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10 Movies You May Have Missed in 2009

Two Lovers
Two Lovers

By :Billy Gil | Posted: 06 Jan 2010

Isn’t 2009, like, so last week? Well, here at IndieFile, I decided I wasn’t quite done with the previous year just yet.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to watch a whole lot of films at Home Media Magazine — some great, some, uh, not. I thought I’d call out some of the better finds I made this year, some of which never, or barely, came to theaters in the United States.

Two Lovers

Starring Joaquin Phoenix in one of his best performances, this film about a screw-up who falls for his manipulative neighbor (Gwyneth Paltrow) never got the attention it deserved.

Read the review

In the Loop

An intricate, hilarious British farce about how one media slipup can lead to an international scandal. If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences felt like nominating more performances in foreign films, Peter Capaldi’s cranky-ass press advisor would surely get a nod.

Read an interview with Capaldi and director Armando Iannuchi

The Vanished Empire

Echoes of Stand by Me, Wes Anderson and The Graduate emanate from this coming-of-age Russian drama about young life on the other side of the Iron Curtain during the 1970s.

Read the review


A flawed but winning film about a deadbeat mom (Michelle Monaghan’s best performance yet) whose carefree ways come to a grinding halt when her son comes to stay with her.

Read the review
Read an interview with Monaghan

Cherry Blossoms

There are some films that crush you in the best way possible. Doris Dörrie’s Cherry Blossoms is not sentimental, it’s an expressive and nuanced look at loss and grief.

Read the review

A Woman in Berlin

Most stayed away from this film for its subject matter alone — it’s an account of the alleged rapes of German women when the Red Army moved into Berlin at the end of World War II. But Antichrist this ain’t. The proceedings, tastefully but dramatically shot, are grounded by Nina Hoss’s restrained performance.

Read the review

Herb & Dorothy

Not only is this documentary about too-cute, unconventionally straight-laced contemporary art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel, the DVD serves as a lasting sample of the couple’s extraordinary collection.

Read the review

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a subtle and memorable film that follows one young man’s trip through trying to find a car part to escape his crappy life. The shots of the stunning Yucatán peninsula area are worth the price.

Read the review


Yes, this is eww-gross horror at its grossest, but it’s also a horror film that actually deals with its insane subject — a zombie woman tied in a basement who is sexually abused by adolescent boys — and the psychological dirt it digs up. And, despite the resurgence of quality horror in 2009 (Drag Me to Hell, Paranormal Activity, The House of the Dead), this is one of the few that took real chances.

Read the review

Coco Chanel

A really fun TV movie about designer Coco Chanel. No, that’s it. It came out before the film version (starring Audrey Tatou), and I’d guess it’s nearly as good. Plus it has Shirley MacLaine.

Read the review

Oh screw it, here are my top movies and albums too.

Top Movies of 2009

1.    Up: This should go down as one of the best family films of all time, an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones with the heart of Frank Capra and nuance to spare. And, judging by conversations I’ve had, I’m not the only “I never cry in movies” person who was f-ing bawling during the first 30 minutes.
2.    Precious: If Mo’Nique doesn’t win an Oscar, I quit them.
3.    Cherry Blossoms: See above.
4.    A Woman in Berlin: See above.
5.    Inglourious Basterds: Quentin Tarantino continues the trend of his last two films, Kill Bill and the underrated Death Proof, for following his instincts to the point of occasional indulgence and incoherence, and occasional and unmistakable and unforgettable brilliance. There wasn’t a better movie scene this year than the cat-and-mouse scene at the underground bar in Inglourious Basterds.
6.    Bruno: So good, so subversive, so funny and too much for poor widdle Middle America. Fine, go watch more robot movies made for 12-year-olds and come back to this in five years when it achieves cult classic status.
7.    A Single Man: Colin Firth gives it his all in Tom Ford’s hyper-stylish directorial debut. The dialogue occasionally falters, but Ford’s eye, and actors, never let up.
8.    An Education: An immensely likeable memoir adapted by Nick Hornby into a “Mad Men”-esque style-heavy fantasy. I hear Carey Mulligan is going places.
9.    Star Trek: I’ll just defer to my colleague and Trekkie John Latchem on this one, seeing as how he struggles with the question of whether or not to like this sexy update of the musty franchise by J.J. Abrams. Well, Trekkies, I hate “Heroes” and “Lost” and don’t love the “Star Trek” shows, but I think this is a pretty damn well-made popcorn flick. Actually it was the best one we had all year. Deal with it!
10.    Adventureland: Yes, I saw The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Broken Embraces and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. But I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t count this absolutely pleasurable teen angst film that puts writer/director Greg Mottola next in line to inherit the late, great John Hughes’ legacy. The fact that it didn’t do so well with either audiences or critics should cement its future cult status. Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg are so great at being hot and bothered, bored and horny stoners working at a lame amusement park, it almost makes up for Twilight.

IndieFile’s Top 50 Albums of 2009

1. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
2. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
3. Dark Was the Night (compilation)
4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
5. Girls – Girls
6. Blank Dogs – On Both Sides
7. Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms (EP)
8. Flaming Lips – Embryonic
9. The Very Best – Warm Heart of Africa
10. JJ – JJ No. 2
11. Memory Tapes – Seek Magic
12. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
13. The Antlers – Hospice
14. Dum Dum Girls – Dum Dum Girls (EP)
15. Atlas Sound – Logos
16. Awesome New Republic – Hearts
17. The Horrors – Primary Colors
18. Bibio – Ambivalence Ambulence
19. Washed Out – High Times
20. Vivian Girls – Everything Goes Wrong
21. Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
22. Royksopp – Junior
23. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
24. Abe Vigoda – Reviver (EP)
25. Intelligence – Fake Surfers
26. Times New Viking – Born Again Revisited
27. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
28. Real Estate – Real Estate
29. Sonic Youth – The Eternal
30. Eat Skull – Wild and Inside
31. St. Vincent – Actor
32. Wild Beasts – Two Dancers
33. Karen O and the Kids – Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack
34. Bear in Heaven – Beast Rest Forth Mouth
35. Major Lazer - Guns Don't Kill People ... Lazers Do
36. Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind (EP)
37. The xx – The xx
38. Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs
39. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
40. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
41. Akron/Family – Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free
42. Antony and the Johnsons – The Crying Light
43. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx PT II
44. Yacht – See Mystery Lights
45. Mos Def – The Ecstatic
46. Japandroids – Post Nothing
47. Drummer – Feel Good Together
48. Annie – Don’t Stop
49. Shiftless Decay: New Sounds of Detroit (compilation)
50. The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love


User comments

Commented by Chuck
Posted on 2010-01-07 17:39:07

These reviews feel worthy to follow up on! Thanks! NICE bonus with the top album list!!!!


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