Thursday, September 03, 2009

Top Ten Summer Movies of 2009

It's hard to believe that summer 2009 has come to a close. But with Labor Day marking the official end of the summer movie season, it's time to look back on the last summer of the decade, and all the ups and downs that came along with it. Thankfully, there were quite a few ups this year, with some strong summer fare being released across the board. Here are my ten favorites:

1
UP
(Pete Docter, USA)Pixar continues its reign as the best animation studio around, delivering yet another warm-hearted, thrilling, and wondrous journey for all ages.

2
DISTRICT 9

(Neill Blomkamp, South Africa)
While Pixar may be reliably great, the real jolt of creative energy this summer came from a young South African upstart, backed by Peter Jackson, with this stunning sci-fi drama/Apartheid allegory.

3
PONYO
(Hayao Miyazaki, Japan)If Pixar are the corporate kings of animation, then Hayao Miyazaki is the reigning auteur, proving yet again that even his lesser, more cutesy outings are more finely crafted and charming than most people's best work.

4
STAR TREK
(J.J. Abrams, USA)
J.J. Abrams reboots the venerable franchise in this sweeping and bold new take on a classic. Pure summer escapism at its best.

5
THE HURT LOCKER
(Kathryn Bigelow, USA)Audiences have stayed away from Iraq films in droves, but Kathryn Bigelow's art house hit topped them all, eschewing politics for a pulse-pounding, adreneline pumping action aesthetic that puts its audience through an elite bomb squad's nerve-fraying daily grind.

6
FUNNY PEOPLE
(Judd Apatow, USA)After nearly perfecting his signature raunchy but sweet brand of comedy in The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Judd Apatow returns with this, his most mature and personal film yet.

7
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
(David Yates, UK)Harry Potter is growing up, and in this sixth installment of the popular series, the boy wizard faces some of his darkest challenges, making for the most emotional, and best Potter film yet.

8
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER
(Marc Webb, USA)Call it the anti-romance romantic comedy - a charming sweet and sour look at what went wrong in a seemingly idyllic relationship. It's a beautiful and painfully honest look at life, love, and modern relationships.

9
THE HEADLESS WOMAN
(Lucrecia Martel, Argentina)Not a summer movie, per se, but since it was released in August I'll count it anyway. Besides, this haunting film about a woman dealing with guilt and a growing mental breakdown after she may or may not have run over a little boy on a lonely stretch of road, is more memorable and more suspenseful than almost any Hollywood thriller released this year.

10
PUBLIC ENEMIES
(Michael Mann, USA)Gangsters are cool again, and Michael Mann expertly channels the 1930s with a startling immediacy through the use of grainy digital photography.


I'd also like to give a special shout-out to Marc Fienberg's Play the Game, which craft-wise isn't as good as the other films on the list, but thanks to Andy Griffith really deserves to be the sleeper hit of the summer. As well as Bandslam, which was, for me, the surprise delight of the summer, an unexpectedly sophisticated musical comedy for the High School Musical set.

Since I don't want to dwell on the negative, I'll only give the worst a passing mention:
  1. G-Force
  2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  3. Terminator Salvation
  4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  5. Angels and Demons
Now that summer is over, it's time to look forward to the fall movie season (my personal favorite). The best is yet to come, but as summers go, summer 2009 wasn't half bad.

5 comments:

Rockstar Girl said...

nice blog buddy. have you heard about the new alliance of Steven Spielberg, with indian tycoon and business conglomerate, Anil Ambani. it seems that Spielberg will also be directing some of his (Reliance Big Entertainment) movies. you can read the article at Reliance Big Entertainment

Daniel Getahun said...

Eh, I don't know, I wasn't too high on this summer, but if I were to make a list it would include a few of yours.

In no order, Memorial Day and later:
Up
D9
Ponyo
The Hurt Locker
Lorna's Silence
Moon
In the Loop
Julie and Julia
Jerichow
Inglourious Basterds

Docs:
The Cove
Heart of Stone
Food, Inc.

Danny King said...

I really thought Inglourious Basterds was the best film of the summer and most likely the best film I have seen all year. The not-so-far-behind runner-ups are The Hurt Locker, 500 Days of Summer, District 9, and Up.

Matthew Lucas said...

I liked BASTERDS ok but wasn't a huge fan. I can appreciate its merits though.

MAAC CSCHEME said...

3d animation courses are the latest craze amongst youngsters. This has motivated many of the younger age group to follow a career in animation. This field has a lot of potentials offers a nominee chooses the right animation course.