February 10 2010
Everybody loves top ten lists and I'm no exception The movie year is now over and
since we have now released the Delta's Choice Awards I figured I could put out my
list of the ten best and worst of 2009. So here they are in order from best to worst
my choices for the best and worst films that Hollywood served us up in 2009.
The Top Ten Best Movies of 2009
#1 - Up
#2 - Up In the Air
#3 - Synechdoche, New York
#4 - (500) Days of Summer
#5 - Star Trek
#6 - Taken
#7 - Sherlock Holmes
#8 - The Hangover
#9 - An Education
#10 - District 9
When I published my top 5 best and worst half way through the year I made a point
to say that these films may or may not end up in my top (and bottom) ten for the
year. As it turned out all of the top 5 from the first half of the year DID end up in
the top ten for 2009. However, the bottom of the list didn't follow suit - my guess
is Hollywood released more crap toward the end of the year or I caught the turkeys
on DVD which were released after June. So here are the dregs, the turkeys, the
excrement - just plain CRAPOLA!
The Ten Worst Movies of 2009 (listed from Bad to worse)
For comments or to submit a movie review for possible inclusion on Delta Films site
please send an email to Critics@deltafilms.net
Top 10 best and worst films of 2009
by Roland Hansen
"The Hangover", in which a group of guys try to piece
together what actually happened at a Vegas bachelor
blowout so wild they can't remember any of it, is crude,
audacious, and a laugh riot. Two days before his
wedding, Doug and his three buddies drive to Vegas for
a blow-out night they'll never forget (or never remember).
But when the three groomsmen wake up the next
morning with pounding headaches, they can't remember
a thing. Their posh hotel suite is beyond trashed and the
groom is nowhere to be found.
"Hangover" is sick, twisted and funny. This is a movie
where you WANT to stick around for the credits. The
beauty is that you are totally set up for it, and you don't
mind one bit. That final sequence ties the movie together
in an awesome fashion and you wont have to walk out
(Thank you Heather).
Zachary Quinto has inherited Nimoy’s knack for
infusing his matter-of-fact pronouncements with
almost subliminal dry wit, and while there’s really
no replacing Shatner, Chris Pine is surprisingly
adept at evoking the bravado and bluster of Kirk
without devolving into parody. He fills Kirk’s
space boots with a brashness that easily matches
the size of el capitan’s ego. As unlikely as it once
seemed, it looks like the ol’ Enterprise has a few
more light-years left in it after all. When a familiar
face tells young Kirk: "I have been and always
shall be your friend." You may even find yourself
getting a little choked up. Star Trek fans will love
it. Everyone else will mearly think it's a great
action sci-fi flick.
Synecdoche is utterly brilliant! Masterpiece is the
kind of title happily bestowed upon rare
experiences such as this. "Synecdoche, New
York" will not likely find a big audience, as most
people will either not want to work at
understanding it or won't like what it has to
say. But if you're willing to go into it with an open
mind, you might just find yourself amazed.
This movie is not for your average viewer. It is
thought provoking, emotional, and incredibly
difficult to comprehend. I can really only
recommend this one to serious movie aficionados.
"Taken" is almost the perfect action film. There's
exciting car chases, ample gunplay, knife fight,
hand to hand combat with torture, blood, and
pain. All this with a body count that would make
John Rambo proud. Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) is
like Jason Bourne on steriods. There's nothing
lofty in the intentions of "Taken." The aspiration
here was to make a simple, straight-ahead action
thriller. Period. But if you think that's easy, think
of all the lousy action thrillers that come out in
the course of a year. The level of skill that went
into "Taken" is masterly
Pixar has done it again! Life's adventures aren't just
"out there." They're here, too, wherever life is lived and
love is shared. And it's not photos or mementos that
matter, it's the memories of those adventures that keep
us warm when we're old. "Up" is a wonderfully touching,
openly dark, and surprisingly surreal adventure story.
To call the picture 'sentimental' would be an
understatement, as it is often an ode to sentimentality.
It uses wordless montage and the power of silence
every bit as effectively as "Wall-E" and it's often just as
action-packed as "The Incredibles". It is a beautiful
story, gloriously told with rich and vivid characters,
eye-popping visual splendor and acknowledges the
complete despairs and utter joys of life in one fell swoop.
In The Men Who Stare at Goats, George Clooney, as
one of the founding members of a crackpot U.S. military
unit, wears a mustache that makes him look like Dennis
Farina, and he does his best to act cool, calm, and
collected - which sets him in marked contrast to all the
flakes and hysterics around him.
“More of this is true than you would believe”, says the
opening title card. Clooney plays his part as if all of it is
as true as the law of gravity. The point of any
conspiracy theory is not usually to convince us of its
accuracy but to unsettle our once-satisfied minds.
