Best Movies of 2009

2009 was a terrific year for movies, with box office results showing the movie going public to be embracing diverse genres, new talent and technological leaps in production, animation, CGI and special FX.

To take a brief look at the best movies of 2009, let`s begin with drama.

Drama in 2009

Avatar: this film has seen director James Cameron return to galvanise his reputation as a revolutionary film maker. 12 years in the making, this extraordinary feat of fantasy film making is a groundbreaking combination of 3D and intricate CGI. Released late in the year, the film heralds a new benchmark for fantasy, effects and fantasy storytelling.

Inglorious Basterds: laced with strongly tongue in cheek humour that perhaps only Quentin Tarantino could properly pull off, this film doesn`t pull any punches when it comes to the portrayal of Nazis, their victims and their enemies in WWII. The period has been beautifully reconstructed, while Tarantino`s trademark ultraviolence surfaces in various brutal scenes throughout the film.

Star Trek: it seemed inevitable that a latter day movie adaptation of the original TV series would be made and in the modern film production world where just about everything seems possible, the time was ripe. Sceptics and enthusiasts alike flocked to cinemas across the globe and were presented with a solid ensemble cast, excellent visual effects and a relatively well thought out storyline.

Precious: billed as the feelgood movie of 2009, this film tells the story of an African American teen from Harlem who is both overweight and illiterate. Hollywood newcomer Mo`nique makes a resounding debut as `Precious`, a teenager pregnant with her second child who finds a new path in life after being accepted into a new school. From her acclaimed performance in this film, you can be sure you`ll be seeing a lot more of Mo`nique in years to come.

District 9: a highly unusual and striking tale of extraterrestrial refugees stranded in South Africa, this sci-fi story offers more than just stunning visual effects and bizarre plot twists. The movie boldly and allegorically explores segregation in South Africa, as well as the traditional notion of sci-fi as having to involve flowing neon green goo and lots of explosions.

Comedy in 2009

The Hangover: throughout film history there have been scores of films depicting the madcap hijinks that can happen on an epic Las Vegas weekend. They`ve become pretty standard, as a matter of fact. But somehow, The Hangover has taken it to another level of comedy. Bradley Cooper, who most of us are used to seeing as a supporting actor, establishes himself as a strong lead in this film, in which just about everything that can go wrong, does - Vegas style.

(500) Days of Summer: challenging the tired framework of modern romantic comedies, this breath of fresh air comes in the form of a neat little indie film that sees Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt shine as young lovers trying to create a solid relationship. The film`s soundtrack, lack of cheesy lines and narrative framework make this lovely film hard to categorise as just a mere romantic comedy.

I Love You, Man: the `frat pack` returns full force in this light-hearted comedy that sees Paul Rudd absolutely nail his character, an unadventurous real estate agent who embarks on a journey to find what is missing in his life. Jason Segel is excellent as his male friend interest and the two strike up an almost perfect `bromance` to hilarious results.

Away We Go: this charming, offbeat story tells of a young couple struggling to find the ideal environment for their unborn child. John Kransinski shines as the lead, demonstrating that his acting range is broader than just the comedic straight man, while director Sam Mendes shows a softer, sweeter side than audiences have seen of him throughout his career to date.

Although 2009 was a tough year for many, those of us despairing over underpaid part time jobs at least had the comfort of a stellar catalogue of movies the year round. Let`s hope 2010 is just as good.