Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Brad's top 10 films of 09

If you went to the movies in 2009, it was good to be a kid. From Spike Jonze's uncompromising take on Where the Wild Things Are to Pixar's latest triumph, Up, the films aimed at children where better this year than any in recent memory. Adults weren't completely left out in the cold thanks to films ranging form the funny (The Hangover)to the deadly serious (The Hurt Locker). Call it the dawn of the Obama age or maybe we all just needed a little cheering up after losing our jobs, all in all the films of 2009 showed a return to optimism. Here are my top 10 films of the year.

The Hurt Locker

Time may very well prove the The Hurt Locker is to the Iraq War what Apocalypse Now was to the Viet Nam War, the definitive film about the conflict. What make this film so powerful is its honesty. It does not pick a political agenda to convey, it just portrays the war from the eyes of those that live it. Tense, gritty and unapologetic.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

If you are among the folks who think that Hipster darling Wes Anderson directing a stop motion animated adaption of a Roald Dahl novel is a dream come true you are right. If half the films using real actors had the heart soul that this little cartoon does I would never leave theaters. I challenge you to find an adult who wouldn't enjoy Mr. Fox's adventures trying to save his home.

The Brothers Bloom

The Brothers Bloom manages to be fun while also being a metaphor for the search for identity. It's always fun to learn if you are being entertained at the same time, hell that's one of the reasons I love film. It's no wonder I liked this one so much.

500 Days of Summer

I like my fair share of indie rock and have felt my fair share of pain over women. This movie is tailored made for my sensibilities. Normally I hate love stories with a, pardon the pun, passion. But ever so often one come along that knocks me for a loop because I see so much of myself in it. This year it was 500 Days of Summer.


Moon is a rare thing. It is a science fiction film that is more psychological than futuristic, examining what makes us human and not relying on effects or mindless action. I'd say this film is the best of its kind since Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Sam Rockwell gives a great performance as an isolated astronaut stuck on a moon base. It's not the CGI that makes for great sci fi cinema, it's the human condition.


I expect a lot out of a Pixar movie and so far I have not been disappointed. Up is another near perfect movie. As with Moon, what stands out about Up is its humanity. And its emotional range. Up is funny, sad, nostalgic, bittersweet, innocent and joyful all at the same time. Many movies claim to have something for everyone, Up truly does.

Star Trek

J.J. Abrams did the impossible. He made Star trek cool again with a hip new cast playing classic characters and a plotline that paid homage to the original and pushed it forward for a new audience. The success of this film has some critics calling it the first film of the Obama age, leaving the brooding films of the Dubya years behind it. Truth is Star Trek has always been about the hope for a better, more hopeful tomorrow. It just so happens that now more people are willing to believe it is possible.


I have to admit that one of the reasons I like Avatar so much is that my expectations were low going it to it. What I saw blew my mind. Since I've seen it I've been telling people "even if you don't like science fiction, see this in the theater. It is like no other film you've ever seen". But it wasn't just the visuals that sold me. When it comes to the story this film is all about balance. James Cameron my push the medium of film forward with new technology every film he makes, but his genius is that he knows how to tell a story. The love story could have been overwrought and saccharin and the battle scenes soulless and tired, instead you feel for these characters. As I write this Avatar is the second highest grossing motion picture of all time. It deserves it.


Watchmen is one of my favorite books, so I reacted with excited and trepidation when it became certain this film was going to be released. I am happy to say it met my expectations. I never expected such a faithful adaption (I can live without the squid at the end). I know the great failure of this film was that it failed to make converts and fans out of people who hadn't read the book. I don't care about them. I was in my own personal geek heaven watching this and commend Zach Snyder on doing the Herculean task of getting the unfilmable graphic novel on to the screen with as little compromised or cut out.

Inglourious Basterds

QT has done it again. Years in the making, Quentin Tarrantino had talked in interviews almost since the days of Pulp Fiction about the WW2 masterpiece he wanted to make. Finally the wait is over. A masterpiece? Maybe not quite, but it is audacious enough to be the most fun had at the movies all year. Inglourious Basterds is full of Tarrantino's trademark dialogue and ingenious use of music, but still feels epic. And if Christoph Waltz is not nominated for a Oscar for his portrayal of twisted "Jew Hunter" Hans Landa there is no justice

Brad Filicky

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