Thursday, December 18, 2014

Anthony T's #TBT: Anthony T's Best of 2009

Welcome to another edition of Anthony T's #TBT. Before we get to this weeks edition, I just want to let you know that there will no #TBT on 12/25 and 1/1/15 due to the Christmas and New Years holidays. I'll be back with another edition of #TBT on 1/8/15.

It the next two weeks or so, I will be doing my Best of 2014 list. It will be the first time that I've done a year end list since 2009. So in this edition of Anthony T's #TBT, I decided to revisit my best of list from 2009. Yes, I still believe that "Inglorious Bastards" was my favorite of the year.

Repost from 1/10/2010 with minor changes.

2009 is a year that provided some of the best entertaining and exciting films and some of the worst films where my bottom three films could be consider some of the worst of this decade. Thankfully, I’m here to talk about best films of 09, but first here are my honorable mentions of of films that just missed my list.

Honorable Mentions: “Sugar”, “The Badder-Meinhof Complex”, “Ill Divo”, “Our Disappearance”, “9”, “Paranormal Activity”, “Trick R’ Treat”, “The Village Barbershop” and “The Hangover”.

Now on to my top 10 list. This was a big year for Science Fiction films, as I have four of them on my year-end list, starting with the biggest of them all.

10. Avatar

”Avatar” was a film that I was a little wary going in considering that James Cameron’s last film was possibly the worst film of his career, as “Titanic” was nothing but one boring love story for three hours plus. Thankfully, that was just one movie, as “Avatar” was truly a worth wild movie going experience, as this the first 3D Movie that I could actually say that you have to see this in 3D. The visuals were truly amazing, as it really adds another depth to the film. Without that, the film is still a very good film, but wouldn’t feel like an event. Without the 3d, there were some very good performances here. I thought that Sam Worthington is much better than in “Terminator Salvation”, even though he did his best to save that film. He does a great job in getting you invested in the character, so that you’re in invested in the story. Also, I liked how this story was told by the point of view of the main character. It makes feel invested in everything that goes on.

When thinking about it a little more in making up this list, I still truly believe that this is one of those rare films in which the 3D technology it meant for. “Avatar is truly an event film that’s worthy of your time.

“Avatar” is currently in theaters.

9. Away We Go

“Away We Go” is one of those movies that made me feel happy when walking out of the cinema this past year. Director Sam Mends does very good job getting the directing just right. He gets it that way, by focusing on the two main performances in the film. The way the John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph interact with one another helps makes this very enjoyable. The reason for that is that they had great chemistry with each other. By having that chemistry, you’re engaged with the story as they go off traveling.

The screenplay also does a very good job with the timing of the humor. This film provides some very funny moments, as they were timed right. It does what most romantic comedies fail to do, it offers an entertaining love story to go along with the humor. Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida do a very good job making the love story and screenplay very entertaining. I was very interested in the story, because they did a great job exploring the main characters relationship though the various cities that they visit. It makes it a fun film to watch while exploring other sobering issues that happen to most of the characters around them.

This film is one of Sam Mends best films, as I would put it up there with some of his other work.

“Away We Go” is already out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

8. Moon

It’s amazing that this film didn’t get as much attention, when it first came out. “Moon” is one those films that really got lost in the shuffle. This is great thinking man's sci-fi film. One of the reasons that it worked was it had a great performance from Sam Rockwell, who does a great job with both of his roles. The performances stand out from each other very well, as both of the characters felt different. The screenplay also does a very good job exploring various themes of corporate greed, cloning and space exploration. It’s done in a way that it gets you into the film without hitting you over the head repeatedly. The other thing that made the screenplay very good was the fact that it goes into both of the main character’s state of mind which helps makes this film engaging.

The film also has great direction from first time director Duncan Jones, who is the son of David Bowe. Jones direction is intense. He manages to bring a lot of tension, through the performances of Rockwell, and Kevin Spacey, with Hal 9000 like voice. It really felt like, I was watching something special. I really think that Jones has a very good career head of him.

“Moon” hits DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday.

7. Star Trek

At the beginning of last year if you told me that J.J Abrams take on “Star Trek “would be on my best of 09 list, I would have laughed at you. It’s also the film that I had a lot curiosity going into, as I was hoping this film could rekindle my interest in the franchise. It rekindled it in a big way, as this is the best film of the whole series. This film fits the definition of the great summer blockbuster, as everything was placed nicely. The reason that I like this movie that much is that the screenwriters did the unthinkable, by rewriting the whole mythology and changing the franchise and how it looks. I know, I’ll probably take heat by Trekkies, but this might have been the best thing that has happen to franchise since the next generation series. Abrams does a great job making this his own film. I liked how he manages to direct everything in a way that you’re mind is glued to the screen. Also I want to give credit, to whoever cast this film, as this is probably one of the most perfectly cast films of the year. Everyone seemed perfect for there roles, as there wasn’t a bad performance in the film. It’s a credit to the talent involved and Abrams direction. It been a while to say this, but I can’t wait for the “Star Trek” film.

