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Up to Date's Favorite Films of 2009

Film critics Cynthia Haines and Steve Walker discuss the latest in art, independent, foreign, and documentary films playing in area theaters. We'll also ask Cynthia and Steve for their favorite films of 2009.Steve Walker's favorite films for 2009

(In no particular order, and * indicates that it is available on DVD.)

Gomorrah * - Violent, hard-hitting Italian film about a brutal neighborhood just outside of Naples that spawns a new generation of Mafioso.

Summer Hours - Juliette Binoche headlines the great cast of this French film about art, grief, and family, and the place where these three converge.

The Cove * - Sad but thrillingly directed documentary about the annual herding and killing of thousands of dolphins in Japan, leaving the survivors held hostage for the rest of their lives as aquatic performers.

Every Little Step * - Anyone who loves theater will be in rapture over this documentary about the casting process for the recent Broadway revival of "A Chorus Line."

Humpday * - Low-budget but whip-smart comedy about the current emotional status of men in their late twenties/early thirties who may not be as hip and worldly as they proclaim.

Up in the Air - Wonderfully written black comedy stars George Clooney as a corporate axe-man who is addicted to frequent flyer miles and the dubious independence such a habit creates. Great work, too, from newcomer Anna Kendrick.

500 Days of Summer * - Zooey Deshenal and Joseph-Gordon Levitt are superb as a couple whose love affair is told in charming and sometimes mournful flash-backs and flash-forwards.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox -Quirky director Wes Anderson's witty, wise, and painstakingly rendered stop-motion animation version of a Roald Dahl children's book that's probably more entertaining for adult audiences.

Tetro - Francis Ford Coppola's melodrama about two brothers attempts to carve a relationship out of their estrangement is operatic and gorgeously photographed in pristine black-and-white.

An Education - A star is born in the form of Carey Mulligan's beautiful performance as a British teenage girl in the 1960s who boldly leaves adolescence behind when she falls for a 30ish charismatic cad.

Cynthia Haines's favorite films OF 2009

Tetro Francis Ford Coppola / stars Vincent Gallo

Precious Gabby Sideba / Mo'nique

Hurt Locker Jeremy Renner

Up in the Air George Clooney, Vera Farmiga

Away We Go Maya Rudolph, John Kasinski

An Education Carey Mulligan, Peter Saargaard

In the Loop James Galdofini

It Might Get Loud The Edge (U2)/Jimmy Page and Jack White

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