The Best Films of 2009
10. The Cove: At times almost impossible to watch, The Cove is a riveting and downright important documentary that sheds light on an exceedingly important topic.
9. One Week: Canada's answer to Garden State, One Week offers up an unexpectedly impressive performance from Joshua Jackson and a story that grows more and more emotionally resonant as it unfolds.
8. (500) Days of Summer: Vibrant and entertaining, (500) Days of Summer refreshingly refuses to follow the conventions of the romantic comedy genre and features seriously charismatic work from stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. And it boasts one of the best closing lines to come around in quite some time, too.
7. Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino brings his singular sensibilities to the war genre to (mostly) spectacular effect.
6. A Single Man: Overlooking its sporadically ostentatious visuals, A Single Man ultimately establishes itself as an emotionally affecting drama that's anchored by Colin Firth's engaging, flat-out commanding performance.
5. Star Trek: J.J. Abrams effectively ushers Gene Roddenberry's indelible creation into the 21st century with this thrilling and downright engrossing big-budget extravaganza.
4. Moon: This low-budget science fiction tale benefits substantially from Sam Rockwell's astonishing performance, sure, but Moon ultimately holds the viewer's interest as a result of Duncan Jones' impressively assured direction and Nathan Parker's consistently surprising screenplay.
3. Taken: The action film makes a stunning comeback with this relentlessly engrossing effort that casts Liam Neeson as a seemingly unstoppable father out to rescue his teenage daughter.
2. Duplicity: Building on the promise of his first feature, 2007's Michael Clayton, Tony Gilroy offers up a breezy yet complex caper that also boasts one of the most indelible opening credits sequences in cinematic history.
1. Up: Pixar does it again with this engrossing and emotionally devastating comedy adventure. In addition to its uniformly memorable characters and eye-popping visuals, Up boasts a mature storyline that's sure to hold the attention of kids and adults alike. A true achievement.
The Worst Films of 2009
10. The Informant!: Steven Soderbergh's notoriously ostentatious sense of style is put to consistently misguided use within The Informant!, with the film's problems exacerbated by Marvin Hamlisch's grating score, Soderbergh's eye-bleeding visuals, and an incongruously annoying performance from Matt Damon.
9. Miss March: This hopelessly inept comedy hopefully marks the beginning and the end of the Whitest Kids U'Know's cinematic escapades.
8. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li: Bland and boring, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li makes one long for the comparatively stellar landscape of Steven E. de Souza's campy take on the Capcom video game.
7. Bright Star: Jane Campion effectively squanders several admittedly impressive performances by offering up an aggressively dull romance between two thoroughly bland characters.
6. The Stoning of Soraya M.: Unintentionally hilarious and thoroughly incompetent, The Stoning of Soraya M. takes a potentially devastating subject and reduces it to a series of eye-rollingly silly clichés and stereotypes.
5. Land of the Lost: Will Ferrell's questionable taste in material reaches its nadir with this misguided and disastrously unfunny comedy.
4. Friday the 13th: Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company strikes again by draining all the energy out of what should've been an fun throwback to old-school slasher flicks.
3. Terminator Salvation: McG instantly destroys the otherwise flawless Terminator series with an annoying, downright oppressive action flick that's short on thrills and coherence.
2. Antichrist: Despite stellar work from Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe, Antichrist comes off as yet another inscrutable and flat-out boring endeavor from talentless hack Lars von Trier.
1. Pandorum: Dark, dreary, and incoherent, Pandorum is everything that Moon is not.