Movies of 2009, Cont’d

This post is an addendum to my earlier Movies of 2009, which reviews 13 movies. This list is again in chronological order by release date. (The reason these are not in the earlier list is because I watched all the following yesterday.)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 2009)

Rating: 4/10

This movie was definitely not for me. The plot seems highly superficial, and the transforming scenes, while made to appear epic, take too long and are boring. The main battle scene drags out too much, and at times defies basic common sense.

Pandorum (September 2009)

Rating: 5/10

A fairly good sci-fi horror movie. However, it gives too much of the feel of Alien, and in trying to develop the characters, is too repetitive. It has both science and fiction, but does not seem to fit well into the realm of science fiction. The plot, however, is excellent and the horror suspense is present.

Zombieland (October 2009)

Rating: 8/10

Outstanding for a horror-comedy, but it could perhaps use more comedic gimmicks; it feels too much like your standard zombie movie.

Movies of 2009

EDIT: I have changed some ratings for consistency as I have reviewed more movies.

My takes on the major movies of 2009 that I watched. The list is in chronological order by release dates.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (January 2009)

Rating: 7/10

Pretty epic comedy: a simple cop realizes he must save an entire mall. The real comedy however comes from the general gamut of 21st century technologies used in the film. For instance, a Segway carries Blart around the mall, and cell phones and GPS systems play key roles in the plot’s unfolding. The Internet is also prominent. However, the film still makes great use of traditional comedy: at a crucial moment a bottle of hot sauce is of extreme importance. Overall, it is great, but it is a comedy; as such, it serves no purpose but to entertain.

Coraline (February 2009)

Rating: 7/10

My sister read the book, and really wanted to see the movie; I’ll let the reader infer the rest of that. Anyways, it is a stop-motion film, something I did not and still do not like. It was very jumpy. The plot, of the movie and book, is neat, and that was the most attractive part of the movie: a girl finds that a door in her house leads to an alternate reality that is both comforting and terrifying. I know the movie won numerous awards and was critically acclaimed, but I did not find anything extraordinarily special in it.

Echelon Conspiracy (February 2009)

Rating: 4/10

The film begins in a remarkable fashion with the mysterious and apparently omniscient mobile phone, but the movie then evolves to become more commonplace and seemingly contrived as it progresses. Basically, it is about a massive program that becomes self-aware. It is interesting from the philosophical perspective, but other than that, I would not watch the movie more than once.

Watchmen (March 2009)

Rating: 10/10

A brilliant movie. It is based off a comic by the same name, and is absolutely stunning. The opening scene plus opening credits contextualize the film into an alternate superhero timeline in the Cold War. The information builds gradually via flashbacks while the plot itself develops during a mysterious investigation of a murder that occurs at the very beginning. Music, while normally adding minor emotional or dramatic effect, is carefully chosen for this movie and hits the audience with extraordinary impact. However, the real impact comes from a devastating plot twist that brings to the alternate world cataclysmic consequences. Overall, this is a very unique and exceedingly powerful film.

Knowing (March 2009)

Rating: 6/10

Literally about knowing (the future). A professor’s son receives from his elementary school’s time capsule from 50 years before a strange sheet of paper covered fully with numbers. These numbers are found to predict major disasters along with their death tolls, times, and locations. Again, the movie had a captivating start but exhausted itself over time—the ending was particularly lackluster.

Angels and Demons (May 2009)

Rating: 6/10

While many who watched this considered it a bad movie, I found in it much merit. The movie had nice music and sweeping views of various locations of the Vatican City, while the plot, which was of course based on the book, was for the most part compelling. The relationship between science and religion is a thematic point of interest.

Terminator Salvation (May 2009)

Rating: 2/10

By far the worst of the Terminator movies—I’ve watched the first three. However, it would not be fair to judge these together, as even though Salvation shares the same world, it is of a different style. But even judged independently, the film is very predictable and the plot seems extremely contrived. The barren, gritty environment is unconvincing.

Drag Me to Hell (May 2009)

Rating: 8/10

An outstanding horror movie. It is convincing, funny, scary, unpredictable, entertaining, and intriguing. A gypsy curse causes the afflicted to see demons, and be dragged, after the curse progresses for three days, into Hell. The plot is pure delight (or should I say, terror?).

