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Added by VierasTalo on 14 Jan 2010 02:01
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My Top-10 Movies of 2009

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People who added this item 477 Average listal rating (265 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5

What better way to start the list than a comedy? 2009 was indeed a great year for the art of humour, as we finally started getting some analytical mainstream humour studies on comedy such as Funny People or Observe and Report. What most people missed however was that we also got a brand new political satire that nails the nail into the coffin of inbred political circles perfectly. Unlike most political satires, this movie doesn't just make fun of the people behind the decisions that change our lives; it makes more fun out of the decisions than the deciders. The convoluted and complex process of political voting and deciding is portrayed with pinpoint accuracy by the writing team in a way that even simpletons can understand. What makes this even more contemporary and important is that the parts where it's at it's funniest it's also at it's most honest and critical. It's scary that we know something like this could easily happen and probably has happened in the past simply due to the stupidity and incestous nature of politics. Scratch your friend's back, five others will turn away for all eternity, two will request for a scratch themselves and one will wonder if scratching has any relation to baloney sandwiches.
VierasTalo's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1491 Average listal rating (943 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.2

Fun, fun, fun! Wasn't this year just a comedic romp? Juno-writer Diablo Cody's latest brainfart actually turned out to be sharp, witty and by all means entertaining as both a comedy and entertaining horror film. We might not get to see great tits, but we get a great line about those tits. Some referred to this movie as a tease, that it doesn't show enough skin or gore, but honestly I think that this movie is just fine the way it is. We don't see boobs because this movie isn't about boobs, and we don't see gore that much because why would we want to see it that much? I don't consider it that entertaining to see people ripped to bloody bits, I'll rather listen to funny dialogue. What's surprising about this film is that A) Megan Fox doesn't suck as the role has obviously written with a bimbo like her in mind, B) the narrative structure strays away from most cliches and especially the reason behind Jennifer's transformation into a maneating fucknut is original and hilarious, and C) Cody has learned how to use her dialogue without overdoing it. In a film like Juno I don't mind the constant use of phrases varying from homeskillet to gobs, but in a movie such as this that occasionally does have an ambition towards the serious side of life it is important not to go over the top with ultra-hip dialogue, and Cody understands this, making the dialogue both hilarious and believable, and when needed, very on-topic and serious.
VierasTalo's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom

Black Dynamite is a very funny movie. It is well-written all around. Yet it still is something much more than you might expect. It is not a parody of 70s blaxploitation films. It IS a 70s blaxploitation film. This is what movies like Grindhouse should have been like. Black Dynamite doesn't achieve it's old feel and look by CGI or overblown and ridicilous action. It does it in a subtler way, applying age-old movie goofs such as boom mics showing up on screen and line mess-ups that were kept in to preserve film. The set design is fantastic as everything looks straight from the 70s from the suits to the apartments. The musical score is also really, really strong, something that any blaxploitation should have. The story is more or less a best of-compilation of all the blaxploitation greats and it has a bonafide end twist guaranteed to blow your mind. Black Dynamite is something of a rarity nowadays, as it is a loving, hilarious homage to a genre long gone but that still seems fresh even today.
VierasTalo's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom

So yeah, another comedy, however I don't think that it's that funny. Observe and Report has a lot in common with Funny Games, Michael Haneke's failed psychological trick-flick. They're both essentially playing with what you feel and expect of this movie. Anyone who sees that a mall cop film starring Seth Rogen is out will think that it's the same type of stuff Apatow&co. have churned out for years now. Then we get this, a rather disturbing and unfunny twisted drama about a narrow-minded and retarded mall security officer with no skills of empathy whatsoever. Oh well, you'll just think that it'll get funnier. That the guy will get the girl in the end and everything will be happy-doodle. But as the film progresses you recall that the reviews called this a really perverse movie. You start seeing the perversity of it all. In the end you will either think that it wasn't as horribly disturbing as everyone calls it, or that it was way too disturbing. Either way, you have submitted yourself to the psychological game that is Observe and Report. Which result you end up on will tell you more about yourself as a human if you have the ability to self-observe your feelings rather than just think of what a movie you just saw. I also do enjoy greatly the fact that people have in fact considered this to be a hilariously dark film even though it is essentially just filled with disgusting scenes. It's a proof of the (im)morality of our world in a way, isn't it? Observe and Report shows us what we've become, but it does it carefully and involvingly unlike Haneke who just beats us over the head with a hammer in Funny Games, and that's why it is a splendid film.
VierasTalo's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom

