As 2009 comes to a close, ESSENCE.com presses rewind and takes a look back at some of our favorite movie moments of the year.
Year in Movies
The Princess and the Frog
We were beyond thrilled to learn that Disney was creating a new princess, in our likeness.Set in 1920s New Orleans, this animated gem shined the spotlight on an aspiring restaurateur who found her prince when she wasn't even looking.Along with Tony winner Anika Noni Rose, the film - which nabbed the #1 spot at the box office and earned a Golden Globe nod for Best Animated Feature - included the voices of Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Jenifer Lewis and Keith David.
Who else but Chris Rock could helm a documentary that made us laugh (and think!) about our hair issues?Big up to Raven-Symone', Reverend Al Sharpton and our November cover girl, Nia Long, for keeping the dialogue honest.The lesson?Good hair is healthy hair.
Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself
Following up on the success of Madea Goes to Jail, Perry brought the drama for his second release this year.Songbirds Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige joined Taraji P. Henson and Madea in this story about family and forgiveness.
This epic, 3-D adventure introduced us to the glorious world of Pandora, home of the Na'vi tribe.Though they are animated - in blue - for the entire movie, seeing Zoe Saldana, CCH Pounder and Laz Alonso in character was well worth the cost of the IMAX experience.
Michael Jackson's This Is It
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to the King of Pop just weeks before his 50-date concert came to fruition, but we were thankful to have gotten a glimpse into his genius.He might've left us too soon, but we'll never forget the music and magic of Michael Jackson.
Morgan Freeman takes the lead as Nelson Mandela in this true-life story of how the then-President united his country by rallying its rugby team to compete in the 1995 World Cup Championship.So far, Freeman, already an Oscar winner, has earned Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.
Often misunderstood, "Iron" Mike Tyson offered us a glimpse into his triumphs, struggles and missteps, both inside and outside of the ring.Between tears and laughs, the former heavyweight champion held nothing back while chronicling his complex life journey.
Based on a true story, the film - starring Alfre Woodard and newcomer, Nicole Beharie - follows the journey of a single mother of four who is falsely-accused of selling drugs in her Texas neighborhood.Against seemingly-insurmountable odds, she fights for her freedom - and wins.
Oscar winner, Jamie Foxx, tugged on our heartstrings in this true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally-ill, classically-trained violinist who struggles to find his way back from homeless in Los Angeles.
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Even before Lady O. and Tyler P. signed on as executive producers, the buzz hovering over Push was near-deafening.Now that the film, and its stars, is racking up nominations left-and-right, we'll be sure to keep our fingers tightly-crossed.First up:the Golden Globes Awards on January 17.
Twelve years after his untimely death, the life and times of the Notorious B.I.G. were chronicled in this biopic.Though Lil' Kim was a bit bruised by her portrayal (and rightfully so), newcomer, Jamal Woolard, was eerily-convincing in the lead role.Brooklyn was definitely in the house.
To the delight of "trekkies" around the world, Hollywood took a stab at tracing the early days of Captain Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crewmembers.While it was amazing to see Kirk and Spock in their younger years, the highlight of the film - which topped off at $385 million - was watching Zoe Saldana bring Uhura to life on the big screen.
An adaptation of the film, When She Was White, this indie flick film unearthed the true story of a black girl born to white Afrikaner parents, both of whom were unaware of their black ancestry.As usual, Sophie Okonedo delivered a powerful performance in the lead role in the film, set during the Apartheid era.
More Than a Game
Ever wondered about the makings of a champion?Lebron James answered that question in this spirited documentary, which traces his triumphant journey from grade school-hooper to one of the NBA's finest.Now we know why they call him "King James."
Ice Age 3:Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Queen Latifah proved that the third time is the charm when she reprised her role as Ellie, the mammoth, in Ice Age 3.And this time around, Ellie surprised her hubby with an announcement that she was eating for two!.
Rather than waiting on Hollywood to call, Michael Jai White decided to take the independent route.As writer and star of this hilarious nod to Blaxploitation, White delivered an on-the-money portrayal of ass-kicking Black Dynamite, a man who puts as much energy into fighting against "the Man" as he does with romancing the ladies.
Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail
Once again, Madea proved that she's got serious box office cred.Perry enlisted Keshia Knight Pulliam, Derek Luke and Viola Davis for this big-screen adaptation of his stageplay of the same name, which raked in $40 million on opening weekend.
Next Day Air
Nothing seems to go right for a slack, delivery guy named Leo (Donald Faison) after he leaves a confidential package at the wrong door.For his feature film debut, music video director, Benny Boom, kept us on the edge of our seats, especially once the rightful owners of that package come a-knocking, hard.
Touted as one of the best disaster flicks to date, 2012 features British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, as a scientist-with-a-plan to save Mother Earth.Danny Glover stars in the coveted role as the Commander-in-Chief.