30 December 2009
Bryce's Top 10 Films of 2009
Tilda Swinton carrying a movie? I know, hard to believe. Swinton transforms herself for this twists-and-turns caper film. Perhaps the film was a hair too long and had one twist too many, but the lady in red pushes this film over the top.
9. An Education
All the praise is going to Carey Mulligan on this one (she's good), but I was most surprised at Peter Sarsgaard's swindling performance as the older man charming his way into soon-to-be high school grad's (Mulligan) life.
8. La Nana (The Maid)
Brilliant character study that was nominated for a best foreign language film Golden Globe (fingers crossed...it's better than the others). See review here.
It pains me to put this on the list. The film, which is anti-imperialist (and anti-capitalist?), is an exercise in excess (let's not talk about the price tag). The visuals are mostly stunning. Though most of the characters are incredibly flat, the film's protagonist, Jake Sully, is compelling and well-situated within the drama. It would have been higher if it didn't turn into so much of a shoot 'em up spectacle in the last act.
6. (500) Days of Summer
5. The Messenger
I love a good no-combat war film. The Messenger, though it shows not a single battle sequence, is an incredibly brutal portrayal of war and its effects. Ben Foster and Samantha Morton are great. Woody Harrelson is brilliant. See review here.
4. District 9
The tops in globalized sci-fi, this film deserves all the praise it has gotten. See review here.
3. Up in the Air
I left the theater laughing...really. It put me in such a good mood. So well written, so timely, such a surprise! George Clooney is better than I've ever seen him. I don't understand the fuss about Anna Kendrick -- fun character, unfortunate performance...erm, that hotel lobby breakdown? Jason Reitman struck gold again.
2. Inglourious Basterds
Loved it. Almost every minute of it. (But I don't understand everyone's gushing over Christoph Waltz.) See review here.
1. Tokyo Sonata
As timely as Up in the Air in its way of handling the financial crisis, this film is a brilliant portrait of a family which is bent on feeling successful, no matter how untalented, unemployed, and uninteresting they are. Brilliantly paced, brilliantly structured, brilliantly acted. Truly awesome.