Sunday, December 27, 2009

Great performances in 2009

After thinking about the movies I saw in the theater during 2009 I came up with this list of my favorites. All but two are now available on DVD. Check them out (or put them on hold) from the library!

(500) Days of Summer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zoey Deschanel star in this story, told out of sequence, of boy meets girl. I love that this movie doesn't follow the boring "romantic comedy" rules. Gordon-Levitt is one of the most talented young actors working today. Find it in the catalog!
Adventureland: A movie about twenty-somethings working at a theme park during the summer of 1987. The movie's 1980s details (music, clothes) don't overshadow how the feelings and situations faced by the characters can fit into any decade: You've graduated college and are supposed to move on to the next phase of your life, but you're not entirely sure what that next phase is. Stand-out performances from actors Jesse Eisenberg and Martin Starr. Find it in the catalog!

Bright Star: Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw are mesmerizing in this movie about the romance between the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Possibly still playing in theaters.

Fantastic Mr. Fox: Based on the 1970 children's book by Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson directs this animated stop-motion film filled with whimsical details that is fun for moviegoers of all ages. George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Jason Schwartzman do excellent voice-over work as a family of foxes who are pushed out of their home by three farmers. After watching Fantastic Mr. Fox you'll want to modify your tube socks into bandit hats, too. Still playing in theaters.

The Hangover: I am rooting for Zach Galifianakis to receive an Oscar nomination for his uproarious performance in this movie about a bachelor party gone awry in Las Vegas. Another of my favorite highlights is Ed Helms' song at the piano, in which he ponders what tigers dream about. Find it in the catalog!

I Love You, Man: Jason Segel and Paul Rudd make an awesome comedy (and musical) duo. I loved the movie so much I took my picture next to several Spanish-language posters advertising the movie when I was in Spain over the summer. Find it in the catalog!

Inglourious Basterds: Melanie Laurent steals the movie with her performance as Shosanna Dreyfus, whose entire family was killed by Nazis. Years later, when German soldier Fredrick Zoller rents her movie theater out for a private screening of his war movie she sets into motion her plans for revenge. Find it in the catalog!

Paper Heart: Comedian/musician Charlyne Li interviews people across the country about love. What I especially enjoy about this movie is how Li creates puppets and dioramas to recreate special memories shared by the interviewees, whose stories are at once sweet, moving, and hilarious. Find it in the catalog!

Star Trek: Director J.J. Abrams does a brilliant job of restarting the Star Trek franchise with actors Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, and my personal favorite Simon Pegg. Find it in the catalog!

Up: Russell, a Wilderness Explorer Scout, assists Mr. Fredericksen in an adventure that takes them to South America in a floating house tied with balloons. A good movie to watch with the whole family. "Squirrel!" Find it in the catalog!