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Archive for December, 2009

The Top 20 Movies of 2009: #1-10

Here they are, folks, your top ten movies of 2009! It’s a great list, containing a great variety of films. Science fiction, animation, comedy, Cameron, Cohen, Clooney, Yanks, Brits and Germans.

The number one might surprise, but the Criticker Community has exquisite taste. What a year 2009 was! We wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2010!

If you missed the first half of our top 20, you can get to it here.

10) District 9Avg Tier 7.58

“District 9 is the most propitiously first-rate and encouragingly sensible and prosperous sci-fi film of the summer. Not only is it a perspicacious commentary on humanity and other such global themes, but on its own as a regular and standard film it is unstoppable. The imagery is vibrant and energetically glowing in quality, and the acting is top-notch. The biggest sleeper triumph ever, and hopefully it brings overwhelming exposure to Blomkamp. He has all the talent in the world loaded into him.” – Jeb
9) The Damned UnitedAvg Tier 7.62

“I’m continuously impressed by British cinema of late. The Damned United is a fine, sophisticated, and very entertaining biopic. And that comes from someone who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about soccer. Big part of the film’s success is lively, charismatic acting of Michael Sheen. His character is a bit similar to his previous role in Frost/Nixon, and his acting is even better.” – chemical404
8) MoonAvg Tier 7.65

“Really great minimalistic sci-fi debut; although the theme is not that complex, its exposition is spun out with great craft, allowing us to share the doubts of the main character while occupying an omniscient point of view. Humour is used well to alleviate the mood. At each plot point, the film seems to make exactly the right decision, and it’s a pleasure to just sit back and be hand-held though to the end. The continuous “why?”s are all answered satisfactorily and with impeccable timing.” – astrakhan
7) Fantastic Mr. FoxAvg Tier 7.68

“What a fun movie. I never figured Anderson’s dry and witty humor would translate so perfectly into a children’s movie. All of the voice actors did terrific jobs making these “wild animals” seem not so wild. The story was fresh and entertaining, and the vintage style stop motion was absolutely beautiful.” – caiman
6) AvatarAvg Tier 7.75

“DAMN YOU JAMES CAMERON! So here I was, getting comfy in my IMAX seat, putting my 3D-Glasses on, going over my assorted vocabulary of expletives to shred asunder what I fully expected to be yet another phony, pompous popcorn-flick (Hello Transformers 2!), just to be greeted with? A pretty decent movie! Yes, the story is shallow (gun-toting Cowboys, err, Marines battle the indigenous Indians, err, Aliens for their land), but done well. Take note Michael Bay! This is how you spend a AAAA-Budget!” – chiefg
5) A Serious ManAvg Tier 8.01

“Burn After Reading painted its subjects’ lack of knowledge as tragicomic character defects; A Serious Man sees it as the defining human condition, though no less tragicomic. The workings of the world and God are inscrutable — God’s proponents’ remedies for the resulting existential crisis are optimism, indifference and Jefferson Airplane, respectively — but acknowledgement of one’s ignorance (“Accept the mystery”) is no defense against the swirling vortex of chaos, literalized at film’s end.” – theficionado
4) UpAvg Tier 8.02

“In my opinion this is the best movie that Pixar has yet to put out. The animation is awesome, but the storyline is even better. The interaction between the Carl and Russell provides lots of laughs (especially when you then throw in a dog and some sort of crazy bird). My date went through an entire box of tissues, so if you cry come prepared. But besides all the laughs and tears (that Pixar films usually have) this really had a deep story to it. That’s what I liked best about it. Love Dog” – gtown1479
3) Inglourious BasterdsAvg Tier 8.27

“Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds is a relentless, and at times disgusting film with some snappy dialogue, and some incredibly hilarious moments. Brad Pitt and the Basterds are easily the funniest part of the movie, but one unforgettable thing about this film is the performance by Christoph Waltz. With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino crosses the line, but he does it in a way where you are not questioning why, but simply accepting.” – Farzan
2) Up in the AirAvg Tier 8.29

“This film is a thoughtful examination of the value of human connections. The entire cast is excellent, and contribute to this luxuriously well developed comedy, but Clooney is particularly wonderful, and captures his characters comfortably bleak mindset with stunning charisma and depth. The film is beautifully shot, and has a really unique perspective that is both artistic, and works within the narrative. I love how Reitman uses comedy to enhance rather than distract from the drama in his films.” – thaklos
1) The White RibbonAvg Tier 8.33

“This film isn’t answering questions, it’s asking them. The life, and especially the handling and punishment of children in a small community in a village in north germany stands for what is happening the next decades in germany. And thanks to a great director and an extraordinary cast it does it in a very impressive way.” – Charlie

The Top 20 Movies of 2009: Part One – #11-20

We decided to double the year end list of the films most loved by Criticker users, because twenty is more fun than ten, and allows for the recognition of flicks definitely deserving of it. Besides, the Oscars are doing it too.

