Critics Top Ten of 2009

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Postby Precious Doll » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:54 am

Film Comments best films of 2009.

(Released theatrically in the U.S.)

1. The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow, U.S. 772 points
2. The Headless Woman Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy 762
3. Summer Hours Olivier Assayas, France 745
4. 35 Shots of Rum Claire Denis, France/Germany 605
5. Fantastic Mr. Fox Wes Anderson, U.S. 552
6. Police, Adjective Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania 542
7. Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino, U.S./Germany 499
8. A Serious Man Joel & Ethan Coen, U.S./U.K./France 472
9. The Beaches of Agnès Agnès Varda, France 404
10. Lorna’s Silence Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy/Germany 382
11. 24 City Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong/Japan 379
12. The White Ribbon Michael Haneke, Austria/Germany/France/Italy 347
13. The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch, U.S./Japan 284
14. The Sun Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia/Italy/Switzerland/France 278
15. Bright Star Jane Campion, U.K./Australia/France 277
16. Two Lovers James Gray, U.S. 273
17. In the Loop Armando Iannucci, U.K. 237
18. Tulpan Sergey Dvortsevoy, Germany/Switzerland/Kazakhstan/Russia/Poland 235
19. Coraline Henry Selick, U.S. 231
20. Antichrist Lars von Trier, Denmark/Germany/France/Sweden/Italy/Poland 218
21. Public Enemies Michael Mann, U.S. 213
22. Where the Wild Things Are Spike Jonze, U.S. 200
23. Up Peter Docter & Bob Peterson, U.S. 199
24. An Education Lone Scherfig, U.K. 190
25. Night and Day Hong Sang-soo, South Korea 177
26. Still Walking Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan 172
27. Liverpool Lisandro Alonso, Argentina/France/Netherlands/Germany/Spain 168
28. Up in the Air Jason Reitman, U.S. 161
29. Of Time and the City Terence Davies, U.K. 155
30. Broken Embraces Pedro Almodóvar, Spain 141
31. Me and Orson Welles Richard Linklater, U.K./U.S. 139
32. Adventureland Greg Mottola, U.S. 138
33. The Maid Sebastián Silva, Chile/Mexico 133
34. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Werner Herzog, U.S. 132
35. The Informant! Steven Soderbergh, U.S. 125
36. Duplicity Tony Gilroy, U.S./Germany 124
37. La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet Frederick Wiseman, France/U.S. 120
38. Beeswax Andrew Bujalski, U.S. 116
39. The Messenger Oren Moverman, U.S. 115
40. You, the Living Roy Andersson, Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark/Norway/Japan 114
41. District 9 Neill Blomkamp, U.S./New Zealand 113
42. Hunger Steve McQueen, U.K. 112
43. Frontier of Dawn Philippe Garrel, France 111
44. Tokyo Sonata Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan/Netherlands/Hong Kong 110
45. Drag Me to Hell Sam Raimi, U.S. 107
46. Treeless Mountain So Yong Kim, U.S./South Korea 102
47. A Single Man Tom Ford, U.S. 97
48. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Lee Daniels, U.S. 96
49. Ponyo Hayao Miyazaki, Japan 94
50. Goodbye Solo Ramin Bahrani, U.S. 93

BEST UNRELEASED FILMS OF 2009
(*Currently without U.S. distribution)

1. Wild Grass Alain Resnais, France/Italy 137
2. A Prophet Jacques Audiard, France/Italy 101
3. Everyone Else Maren Ade, Germany 100
4. White Material* Claire Denis, France 89
5. Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl* Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/Spain/France 78
6. Around a Small Mountain Jacques Rivette, France/Italy 73
7. To Die Like a Man* João Pedro Rodrigues, France/Portugal 70
8. Vincere Marco Bellocchio, Italy/France 69
9. Ne Change Rien* Pedro Costa, Portugal 59
10. Trash Humpers* Harmony Korine, U.S./U.K. 50
11. Bluebeard Catherine Breillat, France 49
12. Mother Bong Joon-ho, South Korea 48
13. Like You Know It All* Hong Sang-soo, South Korea 46
14. City of Life and Death Lu Chuan, China/Hong Kong 44
15. Ghost Town* Zhao Dayong, China 39
16. Life During Wartime* Todd Solondz, U.S. 34
17. Sweetgrass Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, France/U.K./U.S. 34
18. In Comparison* Harun Farocki, Austria/Germany 29
19. Min Ye* Souleymane Cissé, Mali/France 28
20. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench* Damien Chazelle, U.S. 26
21. Hadewijch Bruno Dumont, France 25
22. Lebanon Samuel Maoz, Israel/France/Germany 25
23. Le streghe, femmes entre elles* Jean-Marie Straub, France/Italy 22
24. Father of My Children Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany 21
25. Fish Tank Andrea Arnold, U.K. 20
26. Helsinki, Forever* Peter von Bagh, Finland 19
27. Tales from the Golden Age Hanno Höfer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu & Ioana Uricaru, Romania/France 18
28. Let Each One Go Where He May* Ben Russell, U.S. 17
29. Prodigal Sons Kimberly Reed, U.S. 16
30. Soul Kitchen* Fatih Akin, Germany 15

Participants: Sam Adams, Thom Andersen, John Anderson, Melissa Anderson, David Ansen, Mark Asch, Michael Atkinson, Miriam Bale, Margaret Barton-Fumo, Marjorie Baumgarten, Livia Bloom, Nick Bradshaw, Richard Brody, John Caps, Michael Chaiken, Andrew Chan, Chris Chang, Tom Charity, Godfrey Cheshire, Matthew Connolly, Travis Crawford, Gary Crowdus, Doug Cummings, Mike D’Angelo, Evan Davis, Nick Davis, Sam Di Iorio, Lisa Dombrowski, Bilge Ebiri, Cheryl Eddy, David Edelstein, David Ehrenstein, David Fear, Paul Fileri, Scott Foundas, Graham Fuller, Roger Garcia, Susan Gerhardt, Gary Giddins, Larry Gross, Haden Guest, Howard Hampton, Molly Haskell, Logan Hill, J. Hoberman, Robert Horton, Matthew Hubbell, Eric Hynes, Harlan Jacobson, J.R. Jones, Kent Jones, Kristin M. Jones, Danny Kasman, Glenn Kenny, Laura Kern, Robert Koehler, Michael Koresky, Nathan Lee, Dennis Lim, Phillip Lopate, Todd McCarthy, Don McMahon, Joe Milutis, Wesley Morris, Rob Nelson, Geoffrey O’Brien, Mark Olsen, Mark Peranson, Andrea Picard, Tony Pipolo, Richard Porton, John Powers, James Quandt, Jed Rapfogel, Nicolas Rapold, Megan Ratner, Bérénice Reynaud, Jim Ridley, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Joshua Rothkopf, Michael Rowin, Andrew Sarris, Richard Schickel, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Gene Seymour, Gavin Smith, Chuck Stephens, Bob Strauss, Chris Stults, Daniel Stuyck, Jim Supanick, Amy Taubin, Jose Teodoro, Kenneth Turan, Keith Uhlich, Brynn White, Genevieve Yue, David Zuckerman
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:29 am

Everlasting Moments got as high as 29 theaters in release, which suggests a wider release than he suggests.

Honestly, I just think Armond White likes to be contrary and rebel against the established consensus. So, my guess is, he was hugely positive about Hurt Locker when it came out because he didn't think a lot of people would be, but after it began rolling through critics groups, it suddenly became too mainstream for his tastes and he changed his opinion.
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Postby dws1982 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:55 am

Armond White's Better-Than List:

Don’t talk about 2009 movies unless you’ve seen Jan Troell’s comeback film. Everything that makes movies matter is in Everlasting Moments, but its virtual blackout and small (New York only) distribution by IFC proves how difficult it has become to survive Hollywood’s juggernaut—especially if you claim you love movies. Alienated from our own affections this way, we all become avatars.


Everlasting Moments > Every other movie of 2009
All else pales next to this marital memoir, a confirmation of Jan Troell’s mastery. Sweden’s nature poet also captures human nature through fundamental mysteries: love, family, politics, the personal creative urges that parents hide from their children. A mother’s discovery of photography explains the basis of our need for cinema. The family story Hollywood avoids turns out to be everyone’s story.

Revanche > An Education
Gotz Spielmann’s debut American import evokes the forgotten grandeur of European spiritual cinema from Dreyer and Bergman to Fassbinder while Anglophilia was never more hateful than Lone Scherfig’s anachronistic material-girl drama.

Of Time and the City > Crude
Terence Davies’ Liverpool memoir investigates nostalgia and uncovers the politics behind beauty and destruction, memory and art, while the green movement clichés of Crude missed every opportunity to make a distinguished documentary.

Coraline > Precious
Henry Selik made the year’s best stop-motion animation, a dazzling adolescent girl’s fantasy that explored psychological and cultural fears while Lee Daniels’ racist fantasy contradicted political reality with a laughably pornographic view of black female pathology.

This Is It > Me and Orson Welles
Kenny Ortega structured Michael Jackson’s rehearsal footage into a postmodern movie-musical that revealed facts of protean showbiz genius that Richard Linklater kept deflating in his humdrum quasi-bio-pic.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil > The Hangover
Sacha Gervasi doesn’t enable boys as men but delves deeply into how real-life boys become men through love and dedication, art and family. The Hangover offers boys-will-be-
pigs tautology.

Next Day Air > Up in the Air
Benny Boom disinfects The Wire’s pathology into an August Wilson-rich comedy about what greed does to the working class; it has truth and beauty where Jason Reitman told white-collar lies about labor, vocation and lack of community.

Crank 2: High Voltage and Gamer > Avatar
Neveldine/Taylor, avant-garde filmmakers consigned to B-movie obscurity, are sharp stylists who satirize the responsibilities of the digital era that James Cameron turns into insipid escapism.


Gentlemen Broncos >Inglourious Basterds
Jared Hess goes to the roots of the sci-fi genre for its pathos. Removed from exhibition, its day will come. It is the 2001 of 2009. But Q.T. traipses through the war movie genre without touching on anything remotely personal or amusing.

Ricky > Drag Me to Hell
François Ozon’s original parable finds hope in family life and unorthodox sexuality. It turns the divine into real-life, Emily Dickinson poetry. But Sam Raimi’s horror pastiche is lowbrow, low-down and unedifying.

Brothers > The Hurt Locker
Jim Sheridan finds the emotional substance of our Iraq War years while Kathryn Bigelow hides behind genre skill. By avoiding a moral or political stand, Bigelow’s movie says nothing to anyone—especially liberals.

A Serious Man > The White Ribbon
The Coen Brothers redefine Jewish paranoia as existential anxiety. It beats Haneke’s art-house Nazi fetishism any day.

Tyson > Invictus
James Toback’s monologue doc, a fallen angel’s confession, challenges our capacity to comprehend Mike Tyson (and ourselves) while Eastwood merely deifies sports fan Nelson Mandela.

Bandslam > Nine
Todd Graff’s high school musical understands pop and showbiz better than Rob Marshall’s Fellini-botch. Too bad mainstream Hollywood doesn’t know the difference.

Cherry Blossoms > Up
Doris Dorrie’s strange, sweet tale of a widower challenging the sexual mores
he grew up with is exactly what
Pixar’s corporate-formula widower’s
tale evades.

Where the Wild Things Are > District 9
Spike Jonze realizes the liberating, introspective possibilities in pop while Neil Blomkamp reclaims apartheid for geeks who don’t know what that was, yet enjoy the comforts of pop idiocy.


Two things: The first is that Everlasting Moments did not have a New York only release. He may be unaware of that, so it's not a big deal. But it played in Nashville, so I'm guessing it actually played in several other cities as well, since Nashville is not exactly a big film market.

White was very positive about The Hurt Locker in his initial review. It wasn't a mixed review, or a mildly positive one. It was VERY positive. I'll give someone the right to change their mind, but some of the things he praised in his initial review are what he criticizes when comparing it unfavorably to Brothers. I'm guessing that once other critics started raving about The Hurt Locker he decided to change his song.

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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:05 pm

USA Today and the closest to my middlebrow sensibilities of any of the lists I've seen so far this year:

1.The Hurt Locker

This profound exploration of the line between bravery and bravado brings the war in Iraq to life with an immediacy and power that no previous film has achieved. This tale of technicians in the bomb disposal squad captures the complexities of the war with thrilling battle sequences and nuanced performances by Jeremy Renner and his co-stars. With her gritty handheld shots, director Kathryn Bigelow has made one of most visceral and moving war movies ever.

2. Up
One of the funniest feats from the Pixar wizards, with a touching montage that's a brilliant use of this shorthand device.

3. Up in the Air
A dark comedy that is equal parts sharp wit and honest emotion, with a charismatic George Clooney and a talented cast.

4. Sin Nombre
A Spanish-language thriller about Central American emigrants en route to the USA told in stunning documentary style.

5. Sugar
A beautifully drawn portrait of baseball players from the Dominican Republic defies the conventions of inspirational sports films.

6. (500) Days of Summer
This endearing and innovative boy-meets-girl story invigorates the tired romantic-comedy genre.

7. District 9
This faux documentary sci-fi adventure about aliens in South Africa artfully blends suspense with political commentary.

8. Inglourious Basterds
Director Quentin Tarantino's re-imagining of World War II is bold, brash, superbly acted and visually stunning throughout.

9. A Serious Man
The Coen brothers use their bleak comic style and hapless anti-hero to pose serious questions about faith, family and mortality.

10. Summer Hours
This French film is the rare family drama not concerned with dysfunction, but with the meaning of culture and tradition.

Readers Pick for Best Film of the Year:
Star Trek
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:49 am

Ben Mankiewicz

1. Sin Nombre
2. Inglourious Basterds
3. The Hurt Locker
4. Every Little Step
5. Sugar
6. Up in the Air
7. Up
8. An Education
9. District 9
10. In the Loop
11. I Love You Man
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:57 pm

Rex Reed:

THE TEN BEST

An Education
The Road
Up in the Air
Julie & Julia
Public Enemies
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
The Last Station
The Hurt Locker
The Messenger
Inglourious Basterds

Honorable Mention

A Serious Man, Broken Embraces, Adam, Me and Orson Welles, Invictus

THE TEN WORST

Brüno
Antichrist
Funny People
Nine
The Men Who Stare at Goats
The Informers
The Hangover
Sherlock Holmes
Where the Wild Things Are
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

More Hisses and Boos

The Brothers Bloom, Shrink, The Time-Traveler’s Wife, The Other Man, Adventureland
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Zahveed » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:29 am

Thanks for the explanation. I feel less like a dillweed now.
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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:13 am

Here's Scott's explanation:

Ten is the hardest number for a movie critic. But since this year ends in a nine and saw the release of two movies called “Nine,” I’ve taken the liberty of making a 10-best list of 19 films. One stands alone, while the rest are presented in loose thematic pairs. And then there are nine more that will be worth revisiting in the years to come.

THE 19 BEST MOVIES OF 2009

1. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers took Maurice Sendak’s restless and surpassingly simple picture book and turned it into a dark and complicated fable, one of the most piercingly realistic cinematic treatments of childhood ever made. The film’s technical brilliance is almost casual — quietly seductive rather than dazzling — and its high spirits are colored by a melancholy that grownups may find too sad to bear.

2. THE HURT LOCKER/IN THE LOOP The Iraq war, two ways: as action spectacle and as farce. Ms. Bigelow’s film is a tour de force of high tension and directorial pyrotechnics wrapped around an astute and wrenching psychological drama. Its deep subject, embodied in the character of Sergeant James, is professionalism — the irrational, passionate devotion to a job of work. Careerism, the comic underside of professionalism, is the superficial subject of Armando Iannucci’s verbally explosive satire on affairs of state. Dissimilar in style and mood, these two movies nonetheless add up to a cracked, sad, infuriating and glorious epic of our time.

3. SUMMER HOURS/OF TIME AND THE CITY These distinctive, highly personal meditations on home and its loss are also meditations on memory and history. Mr. Assayas takes what might have been an anecdotal family drama about antiques and gives it Chekhovian weight and pathos. Terence Davies, ruminating on his hometown, Liverpool, in the years of his youth, uses archival footage and the sound of his own sardonic, melancholy voice to animate the almost imperceptible passing of a life and a way of life.

4. UP IN THE AIR/ FUNNY PEOPLE Nothing fails like success, and sometimes nothing is sadder than comedy. These two movies, with likable stars (Mr. Clooney and Adam Sandler) and audience-pleasing directors (Jason Reitman and Judd Apatow), seem almost designed to be misunderstood. They laugh at the abyss, and encourage audiences to do the same. But the abyss is still there.

5. BRIGHT STAR/MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY Two love stories, centuries apart. “Bright Star,” Jane Campion’s rapturous rendering of the impossible passion of John Keats and Fanny Brawne is a romantic, literate, noncampy variation on the “Twilight” theme. Barry Jenkins’s walking tour of San Francisco is the year’s most surprising treatment of the ubiquitous theme of post-whatever racial identity. Both are bracing examples of filmmaking intelligence applied to matters of the heart.

6. PRECIOUS/CORALINE These films, named for their young heroines, are about girls who initially embrace fantasy as an antidote to the disappointments of reality — horrific in the first case, merely stultifying in the other. Both of them prove to be tenacious, resilient and smart. “Precious” in particular will outlast the complaints of its doubters, who somehow mistake its volcanic melodramatic energy for literalism.

7. AVATAR/DISTRICT 9 We have met the enemy, and it is us.

8. A SERIOUS MAN/ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL A heterogeneous pairing only because the first is a Coen Brothers shaggy-dog puzzle and the other is a heavy-metal documentary about a band that never quite made it. On closer inspection, though, the connection should be obvious. Both movies examine the glories and tribulations of Jewish life in suburban North America — far north, as in Minneapolis and Toronto — in the second half of the 20th Century. The bar mitzvah double feature of the year.

9. GOODBYE, SOLO/SUGAR Ramin Bahrani’s tale of a Senegalese taxi driver in North Carolina and Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s chronicle of a Dominican baseball player in Iowa (and elsewhere) offer insightful, surprising glimpses of American reality. And the two films, the first composed in an almost spiritual key of humanism, the other an unassuming piece of social criticism, are glowing examples of a new American realism.

10. GOMORRAH/THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX European violence, present and past. “Gomorrah,” Matteo Garrone’s investigation of organized crime in Naples, is a sprawling, vivid rebuttal to Hollywood Mafia fantasies. Uli Edel’s painstaking reconstruction of left-wing terrorism in 1970s Germany is a stinging rebuke to those who sentimentalize political extremism of any variety.

RUNNERS UP “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet”; “24 City”; “Invictus”; “Extract”; “Tyson”; “The Beaches of Agnes”; “Crazy Heart”; “Still Walking”; “Broken Embraces.”
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby rain Bard » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:43 am

If they were somehow thematically-connected ties, I could accept it. And maybe they are and I'm just not getting it. Or is he really pairing A Serious Man with Anvil! because the members of that heavy-metal band are Jewish?

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Postby flipp525 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:31 am

Zahveed wrote:May I inquire what the deal is with nine ties in a top ten list? Perhaps I'm missing something.

Seriously. Give me a fucking break.
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Postby Zahveed » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:45 am

May I inquire what the deal is with nine ties in a top ten list? Perhaps I'm missing something.
"It's the least most of us can do, but less of us will do more."

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:37 pm

N.Y. Times:

A.O. Scott

1) Where the Wild Things Are
2) The Hurt Locker/In the Loop
3) Summer Hours/Of Time and the City
4) Up in the Air/Funny People
5) Bright Star/Medicine for Melancholy
6) Precious/Coraline
7) Avatar/District 9
8 A Serious Man/Anvil: The Story of Anvil
9) Goodbye, Solo/Sugar
10)Gomorrah/The Baader Meinhof Complex

Manohla Dargis (unranked, Top 13):

Gomorrah
Tulpan
Summer Hours
The Hurt Locker
The Beaches of Agnes
Public Enemies
Beeswax
Ponyo
The Informant!
Where the Wild Things Are
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Sun
Avatar

Stephen Holden:

1) Up in the Air
2) The White Ribbon
3) Still Walking
4) The Messenger
5) 35 Shots of Rum
6) The Hurt Locker
7) The Headless Woman
8 An Education
9) Summer Hours
10) Disgrace
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:36 pm

N.Y. Post:

Lou Lumenick

1. UP IN THE AIR
2. UP
3. A SERIOUS MAN
4. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
5. AVATAR
6. INVICTUS
7. PRECIOUS
8. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
9. IN THE LOOP
10.PONYO

Kyle Smith’s after the jump.

Kyle Smith

1. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
2. UP
3. FANTASTIC MR. FOX
4. WATCHMEN
5. FUNNY PEOPLE
6. UP IN THE AIR
7. AN EDUCATION
8. IN THE LOOP
9. OF TIME AND THE CITY
10.SHALL WE KISS?
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:34 pm

Richard Roeper:

1. “Brothers”
2. “Up in the Air”
3. “The Hurt Locker”
4. “(500) Days of Summer”
5. “Inglourious Basterds”
6. “Up”
7. “Avatar”
8. “Adventureland”
9. “An Education”
10. “The Informant!”
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Zahveed » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:05 pm

Nice to see World's Greatest Dad on a list - such an underrated, albeit disturbing, comedy.
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