We're left with no answers and many questions, and
perhaps that's the point here. However, in the end,
"Men Who Stare at Goats" is truly as pointless and
absurd as actually performing that task.
There is exactly one funny bit in "Land of the
Lost," and it stands out because it comes at the
very beginning and the very end. The jokes come
not from the film’s ridiculous premise or even
from the outlandish situations Will Ferrell is thrust
into. Most of those are played seriously. The film
only attempts to be funny whenever whatever
CGI action moment it’s just put us through is
over with and Ferrell stands around to engage in
semi-improvisational speeches designed to make
himself look like an ass. Land of the Lost isn’t the
butt of the joke, Will Ferrell is.
Life sucks and then you move to the suburbs, or
maybe it's the other way around. In one word
"BORINGGGG!". "Revolutionary Road" wants to
be an aching, melancholy drama that reveals
bitter truths along the way, and that is certainly a
fine ambition. Unfortunately, Mendes has made a
film that often just leaves you feeling indifferent.
Despite some good qualities, this type of material
has resulted in better movies several times before
(Married life). "Revolutionary Road" is overly
melodramatic and will bore you to tears. See the
afore mentioned "Married Life" if your interested
in 1950's suburban ennui but by all means avoid
this film. You'd be better off just turning it off
after the first sex scene. There's nothing much
worth watching after that.
Making a solid summer comedy starring Jack
Black, Michael Cera, David Cross and Hank Azaria
should be so easy, a caveman could do it.
Despite the presence of those reliable actors and
the highly advanced skills of comic veterans
Harold Ramis and Judd Apatow behind the
scenes, "Year One" manages to be a dud. "Year
One" in a nut shell is nothing short of toilet
humor. The flick uses piss and poop as well as
crude sexual innuendo rather than any real
humor. The effect is more vomit inducing that
funny. The movie takes gross and unexpected
turns in every direction. From licking poop, to
sacrificing sons, to burning virgins for rainfall,
there is no explanation for any of it.
To quote Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily
News "the one person who'll be happy after
walking out may be Will Ferrell, since 'Land of the
Lost' is no longer the only turkey around."
What you might initially think is a witty comedy about a
jerk of a guy who not only thinks he's better than
everyone else, but actually is, that either finds the error
of his ways or gets dropped down a peg or two,
eventually becomes a tale chock full of heart and
emotion. Anyone who has ever been fired must see "Up
In The Air." Jason Reitman has done again. The
director of "Thank You For Smoking" and "Juno" puts
real life out there in an incredible way, where we all
laugh and then walk out of the theatre thinking about
what is really important. A film with a message that's
entertaining: what a concept.
"This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know
up front: This is not a love story." This is no love story
but rather a "story about love". Tom Hansen (No
relation), a greeting-card writer and hopeless romantic,
is caughtcompletely off-guard when his girlfriend,
Summer, suddenly dumps him. He reflects back on their
500 days together to try to figure out where their love
affair went sour, and in so doing, Tom rediscovers his
true passions in life.
Love story. Fairy tale. Call it what you want."(500) Days
of Summer" is a lot more honest and accurate than
anything coming out of Hollywood these days.
Endearing, fresh and funny, 500 Days also offers
insights about fate, attraction, infatuation, heartbreak
and the perseverance of hope.
Robert Downey Jr. may not be tall or British like
Sherlock Holmes, but he does possess the single most
important attribute needed to play England’s famous
sleuth. The actor is smart.
In the highly entertaining "Sherlock Holmes" busy plot,
vivid locations, thorny relationships, fights, chases and
explosions all vie for attention. Yet amid these many
moving parts, the film ultimately succeeds for one simple
reason: Downey makes his character’s impossibly
brilliant deductions seem almost believable.
Based on this exhilarating introductory chapter, I'm more
than eager for another ride, provided it's as mentally
stimulating as this.
Literature is full of cautionary tales of innocent young
women seduced by smooth-talking rakes. Jenny, a dutiful
student and a passionate consumer of modern novels
and French pop records, has surely encountered more
than a few such stories. But at 16 and in a terrible hurry,
she seems less inclined to learn from the mistakes of
wayward romantic heroines than to join their ranks.
Peter Sarsgaard, sporting a workman like posh dialect,
receives top billing, but the film belongs to Carey
Mulligan as Jenny. As the character's sexual initiation
gives way to a new chapter, director Lone Scherfig plays
the developments for as much truth and sensitivity as the
material allows. Mulligan seizes the day. Parts like these
do not come around very often.
"District 9" is the definition of smart science fiction.
