The first half of the year is up, so it is the perfect time to look back on 2009's first six months and think about what movies worked, what movies didn't, and which ones failed to live up to their potential. That is what this column is all about. I will share with you what movies you need to see and what you should avoid.
It is funny, as I do not feel this year has been a particularly strong one, but it has still turned out a number of very strong movies. Some of them were completely surprising, at least to me. There is nothing better than going into a movie and being completely surprised by what appears on that big screen. Now, remember that any lists like this are relative and can change on a moment's notice. This is the ordering that fell in line while I was writing, but it could change by the time the end of the year rolls around. Heck, this list could be different tomorrow.
NOTE: To be eligible for this list, I had to see the movie prior to the end of June, making 51 movies eligible (I subtract multiple viewings and 2008 films seen this year). Without further ado, let's take a look at what 2009 has had to offer so far.
Top Ten Movies:
1. Up. Can there be any doubt? Pixar continues to amaze with their films that are triumphs on both a technological and artistic level. The animation is simply first rate, there is no company capable of turning out such great animation. However, it is more than the animation that makes this such a great film. The story of Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) drew me in right from the start as he learns that life is what happens while you're making other plans. The film affected me emotionally within the first 15 minutes, which tell the story of Carl's childhood, marriage, and life until the story proper picks up with a grumpy old Carl. The rest of the film follows Carl on the adventure he always wanted, but realizes that there is more to life. It is deceptively simple, yet incredibly moving. It is easily the best film so far this year.
2. Star Trek. Never did I think I would see a truly great Star Trek movie. This movie proved to be enormously entertaining and finely crafted. Yes, you can nitpick it to death, but you can probably do that to just about any film. This is not a big statement movie, you will not learn much, if anything, about the human condition. To that I say, so what? It matters not. This movie successfully creates an alternate universe to the original series while reintroducing us to familiar characters, but with a twist. The story works as an origin story, but is also a thrilling action picture that features a bad guy bent on revenge through time. This is so much more than I could have hoped for.