Whoa, a funny movie, ohmigosh that's something you couldn't expect from this list! Seriously, writing about these friggin' comedies is killing me, but this wouldn't be a best of-list without A Serious Man. The Coens finally manage to finetune the balance between metaphor, humour and narration to a T in their latest film, which is essentially a subtle adaptation of the book of Job. Starting off with a highly allegorical small film in yiddish, to the wonderfully bleak and sad ending, A Serious Man will probably have you laughing all the way through. There is however much more to it than just the superficial story and jokes. All the dreams we witness, all the events, they all seem to have a deeper meaning of sort. This film works as a whole not because it has a linear and simple story, but also because everything clicks together as if it was a giant puzzle of sorts. A lot of the events are metaphorical to events earlier or later in the film and clearly display the pysches of our main characters while also making us laugh. The Coens have also made a film called Intolerable Cruelty, and quite frankly this might as well be called that too. Initially seeming far too cruel towards our protagonist, after the film sinks in atleast I thought that he was essentially being punished. It was obvious to me that the man was not living a life. If you have no emotional reaction to being dumped by your wife and only truly show emotion in your dreams, perhaps you should be tempted. The main character is tempted here to feel something before his life is over after living in a stale enviroment for years, and he gleefully ignores it all until... well, I won't spoil it. Let's just say that I think this film is about a higher power giving a regular man the chance to emote, and he doesn't. That's why there's this distant sadness to the whole affair aside from the sad things we see happen; Why do we willingly allow ourselves to become so emotionally handicapped that we can't even feel the departure of those we love? To anyone who has ever had such thoughts, this movie will ring so very close to the heart.
VierasTalo's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 2655 Average listal rating (1668 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7

What's that you say? Coraline is not a comedy? Exactly! We finally move away from the comedic overtures and into the realms of atleast superficial seriousness if nothing else. This is a fantastic stop-motion feature from Henry Selick that's essentially a story about growing up that is a masterpiece until the ending which ruins everything. I can willfully ignore that, but if you can't, then skip this movie. Coraline is pretty much a story about a little girl escaping her everydaylife into a world of wild imagination and then dealing with her real-life issues within this imaginated world of hers. Unfortunately it becomes very clear early on that it is in fact a real world heralded by an evil being who likes sewing buttons into people's eyes. This is the greatest downfall of Coraline, which is otherwise a completely competent piece of art. It's beautiful, the art design strays away from the most timid cliches and the whole thing just has a little thing called movie magic in it. This is what animated movies should be like; Coraline does not stray away from dark, broody subjects, but confronts them and portrays them in viewpoints that any children can relate to. The voice acting is fun to listen to as is the somewhat classical score. The sound world overall with all it's ambience combined with terrific visuals make Coraline a trip that isn't easy to forget.
VierasTalo's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom

Here's another comedy, but atleast it's directed by Quentin Tarantino. Wait, what? That's right. Good ol' QT has come back with a bang after the lackluster effor that was Death Proof, giving us a hilarious alternate reality-flick that occasionally feels like a kick to the nuts of the Hollywood war spectacle and occasionally a deeply involving drama. There's obviously a great deal of irony involved within this film as anyone who knows what happens in the end will know, and I think that it's amazing how well Tarantino's directing and screenwriting talent manages to balance a very humourous B-movie action plot with a leaner, meaner and tighter femme fatale-vehicle. Sporting great performances from Brad Pitt, Til Schweiger and Christophe Waltz, the movie is always full of comedy and knows exactly what it is doing and why it's doing it. The whole thing also strays away from what Tarantino usually does, which is input fifty gazillion movie references into his own flick. Even though some title this a remake, it is possible some of the more original work to ever come out of the man's arse. It's actually very hard to write that much about it, because I honestly believe that what makes this great is that it's really, really funny. That's a tough thing to explain.
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People who added this item 1570 Average listal rating (879 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.6

