Sorry about the hiatus.  Traveling for work and getting sick don’t do much for getting posting done.

113. Sherlock Holmes

Confession: I actually started this list with three 2009 movies to go,  since I was fairly confidant I wouldn’t loathe any of them.  I thought this one was the safest, but geez, there’s a chance I’m ranking it too high.  I didn’t like Snatch, so maybe I just don’t get Guy Ritchie, but this film had countless problems.  I’d already accepted that they turned Holmes into an action hero.  Fine, whatever.  But the movie felt like someone had read The Da Vinci Code, heard it was the next big thing, and morphed an existing Holmes script into something more Dan Brown-esque.  And it didn’t work at all.  Lots of bells and whistles, but no substance at all.  The character development was shockingly minimal.  I have no idea why Rachael McAdams’s character was in the movie.  I have no idea why Guy Ritchie insists on cramming in bare-knuckle fistfights.  And I have no idea why this movie is getting a sequel.

112. Easy Virtue

I touched on the film briefly, and I’ll stand by what I said.  Any period piece featuring Kristin Scott Thomas and this year’s Oscar nominee Colin Firth shouldn’t require much else to be good.  I’m not the world’s biggest Jessica Biel fan, but she was certainly an adequate choice for the role.  The problem was with the setup.  If events had played out like in a Meet The Parents, then the film would have been fine, but a little cliche.  Instead, well, the order in which things happened didn’t really make much sense.  And I suppose I’m never really going to be able to see the humor in accidentally sitting on a doggie.

111. Gamer

I was pretty psyched for this movie.  I mean, who wouldn’t be excited for an update of The Running Man?  And by the guys who did Crank!  But while random insanity worked for that movie, it kinda failed here.  The plot was all over the place.  I think Kyra Sedgwick’s role probably could have been eliminated without losing anything.  Michael C. Hall was an inspired casting choice.  But as Gavin points out, why does Gerard Butler headline so many movies?  I’ve got nothing against the guy, I’m just not sure he carries this movie the way a huge action star could.

110. Watchmen

Remember when this was going to be the hugest thing of last year?  You know, I read the graphic novel before seeing the movie, and frankly, I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about.  The film did a pretty good job in terms of how it handled the adaptation.  The cast is pretty solid all around.  And that opening montage, well, I think Brian (who has a bizarre obsession with montages)  is still drooling over it.  But I think the film showed that the graphic novel was lacking a really interesting story.  And can we all take a second to remember the delightfully ridiculous sex scene set to “Hallelujah”?

109. Julia

I devoted an entire post to this film, so read up, if you are curious.  This year happened to be very strong for Best Actress nominees, but I think Tilda Swinton deserved a little more discussion, even if I ultimately didn’t think she was one of the year’s five best.  The film isn’t ever aggressively bad, but it feels longer than it is, and does tend to get bogged down at times.  Also, Julia the character isn’t exactly sympathetic, which can make the film a little tough to watch, at times.  As always, if you want to read more about the film, check out what Roger Ebert has to say (he liked the movie considerably more than I did).

108. The Ugly Truth

The type of movie people who hate romantic comedies point to.  Sure, the entire plot of the film is immediately apparent, but I don’t really think it is fair to call that a fault of the movie.  No, the problems are that the script isn’t clever and the characters are really annoying.  But Shirley from Community is in a few scenes, as is the boss from Justified, so that’s something.  And Katherine Heigl isn’t unattractive, so that’s something.  Gerard Butler shows up again, and again, I admire his versatility, I’m just surprised at the roles in which he is cast.  The ending, which can be key for a movie like this, isn’t very good.

107. The Mark Pease Experience

This film didn’t make much of a splash, which is maybe a little surprising considering it stars Jason Schwartzman, Ben Stiller and this year’s Supporting Actress nominee Anna Kendrick.  And also because of the success of Glee.  Oh, huh, I just saw that it was directed and co-written by That Guy Todd Luiso.  Anyway, I probably didn’t like this film that much because I don’t really get Schwartzman, so if you like him you’ll probably enjoy the movie more than I did.  He stars as a guy who hasn’t quite moved on from high school, where almost a decade ago he was a star singer in the drama club.  Which is run by Ben Stiller.  Both of whom have taken an interest in high schooler Anna Kendrick.  And in a completely unrelated note, I recommended this movie to Brian.  I referenced Glee above, but that’s not entirely fair.  This movie isn’t anywhere near as flamboyant and focuses more on a Schwartzman’s a cappella group and the school’s musical.

106. A Single Man

You can check out everything the Grouches have had to say on Colin Firth’s Oscar-nominated performance here.  I believe we all agreed the movie was slow and generally subpar.  Don’t let the trailer fool you, there’s not really much suspense here.  I never really understood the push for Julianne Moore for supporting actress, to be honest.  She was decent in the one scene she was in, but nothing amazing.  I think it says a lot about Colin Firth that he got a nomination for a film that wasn’t particularly interesting.  Which I think is on the head of writer/director/fashion designer Tom Ford.  Matthew Goode shows up for the second time this post.  I was excited that Lee Pace and Ginnifer Goodwin were in this movie, but neither one had a particularly big role.

105. Death In Love

I’m man enough to admit that the only reason this movie made its way to my Netflix queue is that Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly) went topless.  Oddly, she’s in the first scene and gone the rest of the movie.  I don’t really know how to describe Death In Love.  It is really two different stories.  That of Jacqueline Bisset, which is part Holocaust movie (though with a very odd angle) and part, um, serial killer, I guess.  And then there’s Josh Lucas’s story, which is part ladies’ man learning to change his ways and part a con man story.  Really, the movie is all over the place, which gets distracting.  It was written and directed by Boaz Yakin, who also co-wrote Prince of Persia.

104. The Open Road

A baseball road trip movie with this year’s Oscar winner Jeff Bridges?  Plus, Justin Timberlake, who acquits himself well enough.  And Kate Mara, who, for reasons beyond me, has yet to realize I’m the man of her dreams.  If you missed this one, Bridges plays a famous baseball player, Timberlake is his estranged son who journeys with friend Mara because his mom is sick in the hospital and asked him to bring Bridges back to see her.  The film struggles to set a consistent tone or really establish any sense of purpose.  At times it avoids the cliches of a reuniting road trip by replacing them with nothing at all.

Coming up next time: another baseball movie, a couple of failed Oscar contenders, and another movie where I disagree with Roger Ebert.

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