critics’ picks – top tv of 2013


Well it’s that time again, time to look at the year gone by. And it might have been the last of Breaking Bad (though I was one of the few who couldn’t stick it out), but there is still a good amount of good to be had. And of course plenty to catch up binge on. Our first list is some of our critics (and award noms) for the best television series in the past year. Take a look at the key to the critics with links below for more info. And of course stay tuned for my top ten list.

  • 30 Rock (NBC) – TG
  • Almost Human (Fox) – TG
  • The Americans (FX) – JP, AFI, TG, MH, MRo
  • American Horror Story (FX) – JJ
  • Archer (Fx) – TG
  • Arrested Development (Net) – JJ, TG, E
  • Big Bang Theory (CBS) – GG
  • The Blacklist (NBC) – TG
  • Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – AS, TG
  • Bobs Burgers (Fox) – JP, GG
  • Borgen (Link) – MR, MMc
  • Breaking Bad (AMC) – JP, MM, JJ, AFI, AS, MR, GG, TG, E, MH, MRo, MMc
  • The Bridge (Fx) – TG
  • Broadchurch (BBCA) – MR, TG, MRo
  • Brooklyn 99 (Fox) – GG, TG
  • Bunheads (ABCF) – MH
  • Downton Abbey (PBS) – GG
  • Drunk History (Com) – RL
  • Elementary (CBS) – TG
  • Enlightened (HBO) – JP, MM, AS, MR, TG, MMc
  • The Fall (Net) – JJ, TG
  • Family Tree (HBO) – TG
  • Foyle’s War (PBS) – MMc
  • Frontline (PBS) – MH
  • Game of Thrones (HBO) – JP, MM, AFI, MR, TG, E, MRo, MMc
  • Girls (HBO) – GG, TG
  • The Goldbergs (ABC) – TG
  • The Good Wife (CBS) – JP, MM, AFI, AS, GG, E, TG, MH, MRo, MMc
  • Grimm (NBC) – TG, MH
  • Hannibal (NBC) – AS, TG
  • The Hollow Crown (PBS) – TG, MH, RL
  • Homeland (Show) – MMc
  • House of Cards (Net) – MM, JJ, AFI, GG, TG
  • Incredible Crew (Cart) – RL
  • Inside Amy Schumer (Com) – RL
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Fx) – TG
  • Justified (Fx) – TG
  • Key & Peele (Com) – TG
  • Last Tango in Halifax (PBS) – MMc
  • Legit (Fx) – TG
  • Low Winter Sun (AMC) – AS
  • Luther (BBCA) – TG
  • Mad Men (AMC) – JP, MM, JJ, AFI, AS, MR, TG
  • Maron (IFC) – TG
  • Master Chef Junior (Fox) – RL
  • Masters of Sex (Show) – AFI, AS, MR, GG, TG, MRo
  • The Middle (ABC) – MRo
  • The Mindy Project (Fox) – E
  • Modern Family (ABC) – GG, MRo
  • Moone Boy (Hulu) – TG, MH, RL
  • The Newsroom (HBO) – MH
  • Nikita (CW) – TG
  • Only the Young (PBS) – RL
  • Orange is the New Black (Net) – JP, MM, JJ, AFI, AS, MR, TG, E, MRo, MMc
  • Orphan Black (BBCA) – JP, JJ, MR, TG, E
  • Parenthood (NBC) – TG
  • Parks and Recreation (NBC) – JJ, GG, TG, E, MRo, MMc
  • Person of Interest (CBS) – TG
  • Please Like Me (Piv) – MM, RL
  • Portlandia (IFC) – TG
  • Prisoners of War (Hulu) – MH
  • Ray Donovan (Show) – MRo
  • Rectify (Sund) – JP, MR, TG, MRo, MMc
  • The Returned (Sund) – MM, MR, TG, MRo, RL
  • Scandal (ABC) – AFI, E
  • Sleepy Hollow (Fox) – TG
  • Southland (TNT) – AS, TG, MH
  • Time of Death (Show) – JJ
  • Top of the Lake (Sund) – MM, AS, MR, TG, MRo, RL
  • Veep (HBO) – AFI, TG, E
  • The Walking Dead (AMC) – TG, MH
  • The Wrong Mans (Hulu) – TG

