As there is hardly anything to write about post-Oscar season, I've decided to continue compiling lists of my favourite films by year/decade as a new series. I've already posted my favourites of 2007 and 2010, so it's time to fill in 2009 and 2008(at some later date). Here is my "Best of 2009", starting with my #1 film - Avatar.
Avatar Inglourious Basterds District 9 Brothers Star Trek Precious Sin Nombre (500) Days of Summer The Blind Side The Cove
“Apocalypse Now” is about as good as it gets. This film kept me engrossed for its entire 2 and ½ hour running time. By the end, I was on the edge of my seat. This is a great accomplishment, as the film for the most part is very meditative rather than “all guns blazing” action. The story was so captivating however, that the film never got boring. The cinematography is absolutely spectacular and the score is integrated perfectly. Coppola is more famous for The Godfather films, but this is definitely superior in my books.
"Dead Poets Society" is a touching, poignant film. It’s a great showcase of young acting talent (in addition to that of Robin Williams of course). They really captured what it’s like to be in an all-boys school (trust me I know, I went to one!). The story is quite simple, but inspiring nonetheless.
This week’s film for the "Hit me with your best shot” series was “Beauty and the Beast” and I couldn’t be happier. This has to be one of the most charming films ever. It really has everything. It’s touching, funny and sometimes terrifying (that Beast had some serious anger management issues). The characters and the music are so unforgettable, it brought back so many memories. Many people remember this film for the romance, but watching it again reminded me how incredibly humorous it is. Seriously, I was giggling like a little girl throughout the whole thing.
"Boyz n the Hood" is an oustanding film that shows the struggles of life in the ghetto. It's a truly heartfelt film that really helps you understand the various characters, who are all influenced by their circumstances. This "personal" effect is the result of a great ensemble cast. It was really refreshing to see a positive black father figure, unlike films like "For Colored Girls" with their blanket portrayals of black men in a negative light.
Back again with “Hit me with your best shot” for this week’s selection “Heavenly Creatures”. I must confess, I didn’t care much for this movie. It was well-made, just not my “cup of tea”. The notion of 2 intelligent girls so obsessed with each other that it drives them to murder, just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I am one of those “sad people who couldn’t appreciate their genius”. I did appreciate the acting performances however, particularly the wonderfully exuberant Kate Winslet.
My favourite shot comes from one of the most disturbing scenes in the film. It all seems so contradictory, that it’s truly unsettling. The girls look so innocent in their cute dresses, staring at this cozy house in the countryside. The music also somewhat resembles that of a wind-up jewelry box. Add in the two white horses and it all seems so pure and “heavenly” as the film’s title would suggest. Alas, who would have guessed that the line reading for this particular scene was…
“Our main idea of the day was to murder mother."
Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) says this so matter-of-factly that it was difficult for me to empathize with her.
“Full Metal Jacket” is an outstanding film by the great auteur Stanley Kubrick, which gets better as you watch it. I love that it paid so much attention to the training phase of the marines, as it really gives you insight to how they develop their psychologies around war. As with any Kubrick film there are a few disturbing scenes. He really is an expert at portraying madness and insanity. The sets of the battlefield are also remarkably realistic. Truly one of the best films of the genre.