More Lists!

Yes, I've been going list-crazy, but here's the top 10 movies of 2009 (so far) that I've seen.

10. State of Play
It's too bad this one didn't get much love at the box office, because this one's truly a great political thriller. You don't get too many of these dramatic movies with so many stars (Crowe! Affleck! McAdams! Mirren!) that actually don't play out like a bad version of Crash (I'm looking at you, The Air I Breathe). It's just a good story that you want to fill in the pieces along with the characters. And there's a great little twist at the end. It all plays out very nicely and the performances are right on - although Crowe with that long hair can be a bit distracting. This one's coming to DVD in September, so check it out. Until then, rent the British miniseries it's based on, which is even better than the movie.

9. Funny People
Another movie that's pretty much going to bomb at the box office when compared to Apatow's other two hits, The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. But this one is just as funny, if not more, than those two. The jokes are fresh and hilarious, there's a lot of tender moments and it never once collapses under the weight of "insider-itis" (where only Hollywood insiders would actually enjoy the jokes, something several movies have done lately - What Just Happened, for example). Don't let other reviews fool you - this is not a "dark" movie. There's serious subject matter, but it never overtakes the film - this is a comedy about comediens after all. And after two hours, it still had me hooked - I didn't really notice that so much time went by - it was that funny and entertaining. If you haven't checked it out, it's definitely worth catching a Sunday matinee for.

8. Public Enemies
Maggie read the book after we had seen this movie and I've enjoyed hearing her tell stories that were very true in the movie and others not so much (or not even in the movie itself). Johnny Depp is certainly a talented actor - I really believed I was watching John Dillinger and not Depp, it was that believable. It's a great story about Dillinger but also about the birth of the FBI. There's so many fascinating stories that Maggie told me, like how they lost a lead simply because an FBI agent (Pervis, played by Christian Bale in the movie) just plain forgot that Baby Face Nelson was staying at a hotel one night. It's just that ineptitude that blows my mind because we don't think of the FBI as being Three Stooges-esque in their day-to-day routines. But back to the movie - it's well paced and expertly shot - you feel like your in the 30s. This one won't be coming out on DVD until the holidays - so get your butt to the dollar theater and check it out!

7. Coraline
I saw this movie in 3D and it was probably the best movie I've seen so far using this new technology. It wasn't gimmicky and it wasn't the main focus of the movie either. The movie was excellent, it doesn't need 3D to have it in the top 10. At first Coraline is really annoying, she's a brat who didn't want to move away to some strange house in the middle of nowhere. But soon the movie settles down and we go exploring with her and she finds an alternate version of her reality. This is where the movie takes off and becomes something truly special. I'm sold on Neil Gaiman. I mean, I was a fairly big fan of his anyways (Stardust, American Gods, and Good Omens are among some of my favorite books), but this movie pretty much cements him as a really original and creative talent in Hollywood. Don't shy away from this movie simply because of it's family nature - there's a good story and it's full of wonderful visuals and effects. It's out on DVD now, so go check it out!

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
This is the movie that I've been waiting for. Half-Blood Prince is the book that got Maggie interested in reading Harry Potter. The night of the first day it came out, I was reading it in bed before falling asleep. Maggie was poking fun at me for reading the book and she took it from me and started to read aloud. I thought nothing of it after she was done and we fell asleep. The next day we're in bed and she's reading the book! I told her she can't really start at number 6! If she's going to read it, she's going to have to read them all! And now, she's a much bigger fan of Potter than I am! She's re-read the books more than me and watched the movies several times over. So this movie means a whole lot more to me than any other Potter flick. It also doesn't hurt that I think it's probably the most well-rounded of all the Potter films: it has a lot of humor, the action's fantastic and the drama is so real - I can really feel a part of being in this world. Yeah, it's that good.