AFI, AS – Alan Sepinwall, E!, DF – Daniel Fienberg for Hitfix, GG – Golden Globe NominationJJ – Jeff Jensen, JP – James Poniewozik for Time, MH – Mick Hale for NYT,  MM – Melissa Maerz for EW, MMc – Mary McNamara for LATimesMR – Maureen Ryan for Huffington Post, MRo – Matt Roush for TV GuideRL – Robert Lloyd for LATimes, TG – Tim Goodman for THR best ComediesCable Dramas, and Network Dramas

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procrastinator picks – must see movies


Looking back through the movies of the year it was difficult, as always, to cull ten of these. And then even more difficult trying to put them in order. Am I just getting too old to remember what I watched and how much I enjoyed it throughout the year? Perhaps if I start grading along the way it’ll ease my subjective recollection. Oh and of course I haven’t seen everything so check out what’s bold in the Critic’s Picks if you want to know what pool I was drawing from.

Standard caveats apply, it was a pretty indie year for me and here’s where I’m at, I think:

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – I’m a sucker for a misfit teen flick and this coming of age piece struck all the right notes, the awkward and the tragic are mixed with enough humor and truly touching moments, along with great cultural references to make it a real perk.
  2. Silver Linings Playbook – I thought Bradley Cooper, and the entire cast, did a beautiful job of conveying the edge of true crazy and the precarious balance that can push a person either way, while the wrap-up may have been a bit on the tidy side after a not so silver lined voyage I enjoyed it.
  3. The Hunger Games – So no I never read the books but I thought the flick did a great job of portraying a lot of content and a lot of action in a dystopian post-apocalyptic flick, while of course making me like that bow shooting, moral code keeping, Jennifer Lawrence all the more.
  4. Hit & Run – I had doubts about Kristen Bell’s dude Dax’s action comedy but quite enjoyed the chasing and fleeing of the recently discovered Witness Protectee trying to get his best gal to her nonviolent conflict resolution job interview, with a wonderful supporting cast.
  5. Safety Not Guaranteed – Low expectations are sometimes the best experiences, the quirky cast of Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, and Jake Johnson are well suited for this offbeat journalist covers a story about a dude who is gonna time travel, what happens when our undercover lady reporter gets too involved?
  6. Moonrise Kingdom – A very Wes Anderson film with great casting and an incredible visual style as we follow the romance of youngsters across a New England island, though it may not have been the perfect arc it hit all the right notes to make me appreciate the kingdom.
  7. Lincoln – That Daniel Day-Lewis does an amazing job portraying the man and the efforts around the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which is a good thing because it’s an awful lot of him telling Lincoln tales.
  8. The Dark Knight Rises – I maybe am not giving this movie credit based solely on this chapter, skewed by my love of this reinvention and of Christian Bale and my sadness to see it end, maybe a little too comparable to the initial take by the end I was still hoping to see what came next.
  9. Argo – Tense throughout, in almost a comical way, they did a nice job capturing the look and feel and emotion of the hidden non hostages from the US Embassy in Tehran and our hero Affleck who acted and directed their ordeal.
  10. Beasts of the Southern Wild – One is torn between wanting to get our young protagonist out of her isolated Louisiana bayou community and keeping it perfectly preserved, the mix of fantasy adds a nice touch to the journey of the storm and flooding as well as the family and community.

What did you love last year? Hate?

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critics’ picks – must see movies of 2012


I have officially reverted from my stance that I need to try to see all ‘good’ movies, or that I need to see all of the Academy Award, and in particular best pic, nominations. I’ll definitely catch a couple of these on dvd though I’m still debating ZDT… In bold you can see what I have seen to date, and stay tuned for the list of my faves from 2012. List of critics and awards referenced at the bottom with links to see what they have to say.

  • 2 Days in New York – ML
  • 28 Hotel Rooms – ML
  • Amour – AOS, AA, OG, KT, LS, MD, RC
  • Anna Karenina – RC
  • Argo – AFI, AA, BA, BS, CC, CFC, GG, KT, LH, ML, NBR, OG, PGA, PH, LS, SA
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – AFI, AOS, AA, BS, CC, CFC, LS, NBR, PGA, PH, RC, SA
  • Bernie – GA, LH, OG, PH
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – GG
  • The Cabin in the Woods – PH
  • Cloud Atlas – LH
  • Dark Horse – RC
  • The Dark Knight Rises – AFI, KT, LH, PH, RC
  • The Deep Blue Sea – KT, MD, ML
  • The Details – ML
  • Detropia – BS
  • Django Unchained – AFI, AOS, AA, BS, CC, GG, ML, NBR, PGA
  • Dragon – RC
  • Farewell My Queen – ML
  • Flight – OG
  • Footnote – AOS, KT
  • Frankenweenie – BS, RC
  • Gatekeepers – KT, LS, MD
  • Goodbye, First Love – AOS
  • The Grey – AOS
  • Holy Motors – MD
  • How to Survive a Plague – LS
  • The Impossible – BS
  • The Invisible War – RC
  • Killing them Softly – OG
  • The Law In These Parts – KT
  • Les Miserables – AFI, AA, BA, CC, GG, NBR, PGA, SA
  • Life of Pi – AFI, AA, BA, BS, CC, GG, PGA, RC, SA
  • Lincoln – AFI, AOS, AA, BA, BS, CC, CFC, GG, OG, PGA, KT, LH, LS, ML, NBR, PH, SA
  • The Loneliest Planet – GA, LS
  • Looper – NBR, PH
  • The Master – AOS, CC, CFC, GA, MD
  • Middle of Nowhere – GA, KT
  • Moonrise Kingdom – AFI, BS, CC, GA, GG, MD, PGA, SA
  • Neighboring Sounds – AOS
  • Not Fade Away – LH
  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – MD
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – NBR, OG
  • Promised Land – NBR
  • Quartet – LH
  • Robot & Frank – KT
  • Room 237 – OG
  • Rust and Bone – KT
  • Safety Not Guaranteed – KT
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – GG
  • Searching for Sugar Man – MD, PH
  • The Sessions – SA
  • Silver Linings Playbook – AFI, AA, BS, CC, GG, KT, MD, NBR, OG, PGA, PH, SA
  • Skyfall – BS, LH, LS, PGA, SA
  • The Waiting Room – LH, ML
  • Zero Dark Thirty – AFI, AOS, AA, BA, BS, CC, CFC, GG, OG, PGA, KT, LH, LS, MD, ML, NYFCC, PH, RC, SA

AFI – AFI Awards, AOS – A. O. Scott for NYT, AA – The Academy Awards, BA – Bafta Awards, BS – Betsey Sharkey for LAT, CC – Critics Choice, CFC – Chicago Film Critics, GA – Gotham Awards, GG –Golden Globes, OG – Owen Gleiberman for EW, KT – Kenneth Turan for LAT, LH – Leba Hertz for SFG, LS – Lisa Schwarzbaum for EW, MD – Manohla Dargis for NYT, ML – Mick LaSalle for SFG, NBR – National Board of Review, NYFCC – New York Film Critics Circle, PGA – Producers Guild, PH – Peter Hartlaub for SFG, RC – Richard Corliss for Time Magazine, SA – Satellite Awards

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my best books of 2012

imperfectionistsWell my reading seems to have dwindled this past year, not that I have anything else to show for it. And while I think I was less diligent about noting what I read this last year, even worse I can barely remember some of the books. But nonetheless it’s the end of the year(ish) and time to make some notations:

