Sunday, March 7, 2010

Best of 2009

With the Oscars on tonight, everyone's excited about last year's movies. Let's look back at three of the year's films. Two were hits, and one was entirely under the radar: Duplicity, Monsters Vs. Aliens, and Easy Virtue.

Duplicity was one of my favorites this year. Sexy Clive Owen and Julia Roberts have great chemistry, but Paul Giamatti nearly steals the show. Read it here:

Monsters Vs. Aliens, Dreamworks entry for children's animation last summer, is fun. With Dreamworks, you always have a certain amount of Shrek-style humor. Monsters, however, has the charm of real, old fashioned movie monsters. No cute Disney creatures or princesses allowed (what a relief!) in this kid's movie. Rather we have the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the 50 Foot Woman, a Godzilla-radiated caterpillar, and a mad scientist morphed into a cockroach (rather than a fly). As in all kid's movies, these unlikely pals form a team. With a little wacky Area 51 conspiracy thrown in, this film is entertaining for parents as well as their kids. You'll get a kick out of the outer space villain and his alien clones, brought to wicked life by the voice of Dwight Schrute (Rainn Philips) from The Office.

Easy Virtue, based on a Noel Coward play, got very little notice. That's such a shame, because this film has such glitzy, 1920's style. Starring Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, and Kristen Scott Thomas, this comedy is in turns smooth and sparkly. Biel plays a modern American woman, a race car driver, who marries into typically stuffy English gentry. The music, the cinematography, the dialogue are so well done. The casting was off in one respect: Biel's cool, blonde glamour is attractive to Ben Barnes, who plays her husband in the film. These two have no chemistry on screen. Barnes appears to be about 17. Thank heaven for Colin Firth! While this film drags a bit, it makes it's way to a great conclusion.

While there are no Oscar winners on my list, you won't be disappointed. Whether you're looking for a period charmer, a fun date movie, or a film to enjoy with the kids, one of these will be great.