Top 10 Best Movies of 2009

1. Inglourious Basterds - Hands down my favorite Tarantino movie, and not just because of Christoph Waltz - although he definitely delivered. Most quotable film of the year by far.

2. Star Trek - Three words: infinite replay value. The best reboot we Trekkies could have hoped for, and the best Star Trek movie to date - J.J. Abrams is truly a god among men.

3. Up in the Air - Realistic, funny, meaningful. Were it not for that weak ending, this would have been higher up on this list, for sure.

4. District 9 - The perfect "new millennium nerd" movie; political, allegorical, and full of action and incredible acting. I can't wait to see more from Blomkamp and Copley.

5. 500 Days of Summer - Seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt dance down the street to "You Make My Dreams" is one of the best in-theater feelings I've ever felt; a great movie about love found, lost, and found again.

6. Fantastic Mr. Fox - Classic Wes Anderson quirk with an anthropomorphic twist; not spectacular as far as faithful adaptation goes, but that's forgivable in this case.

7. Coraline - A great adaptation of a great novel, with fantastic visuals and the best animation I've seen all year.

8. The Hangover - "What do tigers dream of when they take a little tiger snooze? Do they dream of mauling zebras or Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit?" I laughed until I cried.

9. It's Complicated - All kinds of hilarious, although the groping for some sort of dramatic point slowed it down significantly.

10. Watchmen - Controversial, I know, but I had to put it on here if only for a deep and abiding love of the source material... and that incredibly good-looking and well-cast group of superheroes. It's like Jackie Earle Haley was born to be Rorschach.

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2009

1. New Moon - It isn't the worst in terms of acting, cinematography, directing, or even screenwriting, but "The Twilight Saga"'s invasive and omnipresent fandom rubs me so many kinds of the wrong way that this movie definitely makes me cringe the most of anything on the list.

2. Planet 51 - Just... bad. They're aren't any other words for it.

3. G-Force - The talent involved in this is appalling - will kids really watch anything?

4. Wolverine - I love comic books, and comic book movies, and the Wolverine, and Hugh Jackman... but this movie would have worked better if it played up the camp and comically macho aspects of the comic, rather than going for melodrama.

5. Dragonball: Evolution - I haven't seen it, but do I really need to?

6. Bruno - Homophobic trash.

7. I Love You, Beth Cooper - Sexist trash.

8. Jennifer's Body - Sexist trash.

9. Invictus - Not so much a bad movie as a major disappointment.

10. Antichrist - Maybe I just don't "get it," but to me, Antichrist just seemed exploitative and gross with a sleazy sheen of misogyny under the guise of being deep.

Best Movies I Haven't Seen

The Hurt Locker
The Messenger
A Serious Man
Sunshine Cleaning
The Informant!
Capitalism: A Love Story
Whip It!
The Proposal

Best Actors

George Clooney - Did he sleep this year? Up in the Air was fantastic, Men Who Stare at Goats was forgettable, but Clooney? Clooney was constantly on point.

Christoph Waltz - I want him to be in every movie I ever see for the rest of my life. Strong presence, incredible acting - and he's fluent in three languages.

Colin Firth - A Single Man has already polarized critics, but the one thing everyone can agree on is Firth's incredibly honest performance. He gave a gorgeous film depth, saving Ford's first film from vapid aesthetic and turning it into a truly emotional story.

Daniel Day Lewis - I didn't like Nine - by any stretch of the imagination - but Day Lewis always performs at his peak. Guido Contini deserved a better film.

Sharlto Copley - I don't know if he's leading man material, but he held together District 9 perfectly. I hope there's more in his future.

Robert Downey Jr - 2009 wasn't as great a year as 2008 for Downey, but between Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes and a solid performance in The Soloist, it's good to see that his mojo is back and here to stay.

Heath Ledger - The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus isn't in limited release until Christmas, but from the trailers and Ledger's incredible repertoire, I'm confident his last performance was a striking one.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt - The minor oversight of G.I. Joe aside, Gordon-Levitt's progress from indie films to box-office successes has been absolutely perfect. He's lined up to have one of the best Hollywood careers in history, flawlessly moving from child actor to indie star to leading man.

