The Ten Best Movies of 2009 

It's the talk of the 'toon.

Page 3 of 3

Chacun à son goût:

Most underrated film of the year: James Gray's Two Lovers, with an intelligently emotional screenplay by Gray and Ric Menello, and flavorful performances by Gwyneth Paltrow and Joaquin Phoenix.

A socially conscious investigative documentary that tickled us: Jeff Stilson's Good Hair, featuring Chris Rock.

Best acid trip of the year: Henry Goodman, Paul Dano, and Kelli Garner in Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock.

He's been so good for so long we don't even notice him any more. But we're grateful to have him on our side: Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story.

Portrait of the artist: Martin Provost's Séraphine, with a memorable performance by Yolande Moreau.

Dan Fogler is the new Curtis "Booger" Armstrong (Fanboys).

Character-acting comebacks of the year, cont'd.: Will Patton in American Violet and The Canyon.

The real (unseen) star of Angels and Demons: Giulio Andreotti of Il Divo, as portrayed by Toni Servillo.

The real best vampire movie of the year: Park Chan-wook's Thirst.

Enough already: Kevin Spacey in Shrink and The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Dead poet's anxiety clinic: Jane Campion's Bright Star.

Do not go gentle into that good night: Tom Hardy in Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson.

Your dreams are not our dreams. And we're happy about that: Where the Wild Things Are.

Best low-budget horror flick: Ti West's The House of the Devil.

Best baseball movie of the year: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Sugar.

Best cricket movie as well as one of the most thought-provoking docs in general: Shashi Buluswar and Renato Velarde's Leg Before Wicket, at the Oakland International Film Festival.

Best South African sci-fi, hands down: Neill Blomkamp's District 9.

It's either the new Claire Denis film or Keith Richards' breakfast: 35 Shots of Rum.

Worst Movie of the Year: Nine.

Runners-up: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, The Informers, The Stoning of Soraya M., Surveillance, and The Road.

Triple-dipper deluxe: Woody Harrelson in The Messenger, Zombieland, and 2012.

When does this guy find time to eat dinner?: George Clooney in Up in the Air, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Ditto this gal: Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and It's Complicated.

Don't make an animation without the voice of Keith David: Coraline and The Princess and the Frog.

The Incredible String Band lives!: Summer Hours and Pirate Radio.

Having an off year: Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man), Jim Jarmusch (The Limits of Control), Pedro Almodóvar (Broken Embraces), Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones).

Having an off decade: James Cameron (Avatar).

After a fashion: R.J. Cutler's The September Issue, and Matt Tyrnauer's Valentino: The Last Emperor.

This land is your land, this land is my land: Adventureland, Zombieland, Absurdistan, 24 City, City of Borders, Land of the Lost, A Town Called Panic.

Life during wartime: The Hurt Locker, The Messenger, Brothers, The Way We Get By, New American Soldier, The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Art School Confidential goes for its doctorate: Jonathan Parker's (Untitled).

The real-life, sweet flip side of (Untitled): Megumi Sasaki's Herb and Dorothy.

Local man finances his own movie from proceeds of his wine business. And the film is very good: Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro.

He helped out, too: Mihai Malaimare Jr., cinematographer of Tetro.

Six other DPs of the gods: Christian Berger (The White Ribbon), Greig Fraser (Bright Star), Roger Deakins (A Serious Man), Nicola Pecorini (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), Anthony Dod Mantle (Antichrist), and Chung Chung-hoon (Thirst).

Eight other must-see documentaries of 2009: Sacha Gervasi's Anvil! The Story of Anvil at the SF Jewish Film Festival; Robert Kenner's Food, Inc.; Lee Anne Schmitt's California Company Town at the SF International Film Festival; Agnès Varda's The Beaches of Agnès; Robert Stone's Earth Days; Yoav Shamir's Defamation, also at the Jewish FF; Havana Marking's Afghan Star; Joshua Tickell's Fuel.

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