Up (May 2009)

Rating: 8/10

No doubt a good movie; I must point out that it is slightly ironic just looking at the titles that this film opened the same weekend as Drag Me to Hell. Up is an adventure involving a house uplifted by thousands of balloons. While its overall reception is greatly positive, I found many stretches of the movie to be boring.

Inglourious Basterds (August 2009)

Rating: 9/10

Simply an amazing film. It takes place in an alternate-history WWII, in which an American-led group try to kill as many Nazis as possible and a (secretly Jewish) cinema-owner plots to murder high-ranking Nazi officials in a premier in her theater. SPOILER ALERT. The only problem I saw was that the Basterds themselves seemed unnecessary due to Shosanna. Overall, however, it is full of action, full of comedy, and full of fun.

2012 (November 2009)

Rating: 6/10

A disaster movie, obviously, containing both fast-paced action and, of course, more fast-paced action, combined with some breathtaking visuals. It is another end-of-the-world film. The plot development was seriously lacking; however, the superficial effects mostly made up for any serious deficiencies.

Avatar (December 2009)

Rating: 9/10

Brilliant in nearly every aspect—however, the plot is simply too predictable. Yet that vice alone barely detracts from the work, so I take away just one point. The film is basically about human-alien interaction. Another outstanding one by Cameron.

Sherlock Holmes (December 2009)

Rating: 10/10

The wittiest film of the year. The combination of genius detective and martial arts expert, plus a good dose of English humor, makes this movie a perfect score. The title should give a general idea about the plot.

Overall, I gave two films a perfect score: Watchmen and Sherlock Holmes. For me, Watchmen is the best film of 2009.

[For 3 more 2009 film reviews, see Movies of 2009, Cont’d.]

The Legacy of 2009

2009 has been a remarkable year in every aspect. Struggles were fought, issues were disputed, but in the end, new heights were reached. What follows are various statements from the web on this fateful year. (With focus on technology.)

Doug Gross [CNN]:

  • This [2009] was the year that online social media exploded.
  • It was a big year for technology: Twitter and Facebook’s popularity exploded, while new smartphones, e-readers and a host of other gadgets cropped up to compete for our plugged-in affection.

Mark Leibovich [NYTimes]:

  • You could Tweet all the highlights of 2009 and still have time for dithering.
  • But if ever there were a year to put buzzwords before a death panel, this would be it, before the aporkalypse comes.
  • Whatever, it was a year when a lot of people acted stupidly.
  • If this year were a state dinner, even the Salahis wouldn’t Salahi it.

John D. Sutter [CNN]:

  • Engineers didn’t make huge improvements to technology in 2009. The year’s big tech names — Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon — all existed before January. Instead, this is the year technology changed us.
  • We could have done any of these things in 2008. But we embraced in unprecedented numbers a digital-centered life in 2009.
  • By the end of 2009, having a basic cell phone wasn’t good enough anymore.
  • Facebook now has more than 350 million users — that’s more people than live in the United States and is more than double the 150 million people who were on Facebook at the start of the year.
  • In 2009, it’s no longer enough to search for information that was current 30 minutes or an hour ago. Now, Internet junkies look for their news, Tweets and links to be updated in “real-time,” just as they are on Twitter.

David Von Drehle [Time]:

  • [2009] A year that dawned to the chime of change soon got bogged down in intractable troubles.
  • Struggle abroad and struggle at home: surely those were defining glimpses of this Moment in our history.

Alex Altman [Time]:

  • We were warned. But when the worst recession in seven decades smacked us in the face, all the gruesome auguries did little to dull the pain. As unemployment soared to 10.2% — the highest rate since 1983 — spendthrifts became tightwads, a new age of austerity dawned, and the era of easy money lurched to a close.

Pete Cashmore [CNN]:

  • The “real-time Web” is booming. From Twitter to Facebook to new search engines that discover information posted just seconds ago, it seems the 2010 Web will be fueled by our desire for instant gratification.
  • We’re seeing the ongoing voluntary erosion of privacy through public sharing on Facebook and Twitter . . . [link]
  • One factor that’s dramatically different at the end of this decade versus the beginning: Ubiquitous connectivity.
  • The network itself has become faster and virtually omnipotent.

For more, including the politics and news aspects, check out the following features:

Last, but not least, we honor