in a heist against their own company. Stars Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, and Fred Ward. Opens September 18, 2009

“The Burning Plain” – Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger are daughter and mother, trying to form a bond after a difficult childhood. Opens September 18, 2009

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – CG animated movie based on the children’s book about a scientist trying to cure world hunger when food starts falling from the sky. Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Cann, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T. Opens September 18, 2009

“The Informant” – Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a vie president-turned-informant on the dealings of agri-business. Based on the true story. Opens September 18, 2009

“Jennifer’s Body” – Megan Fox stars in a high school horror film (written by Diablo Cody) about a girl who uses sex to kill teenage boys. Opens September 18, 2009

“Love Happens” – Aaron Eckhart is a novelist who makes a best-selling book about coping with loss. Jennifer Aniston is the girl who he falls for. Opens September 18, 2009

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – Greed. Avarice. Michael Moore. Documentary. Opens September 23, 2009

“The Invention of Lying” – Ricky Gervais movie about a world in which everyone tells the truth and his character ‘invents’ lying. Barring any fibbing, the movie opens on September 25, 2009

“The Surrogates” – Bruce Willis in a scifi movie about a murder linked to a high-tech company that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves. Opens September 25, 2009

30
Apr
09

May Movie Releases

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“The Merry Gentleman” – A woman moves to Chicago to start life over and meets a guy. Both are trying to escape their past lives and need to become more than they are. Stars Kelly MacDonald and Michael Keaton, who also directs. Opens May 1, 2009

 

 

 

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” – Hugh Jackman’s back in the role that put him on the map: Wolverine of the “X-Men.” Watch for Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth. Opens May 1, 2009

 

 

 

“Next Day Air” – When a package delivers driver drops off a shipment of bricks of cocaine to the wrong address, it’s a battle of wit and wills between the dealer, the buyers, and the recipients. Stars Mos Def and Mike Epps. Opens May 8, 2009

 

 

 

“Star Trek” – Chris Pine plays Captain James T. Kirk is this “reboot” of the franchise. Also stars Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, and Leonard Nimoy. Opens May 8, 2009

 

 

 

“Wild Child” – Emma Roberts is a SoCal socialite brat stripped of her privileges and sent to boarding school in England. Opens May 8, 2009

 

 

 

“Angels and Demons” – Tom Hanks returns to the character from “The Da Vinci Code” for this installment, a sequel based on a book that was the prequel to “The Da Vinci Code.” Got that? Opens May 15, 2009

 

 

 

“The Great Howard Buck” – John Malkovich plays a magician whose illusions are becoming more transparent. He takes on an assistant played by Colin Hanks. Watch for Tom Hanks playing Colin Hanks’ father (there’s acting for ya). Opens March 20, 2009

 

 

 

“The Limits of Control” – Isaach De Bankole is a mysterious loner on a job, probing the depths of his soul. Also stars Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Opens May 22, 2009

 

 

 

“Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian” – Ben Stiller is back, as is Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wilson as Jedidiah. New historical personalities include General Custer, Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone, The Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and Ulysses S. Grant. Opens May 22, 2009

 

 

 

“Terminator Salvation” – Christian Bale stars as John Connor in this installment of the franchise taking place in 2018. Opens May 21, 2009

 

 

 

“The Brothers Bloom” – Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo are brothers pulling one last con on eccentric heiress Rachel Weisz. Opens May 29, 2009

 

 

 

“Drag Me into Hell” – A loan officer tries evicting an old woman from a home but has an evil curse put upon her. Directed by Sam Raimi. Opens May 29, 2009

 

 

 

“Up” – The next Pixar movie about a 78-year-old man named Carl Fredricksen, who uses balloons to make his house fly. Unfortunately he has a stowaway: 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer Russell. Opens May 29, 2009

 

30
Mar
09

April Movie Releases

soloist

 

 

“Give ‘Em Hell Malone” – Thomas Jane. Ving Rhames. Elsa Pataky. A private eye fending off thugs from loot. All done Seventies-style. From the director of “Highlander” and “Resident Evil: Extinction.” Opens April 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Fast and the Furious 4” – Vin Diesel. Paul Walker. Michelle Rodriguez. Jordana Brewster. Fast cars. Fourth movie. Opens April 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Gigantic” – Paul Dano is single, and a mattress salesman trying to adopt a baby from China. He falls for Zooey Deschanel and in the down time tries to keep from getting killed by a homeless guy. Comedy. Opens April 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Ugly Truth” – Gerard Butler is a chauvinistic TV host and Katherine Heigl is his new producer. He tries to help her romantically with a “new guy,” but his work has unexpected results. Opens April 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Dragonball Evolution” – Based on the video game. A young boy named Goku must find all seven dragonballs in order to prevent the Earth from being taken over. Opens April 8, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Hannah Montana: The Movie” – Fairly explanatory. Opens April 10, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Observe and Report” – Seth Rogen is a mall security guard who has to stop a streaker and requires help from surly detective Ray Liotta. Opens April 10, 2009

