First off, let me state this was a terrible year for movies. Originality fell along the wayside as the effects of a desperate economy took hold of Hollywood. Producers and studios largely relied on sequels and remakes of existing properties. In addition, we had the whole Twilight phenomena, the effects of which will likely to blanket us with vampires and werewolves at the cinema for years to come.
But as always, no matter how bleak a studio's releases may be, there are still a few gems. Here's my top 11 picks for a few films released this year that are totally worth your time.
11. Where The Wild Things Are
Directed By: Spike Jonze
Starring: Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O'Hara, Forest Whitaker
Why? What was supposed to be a children's movie took a strong left turn when Spike Jonez took the helm. Most people will get lost trying to follow the literal narrative of this story, but the smarter bunch will see the big picture. It's amazing how well they turned this 10 or so page picture book into a 90 minute movie.
10. I Love You, Man
Why? Now...I have to admit something. I'm putting this movie on the list and I haven't seen it yet. How is this warranted? Well let's look at the facts; this is Jim Cameron's (the director of Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss,) first movie since Titanic grossed a bajillion dollars. It’s a story he's dreamed about making for 15 years. He made it specifically for IMAX 3D and even invented new cameras for it. Plus, the reviews have been pretty damn good for an action movie. My favorite part is how people are puzzled by the trailers. This is a big big BIG budget movie and it's not a remake, or based on a book, or a comic...and I think that has a lot of people confused. It's a totally original idea and evidently, it rocks. Take all this in account and it's pretty much a must-see for '09.
8. Paranormal Activity
Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
7. The Hurt Locker
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow
6. The Hangover
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
Why? The buzz on this movie was huge from the beginning. It stars The Nard Dog, the jerk from Wedding Crashers, and Zack Galifianakis (who you'll see all over the place in the next year) and proved that audiences will go see a well-written comedy no matter who stars in it.
5. Star Trek
4. (500) Days Of Summer
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Why? Now this was fun. I heard good things about this funny zombie pic, but I never thought I'd like it as much as I did. The minute they started explaining the rules of survival for Zombieland, I was in. Originally it was written as a TV series, so expect sequels. And go rent it before someone ruins the cameo.
1. Up In The Air