CINEMATIC PASSIONS’ TOP 10 FILMS OF 2009
LONE SCHERFIG’S evocative tale of adolescent longing is an acting showcase for CAREY MULLIGAN. Set in London during the swinging sixties, our sharp precocious 16 year old protagonist JENNY falls hard for a seductively refined man in his thirties (PETER SARSGAARD).
Growing up is never easy. But with knowledge inevitably comes great power. AN EDUCATION is a potent poisonous and poignant film about learning the hard lessons…and then letting it all go.
Experience is always the best teacher.
From the lush picturesque greenery of Portland, Oregon to the burnished golden desert in New Mexico, three striking blonde women share a complicated web of incendiary secrets and explosive lies.
CHARLIZE THERON, KIM BASINGER and JENNIFER LAWRENCE give unforgettable performances.
8. THE LAST STATION
THE LAST STATION is a beautiful well groomed period piece that isn’t the least bit stuffy or traditional. LEO TOLSTOY (the sublime CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) and his stylish incendiary overly dramatic wife SOFYA ANDREEVNA (the exquisite HELEN MIRREN) are attempting to enjoy their twilight years. But things inevitably become complicated. JAMES McAVOY is also along for the ride.
A seventeen year old boy obsessed with acting gets the chance of a lifetime in the late 1930s. The legendary ORSON WELLES bumps into him on the streets of Manhattan and offers him a part in his new theatrical production of Julius Caesar.
Director RICHARD LINKLATER offers up a stunning recreation of New York City from nearly 100 years ago.
RYAN BINGHAM (GEORGE CLOONEY) is living the way that he’s always wanted.
His job ensures that he is never in one place for more than a few days at a time. He’s a glamorous bachelor in his forties who’s never committed or been emotionally close to anyone. He barely talks to his own family.
All of his connections are uncomplicated and with no strings attached.
But when he meets an adventurous woman that is definitely his type (a sharp, sexy VERA FARMIGA) Ryan begins to question what he really desires.
Up until the late 60s, England’s BBC only played rock & roll on the radio for several hours a week.
In 1965 – in reponse to the ridiculously high demand for popular music that the entire world could listen to without restrictions – pirate radio boats anchored themselves in the North Sea and began to broadcast the newest and hippest songs 24/7 to an eagerly awaiting public in the U.K.
WOODY ALLEN has been experiencing a real renaissance as of late.
WHATEVER WORKS is an ingenious comedy that possesses a wonderful live and let live philosophy. It is also the sunniest, warmest, most unabashedly romantic film he’s made since HANNAH & HER SISTERS.
Love is a dangerous game.
No one knows that better than LEA DE LONVAL (the glorious MICHELLE PFEIFFER), a wealthy and notorious courtesan in early twentieth century Paris.
Her lover FREDERIC (nicknamed CHERI and younger than her by a twenty year span) has bowed to his meddling mother’s pressure and reluctantly married a girl who will be a more suitable wife.
But CHERI pines incessantly for LEA. LEA wants him back. There will be plenty of twists and turns along the way – as well as a shocking and totally surprising conclusion.
Genius director QUENTIN TARANTINO has constructed a parallel universe where revenge fantasy meets the historical backdrop of the Second World War.
Of course the major members of Germany’s high command didn’t meet their fates this particular way.
But wouldn’t it have been fabulous if they had?
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is a brilliant audacious cinematic landmark that will be discussed in reverent hushed tones generations from now.
“Down with Hitler.”
“All the way down, sir.”
Films with an abundance of wit, style and intelligence are rare these days.
DUPLICITY is an extraordinarily delicious exception.
This motion picture resembles classic films where two charismatic leads (LAUREN BACALL & HUMPHREY BOGART, CARY GRANT & ROSALIND RUSSELL, VIVIEN LEIGH & LAURENCE OLIVIER) turn up the heat while you sit awestruck and watch the sparks fly.
RAY KOVAL (CLIVE OWEN) was formerly a British MI6 agent. CLAIRE STENWICK (JULIA ROBERTS) is ex CIA. Now they’re both working in industrial espionage.
Are they in love? Were they ever? Will they be together in the future? Were they involved at all?
There are double crosses, compromised loyalties, shifting time frames and a circuitous plot that will keep you guessing right up until the end.
Most importantly of all, Ms. Roberts and Mr. Owen show that the scorching chemistry they had in CLOSER was no fluke.
For all of these reasons, DUPLICITY is the best movie of 2009.