Top 10 Movies of 2009

It has been a wild year for the crew here at Lost in Reviews though our one year anniversary will be in April of next year, we would like to say thank you to all of our readers that have helped to make Lost in Reviews what it is today.

Lost In Reviews has compiled what we think are the ten best movies of 2009 and only one film will go home with the honor of being the Lost in Reviews film of the year and take home “The Bateman.” If you haven’t seen all of these movies you should run out of your house right now and either get to the theater or go rent them. We would love to know what you think of our choices.

10. The Hurt LockerThe Hurt Locker is a documentary-style film that keeps sharp focus on Bravo Company, an Army unit whose job is to detect and defuse — or carefully detonate — I.E.D.’s that are scattered across Baghdad in pre-surge 2004.  The script is written by journalist Mark Boal, who used his own experience of being embedded in an explosive ordnance disposal squad in Iraq as inspiration for this film.  Bigelow, who directed the cult classics Point Break and Blue Steel, shoots The Hurt Locker with four lightweight cameras, which gives it an appropriate jitteriness that adds realism without being annoying.  Her gift for orchestrating violence shines because like in real war, the violence in the movie happens sporadically and without warning.  This dynamic duo of Boal and Bigelow sucks you in for 131 minutes of completely satisfying edge-of-your-seat thrills and the intimacy of what it means to be brothers in arms.

9. Up in The Air Up in The air is a film that had mixed reviews here at Lost in Reviews but, the acting  could not go unnoticed in our list for the best films of 2009. The portrayal of Ryan Bingham by George Clooney comes off so naturally creating a character that is easy to identify with. Up in the Air is the story of Ryan Bingham, a man that spends most of his time in the air flying from failing company to failing company to fire the people that corporate executives are too afraid to fire. The only break from this routine comes from the occasional motivational seminar that Ryan conducts to promote his minimalistic life. Ryan asks people to imagine their lives fitting into a small backpack and how this backpack weighs their lives down, you can see where he goes from there. The only problem in Ryan’s perfect life is that it’s all about to change as the company that he works for is about to take him out of the air and place him behind a desk to fire people via video conference to save overhead. Before this transition can take place Ryan must take the inventor of this soulless video chat, Natalie Keener(Anna Kendrick), across the county to see how things are done and hopefully put an end to this ridiculous idea.

8. (500) Days of Summer (500) Days of Summer was Lost in Reviews Best film of the Summer and after multiple viewings this movie still holds up. Not since High Fidelity has there been a film so easy to connect to when it comes to the male side of a releationship, I almost said love there and as we all know from the tag line this is not a love story. (500) Days of Summer is the story of the relationship of Tom and Summer through a beautiful narration followed by a unique chronological order we get a glimpse into their lives. Tom first meets Summer as she is introduced as the secretary at his job. Tom works as a greeting card writer but has a degree in architecture, needless to say he is under achieving a little. After another meeting with Summer in the elevator, the lyrics of one of Tom’s favorite songs spill out of Summer’s lips and it is love, well at least for Tom, the problem is Summer does not believe in love. This is our conflict, how will a child of divorce and a boy pushed by the love songs of his youth finally come together?

7. Avatar– Although the story for Avatar is simple enough to grasp, it is rooted in all of the reality of today. It touches on war, the environment, and the beliefs of others. Avatar takes place in the year 2154, humans have all but ruined the planet and have sought out another planet, Pandora, to harvest it’s resources to help create a stable environment back on Earth. The resource they seek lies under the tree in which the Na’vi live in. There is currently a struggle between the humans and the Na’vi on the resource as the Na’vi do not want the humans there and certainly do not want to leave their home. Enter Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) on the newest ship headed out to Pandora. He is a military jar head who is paralyzed from the waist down and has an opportunity to help the scientists and be put into an avatar to walk amongst the Na’vi and he can’t pass it up.

6.  MoonMoon has to be one of the most overlooked films of 2009. The concept alone would have landed this film on our top ten list. Add in the brilliant acting of Sam Rockwell that plays the crazed man in space trying to uncover a corporate scandal. Moon is the story of Sam (Sam Rockwell) on a mission on the moon to extract a substance to harvest back on Earth. He is nearing the end of his three year contract with his only companion, GERTY a computer that analyzes everything as well as talking to him voiced by Kevin Spacey. The solitude in the space station for three years has worn on him and his sanity will be tested.

