REVIEWS: 2009 Movie Review Retrospective

This is a retrospective of the movies I saw in theaters this year.  I’ve arranged the movies in the order in which I would recommend them.  You might notice that the listing doesn’t match up exactly with the ratings I gave them originally, but that’s the point in a retrospective.

  1. Avatar
    Yes, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to put the last movie I saw at the top of the list.  But this movie changes so much about movies in general, that I can’t help but put it at the top.
  2. Star Trek
    JJ did the impossible and made a great Star Trek movie that manages to both reboot and continues the series in a worthy manner.
  3. District 9
    Surprisingly good, partly because the ad campaign gave nothing away and partly because it was heartwarming and action filled.
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    I think this movie can finally stand alone as a good movie, not just a good Harry Potter movie.
  5. Up
    It’s Pixar.  It’s funny, heartwarming, doesn’t talk down to you or your kids, and looks amazing.
  6. Drag Me To Hell
    A good balance of funny and scary, with a satisfying ending.
  7. Zombieland
    While Zombieland wasn’t exactly what I wanted, it was still tons of fun.
  8. 2012
    The world is literally falling apart and they want us to care about individual people?
  9. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
    My least favorite book of the series turns into a dull movie.
  10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
    A movie built on the cliché that bigger is better, which it definitely isn’t in this case.
  11. Terminator Salvation
    Skynet reveals their big plan and its a Terminator with free will?  All I know is that it could have been worse.  A lot worse.  It’s still pretty bad.
  12. The Hangover
    Funny, but highly inappropriate.  Can’t really recommend it.
  13. The Men Who Stare At Goats
    Advertised as a slap-stick comedy, its more of a dark comedy, and not very comedic at that.
  14. Watchmen
    So long, so boring, so weird.
  15. Hannah Montana: The Movie
    Yet another “movie” version of a TV show that manages to not be a game changer, even when that’s supposed to be the moral of the story!
  16. Year One
    Probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  Unfunny comedy, cringe-worth dialog, every scene dragged on and on.  First movie we literally talked out loud about walking out of.

REVIEW: Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Just What It Says On The Tin
Exactly What It Says On The Tin

Summary: A young, smart, trying to be successful woman refuses a loan extension to an old lady, who is upset at what she perceives to be callousness and proceeds to attack and curse her.  The next few days the young woman is visited by a demon, who wants to do Exactly What It Says On The Tin.

Thoughts: First off, you have to understand where I’m coming from here: I don’t like scary movies.  They stress me out.  I’m sure that’s what a lot of people like about them, but I spend the whole time so tense that its uncomfortable.  And its embarrassing for me to have to admit that I didn’t see something because I had my eyes closed.  So even though the trailer looked pretty cool, I didn’t want to see Drag Me To Hell because I figured it would be more of the same (a la The Grudge, The Ring, etc.)  Even though it was Sam Raimi, who did the Evil Dead movies (which I love), I still figured it would be the generic scary movie they show in the trailers.

It took my friend Desiree who went to see it to truly sell it to me.  Despite what the trailers show, its more Evil Dead than The Grudge.  Not quite as ridiculous and over the top as Evil Dead, but definitely funnier than most horror movies I’ve heard of.  I spent most of the time on the edge of my seat waiting for the Jump Moment, but after it arrived most of the time I ended up laughing.  It’s not that it was funny because it was stupid, it was funny because it was so over the top.  And its designed to be just that, a perfect balance between horror and funny.

Sam Raimi used to live for this kind of movie and perfected it years ago.  He definitely knows how to push the audience’s buttons, like some kind of scary movie conductor.  There are some things you can see coming, and you say to yourself “they can’t do that”, then it’ll happen, and even though you’re grossed out, you’re still laughing.  So even though I was scared the whole time, I enjoyed it immensely.  If you like the generic scary movies and are looking for a change of pace, go see it.  If you don’t like scary movies, I’d tell you to see it anyway.  It’s definitely not more of the same.

Overall: Evenly scary and funny, with perfect pacing and just enough character to make it interesting.