The Best of 2009 (and beyond!)

Facets staff picks of the best films of ’09 and beyond are here!

Yes, we know–we’re late to the game. This is intentional. Unlike our colleagues and peers who zip their lists out lickety-split at year’s end, we take our time, finessing, debating and fine-tuning to produce what we hope are true representations of the year (and years) in film.

We’re also lazy.

So, without further ado, let’s hit it.

Phil Morehart, Facets Editor

1. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
2. The Hurt Locker (Karthryn Bigelow)
3. Anti-Christ (Lars von Trier) / Nymph (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang) – A terror-in-the-woods double shot!
4. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi)
5. You, The Living (Roy Andersson)*
6. The Girlfriend Experience (Steven Soderbergh)
7. Night and Day (Hong Sang-soo)*
8. The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
9. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog)
10. Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer)

Honorable Mentions: Avatar (James Cameron) – Yes, the plot was predictable and abyssmal, but the 3-D was just absolutely, gosh-wow thrilling. Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner) – This doc almost turned me vegetarian. Almost. Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli) – While not necessarily scary, the constant tension and suspense that this low-budget phenom maintains throughout is impressive. I admired its marketing tactics, too. Big Man Japan (Hitoshi Matsumoto) – It’s hard being a superhero, and now we know why thanks to this hilarious, often touching Japanese mockumentary.

My favorite DVD releases for ’09 can be found at Cincinnati Citybeat Newspaper’s website. Check ’em.

Lauren Whalen, Facets Development Coordinator

Top 10 Favorite Documentaries of the Decade (In No Particular Order)

Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
Jesus Camp (Heidi Ewing/Rachel Grady, 2006)
Spellbound (Jeffrey Blitz, 2002)
Every Little Step (Adam Del Deo/James D. Stern, 2008)
Michael Jackson’s This Is It (Kenny Ortega, 2009)
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Seth Gordon, 2007)
Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002)
Surfwise (Doug Pray, 2007)
Unmistaken Child (Nati Baratz, 2008)
In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger (Jessica Yu, 2004)

Amy Boyd, Facets Rentals

Top Ten of 2009
I’ve included here a close-to-my-heart list of the absolute best movies released theatrically in Chicago during the course of 2009. We have here a powerful doc about civil war in Liberia, a moving doc about hidden treasure and new found memories of WWII, edge of your seat tension with a full-throttle Tilda Swinton at the wheel, a fiction film that’s as close to documentary as you can get, an indie that’s not as hilarious as you might think, but a lot more relate-able than you may anticipate, a foreign thriller on par with Tell No One from last year, an eye opening doc that puts a face on the destruction caused by climate change, a cool doc about the U.S.’s consumer society and the coming craft revolution and a comedy that’s anything but formulaic… straight up.

1. Pray the Devil Back to Hell (Gini Reticker)
2. Loot (Darius Marder)
3. Julia (Erick Zonca)*
4. Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas)*
5. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
6. Humpday (Lynn Shelton)
7. Just Another Love Story (Ole Bornedal)
8. About Water, People and Yellow Cans (Udo Maurer)
9. Handmade Nation (Faythe Levine)
10. The Hangover (Todd Philips)

Top Ten (to see) of 2009
As the end of the year approached and I created my list of movies that I missed during 2009, I found myself overwhelmed by a massive amount of titles. I’ve managed to narrow them down and prioritize them for the purposes of a “must see” or “to see” list. These are the movies I wasn’t able to see in 2009 but that are at the top of my “to see” list.

The End of the Line (Rupert Murray) *
The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel)
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) (Ellen Kuras/Thavisouk Phrasavath)*
Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch)
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (Lee Daniels)
Big Fan (Robert D. Siegel)
Mammoth (Lukas Moodysson)*
Before Twilight (Jacek Blawut)*
Forbidden Lies (Anna Broinowski)
Citizen McCaw (Sam Tyler)

Hallie Borden, assistant

1. A Serious Man (Coen Brothers)
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
3. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
4. An Education (Lone Scherfig)
5. Proceed and Be Bold! (Laura Zinger)
6. Adventureland (Greg Mottola)
7. Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodovar)
8. A Single Man (Tom Ford)
9. You, The Living (Roy Andersson)
10. Crude (Joe Berlinger)

Anna Ha, Facets Rentals

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog)
Cooking History (Péter Kerekes)
An Education (Lone Scherfig)
The Hurt Locker (Kathyrn Bigelow)
Moon (Duncan Jones)
A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
The September Issue (R.J. Cutler)
Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas)
Thirst (Chan-wook Park)
Up (Pete Docter/Bob Peterson)

Mike Phillips, Facets Videotheque Manager

1. You, The Living (Roy Andersson)
2. Julia (Erick Zonca)*
3. Tetro (Francis Ford Coppola)
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
5. World’s Greatest Dad (Bobcat Goldthwait)
6. Big Fan (Robert D. Siegel)
7. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
8. Largo (Mark Flanagan/Andrew van Baal)
9. Sin Nombre (Cary Fukunaga)
10. Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer)

Chris Damen, Facets Rentals

1. Anvil: The Story of Anvil (Sacha Gervasi)
2. Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
3. Burma VJ (Anders Østergaard)
4. Big Fan (Robert D. Siegel)
5. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
6. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi)
7. Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn)
8. Star Trek (J.J. Abrams)
9. Anti-Christ (Lars von Trier)

Grace Tran, Facets Rentals

In no particular order:

Up (Pete Docter/Bob Peterson)
Tulpan (Sergei Dvortsevoy)
Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu)
Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
The Beaches of Agnès (Agnès Varda)
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson)
Moon (Duncan Jones)
Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
24 City (Jia Zhangke)

Miguel Martinez, Facets Rentals

1. Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow)
2. Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-eda)
3. Night and Day (Hong Sang-soo) *
4. The Brothers Bloom (Rian Johnson)
5. Tetro (Francis Ford Coppola)
6. Timescrimes (Nacho Vigalondo)
7. Treeless Mountain (So Yong Kim)
8. Thirst (Chan-wook Park)
9. Public Enemies (Michael Mann)
10. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire (Lee Daniels)

Bruce Neal, Facets Rentals

1. You, The Living (Roy Andersson)
2. Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone)
3. Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas)*
4. Sita Sings the Blues (Nina Paley)
5. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi)
6. The Beaches of Agnès (Agnès Varda)
7. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze)
8. Crank: High Voltage (Mark Neveldine/Brian Taylor)
9. Burma VJ (Anders Østergaard)
10. Julia (Erick Zonca)*

For Facets staffers Susan Doll and Lew Ojeda’s lists, visit Turner Classic Movies’ and Damn That Ojeda, respectively.

*Screened at Facets Cinematheque

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