Phil on Film Index

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Best and Worst of 2009

In previous years, I haven't done my best and worst list until the very end of December, but I've decided to call time on 2009 a little early this time around. I've also decided not to do my customary review of the year and to go straight to the Best Of lists, and this is because my review of the decade is just around the corner. Between now and the end of the year, I'm going to be looking back at everything that has happened on screen since the year 2000, and listing my own personal favourites, as well as announcing my take on the very worst the decade had to offer. Until then, consider this my final word on 2009.

Best Film

1 – Antichrist
A staggering work of art
2 – Love Exposure
Love Exposure may be twice as long as the average movie, but it's also twice as good

3 – Up
It is, quite simply, an astounding filmmaking achievement
4 – The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow takes control of this material and plays it out it in a masterly fashion
5 – The Class
There's hardly a single moment in The Class that doesn't feel completely authentic and organic
6 – A Christmas Tale
A Christmas Tale is bursting with ideas, incident and feeling
7 – Avatar

Avatar is a stunning film, and it deserves to be huge
8 – Wendy and Lucy
Everything about Wendy and Lucy feels natural and true
9 - The White Ribbon
Even by this filmmaker's intimidating standards, this is a stunningly well-made film
10 – Sugar
So superior to Boden and Fleck's previous effort, it's hard to believe that we're talking about the same filmmakers

Honourable Mentions
35 Shots of Rum
Bright Star
Fish Tank
Il Divo
In the Loop

Public Enemies
A Serious Man
Two Lovers

Worst Film

1 – The Spirit
The Spirit is empty of any logic, feeling or intelligence; it is visually and morally ugly
2 – The Reader
This is crass, manipulative bullshit

3 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This is, by any measure, rubbish
4 – Crank: High Voltage
A sequel few people really wanted, and nobody really needed
5 – The Taking of Pelham, 123

How bereft of imagination this boring, unpleasant film is
6 – Rage
A silly and self-indulgent cinematic experiment
7 – Observe and Report
Nothing more than an empty provocation

8 – Paper Heart
A horribly twee faux-documentary starring the irritating Charlyne Yi
9 – Hannah Takes the Stairs
Unremarkable and faintly tedious
10 – Watchmen

Watchmen is so concerned with matching the look and feel of the comic, it has no life of its own

Dishonourable Mentions

Just Another Love Story

Monsters v Aliens
Rachel Getting Married

Revolutionary Road
Sherlock Holmes
Tony Manero
Where the Wild Things Are

Best Director

James Cameron – Avatar
Lars von Trier – Antichrist
Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
Pete Docter and Bob Peterson – Up
Arnaud Desplechin – A Christmas Tale

Best Actor

Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker
Sam Rockwell – Moon
Willem Dafoe – Antichrist
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
Peter Capaldi – In the Loop

Best Actress

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Antichrist
Hikari Mitsushima – Love Exposure
Michelle Williams – Wendy and Lucy
Kim Ok-bin – Thirst

Abbie Cornish – Bright Star

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Fassbender – Inglourious Basterds/Fish Tank
Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker
Paul Schneider – Bright Star
Stephen Lang – Avatar

Gérard Depardieu – Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Best Supporting Actress

Mélanie Laurent – Inglourious Basterds
Rosemarie Dewitt – Rachel Getting Married
Marion Cotillard – Public Enemies
Sakura Ando – Love Exposure
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Best Original Screenplay

In the Loop
The Hurt Locker

Bright Star

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Class
Wendy and Lucy
Let the Right One In
The Damned United


Best Cinematography

The White Ribbon
A Serious Man

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds

Best Editing

The Hurt Locker
The White Ribbon

A Serious Man

Best Original Score

Bright Star

Broken Embraces
A Christmas Tale

Best Costume Design

Bright Star
Public Enemies
A Serious Man
Broken Embraces

Best Production Design

A Serious Man
The White Ribbon
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Public Enemies

Best Cinema Experience of 2009

The Red Shoes in a stunning new restoration at the NFT
Avatar in IMAX 3D
Antichrist at a raucous midnight preview screening
Barry Lyndon seen in a new print on the big screen for the first time
Love Exposure as the four hours absolutely flew by