  • The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman – I really enjoy a multiple POV work and this look from various folks at and English language based paper in Rome does a great job of telling each story and the overarching tale, I thought it was a very good read.
  • Divisidaro by Michael Ondaatje – Another multi part piece, these three parts almost form a novel and I liked two of the three enough to enjoy the story of a broken family, though being in SF I was a little bummed for a less strong tie to Divisidaro street (don’t call it NOPA).
  • Skippy Dies by Paul Murray – We know he dies in the first handful of pages, which makes the tragedy of this prep-schooler’s tragic death more palatable as we go back to tell the story leading up to things with the challenges all around the students, families, and faculty.
  • You Don’t Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem – I can always count a good deal of random with Lethem and in this odd little riff centering on a gal touching on experimental installation art and music I was entertained enough on the ‘complaint line’ becoming hit tunes and the random relationships.
  • What Should I Do With My Life by Po Bronson – I think I told a friend I wanted this to be more of a self-help book, but Bronson gathers a good range of people’s stories and finding their ‘purpose’ while imparting a bit of his own story and narrative to wrap it all up that I found it intriguing.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/The Girl Who Played with Fire/The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larrson – I put these off for some time, for no real reason, but kicked in prior to catching the first US flick and I was surprised by how slightly off the formula these various tales of uncovering corruption and murders and various crimes focused from the investigative journalist’s perspective, the character of ‘the girl’ is always compelling even when she’s actually less present.
  • A Drink Before the War/Darkness Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane – I picked up the start of this old series and was engaged by the Boston detective and his gal pal PI as they get far too involved in far too violent crimes, they hold up to time though I laugh at the use of old technology.

And a few less than stellar notations:

  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides – I really dug both The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex but never quite got into this love triangle of post collegiate overly intellectualizing. 
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – There is a way to make an unappealing character interesting to me and then there are just well described super annoying people, I know enough annoying people in real life.
  • Riven Rock by T.C. Boyle – My mom had a bunch of TC Boyle in her stacks of books and as my first try… I actually finally gave up on this densely written book about a turn of the century sexually psychotic dude under care.

This year I vow to read more, and I also vow to stop reading books that I don’t dig. What are you reading?

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critic’s picks – best books of 2012

Bring-up-Bodies-Hilary-MantelAs most folks know, I don’t get around to books right away. Even the paperbacks that I purchase on initial release mostly sit stacked in the corner of my apartment, so clearly I haven’t gotten around to any of these. I will probably refer to this list for purchases next year and in years to come, and about now am referencing last year’s list. Stay tuned for the best of what I read this year.

  • The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg – Am
  • Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon – MK
  • This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz – Ti
  • Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers – Am, MK, NYT, SFG
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich – Am, PW, SFG
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – Am, JM
  • Canada by Richard Ford – WP
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain – Am, JM, SFG, Ti, WP
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French – WP
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Am, Ti
  • Arcadia by Laren Groff – JM, WP
  • The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – Am
  • The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle – PW
  • Truth Like the Sun by Jim Lynch – JM
  • Watergate by Thomas Mallon – JM
  • Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel – Am, JM, NYT, PW, Ti, WP
  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis – MK
  • Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan – Am
  • Dear Life by Alice Munro – SFG
  • Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain by Lucia Perillo – PW
  • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers – Am, MK, NYT
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling – Ti
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – JM, Ti
  • NW by Zadie Smith – NYT, Ti
  • At Last by Edward St. Aubyn – Ti
  • The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne Valente  – Ti
  • Building Stories by Chris Ware – NYT, PW, Ti, WP

I feel like my suppliers for top ten book lists has shrunken, anyone have any other good lists?

