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Entries in Year in Review (106)


August. It's a Wrap

This long hot summer is finally over. If you were at the beach for most of it, you're smart. So get caught up with the best of what we typed up these past 31 days with our excessively sweaty hands.

Blondes have more fun angst: Captain America and The Driver

Drive "People Will Love it Ten Years From Now!"
Unsung Heroes: Once Upon a Time in the West Michael C looks at the cinematography of this classic 
Academy Mixer bury this in a time capsule please: Liz, Natalie, Audrey! 
Complete The Sentence sure was fun to read about your favorite scenes in current movies 
Disney Princesses as Fashionistas an illustrated set 
5 Thoughts on Kaboom Gregg Araki needs to shake things up  
5 Frames That Accurately Describe Ridley Scott's Bladerunner Sequel Plans

Topic O' Month: The Help kept selling tickets & sparking conversation 
Most Eyeballs: The Cast of Magic Mike (NSFW gallery of Steven Soderbergh's strippers)
Hot Conversations: Q&A: Julianne Pfeiffer, Musicals, Director Ressurections (the new series Q&A got y'all talking each time) 

Coming in September:
The Film Experience will be on a less frequent or possibly erratic posting schedule for the next week or so, a pre-season catnap if you will. The brand new and improved (or at least refreshed) season of The Film Experience begins on Tuesday, September 13th. Be here for prestige film season, Oscar mania, the return of many of your favorite weekly series, and the debut of "Actress Land"!


List-Mania: Goodbye Summer 2011

Before we move on to our new and hopefully joyous Fall Movie Season (which begins September 13th here at TFE) let's look back briefly on the season that was... the movies that opened from May to August. How do we look back? With lists of course.

Three Best Uses of 3D

  • Glee: The 3D Concert Movie - Heather Morris's boobs. ("Brittany S. Pierce" has long since surpassed "Coach Sylvester" as Glee's comedic MVP. If only the Emmys had noticed for their season 2 specific nominations).
  • Transformers Dark of the Moon - the top of that building cracking and tipping over... and that time that Shia Labeouf almost fell to his death.
  • Every Movie That Opted Not To Use It.

Ten Performances That Made the Summer

Three Movies I'm Relieved I Didn't Have To See

  • The Smurfs (22% RT rating), Zookeeper (12% RT rating), and The Change-Up (22% RT rating).

Most Terrible Twosome I Did See

  • Green Lantern (27% RT rating), and Cars 2 (37% RT rating).

Eight Movies I Feel Weirdest About Missing and I'll Get To ½ of Them Eventually...Or Sooner

  • One Day, The Whistleblower, The Future, The Devil's Double, Winnie the Pooh, Horrible Bosses, Trollhunter and The Beaver

 Two Quickest Memory Fades

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and that's the actual truth and not meant as a diss on franchises which overstay their welcome. I'm using a spreadsheet of all screenings for this list and barely remember any single exciting moment from either picture... though the mermaid attack in On Stranger Tides lingers the most from these two pictures.

Delicious Looking Edibles


  • Minnie's pies in The Help (well, excluding the one with a co-starring role)
  • All "Cake Baby" items from Bridesmaids
  • Ryan Gosling "Seriously? It's like your photoshopped."


Great Moments in Movies That Didn't Totally Work For Me Otherwise

  • Super 8's best moment comes very early as the crew of child filmmakers prep for a big train station scene in their zombie epic only to be gobsmacked by Elle Fanning's prodigious screen presence; they almost don't notice that train hurtling towards them, such is the power of actressing. [reviewed]
  • X-Men First Class has several fine moments -- almost all of them involving Magneto -- so why didn't the movie work for me? In retrospect I mostly blame the actual first class of dull, less then fully embodied mutant students. [full review]
  • Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) comic fish-out-of-water arrogance in the diner amused. [reviewed]

Movie I Didn't See ...Except That I Did

  • The Hangover Part 2 - I accidentally saw the first one again during the summer, and based on reviews and internet commentary that means that I did see Part 2 provided I can imagine it taking place in Bangkok which, as it turns out, I can. Saved myself $13!

