CantonRep.com's entertainment writer Dan Kane selects his favorite movies of 2009, complete with clips of the trailers.

Here are my top-10 cinematic favorites from 2009.


AVATAR. James Cameron’s long-awaited, $230-million follow-up to “Titanic” is a mindblower — and I’m not the kind of guy who usually enjoys sci-fi epics about blue aliens flying on winged dragons. It is nearly impossible to discern where reality and CGI effects diverge; the visionary visuals are a non-stop marvel. Definitely pay the extra couple of bucks to see it in 3-D. Now in theaters.




AN EDUCATION. Blinded by his charm and sophistication, a suburban London teenager (Carey Mulligan, dazzling and Oscar-worthy) is seduced by an older playboy (Peter Sarsgaard) who, alas, is not who he seems. Set in the jazzy early ’60s, this U.K. film is stylish, surprisingly affecting and damn near perfect.



  

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER. He’s looking for the perfect girl to complete him, she’s suspicious of love with its messiness and potential heartbreak. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are suitably adorable in this fresh and offbeat love story, equal parts painful and delightful, which actually feels like real life. Available on DVD.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Quentin Tarantino has gone and crafted a World War II revenge flick, in which a cracker (Brad Pitt) leads a group of Jewish-American soldiers into German-occupied France to kick Nazi butt. Equal parts spaghetti Western and foreign art film, with the expected Tarantino violence and disarming comedy, this is sensationally entertaining. Available on DVD.





PUBLIC ENEMIES. Action-meister Michael Mann’s 1930s gangster picture crackles with excitement. There’s plenty of cat-and-mouse suspense in the pursuit of cool and cocky “public enemy No. 1” John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) by his no-nonsense G-man Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), the bank holdups, shoot-outs and getaways are tautly staged, and the HD-video filming looks amazing. Available on DVD.




A SERIOUS MAN. This latest from Joel and Ethan Coen is as unpredictable and quirkily funny as you might expect from the team behind “Burn After Reading,” “Fargo,” “Barton Fink” and so many more. The lead character is a Jewish family man in 1967 Midwestern suburbia whose life begins systematically crumbling around him a la the Book of Job.




STAR TREK. I’ve made it this far in life avoiding most “Star Trek” movies — no offense meant, fans — but I love this well-crafted and fun-filled action flick, which reboots the “Trek” saga to its very origins and introduces a fresh young cast as Kirk, Spock,  Sulu, et al. Let the sequels begin! Available on DVD.

UP. When his cozy homestead is about to be razed, a gruff old man ties tons of helium balloons to the roof and floats away — with a pesky neighborhood boy as an unexpected stowaway. This playful, touching, unpredictable and beautifully animated story looks like a children’s movie — and may make you feel like one again. Available on DVD.





UP IN THE AIR. I enjoyed this funny and emotionally resonant low-budget comedy-drama set in the drab world of airports, chain hotels and office buildings just as much as “Avatar.” Just shows you what a fine script, cast and direction can do. George Clooney (perfection) plays a suave, single, full-time business traveler — he fires people for a living — who’s convinced that his independent existence is perfection. Until he discovers otherwise, due to two women. Now in theaters.



ZOMBIELAND. This wild-and-woolly comedy begins in a world gone zombie, with Woody Harrelson as the shotgun-wielding, Twinkie-craving wildman leading a trio of desperate survivors across the deserted L.A. landscape. Yes, it’s gory at times — these are flesh-chomping zombies, after all — but also hipster-hilarious. Trust me on this one. Coming to DVD on Feb. 2.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: “Adventureland,” “The Hangover,” “Coraline (3D),” “The Blind Side,” “Sherlock Holmes.”

DISAPPOINTMENTS: “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Bruno,” “Nine.”

I STILL NEED TO SEE: “The Hurt Locker.”

Dan Kane writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio.