Friday, January 8, 2010

John's Ultimate, No-Argument, Always-right 2009 Cinema Review


I don't really write reviews, more quick opinions, but 2009 was really an amazing year for movies--more good than bad (if we count my "haven't seen" list as "Great"). Watching Avatar and Sherlock Holmes made me decide on yet another list, if nothing else to remind me of all the great stuff we got last year.


Crap

Twilight New Moon: didn't see it, don't want to see it, saw 5 minutes of the first movie and that's all it took--chick-flick crap masquerading as a Vampire movie.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: not AS bad as people said, but still a muddled train-wreck of a movie with more plotholes than a Dan Brown novel. "Michael Bay's EXPLOSIONS" indeed.

Paul Blart Mall Cop: nothing with Kevin James in the lead roll can be good.

Bride Wars:
chick-flick trash.

Madea Goes to Jail: how does Tyler Perry have a job?

Monsters vs. Aliens:
other than Stephen Colbert as President, this was proof that Pixar-like movies are already getting tired, predictable and boring.

Observe and Report: Seth Rogan usually makes me laugh. I didn't laugh a single time through this movie.

Fighting: another awful MMA movie that degrades the sport.

Angels & Demons: here's a shocker--poorly written shit novels translate into poorly-scripted shit movies!

Public Enemies: Christian Bale and Johnny Depp--how the hell could these two be in a movie that's so god-awful boring?

The Ugly Truth: even King Leonidas can't save a chick-flick from being a chick-flick.

Paranormal Activity:
didn't even come CLOSE to scary, at any point in the movie, whatsoever. Who the hell thought this was scary?

X-Men Origins Wolverine:
let's throw every single superhero in history into one badly-written, canon-destroying mess.


Meh

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Tara dragged me to this like she has the last eighty four Harry Potter movies. I liked the one where he fought the dragon, but it's all downhill from there--this is nothing but 2 hours of crappy teen drama with annoying british children talking about "snogging," which is probably the most aggravating word in THEIR English language.

Pandorum: on the one hand, rather boring, and Dennis Quaid really phones it in. On the other hand, I liked the mood and I liked the set pieces, and I thought the ending was great.

GI Goe: not nearly as terrible as Transformers, the action sequences were much easier to follow and there were a lot of good inside jokes for Joe fans. And I love Arnold Vosloo in anything. But it also had pretty bad dialogue and stupid, stupid plotholes. And a Wayans brother.


Great to Awesome

District 9: My favourite movie of the year. On a fraction of Michael Bay's Transformers budget, Neill Blomkamp created more exciting action scenes, better cinematography, better atmosphere, and a more compelling, intelligent, and above all ORIGINAL story, which is very rare in Hollywood these days. Unbelievable movie.

Sherlock Holmes: I'd have to make this my close second for favourite of the year. Despite what many stuffy old British men might say, this is actually the closest to the original source material of any the movies before it--Downey, Jr is amazing as always, and plays the brilliant but excentric, drug-addled and socially ackward Holmes to a tee. Even Jude Law, who I normally hate to watch, was just right in his role. It was definitely an action movie, not a mystery movie, and that's just fine.

Inglorious Basterds: It was hot or cold for people with this. Those who thought they were going to see a war movie were sadly mistaken and maybe disappointed. Tarantino fans like myself went in expecting a character-driven masterpiece, and we got it. Christoph Waltz deserves an Oscar--but probably won't get it. Up there with Darth Vader as one of the "best movie villians of all time."

9: Yes it had a flawed storyline but, again, you can overcome that sort of thing with originality, which this stitchpunk movie had in spades. Beautiful.

Coraline: The first of the "new wave" of 3D movies, and definitely meant to be experienced in 3D. Neil Gaiman has a real ability to tell unique, original stories with just enough darkness in them to give you the odd shiver.

Watchmen: Is it perfect? Not really, but it's by far the most faithful to the source material of any comic book movie yet--and has a storyline written about Vietnam and the Cold War that's still relevent today.

Avatar: Not so much revolutionary as evolutionary, this is the exact opposite of District 9 and Coraline, in that the storyline is a hopeless ripoff of many before it (mostly Dances with Wolves), but because it's such a technical masterpiece, you get carried happily along for the ride anyway. Few movies have ever had this level of immersion--the 3D version in the theatres is every bit as good as the hype.

Taken: This is a guilty pleasure--I know, it's a very predictable, tired storyline, but just having Liam Neeson killing bad guys for 90 minutes is very refreshing.

The Hangover: There were a lot of awful, unfunny comedies this year (Observe and Report, Year One, The Goods.) This was not one of them. Probably the funniest buddy comedy I've ever watched. This'll be one of those timeless ones, like Animal House and Spaceballs.

The Soloist: Didn't seem to make a lot of people's lists, but it made mine. I'm not normally much of a softy, but this movie hit me right where it counted. Jamie Foxx's performance is brilliant.

Star Trek: Flawed, with a story full of plot holes... but since when has Star Trek not been full of plot holes? In the end it's the character interaction and development that matters in Star Trek (see, The Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country), and the reboot of the franchise had that--plus some great action. Chris Pine and Karl Urban are spot on, and I'm glad they made the effort to explain the continuity issues for the die-hard fans. The movie never takes itself too seriously, either.

Terminator Salvation: way better than it had any right to be... Apparently Bale changed the script BIG time to include his John Conner character, so we'll never how the original idea would've turned out--but the story made a fair bit of sense and there were some excellent machine-vs-human scenes.

Drag Me to Hell: Sam Raimi is still the master of non-gory, comedic-yet-creepy horror.

I Sell The Dead: Surprisingly fun, low-budget independant film starring Charlie from LOST.

Haven't Seen but Will Watch Soon Because They're Supposed to be Awesome:

Moon (apparently a smart sci-fi film, which is hard to find these days)

Zombieland
(Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg killing zombies? Gold.)

The Hurt Locker
(Looks amazing)

Where the Wild Things Are
(it pisses off Christian parents, so I'm in)

The Road
(disappeared from theatres before I had a chance!)

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