I'm taking a few days off and will return to work on January 11. I leave you with this year's edition of the Herald Movie Yearbook, which ran in today's paper. Here's a taste. Check out the whole thing here.
Best opening sequence: A French farmer, a Nazi colonel and two delicious glasses of milk in Inglourious Basterds.
Best explosion: The climactic bang in Angels and Demons.
Best special-effects demo reel: The implosion of Los Angeles in Roland Emmerich's 2012.
Best kiss: Ellen Page and Landon Pigg's underwater makeout session in Whip It; hold your breath.
Worst kiss: Paul Rudd and Thomas Lennon in I Love You, Man; the perils of man-dates. (``He got up in there. A whole bunch of tongue, deep in my mouth.'')
Best closing shot: Stormy weather approaches in A Serious Man.
Best closing line (tie): ``This may well be my masterpiece.'' -- Inglourious Basterds / ``Nice to meet you; I'm Autumn.'' -- (500) Days of Summer.
Best portrayal of a woman under the influence: Tilda Swinton as the titular heroine in Julia, who hatches the worst kidnapping plot in history. It always seems like a good idea after eight cocktails.
Best closing credits: The Hangover. Did I really just see what I think I saw?
Best offscreen death: In A Serious Man, a curve in the road, a left-hand turn signal and a blinking taillight.
Best use of split-screen: The ``Expectations'' vs. ``Reality'' sequence in (500) Days of Summer.
Best rationalization: ``Before you know it, you'll be on to new opportunities,'' corporate cleaner George Clooney, hired by companies to inform people they're being laid off, in Up in the Air.
Best fight: A bank loan officer (Alison Lohman) and an old gypsy (Lorna Raver) get it on inside a car in Sam Raimi's delirious Drag Me To Hell. Bring it!
Best shoot-out: Clive Owen fends off wave after wave of bad guys inside the Guggenheim Museum, until the walls look like they're made of cheese, in The International.
Best example of getting to the point: The one-word title of Fighting.
Best proof all he ever wanted to do was animate: Director Wes Anderson's endearing Fantastic Mr. Fox, the stop-motion cartoon he always had in him.
Most educational film: The British political satire In the Loop, which taught us 8 million new ways to curse, taunt and insult.
Biggest box office underperformer: Kathryn Bigelow's searing war drama The Hurt Locker.
Biggest box office overperformer: Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
Most discomfiting use of nudity: A streaker runs amok in a shopping mall in Observe and Report.
Most discomfiting sex scene: In An Education, an older man (Peter Sarsgaard) preparing to deflower his 16-year-old girlfriend (Carey Mulligan) offers her a banana, thinking it might help. Uh, no.
Best career comeback: After fading somewhat from the public eye, Sandra Bullock returned big time with three movies (The Proposal, All About Steve and The Blind Side), two of them box office smashes.
Worst movie: The Ugly Truth.
Longest stretch of sustained suspense: A British film critic, a German movie star and two Basterds play a drinking game with Nazis for 25 nail-biting minutes in Inglourious Basterds.
Most unfairly maligned movie: The widely panned flop Jennifer's Body. There's more than meets the eye here.
Best cinematography: The impossibly luminous black-and-white images by cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. in Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro; or, Rumble Fish Redux.
Best use of a hackneyed plot twist: The hunter becomes the hunted in District 9. What's wrong with his hand?
Best silent sequence : The depiction of a lifelong romance, from beginning to end, in Pixar Animation's Up.
Most rousing use of sports-movie cliches: Drew Barrymore's roller derby comedy Whip It (sports as slumber party).
Dullest use of sports-movie cliches: Clint Eastwood's snooze-inducing Invictus (sports as politics).
Best proof all that numerology nonsense in Knowing may not have been so crazy: 9, Nine and District 9 were all released in -- gulp -- 2009.
Best Miami homeboy made good: Phil Lord (pictured above, left), co-writer and director (with Chris Miller, on the right) of the trippy $120 million hit Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
Most phoned-in performance: Dennis Quaid in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Because celebrities need to pay their mortgages, too.
Best justification to go through the trouble of seeing James Cameron's Avatar in IMAX 3D: The brief but seriously awesome shots of mano-a-mano combat between the 10-foot-tall Na'vi aliens and human marines (reportedly the most expensive and difficult shots in the entire movie). More, please.
Best remake: Star Trek.
Worst remake: Fame.
Most redundant remake: All the unnecessary horror film remakes no one went to see (The Last House on the Left, Friday the 13th, The Stepfather, Halloween II).
Best sequel: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Bring on those deathly hallows!
Worst sequel (tie): Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and The Pink Panther 2.
Most bloated sequel: Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.
Most superfluous sequel: Terminator Salvation.
Best-kept plot secret: The big surprise in the evil-seed thriller Orphan. Didn't see that one coming!
Best dunce: The slack-jawed male gigolo in Mike Judge's Extract (played by Dustin Milligan) -- a mouth-breather extraordinaire.
Best jump-scare: Death by exploding cellphone in Law Abiding Citizen.
Best example of a movie trailer giving away the whole show: Judd Apatow's Funny People. You want to know why your movie flopped? Because people saw it for free the first time around, when you crammed the entire thing into three-and-a-half minutes.
Most controversial use of high-def cameras: Michael Mann's love-it or hate-it Public Enemies, recreating the past using toys from the future.
Most effective use of high-def cameras: Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience.
Best musical number: Best Morning Ever. In (500) Days of Summer, a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) walks to work the day after spending the night for the first time with his new girlfriend (Zooey Deschanel) while the city around him celebrates him with a Hall & Oates song.
Best use of a music video within a film: Gael Garcia Bernal's Spanish-language cover of Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me in Rudo y Cursi.
Strangest third act: Richard Kelly's supposedly mainstream The Box, unmooring itself from all reality in its final half-hour and wafting away on a cloud of wonderful weirdness.
Best surprise cameo: You-know-who in Zombieland.
2010 movie I am most anticipating: Christopher Nolan's Inception.