Tom Sturridge - Pirate Radio wasn't Sturridge's first film, but it was the first film that convinced me that he could be a leading man someday.

Max Records - I'm hoping he's the next Haley Joel Osment - this kid is just too cute to go away.

Best Actresses

Meryl Streep - Two Golden Globe nominations in the same category is a good indication that Streep is doing something very, very right. Like Clooney, Streep has been keeping herself busy, but I don't think audiences even remotely mind.

Melanie Laurent - Inglourious Basterds may have been a sausagefest Boy's Club type of movie, but Laurent fit in perfectly with her fierce costars, and definitely held her own.

Vera Farmiga - Farmiga's role in Up in the Air was one of my favorite female roles in a year where good female roles were few and far between.

Emily Blunt - Blunt's Victoria was the glue holding together what could have easily been shallow romantic fluff; she brought life to the role, and it was her performance that was the most emotionally captivating by far.

Penelope Cruz - I didn't see Cruz in Broken Embraces, but I've heard only good things. Her supporting role in Nine was one of the more enjoyable roles as well, and shallow though it may have been, she played it well.

Zoe Saldana - Like Clooney, Saldana has an incredible number of films under her belt for the year. Only two were blockbusters, but I've been hearing only good things about her, which is pleasing - it's been a long time since Center Stage, and Saldana is on her way up.

Anna Kendrick - I was surprised to see "the girl from Twilight" holding her own incredibly well against veteran Clooney in Up in the Air, but I suppose we all have to pay the bills somehow, right? Kendrick deserves much better than the Twilight Saga; here's hoping this film and nomination put her firmly on the map.

Julianne Moore - Moore has always been at her best playing a hot mess, and her role in A Single Man was the hottest mess I've seen in a while. An excellent supporting role that has already nabbed her nominations.

Marion Cotillard - Public Enemies and Nine were both cinematic disappointments in my book, but Cotillard is always lovely to see - strong performances, in spite of the weakness of the films.

Zooey Deschanel - I don't like Deschanel, as an actress or a person - much like Michael Cera, she strikes me as too stagnant to really be considered an "actress." But 500 Days of Summer was the perfect film for the one character she's able to play, and I have to (grudgingly) admit that she contributed a lot to the film's strength.

Best Dressed

The Cast of Pirate Radio
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Billy Crudup, Watchmen
The Cast of Nine

Best Anticipated of 2010

1. I Love You Philip Morris - After all the waiting for this film to be made, I'm ready to actually see it. The story the film is based on is true, incredible, and rich with comedic potential; from the trailers and clips released, it looks like the film will deliver. Here's hoping McGregor and Carrey get the credit they deserve for the film in spite of all the controversies its already caused.

2. Clash of the Titans - I get the feeling Clash of the Titans will be huge - as the teaser asserts, "Titans will clash." With Ralph Finnes as Hades and Liam Neeson as Zeus, it certainly has some impeccable casting already to its credit.

3. Paul / Tron Legacy / Kick-Ass / Jonah Hex - Excuse me for a moment while I prematurely get my nerd on. 2009 was a good year for nerds, but 2010 just might be even better.

4. Date Night - Steve Carrell and Tina Fey; what more do I even need to know?

5. How to Train Your Dragon - It looks like a great kids movie, and I love great kids movies. The books are allegedly adorable, and there's some pretty strong talent behind the film.

6. Howl - I can never turn down James Franco, and this film looks like serious Oscar bait. Hopefully Franco won't get snubbed again now that he's in the leading role.

7. Alice in Wonderland - I have some mixed feelings about the promo I've seen so far for Burton's latest, but there's something intoxicating about Burton-Depp-Bonham Carter that I just can't look away from.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 - Do I really need to explain this?

9. Death at a Funeral - It's not so much anticipation as anxiety with this remake of the 2007 British comedy. With James Marsden and Zoe Saldana involved, I desperately want to believe the film will be good, but from the trailer, it looks like nothing significant will be added to the actual story - Marsden looks like he's just doing an impression of Alan Tudyk.

10. Due Date / Iron Man 2 - Look, I just like Robert Downey Jr.