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NOTE: Surveillance and Martyrs were included in my Top 10 of 2008

Wow times goes by fast! 2010 marks my tenth year operating Arrow in the Head, my tenth year writing goddamn reviews week, after week, after week, after week... you get the picture. How the f*ck did that happen? WOW. All right, my own shit going on aside, 2009 wound up being a groovy year for movies for me, even though the remake craze reached an all time high.

When dudes I respect like Darren Bousman and Patrick Lussier hop on the redo train; that's when I have to accept that its no longer a fad, its just how it is now in Hollywood. Much like humans versus Borgs, resistance is futile. With that spat, I have grown to appreciate some of the re-tellings, the ones that actually bettered the originals and brought freshness to the chopping block. So I really hope that in 2010 we get five MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D for every asinine and lazy THE STEPFATHER that's forced fed our way.

Another trend that took further prominence in 2009 was the 3D jive; and it actually makes sense to me. I mean the Internet changed the industry (pirating and such), Hollywood had to find a way to get the asses in the seats - 3D was their solution. Hey I thought it was a good one! Specially when taking into account where the technology is at. Although AVATAR didn't blow my mind script wise, the visuals were astounding and Cameron upped the bar as to what can be done with 3D. The sky is the limit now! Have fun Hollywood!

In fact 3D may be a good tool to save some of the dying franchises out there and milk them even further (why am I talking like a Studio exec all of a sudden). For example, the SAW series is played out for me, it's f*cking over and out, but SAW 7 in 3D? Witnessing intricate traps and shallow peeps get dismembered in glorious, gory 3D? I'm jazzed for that shite hardcore and will be the first in line to dig in! Bring it!

Finally, I gotta say it, its kinda sad that the market has changed so much that unless you're backed by a Studio off the bat; its doubtful that you'll see a WIDE theatrical release. It hit home this year and I am kind of bummed about that. I personally find the moderately budgeted Indies (in the sense that they make it and then find distribution) if you will, usually more interesting than the Studio stuff. For example, I would rather see 100 FEET (yeah I'm in it, nothing to do with that, its a fine film), AMER or THE CHILDREN on the big screen than say PROM NIGHT or the STEPFATHER remake. Thank Zeus I still have Festivals like SITGES and FANTASIA to tap - through them venues I get to see those films on a big screen, the way they are meant to be seen.

As for MY BEST OF 2009 LIST, well its comprised of Studio stuff and in independent/foreign flicks. So I got my cinematic loving from all angles. My picks may not be the most obvious ones... but I'm not you, I'm me and its my list, my tastes, c'est la f*cking vie. So nail it below and shove it off your bed where you're done to never acknowledge its existence again.. In closing, I'd like to wish everybody a Happy New Year! Take a hike recession laced, uber difficult 2009 and bring on a hopefully more positive and che-ching charged 2010!

10 - District 9
> Buy This Film
Even though DISTRICT 9 was kind of like ALIEN NATION doggystyles Cronenberg's THE FLY with a pinch of E.T. – it still managed to come across as fairly original. The ballsy and unorthodox turns its narrative took, the chances that were taken with its lead character, the skills behind the camera and the bang on mix of drama, action and humor made sure of that.
9 - Zombieland
> Buy This Film
When ZOMBIELAND kicked off with FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS by METALLICA, I knew I was in good hands and thankfully for the bulk of its running time it didn’t disappoint. Appealing and funny performances, zombie butchery galore, stand-out dialogue, hilarious sight gags, free flowing plasma, mucho guns and a hot babe in Emma Stone… how can ya go wrong?
8 - The Broken
> Buy This Film
THE BROKEN was a pleasant surprise, a film driven by mood, arresting visuals and entrancing ambiguity. Think a somber horror poem in motion. The picture also had one hell of a well rounded actress in the lead and launched a finale that left a back-handing impression on my simpleton self.
7 - The Lovely Bones
Looks like I’m in the minority again, being that the flick is getting pummeled by most reviewers. Oh well. As I was watching THE LOVELY BONES, al I kept thinking was “now THIS is cinema”. The picture was poignant, suspenseful and visually breathtaking. Moreover, the performances were Aces, the score astounding and Jackson was all up in that arse in terms of fly camera shots.
6 - Drag Me to Hell
> Buy This Film
DRAG ME TO HELL exceeded my expectations! I thought I’d get an okay Sam Raimi horror flick but what I got instead was an all-out back to the roots piñata of horror zaniness. Well acted, fear-provoking, gleefully twisted, funny as shite and just all around entertaining; DRAG ME TO HELL hit the spot and then some.
5 - Orphan
> Buy This Film
ORPHAN kicked my ass! Well written, with strong actors and aiming to shock/frighten with no apologies; this one hit the dead spot – dead bang. It felt SOOOOOO good to be SCARED again. Don’t let this little gem slip through your fingers! ORPHAN is much better and well rounded than the trailers put out. GOLD!
4 - My Bloody Valentine 3D
> Buy This Film
This is how you do a slasher RIGHT! MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D was a slashercoaster ride made for true fans of the subgenre. It brought me back to the 80’s and I thanked it for that! Easy on the eyes, paced like a motherf*cker and filled to the brim with creative/ brutal kills, this one did the trick.
3 - Amer
If you look up subversive in the dictionary, you’ll see the one sheet for AMER. The way this one told its story, via quick cutting, striking visuals, strategic framing and almost no dialogue was innovative no doubt. The flick was also well acted, sported wooing color motif and remarkable cinematography.
2 - The Road
> Buy This Film
Crack open that bottle of Jack, slip a bullet in your piece and aim it at your head, yup, it’s that kind of an evening! THE ROAD has Oscar written all over it and then some. Visceral, well written, brilliantly acted, emotionally devastating with jaw dropping production designs and a director on top of his game at that! It packs quite a wallop while having most of its bases covered.
1 - Vengeance
To quote Clarence Bodicker in RoboCop: “Guns, guns, guns!” I’m a sucker for a good payback opus and Johnnie To’s VENGEANCE was one to be reckoned with. Mucho stylized, cool as f*ck, rock solid cast, novel shoot-outs, humor that worked, themes that I related to and so much violence that it would make OJ Simpson (aka the gloved one) blush – this mofo was the real macho man deal!


