The Best of Summer 2009: Films

There was quite an impressive list of movies released this summer. Here are my picks for the top 10. 
10. “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” 
From the moment this movie begins, it’s pretty clear it’s going to be all about the action and less about the predictable story upon which it is based. Directed by Stephen Sommers (“The Mummy 3,” “Van Helsing”), this is a movie for action enthusiasts who don’t mind some uninteresting dialogue. 
The plot follows an arrogant but talented soldier, Duke (Channing Tatum), who finds himself joining forces with the G.I. Joe organization after being ambushed by the Baroness (Sienna Miller). 
Of course, like any predictable action flick, the warheads end up back in the hands of the Baroness and her organization, The Cobras, with the G.I. Joes attempting to take back the destructive weapons before the enemies can wreak havoc on the world. The film makes up for it’s obviously sequel-inducing ending with great action sequences and a nostalgic premise that at least make this movie worth a look. 
9. “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” 
Directed by the famous Michael Bay (“Transformers”) this movie causes more explosions and destruction than an atom bomb. 
The plot picks up right where the last movie left off, with Sam (Shia LeBeouf) getting ready to go to college, leaving all the drama from the last movie behind him. Of course, he doesn’t get off that easy, as Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) immediately tracks Sam down before he even enters his dorm. 
Like the first movie, this one isn’t so much about the plot, or the lackluster acting for that matter, but more about the heart-pumping fight scenes that are both insanely huge and beautifully crafted in their fluid intensity. With bits of metal flying every which way, you really feel like the battle is happening right in front of you. 
8. “X-men Origins: Wolverine” 
This is an interesting prequel because while you can mostly figure out how it all ends, everything between is simply unknown until you watch it unfold. 
The movie starts out in the 19th century with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) shedding the protective life he once had to join with his brother, Sabertooth (Liev Schrieber) as they seek out to destroy all humans who oppose them. 
Given the fact that the majority of the film is pretty conducive of the action-packed nature of Wolverine, it’s hard to be disappointed by what this film has to offer. 
7. “Taking of Pelham 123” 
Denzel Washington and John Travolta, two actors who don’t typically share the limelight with anybody else, play off each other exceptionally well in this film. 
Directed by Tony Scott (“Deja Vu,” “Man On Fire”), the movie tells the story of a train hijacking in the New York City subway by a group of terrorists. Interestingly enough, this makes for a pretty enjoyable film because both actors are experts at conveying dialogue with emotion and intensity. It’s a pretty nice balance that captivates the audience and makes each piece of dialogue more interesting than the last. 
6. “The Hangover” 
This movie had me laughing out loud at many moments throughout the film’s hilarious escapades. Directed by Todd Phillips (“Old School,” “Road Trip”), the film tells the story of a few friends getting together in Vegas for a bachelor party celebrating a buddy’s last night as a single man. 
Of course, they have a wild night partying, and wake up the next day completely unsure of where they are or how they got there. The majority of the film is pretty amusing and keeps on giving more insane things to laugh at one right after the other. 
5. “Bruno” 
Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno” is in a whole different league with its downright disgusting antics that’ll make the most hardened person go wide-eyed with shock. 
Directed by Larry Charles (“Borat,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), the movie follows a homosexual fashion guru who runs a once-popular German fashion show. After disgracing himself in front of his fans, he decides to take his show to America to try and gain back the pride and popularity he lost in his homeland. 
It’s hard to believe the film was able to get away with an R rating instead of the NC-17 rating it should have. In the end, “Bruno” isn’t everything that “Borat” was, but it still does an amazing job of making you laugh at all the right moments. 
4. “Star Trek” 
Out of all of the movies on this list, this one had the tallest order to fill. Directed by J.J. Abrams (“Mission Impossible 3,” “Lost”), this movie is definitely as authentic as it is epic. “Star Trek” chronicles the life of James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) as he makes his way towards becoming the inevitable captain of the Enterprise. 
Everyone from the familiar Spock (Zachary Quinto) to Sulu (John Cho) had a significant role in this movie and never failed to live to the high pedestals created by their esteemed counterparts. When it comes right down to it, “Star Trek” is simply a masterfully crafted film that satisfies both Trekkies and new viewers alike. 
3. “Terminator: Salvation” 
“Terminator: Salvation” picks up where the last one left off, with John Connor (Christian Bale) as a member of the desperate resistance, who is trying to combat the relentless machines. Unfortunately, they are fighting a losing battle, making the start of this movie a fairly depressing one with fairly little hope for the survival of humanity. 
After viewing the mediocre flop that was “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” I wasn’t too optimistic with what “Salvation” would have to offer. However, after viewing the movie for myself, it’s pretty safe to say this film lives up to those high priorities with an immersive, desolate atmosphere and terrific action sequences. 
2. “500 Days of Summer” 
After seeing this film in its entirety, I came away not only surprised that I enjoyed it more than almost any film I had seen this summer, but I also left with a new outlook on life. 
Directed by Marc Webb (“Seascape”), this is a film that shows the progression, climax and downfall of a relationship through the course of 500 days. While the story does start out as you would expect, it doesn’t follow the same pattern most romance movies do. 
This type of progression keeps the film fresh and compelling and it even gives logical reasons as to why things happen and the realistic emotions behind them. Simply put, this is not only one of the most richly detailed and influential romantic films I’ve ever seen, but also one of the most original pieces of film, period. For the guys out there who are about to be dragged to a chick flick by their girlfriends, make sure she takes you to this one. 
1. “Inglourious Basterds” 
Directed by the magnificent Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill”), this was by far some of his best work, and it shows through the multiple subplots that tie in perfectly at the end. The characters have their own memorable personalities, particularly Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). 
Even the ending was extremely satisfying, a point where most films choke. Without question, this is by far the most satisfying of Tarantino’s recent movies, and my pick for the best movie of the summer.