Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2009 Leaman Awards: Superlative Awards

Most Disappointing Film of the Year
"Given to the film that falls the farthest below its expectations"

Winner: Terminator: Salvation
Runner-Up: Year One

Comments: I suppose I should've known better than to get my hopes up for this film, but the combination of an excellent trailer, a gritty and visceral aesthetic, and the inclusion of Christian Bale suckered me in. Besides an excellent second act action beat, this film fails on all levels and single handedly has destroyed any interest I still had in the Terminator franchise.



Most Surprising Film of the Year
"Given to the film that soared the highest above its expectations"

Winner: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Runner-Up: 17 Again

Comments: 2009 has turned out to be quite an amazing year for animated features, and there was no animated film that surprised me more than Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The horrible trailer gave the impression that the film was a one gimmick film attempting to just capitalize on the 3D craze. In actuality, it's a refreshing and entertaining film that reminded me of Emperor's New Groove or Kung Fu Panda (though not quite in their league). Also surprising in 2009 was Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, becoming my favorite entry in the Ice Age series and redeeming a lackluster Ice Age: The Meltdown.



Most Overrated Film of the Year
“Given to the Film that is consistently cheered when it should be jeered”

Winner: The Hangover
Runner-Up: Food, Inc.

Comments: The Hangover is not only one of the most pedestrian sex comedies I've seen in a while, but it's also the most overrated. The Hangover takes an interesting premise and squanders it with cardboard characters doing immoral actions and ultimately learning nothing from anything while getting away with everything. As the men learn of their escapades their reaction is laughter and incredulity, its never remorse or reflection. Don't be fooled, The Hangover is no Wedding Crashers nor is it even Knocked Up, this film could've starred Jerry O'Connell and gone straight to DVD in college towns.



Most Underrated Film of the Year
“Given to the film that is consistently jeered when it should be cheered”

Winner: The International
Runner-Up: Knowing

Comments: Not the best conspiracy thriller ever conceived, but The International is a solidly entertaining and intriguing film that moves quickly, features a couple great dramatic moments, and a gun fight for the action hall of fame. Director Tom Tyker does an excellent job of location scouting, giving the film's travelogue locations a slick and modern aesthetic. The film always remains visually appealing, but it's ultimately the 'realist' position that the movie concludes with I enjoy the most. Like Traitor from last year (though not quite at that level), here is a thriller that flies under the radar, but delivers as well as any the past few years.

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