With 2009 having just passed the six-month mark, here are HE’s Standouts of the Year in order of preference. Let’s restrict it to the Best and Worst features (foreign included), Best Docs, Most Over-Rated, ranks of the Decent and Entirely Decent, and the Most Underwhelming and Over-Rated. Let’s put aside the best performances for now. I’m doing this in haste so any and all additions or scoldings are welcome.
Best-So-Far Features of the Year (in order of preference): The Hurt Locker, An Education (Sundance ’09, opening in fall), In The Loop, Humpday, Public Enemies, Up, Sin Nombre, Adventureland, Three Monkeys, The Girlfriend Experience, Il Divo.
Best-So-Far Docs of the Year: The Cove, Tyson, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Food, Inc, Of Time and the City.
Rousing, Perfectly Pleasing Popcorn: Star Trek.
Worst-So-Far Features of the Year: The Brothers Bloom, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Year One, Knowing, The Girl From Monaco, The Answer Man, I Hate Valentine’s Day, Land of the Lost, Bride Wars, Ghost of Girlfiends Past, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Lymelife, Mysteries of Pittsurgh, Sunshine Cleaning.
Entirely Decent: (500) Days of Summer, State of Play, The Taking of Pelham 123, Whatever Works, Coraline, A Woman in Berlin, Sleep Dealer.
Decent: The Stoning of Soraya M., Bruno, The International, Terminator Salvation, The Proposal, Killshot, Every Little Step, Taken.
Entirely Decent & First-Rate But Finally Too Intelligent, Tricky and Clever for B-Student Types Like Myself: Duplicity
Half Decent: The Soloist, Crossing Over, I Love You Man.
Integrity Award (for Sticking to Tough Material Without Kowtowing to Conventional Tastes): Watchmen.
Most Over-Rated Features of the Year: The Hangover, Observe and Report, Departures, Drag Me to Hell, Moon, Cheri.
Unseen: It Might Get Loud, The Cake Eaters, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dead Snow, Goodbye Solo, Afghan Star, Tony Manero, My Sister’s Keeper.
Worst Unseen Movie of the Year (based on repellent trailer): I Love You, Beth Cooper.
Best Black-and-White Cinematography of the Year: Tetro.
Most Underwhelming Smart/Good Film of the Year: Away We Go.
Second Most Underwhelming Smart/Clever Film of the Year: Inglourious Basterds (seen in Cannes).