I have loved movies since I was a kid, and in the summer of 1989 my buddy Ryan and I saw every flim that opened except Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Return of the Swamp Thing. That summer I decided I wanted to make films for a living. I went to school for TV production and did a brief stint in TV land, as a production assistant, editor, and graphic designer before discovering my true calling – the internet.
Since the arrival of Kaylin and Maks it’s been harder to get out and see movies, but since moving to London we have a combination of built-in babysitting (thanks Grandma), and Char and I go out some nights on our own to catch movies individually.
It turns out I saw a lot of movies in 2009! Good for me. We had a new theatre open up near us this year, the Westmount VIP is about a 5 minute drive from our house, and it’s a spectacular facility. I’d say I saw about 80% of my movies there. The VIP part is that you can pay about $5.00 more for a ticket with reserved seating in a theatre where they have plush leather seats, concession people come to your seat, and because it’s licensed it’s 19+ (which means no annoying kids!).
Here were my favourite movies of 2009 in alphabetical order (because ranking them 1-10 is kind of pointless).
The story itself was a Dances With Wolves rehash, no big deal there. What was amazing was the 3D effects and the amazing level of detail that Cameron put into the world of Pandora. This film was beautiful, and the 3D technology played a pivotal role in the story.
This was a great little sci-fi tale, but when you take into account the fact that it was shot for $30million (1/10th the budget of Avatar), and brought in $37million on opening weekend…well that makes it an even better story. I was expecting something a little bit more political, but what we ended up getting was a pretty cool action/adventure story with some terrific special effects.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
I love Wes Anderson’s films, and this was a Wes Anderson film. From the cadence of the way the characters spoke, to the framing of the scenes, this is Anderson brilliance. The fact that my daughter enjoyed it as much as I did is icing on a pretty spectacular cake.
I can’t remember a funnier movie in a very long time. It was funny, vulgar, and surprising which is a rare combination.
The Hurt Locker
Hands down the most tension filled movie I’ve ever seen. You felt a sense of dread the entire time the movie was playing, and it felt like the characters were always one second away from certain doom. Death was always abrupt and unexpected, just like it really is in war.
I love Quentin Tarantino, and I find that even bad Tarantino (Death Proof) has moments of sheer brilliance (“Why ME?” – Kurt Russell). This one though brilliance baked right in, and through and through. Brad Pitt was genius as were Eli Roth and Christopher Waltz.
Wow. A total re-imagining of the franchise, and a rebirth of Sci-Fi on the big screen. Star Trek was fantastic, from the brilliant musical cues which were reminiscent of the original series (the original 60’s Star Trek is one of my favourite series of all time), to the genius casting. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, and Bruce Greenwood were all perfectly cast as Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Pike respectively. Bruce Greenwood’s voice provided an amazing monologue in the trailer with the brilliant line “Your father was captain of a starship for 12 minutes, he saved 800 lives, including yours, I dare you to do better.”.
I expected very little out of Up, but it gave us a lot. Rich characters, beautiful settings, and a pretty good action story. It was a far cry from what I originally expected it to be.
Watchmen barely made it onto my top 10 (500 Days of Summer very nearly bumped it off), but it was so long coming, and it lived up pretty well to my expectations…but it wasn’t a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. It was hella cool, and it was a very faithful adaptation of the comic (except for the ending, which I felt worked very well anyway), but that may have been the problem. Watchmen was great…as a comic book. As a movie it was good.
Zombies have officially jumped the shark for me (as have Vampires), but this movie was funny, and simultaneously gruesome. It has perhaps the greatest unexpected cameo in a movie as well.