With 2009 at a close, it's time to look at my favorite movies of the year. Starting from 10 and going down to 1, with 1 being the best movie of the year:
10. Coraline. It was a year filled with brilliant animated projects and 'Coraline' was without a doubt one of them. It's an altogether creepy movie that only gets better the more you think about it and reflect on what you actually saw. Henry Selick-most overlooked name in the film industry.
9. Public Enemies. I keep going back and forth on this one. At first I liked it, then I wasn't sure, and now I find myself liking it again. Perhaps the greatest strength of the film is just how laid back and relaxed it is. Though it may not be the 'great' movie it aspires to be, at least it can be said that Michael Mann didn't try too hard (as is often the case with anticipated movies that end up being total bummers).
8. Star Trek. One of the best Science Fiction movies in years, J.J. Abrams' take on the classic outer space tale is nearly impossible to dislike. And it's extremely possible to love.
7. Adventureland. My favorite comedy of 2009. It's rare that a comic movie is perfect. This one comes about as close as it gets.
6. Precious. By now you've surely heard the adjectives used to describe Lee Daniels' new movie: wrenching, powerful, moving... Whatever you want to call it, there is no doubt that 'Precious' is one of the best American movies of the year. Perhaps not so much because of its effect, but because of its ambition.
5. Avatar. /Watchmen. Avatar was most exciting movie of the year, not just because of the hype surrounding it, but because of the visual artistry James Cameron puts on display. I actually wasn't wowed when I left the theater. But as the days go by, I find myself liking it more and more. This is an important movie and one that will likely be cited someday as one of the most influential and innovative sci-fi epics of all time.
As for Watchmen, well, I was very fond of it. Like Avatar, I believe it will stick around for a long time, but more because of the story than the visuals (though they are quite dazzling as well).
4. Sugar. The best baseball movie I've seen. A clear cut for the year's top 10 list. I left the film feeling invigorated and moved.
3. Where the Wild Things Are. Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved tale made for the most emotional viewing experience of the year. And in a very good way.
2. Two Lovers. Despite it's strong cast, 'Two Lovers' was one of the smallest movies of the year and was largely forgotten by the time 09 came to an end. But that doesn't take away its lasting impression for the few who saw it. This is one that really stayed with me. One of the best romantic dramas I've seen.
1. Inglourious Basterds. I've watched this one twice now (though I've been ready to see it three times-one screening of it the print had a problem and I was forced to leave the theater) and I'm absolutely crazy about it. As Tarantino stated, this is sort of a Spaghetti Western in disguise. And if you watch carefully you'll see a few nods to Leone's work. Is it just me, or does the opening scene a homage to 'Once Upon a Time in the West?" Anyway, this is my favorite movie of the year, plain and simple.