Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bill’s Movie List

A friend shared his comments about some of the films of 2009 and I’m happily sharing them with you!
by Charlie Leck

Here’s some commentary about movies (films) of 2009. Anyway, these are films that my friend, Bill Casey, saw during the 2009 year – 52 of them to be exact – and his very digested comments about them.

This is a list that Bill makes available to all his friends and acquaintances (who want to receive it). He’s been doing it now for a dozen years.

I’ve mentioned Bill, just in passing, a few times on this blog. He’s not your average, ordinary kind of person. He’s different, and charmingly so. If ever there was an eclectic, Bill’s it, baby! His interests and curiosity are as vast as anyone I’ve ever met. He travels constantly and he reads enormous amounts. He keeps both physical databases on his computer and a vast array of them in his mind also. He can speak intelligently on a great variety of subjects and he’ll mix in comedy when discussing just about all of them. Since meeting him, he’s added a whole new interest level to my life. I’m going to write in detail about him some day, but, for now, I’ll just share his movie list and the following little anecdote.

Last night, still living the exciting and energizing singles life, while my wife is skiing out in Utah for the week, I browsed through the satellite TV guide to see what kind of films were on. By chance, I came across one of the films on Bill’s list, Harvard Beats Yale – 29 to 29. Now, normally, I would have both missed the touch of comedy in the title and I would have passed the film entirely by. Thanks to Bill’s list, I settled in to watch the flick in absolute delight. That one movie, alone, made the list entirely worthwhile. Perhaps you’ll find that’s true as well.

Bill's Movie List
Titles & Comments

Top Ten 2009 Movies

Broken Embraces
Blind director reveals his complex story after 14 years.

District 9
After 20 years in S. African ghetto, aliens are to be relocated. I'm not a great sci-fi advocate but found this film compelling.

An Education
"Sophisticated" high school girl swept away by charming, older con man in Twickenham. Subtle and revealing story.

Italian crime family Camarra and consequences across five dimension. Much better and less violent than one would infer from trailers.

Goodbye Solo
Cab driver asked to drive man to Blowing Mountain, NC so passenger can end his life.

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
Retrospective allows 1968 game participants to recall, ruminate. Not really about football.

The Maid
Chilean maid has been with family 20 years; seems a little grouchy.

The Pain Locker
Explosive technicians in Iraq work their shifts. An intense and persuasive portrayal of the War Lover theme.

Bank robbery plan in Austria goes bad. One of the year's very best films, in my view.

A Serious Man
Professor's problems get worse — and worse — in 1967 suburban Minneapolis. "Right on" according to testimony by several St. Louis Parkers from that era.

Good & Recommended

Great 3D; weak dialogue; Noble Savage plot gradually deteriorates after solid start.

Solider apparently killed in Afghanistan; troubled brother helps fill gap on home front. Remake of 2005 Danish film is somewhat different but still powerful.

Cello player in Japan moves into "departure" business after symphony is disbanded.

Food, Inc.
Terrifying look at consolidation of economic power in U.S. food industry.

God's Offices
A week in French family planning clinic.

Julie and Julia
Modern blogger works her way through Julia Child's opus. More engaging than anticipated.

Man Push Cart
Pakistani immigrant operates bagel cart in mid-town Manhattan, struggling with young son, combative ex-wife & life. A simple film with well-told story.

The Messenger
Army sergeant & war hero assigned task of giving bad news. Would be in top group if its plot did not meander in its second half. Good performances.

Women try to carry on with lives in Bosnian village after their men have been exterminated.

Tokyo Sonata
Traditional Japanese family experiences modern pressures.

Two Lovers
Blond shiksa competes with solid Jewish wife alternative

Up in the Air
Termination specialist achieves 10,000,000 bonus miles. Close call for top group.

Widower follows childhood dream of adventure.

Wendy and Lucy
Rootless young woman loses dog in Portland area.

Other OK Films

School student writes story about parent who dies.

High school story and characters set in post-college context. Good dialog, sometimes quite humorous.

West Bank mother & teenaged son emigrate to Chicago area.

1918 Aristocrat-officer assists in establishing Finnish border during turbulent end of WW I.

The Class
French high school teacher completes another school year.

Crazy Heart
Old country singer cleans up. Good performances but weak story grows weaker as film progresses.

Competing drug companies try to steal secrets from each other. Modern business "thriller."

The Fabulous Mr. Fox
Fox relocates family to nice-looking tree.

Lorna's Silence
Albanian woman earns Belgium citizenship by marrying native junkie.

Documentary on Lima, Peru street life and associated personalities.

Girl works to separate from her abusive Harlem mother; Riveting but manipulative.

A Secret
Jewish family in France keeps secret pre-war spouses , child.

State of Play
Congressman gets in trouble.

Sunshine Cleaners
Sisters become crime clean-up specialists. Facile.

Army plots to kill Hitler in 1944.

Waltz with Bashir
Israeli invasion of Lebanon. An animation achievement but story is not told in the strongest fashion.

Whatever Works
Mostly forgettable NY story includes many funny lines.

White Knight Weddings
Troubled wedding planned on small Icelandic island.

Mediocre, Disappointing or Lackluster

Bright Star
John Keats - Fanny Brawne love affair. Drags on and on. You're hoping he'll die soon.

Foul Gesture
Cars gets doors knocked off by well-connected hoodlum.

Into Temptation
Minneapolis woman confesses suicide plan to priest.

New South Africa wins World Rugby championship. Sap-O-Meter registered "high." Damon role as captain has nothing to it.

Just Another Love Story
Man accidentally assumes identity of diamond smuggler thought to be dead in Hanoi.

The King of Ping Pong
Youth has growing-up problems in Sweden.

Public Enemies
Atmosphere of 1930's; much shooting; downward spiral.

The Road
Dreary brutal dystopia goes nowhere , slowly.

Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg
Elongated story of talented & pioneering radio/TV woman.


Men Who Stare at Goats
Occasionally funny if profoundly stupid.

8:46 PM
Movies2009©2010 Wm. Casey

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