Top 10 Movies of 2009

1. Inglorious Basterds
2. Up in the Air
3. District 9
4. 500 Days of Summer
5. Watchmen
6. The Hangover
7. Star Trek
8. Ponyo
9. The Princess and the Frog
10. The Hurt Locker

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REVIEW: ‘Crazy Heart’

Director:
Scott Cooper
Cast:
Jeff Bridges
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Colin Farrell
Rated: R

This could easily be the 2009 version of “The Wrestler.”

This film stars Jeff Bridges as a country singer who goes by the name Bad Blake. Blake was once very successful, but time has taken its toll and he now travels the country in an old truck playing smaller gigs.

Because of his state of life, Blake’s health is declining and he is turning to alcohol in many cases. His life seems to get some light, though, when he meets and starts a relationship with a reporter named Jean, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

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REVIEW: ‘Avatar’

Director:
James Cameron
Cast:
Sam Worthington
Zoe Saldana
Sigourney Weaver
Stephen Lang
Michelle Rodriguez
Rated: PG-13

The visionary director James Cameron returns with a gorgeous picture, just not a very deep one.

The film follow’s the character Jake Sully (Worthington), a wheelchair bound man who’s legs have been paralyzed after years in combat. Because of a chance to use his legs again, Jake takes an opportunity to go to another planet where humans are digging for a resource and have to deal with a native people to do so.

Jake’s  role in this is to transfer his consciousness into a bio-mechanical suit called an Avatar, a replica of the inhabiting species the Na’vi. At first Jake is apprehensive toward the Na’vi, but as he starts to embrace their culture, he begins to see the humans digging in a less positive light.

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REVIEW: ‘Up in the Air’

Director:
Jason Reitman
Cast:
George Clooney
Vera Farmiga
Anna Kendrick
Jason Bateman
Amy Morton
Rated: R

“Up in the Air” is already getting some Oscar buzz, and it’s certainly for good reason.

The film follows a man named Ryan Bingham (Clooney), who travels all across the United States for his job. It turns out that Ryan works for a company that’s hired by other corporations to assist in layoffs. Despite the depressing nature of his job, Ryan tries to find dignity in it and he loves the aspect of being able to travel.

The film’s events pick up as Ryan has to travel with a young woman named Natelie (Kendrick), who’s supporting an idea to lay people off over a video conference. The film follows the two characters and others as it explores the economic state of America and its impact on people who see it first hand.

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REVIEW: ‘District 9’

Director:
Neill Blomkamp
Cast:
Sharlto Copley
Jason Cope
Nathalie Boltt
Sylvaine Strike
Rated: R

A new director on the scene might have just delivered the best movie of the summer.

Neill Blomkamp’s film begins 28 years after a large alien ship came to Earth in an alternate reality, eventually settling over Johannesburg, South Africa. Eventually, humans went inside and discovered aliens, which they called Prawns living there. As a response, a corporation called Multi National United set up a relief camp for the prawns, but it eventually went into bad shape, becoming more of a slum.

The film picks up with a relocation effort by MNU to move the Prawns to a worse camp. One of the teams sent to do this is led by Wikus Van De Merwe (Copley), an MNU worker. However, while working in the area, he is sprayed with a substance that begins to change his DNA, making him very valuable to MNU for his new ability to use alien tech.

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REVIEW: ‘Julie and Julia’

Director:
Nora Ephron
Cast:
Meryl Streep
Amy Adams
Stanley Tucci
Chris Messina

One biopic isn’t enough? How about two.

“Julie and Julia” follows the lives of titular characters, both famous for their cooking. The film explores Julia Child (Streep) and her adventure in publishing a book on French cuisine as well as Julie Powell (Adams) who cooked all of Child’s recipes and wrote about the experience in a blog.

Both stories, while relatively unrelated, are interwoven by exploring similar issues, challenges and joys as their adventures go on.

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REVIEW: ‘Land of the Lost

Cast:
Will Ferrell
Anna Friel
Danny McBride
Jorma Taccone
Rated: PG-13

You know a movie is bad when it makes you want to stare at the ceiling rather than the screen.

In “Land of the Lost,” a re-imagining of the original 70s TV show, audiences follow the story of Rick Marshall (Ferrell). Rick is a sort of crack scientist who’s discovered another dimension and is trying to make a way to get to it. Eventually one of his fans, another scientist named Holly (Friel) helps him find a portal and the two, along with another man named Will (McBride) get transported to the other world.

However, the dimension they go to immediately shows itself as dangerous and they have to find out a way to return home.

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REVIEW: ‘Transformers Revenge of the Fallen’

Cast:
Shia LaBeouf
Megan Fox
Josh Duhamel
Tyrese Gibson
John Turturro
Rated: PG-13

As a fan of the first film, I was rather excited for this. What a disappointment.

In this sequel to the 2007 flick, we continue with the character Sam (Labeouf), as he’s about to enter college while remaining in contact with his girlfriend Mikaela (Fox). Meanwhile, the Autobots are secretly fighting alongside only American humans to eliminate any remaining Decepticons.

While the movie shows both story threads going relatively well for the heroes, things soon take a turn for the worse when the leader of the Decepticons, Megatron, is resurrected and returns to ruin the lives of Optimus Prime and Sam.

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REVIEW: ‘The Proposal’

Cast:
Sandra Bullock
Ryan Reynolds
Mary Steenburgen
Craig T. Nelson
Betty White
Rated: PG-13

Ah romcoms, the genre that keeps on giving.

“The Proposal” follows the character Margaret (Bullock), a no-nonsense boss and her assistant Andrew (Reynolds). In the office setting, Margaret is harsh 24/7 and Andrew is the only one who can put up with her.

However, Margaret’s world begins to crash down when she finds she will lose her job because of an issue with her visa and could have to move back to Canada. To keep her in the States, she fakes an engagement with Andrew. Through the predicament, they end up having to go to Alaska to meet Andrew’s family.

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