Once again I've asked my esteemed colleagues
here at "The Phoenix" to contribute their best and worst lists for the year and
they have generously responded. Here's the first installment:
1. The Hurt Locker
2. A Serious Man
5. (500) Days of Summer
6. The Informant!
7. The Baader Meinhof Complex (Best Foreign Language
8. Lorna's Silence
Most Smug and Obnoxious Films of the Year:
1. Inglourious Basterds
2. The Men Who Stare at Goats
Top Ten Best Films of 2009
(in no particular order)
1. AN EDUCATION Intelligent if occasionally dreamy
memoir-based coming of age story, perfectly directed by Lone Scherfig and with
a breakout performance by Carey Mulligan.
2. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Wes Anderson's cool, clever, delightful puppet animation with a creative
soundtrack and a lovable assortment of woodland creatures that dance, meditate,
steal, lie, argue, zone out, and glow.
3. MOON Stunning
debut by Duncan Jones who directs Sam Rockwell as a lonely and
increasingly-desperate astronaut stuck in a dead-end gig mining moon fuel.
4.O'HORTEN Charming but never cute, Bent Hamer's story of a Norwegian train conductor's
retirement chugs along with unexpected twists and turns.
5 .BRIGHT STAR Jane Campion paints the love life and demise of John Keats, played with subtle
intensity by Ben Whishaw, paired with an impressive Abbie Cornish as his lover
6. L'HEURE D'ETE (SUMMER HOURS) Olivier Assayas helms this story of three siblings who decide to sell the
family's country estate after the death of their mother, and revisits the tone
and themes of his earlier masterpiece L'eau
7. IN THE LOOP Sure-handed
feature debut by Armando Iannucci: hilarious, sharp and vicious parody in the
style of The Office, set in London and Washington,
DC, with a uniformly wonderful
cast including Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander and Gina McKee.
8. STAR TREK From
the slutty green-skinned girl to the doomed red-shirted officer, J. J. Abrams'
prequel abounds with delicious references to the original TV series, and the
casting is truly inspired.
9. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS Who knew our little Quentin had an
epic in him? It's not perfect, but it's damned fine, with some truly inspired
visual and aural moments.
10. SIN NOMBRE Cary
Fukunaga's story of several Mexican families affected by the pervasive control
of the drug cartels: brutal, shocking, and hard to shake off.
More to come!