Am – Amazon, JM – Janet Maslin, MK – Michiko Kakutani, NYT – New York Times, PW – Publisher’s Weekly, SFG – SFGate, Ti – Time, WP – Washington Post

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procrastinator picks – top tv of 2012


Well the critics have weighed in, but what do I recommend? It’s hard to tell how unbiased I can look at each individual season but based on previous lists some shows are still faves and alas some shows have definitely dropped off. And of course there are some other shows in my queue, clearly I watch more than ten, or eleven, shows a year. Based on today’s thoughts here’s where I’m at:

  • Justified (Fx) – Raylan the Kentucky Marshall is a fave, some season arcs are stronger than others but they do a great job with the supporting cast and keeping me tuned in to who he will shoot, or get shot by, next.
  • Good Wife (CBS) – They’ve managed to evolve the story of this woman who is standing by her man, raising her family, practicing law and dealing with official and unofficial politics in a way that just keeps me hooked.
  • Sherlock (PBS) – I guess you can never have too much Holmes, sadly only three episodes per season setting him and Watson in modern day, a great look at the traditional stories with new slant on the characters.
  • Parenthood (NBC) – I actually dropped this show when it first came on but now am hooked on the Braverman’s and their drama, at times ridiculous they have some great and touching moments.
  • Parks and Recreation (NBC) – Small town politics with a cast of characters that are quirky and endearing, makes me laugh out loud.
  • Sons of Anarchy (Fx) – The complications upon complications, and the lack impulse control that these people suffer from, keeps me wondering how they can keep going without all being dead but I can’t look away.
  • Louie (Fx) – He’s the critics’ darling and for good reason, you can tell he definitely does what he wants on this show you never know what you’re going to get but this sad guy is getting a lot right.
  • Community (NBC) – The nods to all things pop culture in these eps keeps it a cut above, curious how the new show runners will keep it going.
  • Cougartown (ABC) – As folks should know this show is moving to TBS, but the cul de sac crew drinking wine makes me laugh, maybe because I’m also usually drinking wine.
  • Bunheads (ABCF)/ Hart of Dixie (CW) – These shows are going to get a dual listing, although I can’t honestly say that either of these shows are the best on tv I find them both very enjoyable with their flawed leading lady tries to do right in a small town slant.

Lots of good tv to be had, what’s on your list?

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critics’ picks – top tv of 2012

louieTime to get started on our year end lists! While the tv shows aren’t currently fresh, the critics’ best and award noms give you something to get ready to tune back into. I can’t personally recommend all of these shows (stay tuned for my top ten list) and as most readers know I don’t catch most of the real cable on first run (HBO, Show, Starz), but from the breadth of shows there is a little something out there for everyone. So without further ado here’s a sampling of top tv picks:

  • 2 Broke Girls (CBS) – E
  • 2012 Election  – JP
  • 30 for 30 (ESPN) – DF
  • 30 Rock (NBC) – AS, PGA, TG
  • American Horror Story: Asylum (Fx) – AFI, GG, JP, MoR, MZS
  • Archer (Fx) – MZS, TG
  • Ben and Kate (Fox) – TG
  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS) – E, MR, PGA
  • Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – GG, TG
  • Boss (Starz) – GG, TG
  • Breaking Bad (AMC) – AFI, AS, DF, JP, KT, MR, MoR,  MZS,  PGA, TG
  • Call the Midwife (PBS) – MR
  • Castle (ABC) – E
  • The Colbert Report (Com) – KT, MM
  • Coma (A&E) – MZS
  • Community (NBC) – E, MZS, TG
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) – PGA
  • Dexter (Show) – MR, TG
  • Don’t Trust the B- In Apartment 23 (ABC) – TG
  • Downton Abbey (PBS) – MR, PGA
  • Enlightened (HBO) – GG
  • Episodes (Show) – GG
  • Game Change (HBO) – AFI
  • Game of Thrones (HBO) – AFI, DF, E, GG, JP, MoR, PGA, TG
  • Girls (HBO) – AFI, AS, DF, JP, KT, MR, MoR, TG
  • Glee (Fox) – E, GG
  • The Good Wife (CBS) – KT, MR
  • Gossip Girl (CW) – E
  • Happy Endings (ABC) – E, MoR
  • Hatfields & McCoys (Hist) – MZS
  • Homeland (Show) – AFI, AS, E, GG, JP, KT, MM, MR, MoR, MZS, PGA, TG
  • The Hour (BBCA) – DF, TG
  • House of Lies (Show) – TG
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) – E
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Fx) – TG
  • Justified (Fx) – KT, TG
  • Louie (Fx) – AFI, AS, DF, JP, KT, MM, MR, MoR, MZS, PGA, TG
  • Luck (HBO) – AS, MM, MZS
  • Mad Men (AMC) – AFI, AS, DF, JP, KT, MR, MoR, MZS, PGA, TG
  • Magic City (Starz) – TG
  • The Middle (ABC) – MR
  • The Mindy Project (Fox) – E
  • Modern Family (ABC) – AFI, E, GG, PGA, TG
  • Nashville (ABC) – KT
  • New Girl (Fox) – E, GG, MoR, TG
  • On Freddie Roach (HBO) – DF
  • Once Upon a Time (ABC) – E
  • Parenthood (NBC) – AS, JP
  • Parks and Recreation (NBC) – AS, DF, E, JP, KT, MoR, TG
  • Raising Hope (Fox) – TG
  • Revenge (ABC) – E
  • Scandal (ABC) – E
  • Shameless (Show) – TG
  • Sherlock (PBS) – MM, TG
  • Sons of Anarchy (Fx) – MR, TG
  • Supernatural (CW) – E
  • Treme (HBO) – AS, DF, MZS, TG
  • The Vampire Diaries (CW) – E
  • Veep (HBO) – TG
  • The Walking Dead (AMC) – AFI, E, MM, MR, TG
  • Wilfred (Fx) – TG

