It feels like the general tone of 2009 for film was that it was an okay year, but when I look back at the films I've seen, from the movie memories lists to festivalling to the favourites listed below, I think it was actually a pretty freaking awesome year. It was a real challenge to cull down my list to the 30 films below, and they are out pulled from the 104 films I saw out of this years 314 theatrical releases in Toronto. That's a new record for me, although several of the films I saw at festivals either this year or in years past. To make those 30 selected more clear, I've categorized them into 3 categories: The Good are solid entertainment choices which aren't necessarily flawless but I felt were enjoyable and often underrated, The Great are films that are all films that are not only great but also connect on an emotional level which gives them extra depth and The Excellent is reserved for films that I consider truly flawless. Titles are listed alphabetically under each list, and are linked to reviews if one is up.
Looking to make your own list? Check out list of 2009 releases alphabetically or by release date.
Stone of Destiny
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Coco avant Chanel
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
It Might Get Loud
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Tokyo Sonata / Tôkyô sonata
C'est pas moi, je le jure! / It's Not Me, I Swear!
Every Little Step
The Hurt Locker
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
In the Loop
A Single Man
The Young Victoria
Best Experience (Tie): Attending the World Premiere of Strigoi at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, an absolute gem of film, and later meeting director Faye Jackson and producer Rey Muraru at the pub. Also seeing Valhalla Rising at TIFF was a huge highlight of the year, and it had a fantastic intro and Q&A with director Nicolas Winding Refn and actor Mads Mikkelsen.
Funnest Screening: Best Worst Movie screening at Hot Docs 2009 with Bob and Trista. I'd not laughed that hard in a long time and the film had more than a few unforgettable moments, plus a great Q&A with director, cast & crew.
Favourite Film that didn't get a theatrical release here in Toronto: Outlander
Favourite Saying: "Curtains" - Watchmen
Disappointments: Gamer, The Princess and the Frog
Weirdest occurrences: My Bloody Valentine x 2. 1) Deciding not to go to the screening of My Bloody Valentine (1981), which turned out to be a good idea as that freezing cold night turned out to be the night of the West End Blackout. 2) Going to see My Bloody Valentine 3D to see if I could 'see' in 3D. If felt like I could, so I left and went to Taken instead but later while watching U2 3D I realized I only see a miniscule fraction of the 3Dness of 3D films.
2009 releases I'm surprized I didn't see: Rumba, Che, Sunshine Cleaning, TOKYO!, Departures, Cairo Time, The Informant, The September Issue, Pirate Radio and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
Awesome festival films that I can't wait for people to see their brilliance: The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Loved Ones, Valhalla Rising, Strigoi, Black Dynamite, Hunting Down Memory / Jakten På Hukommelsen and My Greatest Escape / Ne me liberez pas, je m'en charge
More Festivalling Goodness: It feels strange that I got out to fewer festivals in 2009 but I did really enjoy all of them: Hot Docs 2009, Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2009, Toronto International Film Festival 2009, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 2009 and Worldwide Short Film Festival 2009
Great films seen in 2009 that are from previous years: The New World, Oceans Twelve, Persona, Into the Wild, Titus, No Country for Old Men, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Orphanage, Last Life in the Universe, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Onibaba, 3-Iron, The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974), Farewell My Concubine and Lust, Caution.
That was my year. How was yours?