Last year flew by so fast, and to celebrate (somewhat) the past year... well, you can already guess from the title. Be forewarned: These movies didn't all come out in 2009. Some came out a little before a decade ago. These are movies that I have seen this year and liked. As there is room for some disappointment, I've put my top five disappointments that I have seen this year too. These also came out during various years.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince-2009 (dir. by David Yates based on the book by J.K Rowling)- This is probably the biggest surprise of the year. It's the best Harry Potter movie in the franchise. And that's saying a lot, usually, there's something about the franchise that I don't like, and wonder why they keep coming up with these movies. Everything in this movie was better: the acting, the script, the plot had some cute points added in while still being faithful to the book' s energy. The magic was magical but it was not used in a grosse or crude way, which is one problem with the movie franchise. This is not the GREATEST movie I've EVER seen but it is by far the best of the series.
Julie and Julia- 2009 (dir. by Nora Ephron based on the books by Julie Powell and Julia Child)-Ah, I can't get enough of Meryl Streep. She is just pure delight on screen, and as I was watching the movie, I thought that the real Julia Child was on screen she was so marvelous. Despite what critics say, Julie's story was really touching and Amy Adams played the part well, despite the fact that Julie was a crybaby. Nevertheless it was tender, and it really charmed me.
Searching for Bobby Fischer- 1993 (dir. by Steven Zaillian based on the book by Fred Waitzkin)- Really sweet movie that I've seen again, and again and again. Chess is a game that I play myself and it's really nice to see a game treated with such respect. It's a story based on a real one without all the cliches. Who dosen't love that?
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries- 1998 (dir. by James Ivory based on the book by Kaylie Jones) I've never seen of a more heartbreaking story on screen that moved me as much as this movie did. It's so beautifully shot and acted, I really did care for the characters on screen. And unlike other emotionally manipulative movies out there, this one isn't manipulative, the emotions come out because the story demands it.
A Christmas Story- 1983 (dir. by Bob Clark based on the short stories by Jean Shepard)- I see this movie every year and I never get tired of it. It's one of the family classics that will stay and warm your heart, no matter how old you are.
Fantastic Mr. Fox- 2009 (dir. by Wes Anderson based on the book by Roal Dahl)- Besides the animation, (which was ingenious) and the voices, what made the movie work: It's for all ages. Looking out in the audience, not only did I see a lot of adults laughing along to all the fantastic jokes in the movie, kids were there enjoying themselves too. It's fun and comical, and just pure magic on screen.
Marie Antoinette- 2006 (dir. by Sofia Coppola based on the biography by Antonia Fraser)- This is the movie that I've been waiting to see since it first came out. And I think it's safe to say that it's my favorite biopic of a French queen I've seen. I don't want to hear about the it's-not-that-historically-accurate crap, the movie's point was to tell a story, not to give a history lesson. And the innacuracies are so minor, I didn't even notice. It was just a historical drama that is unlike no other and I don't just mean the music (which is fantastic by the way.) The unpredictable cast is part of what made this movie worked. I mean, how many times would you have cast Jason Schwartzmen as Louis XVI? And Kirsten Dunst was wonderfully cute as well. For once we have no annoying period accents, no boring shots all of it is just so well made. It gives you a view of Marie Antoinette that's not the same as you might think.
My 5 BIG disappointments:
-Where the Wild Things Are- 2009 (dir. by Spike Jonze based on the book by Maurice Sendak)- Not THE BIGGEST disappointment of the year, I actually liked it a lot, and they did the best they could considering the book is ten sentence-ish. But it was kind of boring, some parts were too sentimental, and the Wild Things lost their magic that they created in the book. There's something magical about the creatures you read in the book, and the fact that the movie gave them personalities almost took away the magic. As of all the hype, I expected something more. I didn't feel like I was getting more.
-The Notebook- 2004 (dir. by Nick Cassevetes based on the book by Nicholas Sparks)- Talk about being a cheese ball! I really have something against sentimental moments when it's overdone. It's also way too much unlike the book which I admired a lot. Now, I know Rachel Mcadams is well liked and I know that Ryan Gosling is a heartthrob, but this one didn't make me cry, it felt like I was watching a soap opera.
-My Sister's Keeper- 2009 (dir. by Nick Cassevetes based on the book by Jodi Picoult)- How hard is it to leave the ending alone? Honestly, I thought it was beautiful in the book (sad, but beautiful) and it seemed like they changed it to make it sad, to make people cry, to be manipulatively emotional. The only good thing in this movie is the acting, which was well done but, didn't anyone get depressed after watching this? I did.
-Memoirs of a Geisha- 2005 (dir. by Rob Marshall based on the book by Arthur Golden)- Like all other disappointments, it wasn't completely terrible, the production is gorgeous but it was a huge soap opera.
-Twilight- 2008 (dir. by Catherine Hardwick based on the book by Stephenie Meyer)- Okay. Hate me. I like the Twilight series. And there are more reasons to hate me: I did not like Robert Pattinson as the sparkly vampire, I marginally liked Kristen Stewart, but with the crude special effects, it basically shouted out: I AM A LOW BUDGET MOVIE!!! This movie isn't supposed to be low budget for such a fantasy like that. Period.