The Top 10s Begin

Now that 2009 has come to a close, Chlotrudis members will start to weigh in with their top films of the year. As the Top 10s come in, they will be posted here on the Mewsings blog, and ultimately, all of the Top 10s will appear on Our Favorite Films page.

To kick us off, please enjoy Peg Aloi's lovely, annotated Top 10 of 2009, with a few extras to follow.

  1. AN EDUCATION Intelligent if occasionally dreamy memoir-based coming of age story, perfectly directed by Lone Scherfig and with a breakout performance by Carey Mulligan.
  2. FANTASTIC MR. FOX Wes Anderson's cool, clever, delightful puppet animation with a creative soundtrack and a lovable assortment of woodland creatures that dance, meditate, steal, lie, argue, zone out, and glow.
  3. MOON Stunning debut by Duncan Jones who directs Sam Rockwell as a lonely and increasingly-desperate astronaut stuck in a dead-end gig mining moon fuel.
  4. O'HORTEN Charming but never cute, Bent Hamer's story of a Norwegian train conductor's retirement chugs along with unexpected twists and turns.
  5. BRIGHT STAR Jane Campion paints the love life and demise of John Keats, played with subtle intensity by Ben Whishaw, paired with an impressive Abbie Cornish as his lover Fanny.
  6. L'HEURE D'ETE (SUMMER HOURS) Olivier Assayas helms this story of three siblings who decide to sell the family's country estate after the death of their mother, and revisits the tone and themes of his earlier masterpiece L'eau Froid.
  7. IN THE LOOP Sure-handed feature debut by Armando Iannucci: hilarious, sharp and vicious parody in the style of The Office, set in London and Washington, DC, with a uniformly wonderful cast including Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander and Gina McKee.
  8. STAR TREK From the slutty green-skinned girl to the doomed red-shirted officer, J. J. Abrams' prequel abounds with delicious references to the original TV series, and the casting is truly inspired.
  9. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS Who knew our little Quentin had an epic in him? It's not perfect, but it's damned fine, with some truly inspired visual and aural moments.
  10. SIN NOMBRE Cary Fukunaga's story of several Mexican families affected by the pervasive control of the drug cartels: brutal, shocking, and hard to shake off.

Best performances of 2009: Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION); Tom Hardy (BRONSON); Christoph Waltz (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS); Meryl Streep (JULIE & JULIA); Sam Rockwell (MOON); Michael Sheen (THE DAMNED UNITED)

Best Ensemble Cast: IN THE LOOP

Highest Hopes, Biggest Disappointments: ZOMBIELAND; MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS; PONYO.

Honorable Mentions: A SERIOUS MAN; ADVENTURELAND; THE DAMNED UNITED; BRONSON; (500) DAYS OF SUMMER; THE ROAD; TWO LOVERS

Best Documentaries: FOOD, INC.; CRUDE; CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY

Best Directorial Debut: Duncan Jones (MOON)

Best Score: THE ROAD (Nick Cave)

Best Costumes: BRIGHT STAR, THE YOUNG VICTORIA, NINE

The (Apparently) Best Movie I Haven’t Seen Yet: THE HURT LOCKER