Burnt Zombie Awards 2009
It’s been a hectic last few weeks here at BurnAllZombies: those of you who know us will know why it’s been a bit quiet on the updates, but with 2010 just around the corner, updates will be coming at you so fast, you won’t know what’s hit you.
New Year’s Eve is as good a time as any to look back over some of the best of what 2009 had to over. On that note, we bring you the inaugural Burnt Zombie Awards, a run-down of the finest movies, games, music, TV and comics had to offer this year. Of course, if you disagree, we can discuss below. It’s not as if we’ll send the zombies around if we don’t agree with you…
Movie Of The Year (Drama/Comedy/Romance): Synecdoche, New York
It may have been a 2008 film, but it only got released here in Ireland this year, and even then, only in limited cinemas. Still, Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut was everything you would expect from the writer of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind: brilliant, bold, witty, confusing, and ultimately heartbreaking.
Philip Seymour Hoffman took centre stage as Caden Cotard, a hypochondriac writer struggling to reconcile the stage with real life, as both his work and his life begin to crumble around him. The star’s performances are legendary, and it’s unfortunate that this movie was somewhat overshadowed by his Oscar nomination for Doubt, not least because of the performances from a supporting cast that includes Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Tom Noonan and Dianne Wiest. By the end of the film, neither the audience nor Cotard himself are sure what is real and what isn’t (and perhaps Kaufman doesn’t know himself) but it doesn’t make the film any less moving.
Movie Of The Year (Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror): Star Trek
Hands down one of the year’s most entertaining and successful films, Star Trek proved to surpass most expectations at the box office: we expected something good, but never something this good. Rebooting the ailing franchise, J.J. Abrams brought his back to the beginning with an origin story for the original crew of the USS Enterprise that established itself in a new universe while lovingly acknowledging a history that spans over five decades.
Perhaps more interesting was the fact that Star Trek didn’t feel rushed, but crammed a hell of a lot of action into it’s running time, never letting up on the adrenaline, but never letting the story slip either. It’s the first film in a long time that won over new fans to the series, usually a good sign when eleven movies in, and it doesn’t look like this will the final frontier or anything like it.
Avatar; Paranormal Activity; The House Of The Devil; Moon
Game Of The Year (Cross-Platform): Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham Asylum takes the Burnt Zombie for Game Of The Year, with its rich story, impressive graphics and some seriously fun gameplay. Although there have been plenty of games that have put players in control of the Caped Crusader, few others have had the depth to the character as this game, embracing the tactical elements of Batman’s nocturnal exploits as well as the combat techniques of one of the best fighters that comic books have to offer. Not to mention what it’s like in the shoes (and cape) of the World’s Greatest Detective.
With a sequel already announced, it’s probably unlikely that we’ll be limited to Arkham Asylum for further adventures, but that may even be a disappointment: the asylum’s location on an island gave the game a sandbox feel, with no areas off-limits or out-of-bounds. If any further games can do the same with Gotham City itself, they may just blow everything else out of the water.
Assassin’s Creed II
Game Of The Year (Platform Exclusive): Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
The further adventures of Nathan Drake couldn’t have come sooner. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was a difficult game to improve upon, but its sequel did just that, bringing the humour and action of treasure hunting to the video game world that the fourth Indiana Jones movie failed to bring to the cinema. With the secret of ultimate power hanging in the balance, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves manages to turn the action up to eleven while still having time to throw in a femme fatale, a love triangle and a mythical city, making the PS3 a must-have console for this must-have game.
Game Of The Year (Downloadable/DLC): Shadow Complex
A platforming game with 8-bit style sensibilities, but in 2.5D and massive guns, Epic Games (also known as the guys behind Gears Of War) brought Shadow Complex to the XBox 360, allowing players to explore a vast underground facility while uncovering a dark conspiracy that reaches to the top of the US government. What set Shadow Complex apart was that the game was customisable, and could be finished at several points, each leading to a different experience. And of course, let’s not forget the foam gun.
‘Splosion Man; Marvel Vs Capcom 2; Fallout 3 DLC
Album Of The Year: Lady GaGa ‘The Fame Monster’
Pop, rock, dance…you name it, and there were traces of it on Lady GaGa’s second album. Not content to provide the soundtrack of the year with The Fame, the album was re-released with all new tracks and bundled with a new album in the shape of The Fame Monster. Over the course of twelve months, Lady GaGa has worked with some of the top names in music, as a writer and a singer, and it doesn’t look like she’ll be stopping any time soon. What’s more impressive, though, is that you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone, no matter how “hardcore” who hasn’t found themselves singing along to one of the artist’s songs over the last year.
Florence & The Machine’s Lungs; Thrice’s Beggars
Show Of The Year (Drama/Comedy/Romance): Modern Family
A dysfunctional (and not-so-conventional) family who love to hate each other: thankfully, Modern Family doesn’t have any will-they-won’t-they distractions, but instead a ribald dark look at family life. From the creators of Frasier, it’s like Al Bundy never left our screens, and I challenge anyone to watch the show without seeing some members of their own family brought to life.
Show Of The Year (Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror): LOST
Continuing to bring the finest in WTF-ery, Lost‘s fifth season jumped around in time before settling into answering…well, it still didn’t many questions, but we know it’s on its way there. But in a season that marked the series’ landmark 100th episode, along with some departures, what LOST hasn’t been giving in answers, it’s certainly providing in the shape of drama.
V; True Blood
Comic Series Of The Year: Dark Avengers – Brian Michael Bendis
What happens when the bad guys pretend to be good guys while…they’re kind of trying to really be good guys, even though they might be bad guys at heart? If you’re reading Dark Avengers, then you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, then why not? The series has brought some wonderful moments in its relatively short run so far, most of them involving Norman Osborn’s nefarious plans, slipping mental health and The Sentry being blown to bits. Repeatedly. The future of Dark Avengers really depends on what comes from Marvel’s Siege storyline, but 2009 has certainly been the year for this book.
Thunderbolts – Andy Diggle; Uncanny X-Men – Matt Fraction; Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man – Brian Michael Bendis