Posts Tagged ‘district 9

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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31
Jul
09

August 2009 Movie Release Schedule

“Cold Souls” – Paul Giamatti plays himself, a tormented actor who seeks relief through “soul extraction.” Opens in limited release on August 7, 2009

“G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” – Dennis Quaid and Chris Eccleston face-off in this big-budget action movie based on the 80’s cartoon series. Watch for Sienna Miller as ‘Baroness’ and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as ‘Cobra Commander’. No word on whether Serpentor will be around. Yo Joe! Opens August 7, 2009

“Julie and Julia” – Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in a movie based on the book about a woman who cooks her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” in a year. Opens August 7, 2009

“Paper Heart” – A girl decides to make a documentary about the one subject she doesn’t understand: love. Stars Michael Cera. Opens August 7, 2009

“A Perfect Getaway” – Milla Jovavich and Steve Zahn are on a honeymoon in Hawaii when they discover they’re being stalked by a pair of killers. Opens August 14, 2009

“Bandslam” – Disney movie about high school misfits finding out it’s a long way to the top if they wanna make a rock ‘n roll band. Stars Vanessa Hudgens and Lisa Kudrow. Opens August 14, 2009

“District 9” – Peter Jackson produced movie about an alien race forced to live in slum-like conditions. Opens August 14, 2009

“The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” – Jeremy Piven plays Don Ready, an off-the-cuff super-salesman hired to help an ailing car lot move their stock. With the help of his ragtag crew they sell, drink, sell, go to strip clubs, drink, and sell some more… Opens August 14, 2009

“Spread” – Guy (Ashton Kutcher) who sleeps around in a life of privilege meets girl (Margarita Levieva) who does the same. Sorta reminds me of Audrey Tautou’s “Priceless.” Opens August 14, 2009

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” – Based on the novel about a man (Eric Bana) who has a genetic disorder that causes him to time-travel when he’s under duress. He tries to have a relationship with a young heiress (Rache1 McAdams). Go back (and forward) in time on August 14, 2009

“Inglourious Basterds” – A woman who flees after watching her family murdered in German occupied France and a group of Jewish men targeting Nazis in acts of retribution converge in this upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie. Opens August 21, 2009

“Post Grad” – Ryden Lamby (Alexis Bledel) graduates from college, moves back home, gets a job, finds a boyfriend, and has to figure out what to do with her life. Yawn. Also stars Michael Keaton. Opens August 21, 2009

“Shorts” – Robert Rodriguez movie about a small suburban community centered around the Black Box company, which is a be-all end-all do-everything gadget. A mysterious rainbow-colored falls from the sky and has the ability to grant anyone’s wish. Opens August 21, 2009

“The World’s Greatest Dad” – Robin Williams is a recently divorced poetry teacher who dreams of being a novelist. And then a whole bunch of bad stuff happens. Opens August 21, 2009

“Oceans” – Disney documentary on the oceans of the world. There’s a bit of controversy in that while it may not be “Shark Week,” it comes close for its ‘G’ rating. Opens August 22, 2010

“Final Destination 4” – A guy named Nick O’Bannon goes to the racetrack with his family and friends and receives a premonition about an accident. He saves them and cheats Death, which isn’t the kind of thing Death takes kindly too. The 4th installment of the series opens August 28, 2009

“Halloween 2” – Picking up where the first leaves off, we get to follow another Myers murderfest. Opens August 28, 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 28, 2009

27
May
09

Movie News and Views May 27, 2009 Trailer Edition

precious

“Whatever Works” – Woody Allen movie set in New York. Larry David plays the main character: a man who leaves his upper class life for a bohemian existence. Along the way he meets a young girl from the South and entanglements ensue. Opens June 19, 2009

“Julia and Julia” – Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in a movie based on the book about a woman who cooks her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” in a year. Opens August 7, 2009

“District 9” – Peter Jackson produced movie about an alien race forced to live in slum-like conditions. Opens August 14, 2009

“Post Grad” – Ryden Lamby (Alexis Bledel) graduates from college, moves back home, gets a job, finds a boyfriend, and has to figure out what to do with her life. Yawn. Also stars Michael Keaton. Opens August 21, 2009

“Oceans” – Disney documentary on the oceans of the world. There’s a bit of controversy in that while it may not be “Shark Week,” it comes close for its ‘G’ rating. Opens August 22, 2010

“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

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” – A writer’s plan to expose a corrupt D.A. takes an unexpected turn. Remake of a 1956 movie starring Michael Douglas. Opens September 11, 2009

“I Can Do Bad All By Myself” – Tyler Perry’s newest “Madea” movie about Madea finding a 16-yr-old girl and her brothers looting her place. She sends them to live with their Aunt April, a hard-drinking nightclub singer. Opens September 11, 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

“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

“The Road” – Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel about a father and son walking the desolate earth of a post-apocalyptic future, armed with a single pistol. Stars Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, and Robert Duvall. Opens October 16, 2009

“Precious” – Based on the “Push” novel about a black girl who grows up being abused by her mother, raped by her father, and ends up poor, angry, illiterate, unloved, and unnoticed. Opens November 6, 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 November 25, 2009

“Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakuel” – The Chipmunk voices are back, but Jason Lee isn’t. Opens December 25, 2009