Antichrist is my first Trier, and it might be the last as well. I have no true interest in investing myself to his work so feverously that atleast this one requires. Antichrist is a movie that needs for you to completely submit your head to it. Otherwise it will either not work at all or seem dull and boring. Not only do you need to immerse yourself into it's world of fact and fiction, but you also must not simply follow the events but interpret them as the film goes on. What Antichrist may require of you is little compared to the amount of data that it will provide you with. To understand this film is a challenge to say the very least. It requires some rather exquisite media literacy to interpret properly, and even then no one can say if you're right, wrong or completely off with your interpretation of the events. You know there's something relatively unique about your creation when most people who see it have conflicting viewpoints on every major event in it. I love the use of rather basic and plain symbolism (the opening scene with sweeping off the emotions from the table creating a blank canvas of sorts for the rest picture) and the ambiguous and rarely explanational, but pretty sadistic therapeutic sessions between the man and the woman. In the end when you see that the film has been made in homage to Tarkovsky, you can't help but nod your head in agreement; the use of cinematography is right out of the Tarkovsky's greatest. The ambience here is also something that has to be experienced to be believed, as the dark woods seem to envelope the viewer into their midst so that he or she can experience what Trier's view of evil is. It is magnificent.
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People who added this item 2154 Average listal rating (1384 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6

Ask me again in ten years wether or not I will consider this a great movie then. I think I won't, because this is so contemporary. I know it tackles some universal and ever-lasting issues, but the basic dilemmas and theories it presents seem to unfortunately revolve around the length and uselesness of our present war on terror. In an age of faceless bloodshed that most of us only get to witness via newspapers and tabloids, The Hurt Locker gives it a face. The face of Jeremy Renner. His portrayal of a war-addict is so realistic and sad that he deserves an oscar for it. With most other actors, he would have just been a hotheaded asshole, but Renner transforms the part completely into something of his own creation. He is a human being in the middle of war and he has adapted to it, possibly out of force, in the way that I assume the US wants their people to adapt to it. He has become the tragic posterboy for the war on terror in this film, and plays the part like a true champ. The story might feel disjointed to others, but I think it balances a lot of the everday life with the more extraordinary events such as bomb defusals quite well. I never thought it was disjointed, because quite frankly you can't show every single day they spend out there. A montage wouldn't fit the film and a true portrayal of those days would be dull to follow. The Hurt Locker also shows how hard it is to form relationships within an athmosphere of constant dread and fear of being blown to bits. There's very little within this entire movie that wouldn't work. Everything goes so well together and it forms the best so-called action movie of the year, a contemporary masterpiece almost.
VierasTalo's rating:
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Spike Jonze adapts a ten-sentence children's book into a fantasy film with real huge puppets mixed with CGI-faces and a deeply layered psychological story. What can go wrong with that? Apparently not a single thing. Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's loved book is a therapeutic process for it's characters and it's viewers alike. The adventures of the schoolboy Max in his amazing tigersuit as he dreams of monsters and mischief are portrayed with such epic proportion of context and visuals that one can simply stare and enjoy in awe at what is ongoing in front of them. The scope of this story is just baffling. Jonze has aimed to portray every single thing that goes on in the mind of a child in various emotional states, and he has succeeded in practically every single one of them. As someone who knows a thing or two about pediatric psychology, I think it's quite alright of me to say that on that side this film doesn't do a thing wrong. It portrays the most common theories on the workings of a child's mind in form of fantasy and does so gracefully. You can see Erikson's conflict theories at play, and you can clearly detect a somewhat Freudian view on sexuality within some of the imagery here and there. I must mention that since it is Max's dream and creation, it does sometimes slip into some very nightmareish territories as we see arms ripped off and there are some threathening images of people being eaten. This however is not unsuitable for children if you ask me, as everything is portrayed very truely to the story. It requires an arm to be ripped out, and it isn't done in a violent way of any kind. The entire sequence of violence and outrage is harmless to the psyches of children as whereas it is scary, the outcomes outweight the potential scariness of the whole. This is why accusing this of being something of an immoral childrens film is plain wrong. It has it's own style of being therapeutic and helping people. Not enough movies nowadays do that. Help us understand ourselves better. Where The Wild Things Are is ambitious in attempting to aid the self-understanding of us grown-ups and especially children, and it succeeds in this ambitious objective to the extent that I congratulate it as the best film of the year without any doubt.
VierasTalo's rating:
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A list with what I consider to be the best films of 2009. As always with these, the list is bound to change overtime in my head, but I won't always edit it here unless if there's some really major change. The order is from #10 to #1, from top to bottom.

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Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago at Jan 30 2:19
Seen all but the bottom two of these & most of them made my list for 2009 too. Antichrist was my first von Trier film as well & he's a director whose work I'm not sure I want to dig too far into either. I definitely would have to give myself plenty of time to recover from each before trying another as his films are too much for me to swallow without some serious indigestion.

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on all of these. :)

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