Some might say to me, “Hey Phil, why don’t you hurry your lazy ass up and do your top ten of 2009 already?”. Well, here in Ann Arbor, we likes to take things sloooowwww. We ain’t got your fancy Red Carpet premieres, so sometimes we gotta wait for January to either see some of these films on video, or for Uncle Jethro to get a print to project on his barn. Rest assured, I’ll have a list by the end of the month, come hell or high water. Just in time for no one to care. Still.

Any-whoooo. . . The Road. Sometimes a movie splits me into two different Phils. Artistic Phil says “This movie is a fascinating rumination on why we live merely to survive, in a world without compassion. It’s theme of mindless consumerism ravaging an empty landscape makes this the spiritual successor to Dawn Of The Dead.”. Plebian Phil says “This is the boring version of The Road Warrior”. I like the oppressive bleakness, and I enjoyed the existentialism. . . but where do you go when your movie starts with absolute despair? There’s a search for hope, yes, but the resolution feels pat and unearned to me. I found No Country For Old Men to be just as bleak, but it was also funny, entertaining and beautiful, not just pouty-faced the whole time. The Road is an ok film that seems worse the more I think about it, especially considering how disappointing a follow up it is to The Proposition.

As promised/predicted, I did finally get around to seeing the sequel to one of my most hated films. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen was something that I had no plans on seeing, until I started reading some of the horrible reviews. “Something this bad, I gotta watch!”. Maybe it was the lowered (very lowered) expectations, or knowing what I was in for ahead of time. . . but I actually kind of enjoyed it, for what it was. It’s not GOOD, mind you. The story makes no sense at all, and I could care less if all of the lead characters were brutally murdered. But it’s so batshit crazy, almost in the vein of Bay’s trashterpiece, Bad Boys II, that it’s mesmerizing in it’s badness. I particularly enjoyed the mixture of Robert Altman style overlapping dialogue and sound, with unintelligible robots; comic relief like 70’s era Mel Brooks deleted scenes; and a Judd Apatow-ish use of inprov-style dialogue, even if it doesn’t make sense in the context of the story. I’m also extremely shallow, so the fact that the fx and photography were great made it enjoyable as well.

I watched about 15 minutes each of Confessions Of A Shopaholic and Push. No thanks on either.

The Great Buck Howard was charming, if a bit unfunny for a comedy. How many times are they going to milk the same jokes over and over and over? Hated the score by Blake Neely (Can we stop having muted brass in comedies? I’m looking at you too, Men Who Stare At Goats!), loved the photography by Tak Fujimoto. Emily Blunt is my bitch. And the performances are solid, so I’d say it’s worth a Netflix instant.

The latest in the “Masculine 80’s Heroes, Crying” genre (see: Some Kind Of Monster and JCVD), Tyson is very entertaining and moving. I’m not someone who generally cares about sports at all, but one sport I’ve always had a fondness for is boxing. So, to see one of the all time greats talk about his life was fascinating for me. This movie should have been called Some Kind Of Monster, because Tyson comes off as a Frankenstein-like creation of the people around him. Proves that Errol Morris doesn’t hold a monopoly on talking head movies.

Had the opportunity to see Up In The Air for cheap, but honestly. . . The little I’ve seen of both Juno and Thank You For Smoking have convinced me that Jason Reitman is a great director, has a wonderful sense of style and pacing, and that I have absolutely no interest in watching any more of his films. I’m not sure what it is; Too hipster? Too slick? Either way, I’m pretty sure that Up In The Air is not up my alley. I know, my loss. Blah blah blah.