My cinematic journey through 2009 (Part two)

(New entries will appear in red text.)

29. Terminator Salvation (McG) – Christian Bale, Sam Worthington
Ratings: 6/10; RT: 32%; IMDB: 6.9

  • What a mess. Christian Bale’s voice is annoying, plot holes abound and Sam Worthington’s character is completely unnecessary. If you like watching stuff blow up, you’ll enjoy it but don’t expect anything remotely as good as the originals.

28. Public Enemies (Mann) – Johnny Depp, Christian Bale
Ratings: 6/10; RT: 66%; IMDB: 7.2

  • Oh Johnny, my love, what are you doing in a movie placed so low on my list? Here’s the deal, you’ve got Johnny Depp, Michael Mann and a story about John Dillinger – my expectations were pretty high. Obviously, they weren’t met. Yes, it looked nice.. it’s a Michael Mann film. And yes, the performances were charismatic.. you’ve got Johnny Depp. The script killed this film. I get that I’m supposed to be rooting for Dillinger, but why? Give me a reason. Give me some character development. Give me something other than drawn out gun fights. By the end, even I was hoping John would get killed just so the movie would end. Sorry, Johnny. I love you.

27. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Hood) – Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber
Ratings: 6/10; RT: 36%; IMDB: 6.7

  • Hugh is a beauty, isn’t he? I can’t say that seeing him run naked through a field hurt my opinion of this movie. Overall, it was good, not great. It kept me entertained, even though there was nothing new or shocking about it. I know the story wasn’t completely accurate according to the comics, but if you go in expecting a well-acted action movie with familiar narratives, you’ll enjoy it.

** The Hangover (Phillips) – Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms
Ratings: 6/10; RT: 77%; IMDB: 8.0

  • The only movie that ticked me off more this year than The Hangover was New Moon. Why? Hype. It wasn’t that funny. Sure, there were funny parts (mostly raunchy ones), but everyone seems to be hailing this movie as the best comedy of the decade. No, no, no. Truth is, I saw this movie before I made my list for the year, but it was so forgettable to me that I didn’t remember to rank it, hence why it’s been added in red. It’s worth a rental, but don’t expect it to be the best comedy you’ve seen in ages. It wasn’t even the best comedy I saw this year.

26. Bruno (Charles) – Sacha Baron Cohen
Ratings: 6/10; RT: 67%; IMDB: 6.5

  • A warning from someone who’s not easily offended: this movie is offensive. Now, I wasn’t personally offended by it, but I recognize that this movie is not for everyone.. I’d hesitate on recommending it. It’s crude and disgusting. All that said, I actually liked the movie. Sacha’s ability to expose people’s true thoughts never ceases to astound me. At times, I think he took things a little to far just to add shock value, but overall I left the theater feeling a little dirty, but satisfied. If you can handle Da Ali G Show without getting your feathers ruffled, you’ll understand and appreciate Bruno.

** Avatar (Cameron) – Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana
Ratings: 6/10; RT: 83%; IMDB: 8.8

  • Everyone is saying, “Oh, it’s such a good movie!” Is it? Or do you you mean it looks awesome? I’ll give you that it is quite visually stunning, but that’s about the only compliment you’ll get from me about Avatar. It’s one of the most predictable movies I’ve ever seen, which made it’s 162 minute runtime feel very much like 162 minutes. My main concern after watching the movie and hearing the public’s response to it is that film makers will be able to get away with generic storytelling if they can make the movie look good enough. When we reach that point, it’ll be a sad day for cinema.. and the intelligence of society in general.

25. The Soloist (Wright) – Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx
Ratings: 6/10; RT: 55%; IMDB: 6.8

  • Another of my highly anticipated films of the year that fell short. Despite excellent performances from Robert and Jamie, the inspirational and heart-warming narrative fell flat. Even with all it’s flaws, I would recommend it to most with the disclaimer that it’s a good movie, but not Oscar worthy (as it should’ve been).

24. Ponyo (Miyazaki)
Ratings: 7/10; RT: 91%; IMDB: 7.9

  • I’m not one for anime, but given the stellar reviews, I had to see Ponyo. Miyazaki is good at what he does and Ponyo proved to be just as beautiful as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Concerning the story, it’s exactly what you would think a Japanese interpretation of the Anderson classic “The Little Mermaid” would be. Interesting, and yet not quite what you had in mind. If you’re like me, not an anime fan but appreciate artistic film endeavors, Ponyo is worth a viewing.

23. Friday the 13th (Nispel) – Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker
Ratings: 7/10; RT: 25%; IMDB: 5.7

  • Even I’m a little surprised at the placement of this one. Say what you will, but I enjoyed it. Sure, it’s a remake so nothing is really that unexpected, but I thought it delivered a few jumps and was deliciously gory.. if you’re into that kind of thing. It’s not really anything special, but it’s the best remake I’ve seen in recent years. (Here’s hoping they don’t mess up Nightmare on Elm Street!)  And again, if you watch Supernatural, this one is worth the watch just to see Sam.

22. Watchmen (Snyder) – Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup
Ratings: 7/10; RT: 64%; IMDB: 7.8

  • I walked into this movie not knowing what to expect. I generally love gritty graphic novel adaptations and Watchmen was getting a lot of buzz. While being visually stunning and having a well thought out narrative , I think it left those of us who weren’t familiar with the novel a little confused. I’m glad I saw it, but I don’t really have the desire to watch it ever again.

21. The Hurt Locker (Bigelow) – Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie
Rating: 7/10; RT: 97%; IMDB: 8.0

  • 97% fresh? Oscar buzz? I just don’t get it. It’s an okay movie, but not worthy of all the acclaim. There was no clear antagonist, no character development, no climax. It just.. was. I’m open to opinions on why everyone is getting so wet about this one. It didn’t do for me (or the other 2 people I saw it with).

20. The Informant! (Soderbergh) – Matt Damon, Scott Bakula
Ratings: 7/10; RT: 77%; IMDB: 7.1

  • Damon’s character, Mark Whitacre, is easily one of the most interesting characters in film this year. Is he a genius, delusional or just a liar? In any instance, he’s enthralling to watch. I don’t know that I’d recommend this movie to a general audience as I think that the irony and subtle humor would escape your average viewer, but for you more “sophisticated” movie types, I think you’ll get a kick out of it.
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4 thoughts on “My cinematic journey through 2009 (Part two)

  1. Re: The Hurt Locker

    “There was no clear antagonist, no character development, no climax.”

    I kind of see those as the strength of the movie, rather than the flaws. It was sort of a two-hour look at the life of the modern soldier fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what motivates and drives them. It almost was like a documentary, only with actors. That was what I liked about it.
    And that final scene is sublime, in large part because of Jeremy Renner.

  2. I can see your thinking on that, it just didn’t come across that way to me, I guess. I want to really get attached to the people I watch in a movie and I didn’t make the connection here. Without that connection, I left the theater feeling like I’d been told an incomplete story about someone I’ve never met. I agree with you on the performance of Jeremy Renner, though. He did great.
    Thank you for your opinion, Copper!

  3. You are being far too generous to Wolverine. That was terrible in practically every way. I am completely with you on the Hurt Locker though. I don’t understand the buzz. It was pretty good, but it is getting a lot of undeserved critical acclaim. There were way too many moments which seemed very contrived and were being shoved down our throats.

  4. I probably am being too generous to Wolverine, but I was a big X-Men fan when I was a kid so I have an admitted bias to it.
    I’m glad you’re with me on The Hurt Locker. We are definitely in the minority.

    P.S. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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