Just had to use this pic of Johnny, not because he appears on this list, but because he's one of my fave actors of all time. Oh, yeah.
In 2009 I experienced a large turnaround from my movie going habits since Y2K. I'd largely stopped going out to movies, as much of what gets released these days doesn't warrant the cost of gas, a ticket, concession goodies, and the issue of crowds and line waits for blockbusters. I rent or purchase most movies nowadays, going to the theater only for rare few I deem not only a cut above, but big-screen spectacles from a cinematic viewpoint.
That said, I found myself in the theater more often this year than most in the last decade, with very few regrets. You know, those times when a film is SO "bleh" that you wish you could get back that wasted two hours of your life.
So without further ado,
My 10 faves of 2009:
Why: Not only is James Cameron's latest a magical wonder of 3D fantasy, the message of tolerance and respect for nature hits home.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Why: This was the book I personally felt would be the hardest in the series to translate into film, and the director did an admirable job of blending "talkie" backstory stuff, humor, young romance, action, magical adventure, and dark deeds.
Why: This largely overlooked film offers fun magical adventure AND Brendan Fraser, which is always a bonus in my book.
Why: A wonderful panoply of humor, action, and complex character arcs makes this a winner even for those who were never fans of the franchise.
The Ugly Truth
Why: A romantic comedy with a hilarious twist--the male lead is not only an obnoxious, offensive talk show host, he's helping the female lead win over another man. While I don't have a lot of romantic comedy in my DVD collection (odd, considering I write romance for a living!), this one will definitely get shelf space.
Twilight: New Moon
Why: An admirable adaptation of the 2nd Twilight saga book, this delivers plenty of action, vamps, werewolves, poignant and humorous moments, tension, and angst. And yeah, guys peeling their shirts off, but since some are underage actors we won't bring THAT up.
AND My Fave Family Flicks:
Why: This is a spellbinding Disney presentation documenting some fascinating flora and fauna on our planet, masterfully narrated by James Earl Jones. Spectacular scenery and a message of responsibility to our planet make this a great one to share with the kids.
Hannah Montana: The Movie
Why: Admittedly, I knew nothing of Hannah Montana when I saw this--my 6yr old daughter was the fan. But the thumpin' fun music and great story line about a pop idol seeking out what's truly important--family over fame--is a feel-good flick that I watched more than once and will share with my daughter again, I'm sure.
Monsters vs Aliens
Why: Quotable humor and all-ages hilarity make this one a great choice for a fun family movie night at home.
Why: This one surprised me with the depth of the plot about love, dreams, achievement, and letting go. I cried more than once--and laughed most of the rest of the time. Big thumbs up.