My proviso is that there are several 2009 domestic movies I would still like to see and don’t get me started about how hard it is to find current foreign films.
The Hurt Locker (directed by Kathryn Bigelow) -- If you are looking for a film about the Iraq War or Middle East issues, this is not that film. This is a movie about the psychology of soldiers under stress, focusing on three men in a bomb disposal unit. The amount of tension the story builds is remarkable. It’s a masterful character study that takes its time, peeling back one layer at a time.
A brief SF Strangelove review). Pictured are Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne and Ben Wishaw as John Keats.
Also recommended: A Serious Man (directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen), Fantastic Mr. Fox (directed by Wes Anderson), Up in the Air (directed by Jason Reitman).
Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie of the Year: Moon
A brief SF Strangelove review). Pictured is Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell.
Recommended with reservations:
Star Trek (directed by J.J. Abrams) -- Enjoyable if you can ignore the plot problems.
District 9 (directed by Neill Blomkamp) -- (A brief SF Strangelove review).
Avatar (directed by James Cameron) -- See it for its visuals. (A brief SF Strangelove review).
All four of these supposedly forward-looking science fiction films seem dated: Moon’s concern with cloning, Star Trek’s basis in 1960s television, District 9’s rewrite of Alien Nation (1988), and Avatar’s rewrite of Tarzan (1912).