Ten Best Animals (Ranked)
This list is dedicated to the narrating cat in The Future which I really am going to see soon. What's up with my procrastination?!?


  1. Nim (chimpanzee) Project NIM
  2. Cesar (chimpanzee) Rise of the Planet of the Apes 
  3. Arthur (dog) Beginners 
  4. dinosaurs (dinosaurs) The Tree of Life
  5. Flora (elephant) One Lucky Elephant
  6. Maurice (orangutan) in Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  7. Bridal Party Shower Favors (puppies) in Bridesmaids
  8. Buck (gorilla) in Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  9. Willie Nelson (dog) in Our Idiot Brother
  10. Nagini (snake) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2



Ten Best Movies (Chronologically Speaking)

  • MAY: Bridesmaids, Midnight in Paris, Tuesday After Christmas, The Tree of Life
  • JUNE: Beginners (review) a dark dark movie month it would've been without this moving film;
  • JULY:  Project NIM (which opened just one month too early to capitalize on what an amazing double feature it makes with Rise of the Planet of the Apes -- thoughts on the movie), Captain America: The First Avenger (review) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (thoughts on the movie).
  • AUGUST: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and either The Help (review) or Higher Ground... both of which have their problems as films but make up for it with plentiful actressing.

and that's yours in the comments. Name your 3 or more favorite anything from Summer 2011. GO! 


July. It's a Wrap

Only one month of this infernal heat to go and we enter Prestige Season, our collective favorite time of year when the A list festivals begin and Hollywood starts its four month-long unveiling of presumed Oscar heavy hitters. Here are a dozen highlights from July in case your brain melted and you've barely been cognizant.

super soldiers and their cocoons

My Magnificent Aliens Obsession Kurt shared some face-hugging childhood memories during Aliens week
Highest Paid Actresses What are they worth to you?
Shouldn't "Best" Mean Something? yet more Oscar rule changes. 
True Blood Reviewed I'm having fun doing these. Hope you're enjoying. 

Actress Character Wins Miranda Priestley and Clarice Starling and other iconic characters from the past two decades of cinema.
Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause Love her. Love it.
1986 Nick and Nathaniel share 80s memories and revisit Oscar and Cannes favorites 
Complete the Sentences... what would you use Captain America's shield for? 

popular: Stage Door: Disney's Aladdin and Happy Birthday Sandra Bullock... I Guess
comments galore: Emmy nominations and Harry Potter Goodbyes

The Others (10th anniversary!), Fright Night, Higher Ground, Fall series promo, Judy Garland, Jane Eyre, Planet of the Apes, Raven of RuPaul's Drag U, Lucille Ball centennial, Armie Hammer, Win Win, summer recap, festival plans and more.


Halfway Honors. Best of 2011 Thus Far

This year seems to be off to a slow start but here's what I'd choose as the best of the year thus far. I've excluded films that are still waiting for their proper release like Andrew Haigh's finely tuned miniature gay drama Weekend (which has been collecting festival trophies and which I loved) and Paddy Considine's discomfiting abuse drama Tyrannosaur which I did not love but which boasts impressive acting.

TOP TEN PICTURES (alpha order)
The Arbor, Beginners, Bridesmaids, Certified Copy, Jane Eyre, Midnight in Paris, Poetry, Rango, The Tree of Life and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. You can see a complete list of what I've seen here.

[Notable films that I did plan to see but will have to catch on DVD include: Hanna, The Housemaid and Win Win]

Clio Barnard - THE ARBOR
Lee Chang-dong - POETRY
Abbas Kiarostami -CERTIFIED COPY
Terrence Malick -THE TREE OF LIFE

notes: I gave Barnard the slight edge over Apichatpong Weerathesakul mostly because I far prefer "Joe's" earlier effort Tropical Malady to Boonmee. But not without some hesitation. I appreciated the bold experimentation of The Arbor, a documentary/narrative hybrid about the life and work of playwright and screenwriter Andrea Dunbar (Rita, Sue and Bob, Too). I just wish the film had been tighter and less relentless in its last 45 minutes. It had already done so much surgical socioeconomic surveillance damage by that point that rather than feeling devastating it started to feel exhausting. But it's definitely worth a look.

