Monday, 4 January 2010

Review of the year

Since I only got this blog up and running in September and recently I snuck off to Row Three for most of my articles I figured instead of a standard Top 10 of the year, I'd do something a bit more substantial and give you a rundown of all the new releases I watched in 2009.  It wasn't an amazing year for films in my opinion, although I missed a bunch of supposedly strong ones (Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Moon, Let the Right One In, Fantastic Mr. Fox etc.).  It still contained some very good films though and several surprises from the horror festivals I attended this year (many thanks to all you festival organizers out there and to Justin for dragging me along to them all!).

So here you go, I've included my top 10 write-up from Row Three, then I'm going to go down in order of preference through the year with headers for marks out of 10:

Films I Watched in 2009 That Were Released in the UK (or Premiered) in 2009

Top 10:

1. The Wrestler – I can hear a lot of you muttering that this was from 2008, but it got released in the UK in 2009 and that's when I saw it so I don't care. A powerfully raw and emotional film that really touched a nerve with me. It's been a long time, if ever, that I've felt so strongly for a character. Mickey Rourke and the film itself were robbed at the Oscars so I'm putting it at the top of my list to make up for it - that and the fact that it actually is my favourite film of the year.
2. In The Loop – The finest British film I've seen in a long while, it is satire at it's most furiously paced and hilarious best. Peter Capaldi is incredible in one of the most deliciously foul-mouthed roles I've ever seen.
3. A Serious Man – The Coens do what they do best, mining a seemingly mundane setting/theme for rich black humour and crafting some fantastic characters along the way. Fred Melamed's Sy Ableman is so good he alone would make the film worthy of a mention.
4. Avatar – Yes, it's not without it's flaws as a film but as a filmgoing experience it was unparalleled. Exciting, often beautiful and deeply immersive thanks to the impressive effects and use of 3D, it's the best blockbuster I've seen for a while.
5. Lake Mungo – A film that took me by surprise after it opened a relatively small horror festival in the UK, Lake Mungo is a creepy, yet moving horror film. It's one of the first fictional horror 'documentaries' I've seen that actually looks and feels like a real documentary. It has some narrative flaws and is not a perfect film, but it's quietly powerful and some of it's scares still haunt me three months later.
6. District 9 – It's quite inconsistent and satirically blunt, but it's also a fresh-feeling and exciting blockbuster that I thoroughly enjoyed. I found lead actor Sharlto Copley to be infuriatingly caricatured in the film's first 20 minutes, but his performance gradually develops into one of the breakthroughs of the year, at least in a blockbuster role.
7. Where the Wild Things Are – A little slow and overly minimalist in terms of plot, yet Where the Wild Things Are is still a beautiful film. What struck me most was how effective it was in capturing the feeling of being a child coming to terms with the struggles of life.
8. Paranormal Activity – As with Avatar, this isn't without it's problems, but is an incredibly memorable cinematic experience. It's been a long time since I've been this gripped and terrified by a film and I think it helped that I watched this early on before the hype-machine took over.
9. Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl – Incredibly daft and utterly bonkers, Vampire Girl is a hell of a lot of fun. Much in the vein of Machine Girl, this is an orgy of over the top gore effects and inspired lunacy that is an acquired taste, but if you can let it in you'll not regret it.
10. Up – It's not the best Pixar film by any stretch, but when it works it's a moving and entertaining adventure that still impresses. The opening 15 minutes are incredible, reducing many to tears before the film had really got started. The rest of the film struggles to recapture this and turns a bit silly at times, but it's still better than most.

And the rest (in order of preference and score categories):

The Disappeared

Star Trek
The Forbidden Door (AKA Pintu Terlarang)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (UK)
Bodyguard: A New Beginning

Terminator Salvation
Tamami: The Baby's Curse
Home Movie

Dogs of Chinatown
Looking For Eric
My Bloody Valentine 3D

Drag Me To Hell
Les Dents De La Nuit

Last of the Living
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The Assessment (AKA Headhunter: The Assessment Weekend)

Side Effx

1 comment:

  1. I'd just like to say that after watching some more 2009 releases and re-watching some of the above since I'd probably change my top ten to this:

    The Wrestler
    In The Loop
    A Serious Man
    Up in the Air
    Inglourious Basterds
    The Hurt Locker
    Fish Tank
    Lake Mungo
    Where the Wild Things Are