10. 3D
We've come a long way from the days of red-and-blue glasses and on-screen gimmickry. Sure, we can still chuckle at a well-placed pick-axe or blood spatter flying at us from the screen, as we did in this year's 3-D horror flicks My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Final Destination. But when 3-D is in the hands of a visionary like Henry Selick (Coraline) or James Cameron (Avatar), it takes on, pardon the pun, new dimension. In their films, harnessing 3-D is the final step in putting the viewer inside the film. Could a realistic update of Smell-o-Vision be next? -- JY

9. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Vampires had to share some of the supernatural romantic spotlight this year as New Moon brought some werewolves out to play. The second installment of the Twilight Saga may have made paper cuts a ridiculously dangerous proposition, but it also became a record-breaking release of love, lust, and bitten lips. Like it or not, the vamps and super-cuddly wolves aren't going anywhere. -- MB

8. Avatar
James Cameron's back! With blue cat-monkey people riding pterodactyls and shooting machine guns at Transformers ... in 3-D! -- DT

7. Star Trek
William Shatner and his crew worked on the Starship Enterprise for over 20 years. When they finally handed space over to The Next Generation, no one dared touch their iconic roles ... until another 20 years later when J.J. Abrams dared to re-explore the worlds of Captain Kirk and his crew. Without the only actors the characters have ever known, Abrams managed to make Star Trek soar, finding a crew that made the world their own, while also staying true to many aspects we know and love. -- MB

6. Sandra Bullock
Who'd have thought 2009 would become Bullock's biggest year yet, even with the cringe-inducing misstep known as All About Steve? First came her role-reversal rom-com The Proposal (which she also executive produced), which opened at #1 and went on to gross $163.9 million. Next, The Blind Side, a feel-good football drama and the surprise hit of the season that's already topped $150 million in less than a month. Can Bullock turn her hot streak into victory at the Golden Globes (where she's nominated for both hits in different categories) and, dare we say it, her very first Oscar nomination? -- JY

5. Celebs on Twitter
It used to be that celebrities coveted their privacy, but that went out the window during the Twitter boom of 2009. Suddenly, broadcasting one's every move in 140 characters or less became a must-have publicity weapon for everyone from A-list celebs like Jon Favreau (who Tweeted updates on Iron Man 2) to anyone with the last name Kardashian. It's a brilliant way to turn what used to be called "stalkers" into "followers," and really, who doesn't want more followers? (You can find us at Twitter.com/cinematical.) Downside: even celebs can get Twitter-dumb. (We're looking at you, Ashton Kutcher. Remember that one time you Twitpic-ed Demi's butt?) -- JY

4. George Clooney
George Clooney is usually in the spotlight, but 2009 was a particularly banner year. He not only returned to the role that helped make him a superstar – Doug Ross in ER, but also produced Playground, The Informant!, and The Men Who Stare at Goats, and had key roles in Goats, Up in the Air, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. As the year comes to a close, his work continues to soar as Up in the Air finds a lot of award nominations and best-of love. -- MB

3. Duncan Jones and Neill Blomkamp
While J.J. Abrams has made Star Trek and sci-fi mainstream, the cool kids are all about Duncan Jones and Neill Blomkamp. I don't want to disparage the fun that was "Trek," but I think many would agree that Moon and District 9 were a breath of fresh, original air. If sci-fi is to become a formidable presence at the multiplex again, we need unique storytellers like these to carry the torch. Luckily, Jones already has several projects brewing, including Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal. Blomkamp's next is top secret, but it's said to be another extraterrestrial adventure. Rumor has it that Paramount desperately wanted him for Dune. For once it seems the suits and the geeks are united – we want Jones and Blomkamp to direct everything. -- ER

2. Paranormal Activity
After terrifying jaded audiences at festivals like Screamfest in 2007 and Slamdance in 2008, this ultra-low-budget, ultra-simple movie -- about a young couple haunted by a demon -- finally made it into wide release this fall. The result? $108 million at the box office and a lot of people sleeping with the lights on. -- ES

1. Sci-Fi
This year was an overflowing cornucopia for the sci-fi fan. We got a pretty kickin' reboot of Star Trek, wonderful indie fare like District 9 and Moon, and James Cameron's latest epic, Avatar – the film that needed new technology just to complete it. These films showed that sci-fi isn't some niche field that can easily sink into repetitive mediocrity destined only for the most loyal fanbase, but rather a genre that has a little something for everyone. -- MB
categories Cinematical