5. The Hangover
Although I am shocked at how much of a hit this movie has been (it's already surpassed Star Trek at the box office domestically!), it shouldn't be surprising. You have the director of Old School filming a comedy and pretty much the same formula: crazy guys doing absurd things and this time it's in Vegas. But this movie could have ended up being a bad, direct-to-DVD National Lampoon movie. But the movie works; mainly because of the cast and the idea of wanting to know what the hell happened along with the characters. It's a great comedy and worth watching a couple, I don't know...dozen times! And can you believe Lindsay Lohan passed this movie up because she thought it had no potential! Well, there goes your comeback. I guess we'll always have Mean Girls.

4. Away We Go
At first when I heard about this movie I kind of groaned out loud. A movie directed by Sam Mendes (of American Beauty fame and also the delightful Revolutionary Road - two of the most depressing movies in the past decade or two, in my opinion) that also was co-written by David Eggers?!? Hmmrph. I was thinking it was going to be a load of pretentious bullshit. But I watched the trailer and thought it looked pretty good. Maggie had another opinion, but somehow I egged (pun most definitely intended) her into going to a free (yay!) screening of the movie. It was worth it and Maggie was converted and so was I! I know I'm going to get a lot of slack for putting this and another comedy ahead of The Hangover, but to be honest, I just really enjoyed all the elements of this movie. Whereas The Hangover was a blast, like playing beer pong with your fraternity brothers and having a spontaneous round of fight club, Away We Go just made me feel like I have the best things in life right now. It's a great story about a couple finding themselves and the right home for their new family. Some might not get past all the crazy characters they end up meeting along the way, but I found them funny, even though they're not very realistic. It's so uplifting I'm willing to forgive Mendes about his previous works.

3. Moon
As I've said before, I really love this movie. It's great to see Sci-Fi getting so much love. I'm really looking forward to District 9 later this week and Tron Legacy next year. Hell, I'm looking forward to Surrogates, even though it looks like a big ball of cheese. Some people might not like the slow pace of the movie, but it's set up quite nicely. If you're a fan of 2001 or any sci-fi, you really can't go wrong with checking this movie out. While not the most original or groundbreaking, it's a solid entry into the genre. It's got a great cast (Sam Rockwell, Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey..'s umm, voice) and delivers a good amount of suspense all the while maintaining a pretty dire and lonely atmosphere of living alone on the moon. Although it is a science fiction movie, it's not really the main focus of the movie - it's just a fantastic setting for such a strange and bizarre journey for one man who thinks he's got everything under control.

2. I Love You, Man
This comes out on DVD Tuesday, so go out and buy it! It's worth it. I'm sure people will disagree that this is funnier than The Hangover, but I just think the comedic timing is perfect and the story is such a refreshing take on the romantic comedy genre. Plus Jason Segel is among some of the funniest (and hardest working) men in Hollywood right now. He's always been stealing scenes, whether it's in Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared or How I Met Your Mother. Forgetting Sarah Marshall was great last year and this is another home run for Segel. But Paul Rudd plays one of the biggest douchebags on screen this year - yet you're always rooting for him and can't help but be charmed. At first I was a little creeped out by Segel's Sydney Fife, but once he meets Peter, things start clicking and you can believe these two are really the same guy, they just took different paths in life. These two have such an enduring relationship that it's easy to forget Peter is marrying Zooey (Rashida Jones). Good stuff - like I said, buy it when it comes out Tuesday!

1. The Hurt Locker
It's probably no surprise that this is my number one movie so far. I still can't get some of the images out of my head from this movie. It's not a bad thing, it just speaks to how well this movie endures long after you've walked away from it. Perfect cast, perfect script and perfect execution. I really hope the Academy doesn't overlook this gem. As easy as this one could get lost in the summer shuffle, this is the best action movie - it's full of suspense and drama that's easily better than the new Transformers or Star Trek (I await the hate mail, fanboys). And although it's full of action and drama, there's quite a lot of commentary going on in the movie. This movie never once patronizes its characters or dumbs down the plot for the audience. You're along for the ride of these men and women who sacrifice everything in order to serve their country. It's such a good movie and simply the best of the year. It's been slowly expanding these past few weeks, so if it's playing near you, go out and see it! You won't be disappointed!

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