Our 16th Annual Chlotrudis Awards ceremony occupied some of our time in the past couple of months, so we got off track in posting member's Top 10s of 2009. We'll try to get back on track so you will be seeing a few more Top 10s from members who sent in their Top 10s weeks and months ago!
Today you get two top 10s, from the husband and wife podcasting team of Popcorn 'n Rosies, otherwise known as TC and Kim! Their podcast is called Subject:Cinema and as you might imagine, they talk about movies! Subject:CINEMA is a weekly podcast devoted to movies and films, along with other entertainment-oriented features, and is currently in it's fourth year of production, with an average of 20,000 listeners per week. The Popcorn N Roses website recently celebrated it's fourth birthday, and has expanded over the past several years to encompass over 10 sites and 15 blogs for its loyal readership to view. | Read more »
- Just Another Love Story - I'm surprised as you are to see this at the top of my list. But the Vertigo-esque, two-films-in-one premise really worked for me. As did the brilliant performances by all three leads.
- Sauna - Shocking and haunting. I never thought I'd be so spellbound watching a horror flick about drawing the Finnish/Russian border in -- 16?? AD? -- as I was with this film. It's an incredibly artful and haunting exploration of human psychology and guilt, long before our current clinical analyses could peg those sickos.
- Cold Souls - Adorable, and not in a cute way. Paul Giamatti suffering through Uncle Vanya is low-key-hilarious enough, but throw in Dina Korzun, Emily Watson, and a chickpea, and you have a salad of existential humor fit for a king.
- Theater of War - Jeez. Meryl Streep rehearsing Mother Courage? Come on, people. Put your hands together.
- Drag Me To Hell - Disgustingly funny. But what really made this film for me was Alison Lohman's performance. I'd only seen her in Where the Truth Lies before, but in this, she runs the gamut from Mary Tyler Moore (please like me!) to Laura Croft ("Eat it, bitch!") with grace and aplomb. Plus, the kitty sub-plot is one of the funniest horror gags I've ever seen.
- The Maid - A remarkable thriller/drama. Okay, the thriller is mostly in my head, but I can't help comparing it to the fabulous mistake of a film The Housekeeper starring Rita Tushingham. Maybe I just love stories about "the help" who act out. I know *I* would act out.
- Humpday - I happen to like most "mumblecore" films I see. And this is one of those gems that explores relationships in a seemingly realistic way. Worth watching for Alycia Delmore alone, though I'm happy to see Josh Leonard in a fascinating new light.
- A Single Man - Based on my (probably) favorite novel, I was kind of pissed at first that they ditched the narrative structure of the book. But on the second viewing, I could see why they did so. It's an incredible effort and a beautiful result.
- Paranormal Activity - I do love a good low-budget film if it's effective, and this one certainly is that. It builds an intense creepiness based mainly on the expert performances of the two leads. Sure, it's not original in the least, but it is so well crafted that it seems to leave any prior horror fake-umentaries (not naming titles, Josh Leonard) in the dust.
- Precious - I had my mind set to *hate* this film but Gabby Sidebe, Mo'Nique, and Mariah Carey (!?) shook that hate right out of me. I have issues with Daniels' direction, but the performances are top notch.
The Top 10's keep rolling in; and I expect more to arrive as members catch up on the nominees for this year's 16th Annual Awards Ceremony (the full awards page will be up in early March.) In the meanwhile, here's a look at Diane's Top 10!
First, the three films I gave 5 cats to:
- THE HURT LOCKER. Alongside Bravo Company, we get worn down by repetition, fear, failure, and moral questions.
- REVANCHE. Complex, creative, suspenseful, pitch perfect
- THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL -- NEW ORLEANS. Take the consummate film-making of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, add a dash of the craziness of ZATOICHI.
- THE MAID. Part horror film, part psychological study, part critique of the bourgeoisie.
- PAPER HEART. Completely enjoyable faux-doc about the search for real love.
- THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE. And I thought Anna Wintour just edited a magazine.
- SITA SINGS THE BLUES. Three layers of storytelling enrich this animated film.
- SOMERS TOWN. Thomas Turgoose returns, just like the Cat in the Hat.
- SUGAR. Every shot has an emotion underlying it.
- TREELESS MOUNTAIN. The slow destruction of a girl's spirit.
And some of my 4-catters:
I make complaints about a subpar year for film on an annual basis. Then, I look at my top ten list and wonder what the heck I was thinking. My blog has more detailed commentary on the following.
Top 10 Films:
1. Still Walking
2. 35 Shots of Rum
3. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
4. The Hurt Locker
6. Fantastic Mr. Fox
7. A Serious Man
8. The Beaches of Agnes
9. In the Loop
10. Lake Tahoe
Anvil! The Story of Anvil, The Class, Coraline, Herb and Dorothy, Julia, The Messenger, Of Time and The City, O'Horten, The Pleasure of Being Robbed, Somers Town, Sugar, The White Ribbon
Nathaniel T. was a member years ago when he was in High School. Now he's in college and he's returned to the fold...welcome Nathaniel! He has something to say about his Top Films of 2009 before we present his list.
keep in mind that I have been severely limited in my theater selection this year, and there aren't a lot of indies on my list...good year for 'mainstream'
Did you know we have a member living in Japan? Tom has sent his Top 10 of 2009 in but he does state, "Remember that the release schedule is different here than in the states. Quite a few movies take a year or two to get here."
