Year in Review 2009: Film

I present to you a list of outstanding movies destined to please, challenge, entertain, engage and p

I present to you a list of outstanding movies destined to please, challenge, entertain, engage and perhaps excite viewers with discerning tastes.

Of course, moods and dispositions affect our choice of the moment. But over a month or so, I urge you to give these movies a chance.

“Up In The Air” — A movie for our time. Is this is the heritage we are bequeathing to our children? The one movie of our time which stops and urges us to appraise our values. Believable performances from George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. If you are a college student and neglect to see this movie, you may consider yourself irresponsible.

“The Hurt Locker” — No matter where we stand, we owe it to our troops to see this movie, expertly directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

“Precious” — A superb cast captures the inner lives of urban kids and adults who try to make sense of a jaded system. This drama does not preach. It puts crucial problems in intelligent perspective. Extraorinary performances from a stellar cast.

“An Education” — With a breakthrough performance from Carey Mulligan, this drama, set in the late 1950s, perfectly captures the dilemma facing adolescent girls too mature for boys their age and too inexperienced to embrace an adult lifestyle. A smart, timeless film.

“Inglourious Basterds” — Quentin Tarantino’s evocation of movies the way they were. An Aldo Ray special — action-packed and wildly entertaining fantasy. A revenge treat with Brad Pitt at its center and a classic performance from Christoph Walz, who will run away with an Oscar.

“Crazy Heart” — Once more, Jeff Bridges proves he is an American treasure as he plays the lonesome cowboy, a washed-up country singer with guts, grit and the soul of a poet.

“A Single Man” — Colin Firth is a great actor and this is his best yet. He plays a 1960 era college professor who has lost his lover in a time when gay love isolated a man from his world in ways that border on the unbearable.

“The Messenger” — Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster star in a drama about two soldiers whose job is to break sad news to families who have lost loved ones in the Iraq war.

“(500) Days Of Summer” — The best 2009 summer comedy as it tracks the days and nights of a guy dealing with love, pain and the whole damn thing. With Zoey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“Julie & Julia” — Meryl Streep is wonderful as Julia Child. Funny, smart and buoyant. Another Oscar for a reigning legend.

Honorable Mention

— “District 9”

— “Up”

— “The Cove”

— “The White Ribbon”

— “A Serious Man”

— “Invictus”

— “The Young Victoria”

Reach Gazette film critic Dan DiNicola at [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

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