Monday, January 11, 2010

Andrew's Top 10 of '09

Che Part I

Steven Soderbergh's Che Guevara epic gets off to an extremely strong start in Che Part I, taking the viewer through the trials and tribulations of the Cuban revolution in an extremely well-made feature.
Benicio Del Toro does an exceptional job playing the famed revolutionary, and the film presents a thoughtful look at Che the man as opposed to Che the historical figure. That is, there is more depth and emphasis devoted to his character and personality traits than the events and achievements that defined his life. Overall, Che Part I is the stronger of the two parts, and a must-see for history buffs and film buffs alike.

Che Part II

Despite my earlier comment about Part I being the stronger of the two, Che Part II is still an important film watch. Shifting its focus to the Bolivian revolution, the second half of the Che Guevara epic looks at the later life of the powerful revolutionary, and includes an extremely tasteful cinematic handling of his death. In fact, Che Part II is worth watching just for the tragic yet exhilarating moment of his execution at the hands of the Bolivian government. Overall, Che Part II is a worthy companion to its predecessor, and simply couldn't be excluded on my list.

Paranormal Activity

In a word? PETRIFYING. Paranormal Activity, a film best watched with the volume all the way up and the lights all the way down, is a refreshing reminder that a little money can still go a long way in the movie industry.
Since I went into Paranormal Activity knowing absolutely nothing about it, I shall encourage you, dear reader, to do the same. It's an absolute blast, with suspense you can cut with a knife and serve in lieu of popcorn. There's no gore, no torture, no stomach-churning medical experiments, just good old fashioned psychological terror for eighty six minutes. Bon appetit!

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fans and potential stalkers of Wes Anderson rejoice! He's back in full force with The Fantastic Mr. Fox, a film with something to offer both the little 'uns and the big 'uns with its clever dialogue, adorable creatures, and spectacular cast. And if Mr. Anderson is going to take
the time to make a stop-motion animated feature in this day and age, you're damn well going to watch it.

The Brothers Bloom

Oh, con-men...will you ever cease to be entertaining?
I loved The Brothers Bloom. Loved it. With its elements of comedy and mystery, drama and romance, and those two charming protagonists, what's not to love? Adrien Brody, perhaps? Maybe...but somehow, not even.

Inglourious Basterds

Desspite the obveeus speelling errrors in the tittle, and teh historicle inaccuriseas in the moovee, Inglourious Basterds is simplee awesum. That said, it's appeared on almost everyone else's list, so I shan't go into greater detail than necessary. In a word? See it.

OK, that's two words.

Where The Wild Things Are

Since Maurice Sendak's book is one of my favourites of all time, it's not surprising that the film was one of my favourites of last year. Spike Jonze's visionary interpretation of Sendak's illustrations is nothing short of phenomenal, and the characters' quirky idiosyncrasies and childish conversations are just delightful. The best part about Where The Wild Things Are is that it is not a children's film so much as a film about childhood--it treats the viewer's inner child to a front-row seat, and presents a touching story about the sheer value of imagination. And a soundtrack by Karen O. from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, leading an untrained children's choir is the icing on the cake. A cake which, when devoured, will feed your very soul.


Although it’s hard to watch in places, Steve McQueen (and no, not THAT Steve McQueen) presents a visually stunning cinematic piece on the hunger strike undertaken by Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands as a protest against the revocation of political status for imprisoned members of the IRA.
Hunger's haunting cinematography, eerie lack-of-soundtrack, and superb acting make it easily one of the best films of 2009, and certainly one worth watching for anyone with an interest in artistic filmmaking, and the magnitude and extent of the human will.


Could you really make a movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman AND Meryl Streep and have it not be good? I DOUBT it! (Sorry, had to be said.)
But horrendous puns aside, I thought Doubt was great. It's a superb adaptation with exactly the kind of acting you need to pull it off, and as a sucker for postmodernism, I really enjoy its continuous ambiguity. Simply put, I have no doubt you'll enjoy it. (OK, that's the last time, I promise.)

The Wrestler

For a guy who doesn't like wrestling, I myself am a little surprised to see Darren Aronofsky's film make my Top 10 of '09. But the fact is, it's an amazing picture. It's artfully made, with skillful editing and tremendous performances by Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei (both of whom got TOTALLY shafted for their respective Oscars). But mostly, it paints a more human portrait of "the celebrity" by taking you into the life of a man whose glory days have faded, but whose life goes on outside of the limelight.
The Wrestler provides spectacular insight into the less glamorous side of fame, and despite its heart-wrenching quality, it's worth seeing just to remember how much films can make you feel.

No comments: