michael gallucci


In Uncategorized on 12/14/2009 at 7:41 am

1. Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino rewrites World War II as a funny, action-packed fantasy where the good guys win with an intoxicating mix of verbal sparring and bloodletting. It’s less wordy and windy than his other films but every bit as exciting, with many memorable set pieces.

2. Up — Pixar continues its winning streak with another classic. This time it’s about an old man, a young boy and a house lifted by balloons to a mythical land populated by talking dogs and a spastic bird. Moving, funny and dazzling to look at, Up is one of the animation studio’s very best.

3. District 9 – Neill Blomkamp’s budget-strapped sci-fi allegory is the year’s sleeper hit. At its heart, the movie explores racism in the form of displaced space aliens who just want to go home. But it’s also a terrific action film with heart and sympathy to spare, plus some kick-ass weapons.

4. Star Trek – Even non-Trekkies love it, and why not? With a total revamp of the franchise that features a spunkier Kirk, a sexier Uhura and a more human Spock, J.J. Abrams took the USS Enterprise for a hell of a ride across the galaxy. It’s the best thing, by far, to ever bear the Star Trek imprint.

5. (500) Days of Summer — Even though it claims it’s not a love story, (500) Days of Summer is very much a love story – the best since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are perfect as would-be-lovers caught in the wheels of circumstance.

6. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Wes Anderson’s farmland fable about a restless fox who gathers his woodsy pals for one more score is as sly as it is innovative. The stop-motion animation is breathtaking, and the cast (including George Clooney and Bill Murray) brings a sense hipster Zen to the proceedings.

7. The Hangover – The year’s funniest movie mines the same guys-behaving-badly territory as Wedding Crashers and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But unlike those bromances, which eventually get a little squishy, The Hangover is all man, right down to the hilarious end credits.

8. Big Fan – In this dark comedy about home-team pride not quite pushed to the breaking point, comedian Patton Oswalt plays a New York Giants fan who gets a little too close to his hero and promptly gets his ass kicked. Best of all, you don’t know whether to laugh at or pity Oswalt’s lovable loser.

9. Where the Wild Things Are – Spike Jonze turns Maurice Sendak’s beloved kids’ book into a wonderful movie fantasy about childhood imagination and fear. The wild things – actors in giant foam suits augmented with CGI facial expressions – start a rumpus in your heart that never lets up.

10. Coraline – Henry Selick, the director who made The Nightmare Before Christmas, returns with a gloomy stop-motion fantasy about a little girl who discovers a door that leads to a world that isn’t quite as idyllic as it seems. Coraline is dark, spooky and a sumptuous feast for the eyes.

–Michael Gallucci


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