“Star Trek” is already out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

6. A Serious Man Another year, another Cohen Brothers film on my list of the best films. It’s not like I reserve a spot on my list for everything they direct, but its just that their very good at what they do. They leave you with moments that you remember, when it comes time to write these lists. “A Serious Man” proves why Joel and Ethan Cohen are just true masters of cinema. They did a great job making this very funny while being dark at the same time. The Cohen Brothers did a very good job directing the performances, by making each of the character’s quirks funny. This really helped the dark material become funny, as I was laughing a lot. The film also has a great lead performance from its lead actor. He makes the performance come off as Woody Allen like.

Their screenplay was excellent, as they did a great job making the material funny considering that this is very complex material. They do that, by blending in dark humor and odd elements that make you laugh. The screenplay has some very good stuff like the problems the main character have with the rabbis he sees and the troubles with his marriage. It makes the odd humor work and makes this worthwhile. The film also has their trademark odd ending that has made their films great.

“A Serious Man” hits DVD and Blu-Ray on February 9th.

5. In the Loop

I assume that many people that look back at this past year and consider that “The Hangover” was the year’s funniest comedy. Wrong, even though that was a funny film, “In the Loop” was funnier and more entertaining. Not a lot of people saw this film, as this had a limited release. “In the Loop” is the funniest political satire film in years. This film was a laugh out loud riot from beginning to end. One of the main was reason was its screenplay . It's very witty and old school, where the humor relies on vulgar dialogue instead of having three guys in a room wake up only to find a baby and a tiger in their hotel room. Director Armandio Iannucci and his screenwriters did a very good job keeping the humor witty through out, while making the performances come out as very funny than pain dry. He also has the luxury of having some very talented actors.

Speaking the acting, it’s the reason why everything works so flawlessly, especially Peter Capaldi (Torchwood: Children of Earth) as the scene stealing foul-mouthed spin-doctor for the prime minister. He does a great job making his character so arrogant, which making everything the character dialogue so funny and laughable. The film also has some very good performances from Tom Hollander as the bumbling Secretary of International Development and James Gandolfini as sensitive general who doesn’t want to go to war. “In the Loop” is a very funny film that generates a lot of laughs.

“In the Loops” hits DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday.

4. District 9

District 9 was clearly the best Science Fiction film of the year and quite possibly out of the last ten years. To me, it was surprising that it was a huge box office hit. If you told me when the first trailer for the film came out that the film was going to make a 100 million, I would have probably laughed at you considering the style of storytelling and the fact that it has no major names starring. This film didn’t start gaining any buzz until this year Comic Con.

Director Neil Blomkamp does a very good job creating a story that is part faux documentary and part suspense action. He really goes into political subtext, while creating a story that is clearly original and imaginative. I liked how he uses the faux documentary method to give a lot of background of these aliens. By also using this method, you pretty much know the main character fate in the beginning moments of the film. Still its that unique sense of storytelling that makes this film what it is and makes you forget about that fact. This film also has a very good lead performance from Sharlto Copley , whose character is pretty much hateable in the beginning and then begin to feel sorry for him, as the film progresses. Copley does a very good job making this character very interesting, as he goes through various changes. The performance and storytelling is what makes this film an event like atmosphere, as this is a very original film compared to the crap that I had to endure like “Terminator: Salvation” and “Transformers: Rise of the Fallen”. Blomkamp and Copley are two people that you should on the lookout for in 2010.

“District 9” is already out on DVD and Blu-Ray.

These next two films could be easily be, my best film of the year in any other year.

3. The Hurt Locker

“The Hurt Locker is up there with “Letters of Iwo Jima” as the best serious war movie of the decade. Why is the film coming out on DVD so soon. This along with my other top two films will receive a Best Picture nomination. This film has great direction from Kathryn Bigelow. The scenes were directed in a way that it had impact from the action sequences to the dramatic scenes. It makes this film very engaging and intense. She also a great job getting the performances that she needs, as the performances help sell the drama that’s taking place. The performances from Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty make this war film worth watching, as they really made their characters very interesting through the emotion that they brought into their performances.

Mark Bole screenplay also helps generate an emotional response that many war movies fail to do. One of things that made this screenplay so great was the way he focuses the story on the soldiers, instead of the failed policies that led up to the Iraq war. It makes the story of the war more interesting; as go through the mental scars that the main characters are going through during their tour of duty there. That’s what most war films don’t show, which is a shame.

