ME AND ORSON WELLES ranked Number One on the list of Wellesnet’s “Ten Best Films” for 2009
1. Me and Orson Welles -- Richard Linklater
Christian McKay's performance as Orson Welles highlights this fictionalized, but still highly accurate account of the staging of Welles's 1937 production of Julius Caesar. An absolute must see for anyone with the slightest interest in Welles or acting and the theatre.
2. Inglourious Basterds -- Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino's stylish re-imagining of WWII France had enough ideas for two movies, as this scene cut from his script shows:
EXT—NAZI TOWN CAR (MOVING)—DAY
Col. Hans Landa sits in the backseat of the convertible that’s speeding away from the French farmhouse.
Landa speaks to his driver in GERMAN, SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH:
Herrman, I sense a question on your lips? Out with it!
Why did you allow an enemy of the state to escape?
Oh, I don’t think the state is in too much danger, do you?
I suppose not.
I’m glad you see it my way. Besides,
not putting a bullet in the back of a fifteen year-old girl and allowing her to escape are not necessarily the same thing. She’s a young girl, no food, no shelter, no shoes, who’s just witnessed the massacre of her entire family. She may not survive the night. And after word spreads about what happened today, it’s highly unlikely she will find any willing farmers
to extend her aid. If I had to guess her fate, I’d say she’ll probably be turned in by some neighbor. Or she’ll be spotted by some German soldier. Or we’ll find her body in the woods, dead from starvation or exposure. Or, perhaps... she’ll survive. She will elude capture. She will escape to America. She will move to New York City, where she will be elected President of the United States.
The S.S. colonel chuckles at his little funny.
3. The Lovely Bones -- Peter Jackson
Like King Lear and Jackson's own masterful trilogy on Middle-Earth, this is a film about death. In Jackson's hands, it transcends that to become even more: a poetic meditation about what could possibly happen after death, along with an emotional roller coaster ride that provides the kind of stylistic cinematic devices that would no doubt have delighted Orson Welles. Extreme close-ups, wide-angle shots and an extremely creative use of cross-cutting, sound and music, the latter provided by Brian Eno, in what is easily the years best film score.
4. Avatar -- James Cameron
A spectacular effects adventure built around a story of genocide on a distant planet. If nothing else, Avatar is certainly one of the best 3-D movies that has ever graced the silver screen. But just imagine what Orson Welles would have done with a budget of over 200 million dollars!
5. Coraline -- Henry Selick
A truly astonishing stop-motion extravaganza with beautifully detailed miniature sets and even more fabulous design work! Be sure to see it in 3-D!
6. A Single Man -- Tom Ford
Colin Firth has never been better as a gay college professor who contemplates suicide after the death of his lover. The themes from Welles's The Other Side of the Wind are present here in several areas.
7. The Hurt Locker -- Kathryn Bigelow
A film that keeps you in suspense throughout it's running time, simply due to the fact that it deals with an elite bomb squad in Iraq, whose task is to defuse bombs in the streets of Baghdad. Of course, that means that with one false move, you could easily be dead.
8. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus -- Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam's spectacular return to form, is made even more exciting by using a trio of actors to play Heath Ledger. Outside of Luis Bunuel, I can't think of any director who has ever cast two or more actors in the same part. Bunuel proved it could work brilliantly in his That Obscure Object of Desire. Terry Gilliam proves it once again, three times over, by using Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell in the roles Heath Ledger was supposed to play, before his untimely death.
9. The White Ribbon -- Michael Haneke
Filmed in luminous black and white, this very disturbing film is a cross between Jean Genet's Mademoiselle (with Jeanne Moreau) and The Village of the Damned, where the children are anything but innocent. Haneke is a director like Welles, who obviously will not compromise his artistic vision simply for a taste of box-office rewards.
10. The Princess and the Frog -- John Musker & Ron Clements
The Disney studio's return to traditional animation is their most spectacular artistic success since Musker and Clements own Aladdin. Randy Newman, provides a marvelous song-score influenced by New Orleans jazz and the Disney animation artists and effects people have produced the kind of wonderous traditional 2-D animation that appeared doomed until Pixar's John Lasseter decided to bring Musker and Clements back into the Disney fold. Easily the best animated 2-D film Disney has made since Beauty and the Beast.