"District 9" is the brainchild of a first-time director who
displays real talent. Neil Blomkamp has crafted an
astonishing debut. In many ways this story is an
anecdote to apartheid, but the message is never
pandering nor ineffective. Many will proclaim the film’s
main intention as trying to be a complete message
filled commentary - it isn't. This is ultimately a sci-fi
action film that happens to contain genuine well
thought-out ideas and a few questions on human
nature. There is nothing clean-cut or contrived in
"District 9" and it doesn't even resolve traditionally. The
lack of complete closure naturally leaves open the
potential for a sequel but it also feels true in the sense
of that the racial conflict at the heart of the film is not
something that can be neatly resolved. This is the most
original, innovative and entertaining science-fiction film
in years and contains the best mix of politics and
spectacle I can recall.
Val Kilmer runs around in a park for a whole day. Sorry
I just told you the whole movie. I guess the reason
Columbus actually had a day is because he made the
prescient career move of actually arriving somewhere.
If you want to see Val Kilmer wondering al fresco for
ninety minutes then this is the movie for you.
There is really nothing wrong with the acting. The story
is just so boring. Endless phonecalls here and there to
persons that are not introduced so you have to guess
who it may be and that just makes it more confusing.
Sudden laps in time back and forward but without
indication on whats past and what is present. The
filming is very nice but would fit better to a romantic
comedy. Endless panoramics over the park and
closeups on people doing ark things is nice for so many
seconds but not througe a whole movie.
#10 - Columbus Day
What a disappointment. This film started off promisingly,
with a very funny premise that is established in a
semi-believable way. Sadly, that is really all there is to
the film. The funny premise leads nowhere, it is just
milked and milked and milked until the audience is no
longer laughing, but rather just waiting for it to end.
Believability also starts going out the window about
halfway through the film, with characters acting and
reacting in ways that no human would, but are required
contrivances to keep the story rolling along. This is not
daring film-making, this is shabby & gutless - even
setting back the male gender a few years.
#9 - Humpday
#8 - Men Who Stare at Goats
The film is short of dialogue and any real character
development, instead relying on visuals and the score
to create atmosphere, set scenes and keep the story
moving along, Some of the editing and camera work
seems a bit attention deficit disorder orientated as well,
with perhaps a time limit of a couple of seconds placed
on any one shot. This film was a big let down both with
the twist ending and the inclusion of a 'Taliban' plot,
both of which were unnecessary and I thought
damaging to the credibility of the rest of the film. Not
only that, but after an hour and a half or so of
portraying Tijuana as a seedy shithole full of thugs,
thieves, gangsters and hookers, the director had the
audacity to insert a big 'what a wonderful place Tijuana
is and what wonderful people live there' message just at
the start of the closing credits.
#7 - The Line (La Linea)
“Interception” doesn't work, period. “Interception” is
frustrating throughout, all those distractingly
unnecessary moments, all those groaner clichés, all
those thickheaded scenes. It’s a homemade clunker
trying to pass itself off as a big league blockbuster, and
while a little bit of inventiveness just might have made
such an effort work, that little bit just isn't here. You go
into “Interception” wanting to give it a fair shake - and
come out wishing you never did.
#6 - Interception
#5 - Revolutionary Road
#2 - Land of the Lost
#3 - Year One
#4 - Repo! The Genetic opera
Repo: A Genetic Opera is about a future society where a
big corporation butchers people on the street when they
don't make the payments on their organs (and you
thought your credit card company was tough!) Of
course, everyone is singing when this is going on. The
special effects crew worked overtime in providing us with
gallons of gore.
This is a worthless piece of work through and through.
Not a single song sounded like it was written by someone
with ears, and the performances of them were even
worse. The acting was just as bad, making several failed
attempts at drawing an emotional response from the
audience. Not only did the film suffer from poor
performances, but it was executed poorly. Dizzying
Cinematography and the constant cuts almost induced
seizures. Unfortunately REPO failed to live up to its hype,
it had nothing to say, and little entertainment value.
#1 - Paranormal Activity
The buzz surrounding writer/director Oren Peli’s popular
2007 “found footage” horror outing “Paranormal Activity,”
has been, in a word, astronomical. And OK, I finally fell
for the hype and went to see this so called horror film on
Halloween evening. It's making a ton of money and a
couple million people can't be wrong can they? Ummmm,
I hate to break it to you but .... yes they can.
"Paranormal Activity" garnered and "R" rating which
completely baffles me. There is absolutely zero nudity,
zero violence, zero blood and guts. And the one 'sex
scene' is missing because Katie tells her boyfriend to
turn off the camera as she is too shy to be filmed while
doing it. So you'll (gladly) have to walk out of this one,
which is too bad since Katie has HUGE ...... tracks of
land. A little gratuitous nudity might have saved this
Don't see this movie. It's not worth the money. But if
you're a huge horror fan and your expectations are
suitably low, then by all means try out this 97-minute
implied-horror movie. But be forewarned - it's crap!