So here you have the films didn’t quite make it to the head of the class. Stay tuned for Numbers 1 through 10 tomorrow.

20) TysonAvg Tier 6.86

“Biased in that it’s quite sympathetic towards Tyson, no doubt because it’s told from his perspective as he narrates the entire documentary, however it does provide some much needed depth to a man that’s been completely demonized by the media. I still think Mike is certainly “off” but this documentary explains why. Tyson opens up in the interviews and you get to see him as a real person and as a father; Tyson faux-boxing with his daughter was a beautiful thing to see.” – doctor7
19) An EducationAvg Tier 6.98

“Witty and whimsical, charming and callous, sensational and sinister. Mulligan is an absolute revelation, the screenplay is well-paced and funny, and Scherfig manages to add her usual heart into what could potentially be a very bleak story. One of the year’s best.” – bown
18) ZombielandAvg Tier 7.02

“Top notch entertainment. The opening credit sequence kicks things off in style, and the movie is just a ton of fun from start to finish. I had high hopes for this, and they were matched 100%. The social commentary is typical of zombie films, and thankfully the film keeps it to minimum, allowing us fully bask in the bloody mayhem and carnage it creates. Has there been a better cameo in all of cinema? Serious question. That it was filmed in my local amusement park just made it that much more fun.” – Tripwyre
17) CoralineAvg Tier 7.05

“This is another entry into the ‘fairy-tale-for-adults’ genre, and is a (thankfully) better plotted and more character-driven film than ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. The 3-D is not intrusive but is actually a pleasant supplement to the film – and while some of the animation includes some bizarre editing, the brilliantly-stylized third act completely makes up for it. Top-notch design and story – and props to Teri Hatcher for underrated voiceover work” – jacobb1313
16) Anvil! The Story of AnvilAvg Tier 7.23

“At once both depressing and uplifting, a cry for living your life without regrets, and a look at what happens, when those regrets start creeping in. Heartwrenching.” – KMcNeil
15) Star TrekAvg Tier 7.36

“Damn fun movie! No one will mistake it for intellectually ambitious science fiction, but what it is is action-adventure spit-shined to Hollywood summer movie perfection. As a lifelong Star Wars hardcore I’m embarrassed at how much more muscular, witty, energetic, and fun this movie is than the whole prequel trilogy put together. A generic villain and haphazardly bombastic score are the only blemishes. This, Batman Begins, and Casino Royale together form the 00s Trilogy of Reboot Greatness.” – Ytadel
14) (500) Days of SummerAvg Tier 7.37

“This film is a breath of fresh air! All year long we’ve been harassed by a slew of cliche-ridden, insipid, and even cringe-worthy romantic comedies. Finally, what we have with 500 days is a romantic film that gets almost all things right. It does not choose to compromise for the sake of commercialism. What we get is an offbeat film that is eccentric but not indulgent, sad but not melodramatic, quirky but not over-the-top, and just fun all the way through.” – RaymundLi
13) Where the Wild Things AreAvg Tier 7.41

“‘Where the wild things are’ is full of messages that can’t be realized by (most) children. Jonze created a movie for the small and the big, for all dreamers and for those who know the feeling of being lonely.There is one wild thing in all of us. Like Max build a refuge where only things can happen that he wants, we try to escape to a place where everything might be good. But it’s not more than a castle in the sky, just an illusion… This movie is one of the best 2009 and I am mighty impressed” – NathanDarko
12) The Hurt LockerAvg Tier 7.47

“(2nd viewing) A nerve-wracking, gripping, psychological thriller. My appreciation for the meticulous craftsmanship behind this film has grown considerably since my last (and first) viewing. Bigelow deserves all the credit she’s been receiving so far and Renner is one reckless SOB. It could’ve used some coherence instead of presenting a series of set pieces but it’s still great and one of the best recent war movies I’ve seen.” – fredericg54
11) In the LoopAvg Tier 7.56

“Was there a second of this film not dedicated to making me laugh? If there was I’m not sure I remember it. Funniest film I’ve seen all year.” – Melvin Smif
Tomorrow, the top ten!

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DVD Report – December 29th

Last year, Juergen and I went to see a critically adored comedy written by an “astounding” new Hollywood talent. It took about 5 minutes for us to hate Juno. The worst part was the screenplay — apparently this new talent was a 10th grader with a thesaurus and the mistaken impression that random pop-cultural references are funny all by themselves. “Oh my blog”… hahaha, that’s so hilarious I just shit myself. Haha, I’m writing on a blog right now, haha, oh my blog, hahahahaha. Genius.