Juliette Binoche - CERTIFIED COPY
Yun Jeong-Hie -POETRY
Mia Wasikowska - JANE EYRE
Kristen Wiig - BRIDESMAIDS
Michelle Williams -MEEKS CUTOFF

actors and the supporting crop and even a few technicals if you just...

Click to read more ...


O Canada, we stand on link for thee!

Pajiba celebrates the hottest Canadian celebrities for Canada day. I didn't even know that Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Helo  (Tamhoh Penikett) were Canadian.
Movie|Line opts for "badass Canadians" like Carrie-Anne Moss and Nathan Fillion. 
unexamined / essentials Lovely review of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. (I hadn't considered Gil's insomnia before.) Hey maybe when Woody is done with Rome he should continue his world tour in Canada. Maybe Montreal? Winnipeg?
Guardian a new book of private candids of Elizabeth Taylor and famous friends. Fun fact: Liz married Richard Burton (the first time at least) in Canada. The second time they were married in Botswona. Obviously.

Brando & Liz, so candid its almost demystifying.

Rants of a Diva Halfway Report: best rentals, hot boys, best films, and more...
CHUD Why there's no sequel to Spike Lee's Inside Man and what might be next for him. 
Awards Daily They're now calling The Invention of Hugo Cabret, "Hugo" only. Gah, DULL. Audiences are so dumb. Or Hollywood thinks they are. It amounts to the same thing.

Telegraph Whoa. Tim Robey kinda likes Transformers Dark of the Moon. I love this bit especially...

If you wonder why it had to take a spirit-taxing two and a half hours about this, it’s because Bay’s ego clearly considers it logically irrefutable that the longer one of his films is, the better it must be.

You can say the same, unfortunately, for many far greater auteurs. Length -- one might say dick-measuring --almost always comes with the territory of being a respected auteur, whether you're respected for your art or your money-generating craft... the same thing tends to happen.
My New Plaid Pants meanwhile JA fears he'll go see it this very weekend "like some sort of brain-damaged masochist." hee.


Finally, Clothes on Film has a fine piece on Kate Winslet's omnipresent floral housedress in Todd Haynes' remake of Mildred Pierce (which should be cleaning up in the Emmy nominations in a couple of weeks -- I'm most curious to see if/how many supporting actress nods it manages since I suspect Brian F. O'Byrne and Kate Winslet are givens). Ann Roth was the costume designer for that miniseries. You can see an interview with Ann Roth about her designing process (not a Mildred interview) here.


June. It's a Wrap

2011 is now half over. [Gulp] Well that got away from us. If you were offline for June -- and if so my god why? -- please revisit some highlights from the month that was. 


Most Discussed: 10 Best Picture Nominees... or Less 
Most Popular: X-Men: First Class Review
"Live Blog" Madness: MTV Movies and The Tony Awards
Series Debut: Cinema de Gym


New Oscar Predictions (next weekend!)... and there's a lot of new info to parse, Harry Potter "It All Ends", the Italian classic Rocco and His Brothers, summer's last superhero Captain America: The First Avenger, Cowboys & Aliens, New York City's Judy Garland's retrospective, and a 25th anniversary celebration of Lt. Ellen Ripley and Aliens (1986). "Get Away from her you bitch!" right here at the Film Experience and other participating blogs.


May. It's a Wrap

One more month until the "halfway mark" for 2011. Of course the film year is a bit different stretching basically from each March to the following February; the Oscar calendar, don'cha know!

Best of May In Case You Missed It...

Most Popular Post Game of Thrones
I guess everyone wanted to discuss HBO's new show
Runner Up: Top Ten: Tom Hardy From Behind
Most Discussed Timetables Tween Films
We're so Goldliocks. Which directors are fast, slow and "just right".
Runner Up: Cannes Winners

Moulin Rouge!, X-Men new and old, Super 8, Green Lantern, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, DVD Reader's Choice, True Blood Season 4, and more to be determined by our whims and your enthusiasms.