The Best 13 hour or so movie
Mad Men Season 3
But seriously, the Best Film of 2009
The Best of the Rest
Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance
Synecdoche, New York
One Piece: Strong World
Waltz with Bashir
The Rest of the Best
Uchuu Senkan Yamato: Fukkatsu hen
Sita Sings the Blues
Higashi no Eden: The King of Eden
Red Cliff pt. 2 (in hindsight, Red Cliff pt. 1 was the best of 2008, but I had forgotten about it)
The "It's every American's solemn duty to punch Peter Jackson in the back of the neck" Award
The Biggest Disappointment
Chou Gekijou-ban Keroro Gunsou: Gekishin Doragon Woria-zu de arimasu!
The Best Review Ever
Honorable Mention for Kicking Ass
The Yes Men kicking the US Chamber of Commerce to the curb
Japan Needs Brevity
Up!'s Japanese title was Carl-jisan no Sora Tobu Ie, or Old Man Carl's Sky Flying House...
Chlotrudis member Amanda Doran isn't one to waste any time! She sent her Top 10 films of 2009 in right away! Here's what she had to say, "There are still a few 2009 films I want to see but here's my Top 10 as of January 1!" Amanda originally hails from Connecticut, but has sought out independent theatres and films in all of the cities she has lived in, including Philadelphia, Austin and now Boston. Here are her top 10 films of 2009!
Now that 2009 has come to a close, Chlotrudis members will start to weigh in with their top films of the year. As the Top 10s come in, they will be posted here on the Mewsings blog, and ultimately, all of the Top 10s will appear on Our Favorite Films page.
To kick us off, please enjoy Peg Aloi's lovely, annotated Top 10 of 2009, with a few extras to follow.
- AN EDUCATION Intelligent if occasionally dreamy memoir-based coming of age story, perfectly directed by Lone Scherfig and with a breakout performance by Carey Mulligan.
- FANTASTIC MR. FOX Wes Anderson's cool, clever, delightful puppet animation with a creative soundtrack and a lovable assortment of woodland creatures that dance, meditate, steal, lie, argue, zone out, and glow.
- MOON Stunning debut by Duncan Jones who directs Sam Rockwell as a lonely and increasingly-desperate astronaut stuck in a dead-end gig mining moon fuel.
- O'HORTEN Charming but never cute, Bent Hamer's story of a Norwegian train conductor's retirement chugs along with unexpected twists and turns.
- BRIGHT STAR Jane Campion paints the love life and demise of John Keats, played with subtle intensity by Ben Whishaw, paired with an impressive Abbie Cornish as his lover Fanny.
- L'HEURE D'ETE (SUMMER HOURS) Olivier Assayas helms this story of three siblings who decide to sell the family's country estate after the death of their mother, and revisits the tone and themes of his earlier masterpiece L'eau Froid.
- IN THE LOOP Sure-handed feature debut by Armando Iannucci: hilarious, sharp and vicious parody in the style of The Office, set in London and Washington, DC, with a uniformly wonderful cast including Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander and Gina McKee.
- STAR TREK From the slutty green-skinned girl to the doomed red-shirted officer, J. J. Abrams' prequel abounds with delicious references to the original TV series, and the casting is truly inspired.
- INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS Who knew our little Quentin had an epic in him? It's not perfect, but it's damned fine, with some truly inspired visual and aural moments.
- SIN NOMBRE Cary Fukunaga's story of several Mexican families affected by the pervasive control of the drug cartels: brutal, shocking, and hard to shake off.
Best performances of 2009: Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION); Tom Hardy (BRONSON); Christoph Waltz (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS); Meryl Streep (JULIE & JULIA); Sam Rockwell (MOON); Michael Sheen (THE DAMNED UNITED)
Best Ensemble Cast: IN THE LOOP
Highest Hopes, Biggest Disappointments: ZOMBIELAND; MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS; PONYO.
Honorable Mentions: A SERIOUS MAN; ADVENTURELAND; THE DAMNED UNITED; BRONSON; (500) DAYS OF SUMMER; THE ROAD; TWO LOVERS
Best Documentaries: FOOD, INC.; CRUDE; CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
Best Directorial Debut: Duncan Jones (MOON)
Best Score: THE ROAD (Nick Cave)
Best Costumes: BRIGHT STAR, THE YOUNG VICTORIA, NINE
The (Apparently) Best Movie I Haven’t Seen Yet: THE HURT LOCKER
From Philip in CT, "I still have 17 films from 2008 I'd like to see. I saw 22 of the eligible films so far this year, which is a huge leap for me from last year. Hopefully 2009 will be even better.
Meanwhile, here's my Top 10 List for 2008 (so far...)"