Stephen King’s Top 10 Films of 2009

Stephen King

Author Stephen King has published his annual listing of the top 10 films of the year. This year King agreed with the mainstream critics in naming The Hurt Locker as the best film of the year, but the rest of his list is the opposite of conventional. His list for 2009 is bound to spawn as much debate and outrage as previous years (last year’s list included Death Race, Lakeview Terrace and The Ruins). For example, #2 is The Last House on the Left, which he claims is “on par with The Silence of the Lambs” and that it’s “easily the most brilliant remake of the decade.” Other films include District 9, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and 2012. Check out the full list after the jump.

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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Buy It

DISTRICT 9
(DVD available as single-disc and 2-Disc Edition)
Socially conscious though it may be, District 9 is not the piercing, thought-provoking apartheid allegory and complex examination of race relations that so many people seem to want it to be. But that’s okay; it isn’t trying to be. District 9 is a straight-up action film, and it makes that fact very clear after about the twentieth soldier that is gruesomely exploded by the aliens’ seemingly lightning-infused weaponry. Its creative implementation of the mockumentary format is used foremost as a means of instilling a sense of reality to the proceedings, using socially relevant issues to set the stage for a much simpler, more cinematically spectacular transformation/aliens-vs-humans tale—not unlike last year’s Oscar-winning sleeper Slumdog Millionaire, with the end result in that case being a classic tale of love and destiny. Though the basic plot elements are familiar, borrowing from movies like The Fly and Alien Nation, it’s the way in which Neill Blomkamp tells this story that makes it so compelling. By playing with the archetypal protagonist introduction, and in doing so ditching the need for big name actors, Blomkamp provides the film with a sense of disorienting glee as the story unfolds and reveals its true intentions. At a certain point, he outright abandons the mockumentary set-up, and from that moment onward the movie propels itself through one dizzying, splatter-filled action sequence to the next. For some, this will be the point that the movie loses them. For me, it didn’t matter, because the movie already had me. My eyes were hooked to the screen, unable to be pried away for even a second. It’s by far one of the most exhilarating moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year, and a guaranteed contender for my Top 5 of ’09.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Single-disc DVD – A director’s commentary, a 3-part documentary (“The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker’s Log”), and a Koobus Big Gun feature. 2-disc DVD & Blu-ray – Includes everything on the single-disc DVD, as well as additional featurettes (“Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus”, “Innovation: Acting and Improvisation”, “Conception and Design: Creating the World of District 9″, “Alien Generation: Visual Effects”).

BEST DVD PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $15.77
Amazon – $15.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $20.77 at Fry’s, and $22.99 at each of the other listed stores (including Amazon).

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $19.99 N/A
Amazon – $17.99

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Exclusive: Creating the Alien Weapons in District 9

District 9 Weapon

Sony Pictures has provided us with an exclusive clip from the DVD/Blu-ray release of District 9, giving us a look into what was involved in designing the prop alien guns used in the film. Watch the clip after the jump, along with a gallery of a few pieces of alien weaponry concept art created for the film.

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Is the Hollywood Movie Star Dead?

Land of the Lost

A Reuters piece that’s been making the rounds this weekend speculates that Hollywood may be thinking twice about banking on A-list celebrities in the future. The piece points to recent low-budget and star-free fare like The Hangover, District 9, and Paranormal Activity that each went on to be wildly successful, and contrasts them with big-budget, star-studded flops like A Christmas Carol, Land of the Lost, and Funny People. The overall lesson seems to be that star-power doesn’t have nearly the draw that it used to, and that budgets aren’t much of a factor for audiences either.

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Nigerian Information Minister Bans District 9

District 9

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, seeing as one of the loudest criticisms of District 9 was that it portrayed Nigerians unfairly by depicting them as cannibalistic gangsters. Now the Nigerian Information Minister has requested that all Nigerian cinemas stop showing the film, confiscate all copies and potentially remove offending scenes, and has written to Sony asking for an ‘unconditional apology’. Read More »

toy_story_1_2_3d_trailer

Steve (from Collider) and I had a plan. Over the weekend we came up with a bunch of subjects we wanted to talk about and we had every intention of recording a video blog Monday afternoon. But…Disney and Marvel made us alter our plans. Due to their $4 Billion dollar merger, we spent Monday talking about what the merger meant and what cool stuff might happen as a result of it.

But now we’re back on point and it’s time for our new video blog that covers a lot of subjects. In part one of our two part conversation, Steve and I talk about whether or not director Neill Blomkamp should do a sequel to Distrcit 9 or make a new, original movie. We then debate if Pixar/Disney releasing the Toy Story as a double feature is a mistake, or if it’s still going to make a ton of money despite the 3 hour running time. Finally, we talk about Spider-Man 4,5, and 6 and what we think Sony is going to do with the franchise. Take a look after the jump.

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Tom Cruise and Peter Jackson Take a Meeting

cruise_and_jackson

The occasional “take a meeting’ report pops up, and the story is always the same. Movie player A sits down with movie player B in what we assume is some official manner, none of us onlookers really knows why they’re meeting and therefore, wild speculation ensues. They’re interesting stories, I think, and not because a number of them later translate into something more concrete but because a good deal of them don’t. It’s like a tiny tear has opened in space-time and we’ve caught a glimpse at a never-was bizzaro world, a collaboration that never happened.

Movie player A in this case is Tom Cruise and B is Peter Jackson. Is there really nothing else we know about why they might be meeting? Well… not quite nothing.

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Did District 9 Steal Avatar’s Thunder?

d9_avatar

For sci-fi nerds (like me!) 2009 was promised as the year. It’s when James Cameron would finally resurface from the deep, bringing with him a new narrative feature. Not just a feature; Avatar intends to be a window into another culture, and another world. It will create a new alien race that is believably realistic, and show how one human hero faces difficult decisions as he navigates the conflict between humans and aliens.

And for sci-fi nerds, 2009 is the year. First, Duncan Jones brought the lovely, unsettling Moon to theatres. Then, along comes District 9. With a fraction of Avatar‘s budget, Neill Blomkamp manages to accomplish much of what Cameron’s film aims for. Based on what I’ve seen of Avatar so far (the 24-odd minutes shown at Comic Con and the teaser trailer) I’m led to wonder if District 9 might not do it better. Did District 9 steal Avatar‘s thunder?

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