This is truly the most overlooked film of the year. Hopefully, it will find its audience on DVD and Blu-Ray.

“The Hurt Locker hits Blu-Ray and DVD, this Tuesday.

2. Up in the Air

“Up in the Air” is a very good film that has a very good script and three very good performances. It’s amazing to me that Jason Reitman might have a better career than his dad, when everything is said and done. He just keeps getting better every film he does. His direction was just great, as this is the best of the three films. Reitrman does a very good job making the performances very low key, so that the film just focuses on the Clooney’s character and the life that his character lives. In a way, he feels like the main character in Reitman’s first film “Thank you for Not Smoking”, with the thing about his character being married to his job and loving it. At least, Clooney’s character is more likable than Aaron Eckheart’s character in “Thank You for Not Smoking”. By making him kind of likable, it really lets you get into the atmosphere and climate of the film. It makes the film more enjoyable. Another thing about his direction was so great that doesn’t get noticed a lot. The fact that he was able to control both Zach Gilifanakis and Danny McBride in their small supporting roles, as they both came off not as their usual obnoxious selves. The time I saw them on screen, I was afraid that both of their usually intense attitude would ruin the flow of the film. Thankfully, it doesn’t. That’s a credit to Reitman’s direction. I would actually like to see both of those actors tackle some more dramatic roles in the future.

When we look back at the career of George Clooney, this film will be one of his big highlights. This was just great performance. He does a great job making his character feel realistic. Clooney makes his character interesting in the way that he delivers his lines. It makes you immediately thrust into the film with the narration and it keep you interested in everything that is going on. The film also has very good supporting performances from Vera Farmiga as Clooney’s love interest and Anna Kendrick as the person that Clooney is training.

The film also has a very good screenplay from Reitman and Sheldon Turner. They did a very good job really adapting the book that it’s based on. It really does a good focusing on the effects of workplace today. Another thing that screenplay does very well is to fully develop the characters, as they were very interesting and very engaging.

It a very good film that everyone should check, as this I believe is clearly the frontrunner for Best Picture.

“Up in the Air” is in theaters now.

Speaking of Best Picture buzz, who would have though during the summer that we would taking about my number one film as a possible Best Picture nominee. But there is buzz for this film because this has been a down year for cinema with films that are coming out right now with little buzz and to no fanfare. There’s going to be a surprise or two come Oscar time for Best Picture. I wouldn’t be surprised, if this film got nominated because it’s very good film in an odd way. Yes, I’m talking about Quentin Tarantino’s latest film.

1. Inglourious Basterds

Col. Hans Landa: [giddy] That's a bingo! [Aldo and Utivich stare at him in confusion] Col. Hans Landa: Is that the way you say it? "That's a bingo?"

One of the film’s most memorable quotes in one of Quentin Tarantino’s best films to date and explains the odd humor that is “Inglourious Basterds”.

When I first saw this film when it came out, it was near the bottom of my top ten. But after seeing it a couple of time, it’s truly the best film of 09. This film is more enjoyable, the second and third time around. You can’t say that with a lot of films out there today. I consider this film in the discussion as Tarantino’s best film with “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction”. The reason for that is that you pick up things up that you missed the first time around. The first time, you don’t know what to think about the humor or the little things that you would normally pick up because of the nature of the film. It’s the second and third times around that pick up the humor and the little things that you don’t notice the first time around. That what makes this film excellent.

But what really makes this film the best film of 2009, the way that Tarantino is able to hold your interest for a lengthy period of time. This film has at least two very long scenes that are well drawn out and are very essential to the film’s success. You’re talking about scenes that last for fifteen–twenty minutes apiece. The reason for that was that, Tarantino makes the scenes very watchable through the dialogue and the way he directs his actors in those scenes. I’m telling you, if those scenes don’t work to perfection and becomes boring then that’s almost a good third of the film that is wasted and then we would probably considering this film as a major failure. It’s very ballsy what Tarantino did with the way that he wanted these long drawn scenes to play out, as they keep your interest for the entire time and provide some memorable Tarantino moments.

The film also has the best performance lead or supporting performance of the year from Christopher Waltz. His performance was just great. This is a very complex role, especially when have speak four different languages during the course of the film. It very difficult to keep your character interesting through the different language, but it’s the way that Waltz delivers his performance that makes that makes the character very off balanced and Tarantino like. If he does not win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this then I will go on a major rant about the Academy get everything wrong. To me, it’s him and everybody else in that Supporting Actor field. There is no other performance that matches his performance period.

If people wonder why I keep calling Quentin Tarantino the best director in the history of cinema, it’s the fact that every one of his films has that memorable scene or two that you talk about long after you’ve seen it.

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