THE FOURTH KIND:  Had its “great shit” checklist covered. A winning story and a slick way of telling it, top notch actors, fly visuals, a potent soundtrack, chills galore and a couple of scare bits that will f*ck you up!

AVATAR: AVATAR was an easy paced and rocking visual feast! It also had an awesome cast, genius prod designs, stand out 3D, visceral action bits and probably the best digital effects I have ever seen.

A PERFECT GETAWAY:  A PERFECT GETAWAY was a near perfect thriller! The script sported smarts, wit, winning dialogue and a groovy mean streak. Moreover, Twohy was on fire behind the camera while his cast knocked it out of the park in the charisma, chemistry and credibility department.

THE BOX:  The film had me with its initial premise, its sympathetic couple and its deep thoughts question. Then it kept me there by getting weirder and weirder, hence challenging me while tossing all kinds of sci fi and quasi religious elements my way.

TERMINATOR SALVATION: It’s the TERMINATOR meets THE ROAD WARRIOR meets an unadulterated BLAST! Although different in M.O. than the prior TERMINATOR films; TERMINATOR SALVATION was just as entertaining, eye popping and mind blowing!


THE STEPFATHER REMAKE: The original STEPFATHER owns and Hollywood knows it. So they got the remake rights, changed everything that worked in the original and pussy-fied the whole thing. Then they went out of their way to do a horror/ thriller that isn't horrific and that doesn't thrill. Is it me man? What's the motherf*cking point?

HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT: Rushed set up, cardboard characters, quick cut editing filling in for an organic narrative progression, semi thought out ideas, plot bouncing off walls yet going nowhere... basically everything I DON’T look for in a character/relationship driven ghost movie!

NEW MOON: A badly structured and fairly boring look at a girl NOT coping too well with getting her dependent ass dumped and how she rebounds with a guy who can do a BAZILLION TIMES better than her. The genuine teen angst, the earnest romantic flavor, the conflict and edge of the original was gone here, so all I had left was lots of unintentional laughs, thoughts put forward as to my imminent end of the week grocery list of the week and mucho awe as to how a screenplay this weak can get produced.

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD: Maybe I just didn’t get it. Maybe I was expecting one movie and got another. But one thing is for certain; SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD wound up boring the Night of the Living Hell out of me. I couldn’t warm up to 85% of the characters, the dialogue hurt my ears, the themes brought up were not executed properly and common sense was out the door to f*ck somebody’s wife.

TRANSFORMERS 2: Its not surgery over here. Good robots on one side, bad robots on the other, something/someone  in the middle - they fight for it. ALL I NEED! Why try so hard to make it more than that???? Was it the fact that the writer’s strike was in full effect when TRANSFORMERS 2 was penned that ruined it? Was it Bay having too much confidence in himself that he was blind as to the crap he was creating? Or maybe it was the crack…that goddamn crack. Who cares

© 2004 John Fallon All Rights Reserved