5. District 9 – D-9 was on our list for best films of the summer and with its Sci-Fi roots and political undertones D-9 still holds up for one of the best films of the year. District 9 tells the story about an extraterrestrial race whose ship came to settle over Johannesburg, South Africa 28 years ago. The worker class aliens on the ship are malnourished, weak, and are forced to live in a slum like, gang-ridden area called District 9.  Strict rules about where aliens are allowed are in place due to the xenophobia of the Johannesburg populace. After 20 years of the aliens presence, the locals have grown tired of the aliens actions, behavior, and cost of keeping them around.

4. Fantastic Mr. Fox– Come on, it’s Wes Anderson. What more could you want right? This time Wes silenced all his biggest critics creating a story that could be loved by movie goers of all ages. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion picture about Mr. Fox and his family and their trouble with the three biggest farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. When Mr. Fox takes more than he can chew from the farmers, the farmers aren’t just after Fox, but his whole family and all of the other animals. After their homes are destroyed, they come together and decide to take down the evil farmers. Not only is the voice acting in this film some of the best of the year, the stop motion is definitely some of the best ever. The stop motion is almost flawless, and with the truly authentic Wes Anderson style, this one easily made our top ten list.

3. Inglourious BasterdsInglourius Basterds is World War II as seen through the eyes of Quentin Tarantino, so that means lots of talking, but for us that’s a good thing. I could watch a two hour conversation if it was written by Tarantino. His dialog is like no other and can turn no name actors into movie stars. In this case though, he has one of the biggest actors in Hollywood to play with, Brad Pitt. Pitt plays the seriously twisted Lt. Aldo Raine, the leader of a group of Nazi killing manics that have been tearing through the Germans with out mercy. The Basterds are an entire squad of killers, but we really only focus on a chosen few. When you first meet the Basterds you are immediately infatuated and ready to go on their wild ride, the problem is you don’t, and the main focus of the film is shared between the Basterds and a Jewish girl, Shosanna Dreyfus, left alive in a Nazi massacre at the start of the film. Shosanna and the Basterds are brought together through a plot to kill a group of Nazis as they attend a movie premiere, among these Nazis is none other than Hitler himself, add some twists and turns and you have Inglourious Basterds.

2. The Young Victoria -Trying to describe to you why you should see The Young Victoria is like trying to describe why you need to see The Sistine Chapel, you can’t. You just have to go, and then you know. Now that may be a strong comparison but once you stack up all of the great things that this film has, it’s not so crazy. There is outstanding acting by Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend, and especially Mark Strong as the villain of this true story. Emily Blunt played Victoria beautifully. With a simple hop and a skip down the hall, you could see that even though she is a young adult, she has never fully grown up. Rupert Friend was very convincing as the young man in love with the Queen. It became very easy to see how he was troubled with being in love with someone he can’t propose to. Mark Strong was menacing as Sir John Conroy. Victoria had a hate for him most of her life and we go right along with her. Some of the situations were probably fantasized a bit for theatrics, but it worked well for the story. The Queen’s mother, the Duchess of Kent played by Miranda Richardson had a remarkable performance of simplicity. Along with a great story and great acting, the reason why The Young Victoria is at the top of our list is because of the excellent cinematography. It’s simply a movie that makes you say wow.

AND THE BATEMAN GOES TO…

1. A Single ManThe reason this was picked as our best movie of the year is because it is essentially perfect in every way. Not only does it have Oscar worthy performances by Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, and a moving story told through the eyes of Tom Ford, but the cinematography and musical score are what will push film forward. I didn’t quite know what to expect from Tom Ford as he told his version of the book, A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood. I knew from the trailer that everyone was going to look their very best, but not much more until I sat down to watch it. A Single Man is the story of George, an English professor in 1962 that has recently lost his partner of 16 years to a car accident. With the disapproving family not allowing him to attend the funeral, George is left to fester in his own pain for 8 months. When he wakes up from yet another painful night of memories, he decides to end his life and we spend the rest of the film watching George live his last day with moments of clarity.

Honorable Mentions
A Serious man
Zombieland
The Road
Precious
Star Trek
Adventureland

About Ryan Davis

Ryan is the Founder of Lost in Reviews, a member of The Kansas City Film Critic's Circle, and a key component in the movement to digitally restore the 1986 classic film The Gate. Ryan is also the co-host of Blu Monday a DVD and Blu Ray review show which Lost in Reviews co-founder Angela Davis also appears. While he may be a film and music snob, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. Well it could if you don't like the same bands or films he does, overall it might be best to avoid the subject all together.

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