The Hit and Miss Films of 2009
5. Funny People - Yet another Judd Apatow film that I just can't get into, and makes me wonder how he is hailed the way he is. I've tried my hardest to watch Apatow films such as Superbad, Knocked Up and Pineapple Express, all resulting in few laughs and boredom, but after a friend prompted me, I thought I'd give him one last chance with Funny People. Out of the ones I've watched, it is the best, but it's not saying much. There are nowhere near enough laughs as there should be from people who are stand up comedians, and the storyline takes so many turns it feels as if a new film starts halfway through. It constantly drags and I never feel sympathy towards the central character George Simmons (Sandler) because of the way he is to the others, which made me struggle to get into the story more. The jokes are very hit and miss, and I think you'd enjoy it if you were an Apatow fan. But for me, this was the last straw of these kinds of films.
4. The Hangover - The Hangover has it's moments, mainly from Zach Galifiankis playing not-quite-with-it Alan, brother of the bride. There are few witty one liners but most of the major jokes were ruined in the trailer, and the actual story is basically Dude, Where's My Car? in Las Vegas. The acting is pretty solid, and I was enjoying the film until Mr Chow comes on screen. Yes, he gives the story a bit of a turn in that the main group know what to do to find their friend, but it's the humour that they use through the character that really brought the film down. Swearing in high pitched tones, pretending to be a gangster and using all the catchphrases that made Apatow comedies "great" does not do it for me. I for one hope that this isn't the greatest comedy on 2009, as I only laughed a small amount of times.
3. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen - Having not seen the first film, but only a shed load of trailers and adverts, I was only half sure what to expect. A non-stop thrill ride, filled with explosions, fighting and a cool storyline. Unfortunately, only the explosions and fighting where properly involved, and filling a $200mil budgeted film with them doesn't make a good movie. Half the time I found myself confused due to a number of reasons including the lack of plot, the over-the-top CGI fighting, scene changes to random places in the world and what the main characters were trying to achieve. What also annoyed me was the poor sound and soundtrack, although some of the scores where impressive. Highlights included the mother figure brilliantly played by Julie White, which provided some much needed comic relief at the beginning. A strong co-starring role for John Turturro and a nice cameo from Rainn Wilson where also well received, and after I realised that I much preferred the comedy side of the film than the actual action scenes, which can't be good for an action film.
2. Watchmen - The second most over-hyped movie of 2009 and what a major disappointment. Entertaining but looking back on it, ultimately an awful film. Through the stunning visuals we see one good actor, playing in a messed up storyline that never goes anywhere and has a poor ending. If there was an award for use of slow motion Watchmen would win hands down. It would’ve been an hour shorter if the speed stayed constant and it was a major distraction. There was also poor use of music that ruined the film even more. It felt as if director Zack Snyder had put his iTunes onto shuffle and just picked whatever song came on, even if it didn’t fit. This is highlighted by the cringeworthy sex scene with an awkward rendition of Cohen’s Hallelujah. Over hyped, but not as badly as my number one worst film of 2009.
1. Avatar - The storyline is predictable from the start, and ruins what could've been a fantastic film. There is little to no suspense throughout, and you're never sitting there second guessing. For the first 2 hours of film I was very bored and things only picked up in the last 20 minutes, where I was entertained. Going into this film I read that James Cameron was now "Master of the Universe" and had been hailed by most. The writing of Avatar is cliched, especially through Colonel Miles (Stephen Lang) whose every other line is directly taken from the "How Not To Write An Action Film" book. His direction of the action scenes are impressive, but are again ruined by quick zooms that look amateurish, random slow motion scenes and narration that is used a lot at the start, then forgotten about until the end. Very strange. The acting is all over the place. For every Giovanni Ribisi you get Michelle Rodriguez, whose acting is more wooden than a door. I could go on about other things that made this film disappointing but I feel I've made my point. Visually this film at times is impressive, but not enough to satisfy me from a film many, many years in the making. King of the World maybe, but James Cameron is not the Master of the Universe.
10 Years To Make That? Seriously?
5. Two Lovers - Perhaps the most underrated film of the year, and one that was overshadowed by the awkward turn in roles by lead man Phoenix. Dramatic romance telling the story of a man stuck between two women he cares a lot about. Fantastically shot and the acting it superb, especially from Joaquin Phoenix who excels in his last acting role to date. I urge everyone to see this film.
4. Drag Me To Hell - A fun and gory horror film which packs in as much comedy as it does horror. Alison Lohman and Justin Long play their parts well, and there are a lot of jumps to keep you entertained. Sam Raimi definitely returned to form with this film, back to his old school routes and not making more overrated Spiderman films. More horror films should be like this one.
3. Inglourious Basterds - It took a decade to make, and Tarantino stated that he "became too precious about the page" and he's been working on it, expanding and developing it ever since. Through that decade, it's been hit and miss for Quentin with the success of Kill Bill brought down by the disappointment of Death Proof, but he is back on top, top form with Inglourious Basterds. While some may not like it for it's dialogue (and subtitle) heavy premise, you have to like it for it's brave attitude, wonderful acting and humourous take on the Second World War. I have a feeling the last line in the film may have been what Tarantino said himself once he had finished the script.
"This might just be my masterpiece"
2. Up - Pixar can do no wrong. And Up is just another reason why they are so great. The storyline of an elderly man trying to fly his own house is incredible on it’s own. And not only is Up fantastic storytelling, it really pulls at the heart strings at the start, which I haven’t felt like at the start of any film let alone an animated one by Pixar. There are little running jokes which just get funnier every time and the lead role played by Edward Asner is genius, capturing the essence of Carl Fredricksen perfectly. A wonderful film, which is only enhanced when watched in 3D. Despite it being an incredible film, my number one goes to a film overlooked and probably not even heard of by many, which is a terrible shame.
1. Let The Right One In - What an incredible film. I’m going to try and keep this short because I could go on for quite a while on why this is a good film. But let’s start with the story. A teenage girl vampire moves to a new town and quickly befriends similar aged Oskar, a boy who is bullied often at school and is misunderstood by everyone. It’s the story of young love, and wonderfully told through a vampire medium, unlike other vampire flicks plaguing our screens cough Twilight cough. The way the film is shot is eerie and the romantic music score is purposely in contrast but fits so perfectly. The acting is superb from everyone on screen, and as each scene progressed the story just gets better and better. It is an incredible film, and one that everyone should definitely see, Quickly, before the proposed American remake Let Me In comes out and you miss the greatest film of 2009
The Best Film of 2009.. by far