The end of a year inevitably leads to one thing that everyone loves. No, not resolutions. Year-end lists! So I'm throwing my hat into the ring with the five movies I most enjoyed in 2009. Bear in mind that these aren't in any particular order.
How can I not include Star Trek on my list? As a huge Trek nerd, this movie certainly lived up to my lofty expectations for it. JJ Abrams had a difficult task ahead of him, namely how to start fresh while not negating all that's come before. The answer, in typical Trek fashion: alternate reality. Exciting, visually stunning and genuinely funny, this new movie is just so fun you don't care about the inconsistencies or coincidences.
I think the last line of the movie pretty much sums it up: "I think this might just be my masterpiece". And I think it definitely is. This is possibly Quentin's best movie, certainly his best-told one. Each scene/vignette is expertly crafted.
A small scifi movie that nobody saw, Moon is pretty much a one-man showcase for the generally underused Sam Rockwell. He plays a guy running a mining facility on the moon who suddenly meets someone very familiar up there. It's claustrophobic, short and really interesting. Those looking for explosions and whiz-bang effects should look elsewhere. This movie is story first.
A guilty pleasure, Zombieland combined two things that should be in more movies: zombies and Bill Murray. Horror/comedy is a tricky stunt to pull off but Zombieland is really hilarious and Jesse Eisenberg does a passable Michael Cera impression to get the job done.
While technically released in Europe in 2008, it only came here in 2009 so I'm including it, dammit. This might be the movie I enjoyed most this year. Liam Neeson plays what boils down to a Jack Bauer/James Bond/Jason Bourne hybrid, taking out rooms full of thugs with superior skill and training, in his quest to get his kidnapped daughter back. I can watch this movie over and over again and still not get tired of it. Qui-Gon for the win.
So that's my list. Granted, there are a bunch of allegedly good movies that I didn't get around to seeing yet (Up, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker) so I'm only going on what I have seen.
And yes, I purposefully left out Avatar. It was really good but I didn't enjoy it more than the movies I named above.