My Favourite Films of 2009

Following hot on the heels of my favourite albums of 2009, here are the films that I liked most over the last twelve months. I must point out that some of these were released somewhere in the world in 2008 but I only got to see them in Ireland in 2009. Due to the poor state of cinema exhibition in Limerick, I often had to wait until many of these titles appeared on dvd. I’ve already written about The Damned United here and here, Looking for Eric here, a little bit about I’ve Loved You So Long here, and briefly about Star Trek here. In a year in which the unbelievably overrated Slumdog Millionaire won the Best Film Oscar, Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino yet again highlighted his directorial talents and showed that he can still teach the younger generation a thing or two about acting. I was shocked that this nicely paced, intelligent film failed to receive a single Oscar nomination. The low-budget Frozen River managed to earn two nominations – for Best Actress and Original Screenplay. It is set on the New York/Canada border during winter and concerns illegal emigration, low-wage workers, and a single mother who gets caught up in illegal trafficking in order to make ends meet

Man on Wire expertly tells the story of Philippe Petit’s 1974 attempt to cross the World Trade Centre’s Twin Towers on the high-wire. This Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature uses interviews, photographs and re-enactments and is further evidence that fact is indeed stranger than fiction. The Class was an unsuccessful nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars but it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. François Bégaudeau stars as a schoolteacher in a Parisian inner school in a film that he helped to adapt from his own semi-autobiographical novel. In the Loop is a British production that follows on from the BBC TV series, The Thick of It. It is a political satire that focuses on agents of the US and British governments and those countries’ possible involvement in a war in the Middle East. I took my nephew to see Up in 3-D and was quite moved by its opening scenes and drawn in by its animated take on an old-fashioned kind of tale. I think my nephew liked it as well. Up is the only film on this list that has yet to be released on disc, but you can rent the other nine on dvd (and most on Blu-Ray) at Moviedrome on Henry Street in Limerick. Just tell them Pat sent you

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