 

 

 

 

“17 Again” – Matthew Perry is a 37-year-old whose life hits rock bottom and wishes he was twenty years younger. He wakes up as 17-year-old Zac Effron, and is able to re-write his high school life. Hope he doesn’t wind up in a musical… Opens April 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Crank 2” – Jason Statham returns as Chev Chelios. This time around his heart has been replaced with an artificial one and as in the last, he has to keep his energy up (which includes using a car battery and jumper cables). Also stars Amy Smart, Bai Ling, Dwight Yoakum, and Corey Haim. Opens April 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Lymelife” – A story centering around two dysfunctional families, lyme disease, war, and divorce, set in the 70’s. Stars Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton. Cynthia Nixon, and Emma Roberts. Opens April 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

“State of Play” – Russell Crowe is a journalist researching the death of a woman tied to his best friend and Congressmen (Ben Affleck). Also stars Helen Mirren and Rachel McAdams. Opens April 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Earth” – From Disney’s Disneynature series. Narrated by James Earl Jones. Opens April 22, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Fighting” – Channing Tatum is living on the streets of New York City when a scam artists Terrance Howard inducts him into the world of streetfighting. Opens April 24, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Obsessed” – An office professional (Idris Elba) is married to Beyonce Knowles but is being cougar’d by Ali Larter. Think “Fatal Attraction.” Opens April 24, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Soloist” – Robert Downey, Jr. is a journalist who discovers a homeless man (Jamie Foxx) who happens to have been a former musical prodigy. Opens April 24, 2009

 

 

27
Mar
09

Movie News and Views March 27, 2009 Trailer Edition

astro_boy

 

“Gigantic” – Paul Dano is single, and a mattress salesman trying to adopt a baby from China. He falls for Zooey Deschanel and in the down time tries to keep from getting killed by a homeless guy. Comedy. Opens April 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Merry Gentleman” – A woman moves to Chicago to start life over and meets a guy. Both are trying to escape their past lives and need to become more than they are. Stars Kelly MacDonald and Michael Keaton, who also directs. Opens May 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

“The Limits of Control” – Isaach De Bankole is a mysterious loner on a job, probing the depths of his soul. Also stars Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Opens May 22, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Drag Me To Hell” – Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead,” “Spider-Man” trilogy) horror movie about a loan officer cursed by a mysterious woman who’s loan extension she denies. Stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long. Opens May 29, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Away We Go” – Parents-to-be John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph hit the road to find a place to set their roots. Opens June 5, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Hangover” – A guy and his three friends go to Vegas for a Bachelor-party blow-out. The three friends awake and have to retrace their steps to track down the groom. Opens June 5, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Public Enemies” – Michael Mann (“Heat,” “Collateral”) directed John Dillinger biopic. Stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard. Opens July 1, 2009

 

 

 

 

“500 Days of Summer” – Zooey Deschanel doesn’t believe in love, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt falls for her anyway. Opens July 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Taking Woodstock” – Ang Lee directed true story of Elliot Tiber, a man who was pivotal in making the 1969 Woodstock Festival happen. Also stars Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber. Opens August 14, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Pandorum” – Sci-fi movie with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster about two men who crash-land on a planet and have no memory of who they were, how they got there, or why. Opens September 4, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” – CG animated movie based on the children’s book about a scientist trying to cure world hunger when food starts falling from the sky. Featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Cann, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T. Opens September 18, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Where the Wild Things Are” – Movie based on the popular children’s book (I loved it at least). Directed by Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”). Opens October 16, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Sorority Row” – Five sorority sisters murder a fellow sister in a prank gone wrong. After graduation, a killer goes after each one. Opens October 22, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Astro Boy” – A young robot with incredible powers takes a journey to discover what it means to be human. CG animated with the voices of Nic Cage and Freddie Highmore. Opens October 23, 2009

 

 

 

 

“In the Loop” – Comical look at what might go on behind the scenes between London and Washington, D.C. during a buildup to a not-so-fictional war. Stars Steve Coogan and James Gandolfini. Coming Soon!