But people in the theater laughed at that line! And then Diablo Cody won the freaking Oscar! I couldn’t believe it.

Now, though, I feel justified. Jennifer’s Body was a bomb in every sense, and Cody’s shine has come off — most likely forever. It’s new on DVD this week, if you’re in the mood for a little self-inflicted pain… otherwise, I’d stick with Paranormal Activities.

Paranormal ActivityAverage Tier 5.25
A happy, carefree couple is haunted by a demonic spirit. Paranormal Activity @ Amazon

9Average Tier 5.10
When 9 first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world where all humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. 9 @ Amazon

Jennifer’s BodyAverage Tier 3.40
A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Jennifer’s Body @ Amazon

Perfect Getaway, AAverage Tier 4.77
Cliff and Cydney (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) are an adventurous young couple celebrating their honeymoon by backpacking to one of the most beautiful, and remote, beaches in Hawaii. Hiking the wild, secluded trails, they believe theyve found paradise. But when the pair comes across a group of frightened hikers discussing the horrifying murder of another newlywed couple on the islands, they begin to question whether they should turn back… Perfect Getaway, A @ Amazon

Weather GirlAverage Tier 3.00
A Seattle weather girl freaks out on-air over her cheating boyfriend, the morning show anchor, and moves in with her little brother. Weather Girl @ Amazon

Best Remake

Criticker Lists – AskMen.com’s Top Psycho Chicks

AskMen.com recently posted an article about their Top 10 Legendary Psycho Chicks, and we thought it would be cool to see how Criticker users rank them. So we made a list with their picks.

With this scene, Stephen King discourages a generation of competition

All of these ladies are terrifying, some more so than others. Some are sexy, none more so than the current #1 at Criticker Lists, Annie Wilkes from Misery (AskMen’s has her at #4). If you have a chance, make sure to complete this list, and then check out the article at AskMen.com to see if you agree with their experts.

Movie Forum

Epic 70 Minute Takedown of the Phantom Menace

You think you hated Phantom Menace? Well… not as much as this guy! YouTube contributor RedLetterMedia has upload an incredible 70-minute critique of George Lucas’ much maligned Star Wars prequel.

I wonder if any film has ever been the subject of this much derision. It wasn’t just a bad movie — to a generation, it felt like a betrayal.

But 70 minutes of criticism? That might be overkill. Still, it makes for entertaining viewing… arguably more so than the film itself. If the holidays put you in a bad mood, and you’ve got a lot of time on your hands… check it out! All 7 parts.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 1 of 7)
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 2 of 7)
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 3 of 7)
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 4 of 7)
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 5 of 7)
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 6 of 7)
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review (Part 7 of 7)

[via Slashfilm]

Cool Star Wars Merchandise

Star Wars Chop Sabers chopsticks

Collection Watch: Australia

Quick: Name a film set Down Under. And not the one that stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

Not so easy, huh? But luckily for us, Criticker member djross is a good Aussie, and has decided to shine the spotlight on his homeland in a collection of films set in Australia.

Australia: Chock Full of Bad Asses

From Picnic at Hanging Rock to Lantana, this collection is filled with quality. And aborigines. And drag queens. Check it out and if you can think of other films set in the land of Oz, feel free to add them to this public collection.

Public Criticker Collection: Australia

DVD Report – December 22nd

Finally our days of waiting are over. If it’s not already sold out, you still can pick up All About Steve — Sandra Bullock’s latest creative smash. This might be one of the worst reviewed films of the year at Criticker — it’s about an eccentric crossword puzzler who becomes obsessed with a CNN cameraman.

Look, I know there are films of real merit to be discussing… Three Criticker Picks (District 9, 500 Days of Summer, It Might Get Loud) might be a record. But I’m just fascinated by All About Steve. It’s about an eccentric crossword-puzzle fan played by Sweetheart Bollocks! She falls in wacky love. I can’t get over it.

Criticker Pick!District 9Average Tier 7.59
An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly find a kindred spirit in a government agent that is exposed to their biotechnology. District 9 @ Amazon
Criticker Pick!(500) Days of SummerAverage Tier 7.35
An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her. (500) Days of Summer @ Amazon

ExtractAverage Tier 4.82
Joel, the owner of an Extract plant, tries to contend with myriad personal and professional problems, such as his potentially unfaithful wife and employees who want to take advantage of him. Extract @ Amazon

All About SteveAverage Tier 2.07
Convinced that a CNN cameraman is her true love, an eccentric crossword puzzler (Bullock) trails him as he travels all over the country, hoping to convince him that they belong together. All About Steve @ Amazon

Criticker Pick!It Might Get LoudAverage Tier 7.74
A documentary on the electric guitar from the point of view of three significant rock musicians: the Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White. It Might Get Loud @ Amazon