Okay folks, The year is almost up and so I have come up with my FIRST ANNUAL TOP TEN MOVIES OF THE YEAR!!! Before we get started, I do have to mention that the movie Avatar is NOT on this list. Given how much time Mr. James Cameron had to make this film, I'm surprised at how underwhelmed I was at watching it. To paraphrase some reviewer out there, Avatar was basically a sci-fi action version of FernGully. After movies like T2, Titanic, Aliens, & the Abyss, Cameron has set a bar for himself.
Anyway, here are my top ten films for 2009:
10) Ninja Assassin -- I wrote a detailed review for this in a previous posting. In a nutshell, this movie did for ninjas what Frank Miller did for Batman with Dark Knight Returns. Ninja Assassin gave ninjas their balls back!
09) Friday The 13th -- I'm usually hesitant about horror movie re-boots, but this one was awesome! They made watching Jason Vorhees fun again and grounding him in reality was a master touch.
08) Taken -- Very few people understand how powerful Liam Neeson can be. The last movie that really captured that was Rob Roy. In Taken, Liam proves that you don't need flashy explosions and expensive gadgets to get the mission accomplished. Piss him off & he will find you and then he'll kill you.
07) The Hangover -- You don't know how refreshing it is to see an intelligent comedy in theaters. I loved this movie so much for being funny without thinking that I, as the viewer, am only into crude humor.
06) Zombieland -- The late, great George Carlin said that anything can be funny depending on how you construct the joke. Zombieland is an excellent proof of this. From the rules of surviving Zombieland to the surprise appearance of one my favorite actors, this film is top notch comedy.
05) Star Trek -- Most of the people I know will have a heart attack reading this. To think that I didn't put this film as number 1 is almost grounds for a very serious investigation into whether or not I've been replaced by an impostor. (I said almost!!) In all fairness, I LOVED this movie. However, I don't like that the science of the film was dumbed down. The beauty of Star Trek is that it can be appealing to everyone and still maintain its intelligence. But what knocked it out of #1 is that the best part of the movie is what happens AFTER the events of the movie, not the movie itself. After watching Star Trek, I launched myself on a 3 hour tirade of all that could be done now that the movie laid the ground work.
04) Surrogates -- This movie achieved what Gamer tried (and failed) to accomplish. Both films dealt with the idea of a logical extension of the world of virtual gaming (like Warcraft, EverQuest, The Sims, etc). However, Gamer trapped itself in references to instant gratification & reality-tv styling which killed the film's effectiveness. Surrogates dealt with the same concept from a much more efficient angle. No matter how far you remove yourself from the real world, reality will still catch up to you.
03) Angels & Demons -- This film was awesome. Tom Hanks did an excellent job conveying intelligence and power as Robert Langdon and the movie did an excellent job expanding the world they started with in Da Vinci code. I would have liked if they had kept the time format of the book, but that's just a minor detail.
02) Terminator Salvation -- I have to admit, when I first heard of this movie, I was completely against it. I've never been so glad to be proven wrong. First off, Christian Bale as John Connor was inspired!!! And we finally get to see the war against the machines! A lot of people watching this seem to think that this was the end of the war, when John Connor defeated SkyNet. But it's not. This was the true story of the Rise of John Connor. How he became the leader of the Resistance, and how he showed humanity that they could fight back & win against the machines.
Before we get to my number 1, I do have a few honorable mentions. First, there's Sherlock Holmes. I mean seriously is there a movie Robert Downey Jr doesn't make better? Then there's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Terry Gilliam... 'nuff said. Last for the honorable mentions is The Watchmen. Awesome production values, fantastic story, but the themes were slightly dated which knocked it out of my top ten.
And now for my number one movie of 2009.... *drum roll please....*
01) Fast & Furious -- Yes, believe it or not, this is my #1 for 2009. This movie is the only true sequel to The Fast & The Furious. The beauty of the first film was that the point of the movie was the crimes being committed underneath the shiny exterior of street racing and the moral issues that dealing with those crimes bring up. Parts 2 & 3 got caught up in the flash & sex appeal of racing, which makes for good eye candy but not good movies. Fast & Furious got back to those core themes that made the first one so irresistible, and a pleasure to watch over & over again.
What do you think? What's YOUR Top Ten?