AFI – AFI Television Programs of the Year, AS – Alan Sepinwall for Hitfix, DF – Dan Fienberg for Hitfix, E – E! Best Comedies and E! Best Dramas, GG – Golden Globe nomination, JP – James Poniewozik for Time, KT – Ken Tucker for Ew, MM* – Mary McNamara for LA Times, MR* – Matt Roush for TV Guide, MoR – Maureen Ryan for Huffington Post, MZS – Matt Zoller Seitz on Vulture, PGA – Producer’s Guild, TG – Tim Goodman’s Best Comedies and Dramas

* Some top votes were for categories of shows or notations to things like Clint’s chair speech and referee strike.

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and the emmy goes to…

Another year, another round of emmys… I’ve stopped pretending I’m going to watch but here’s the pertinent info:

  • Series: DramaHomeland
  • Series: ComedyModern Family
  • Lead Actor: Drama – Damian Lewis, Homeland
  • Lead Actress: Drama – Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Lead Actor: Comedy – Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
  • Lead Actress: Comedy – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Supporting Actor: Drama – Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
  • Supporting Actress: Drama – Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Supporting Actor: Comedy – Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
  • Supporting Actress: Comedy –  Julie Bowen, Modern Family

For a full list of nominations and recipients check out:

I am tending to think that Modern Family is a bit on the overrated side these days but clearly I need to check out Homeland, you know as soon as it’s available on Netflix streaming. What do you need to watch? What do you think should have won?

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procrastinator picks – must see movies

I’ve had another year’s worth of movies and although nothing jumps out as my favorite, favorite there was lots of good to be had. So here’s a smattering of ten good bits. And just so you know what the contenders were I’ve bolded the flicks that I caught on the critic’s list.

  • 50/50 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great in really anything but the subtleties, heartfelt and humorous, of his dealing with cancer hit the right note, along with his also well played entourage including buddy, Seth Rogan, and more than slightly green therapist, Ana Kendrick.
  • Beginners – It’s never too late to turn your life around, and Ewan McGregor and his newly out dad, Christopher Plummer, show that very thing in a touching and amusing tale of love and life and loss.
  • Young Adult – There’s something about watching a person hit bottom by making choice after choice that makes you cringe, but what keeps you on board, other than relishing in a seemingly terrible person’s suffering, is the interplay between Charlize and Patton Oswalt that brings this nonspirational story to the next level.
  • Drive – This year brought me on board with Ryan Gosling, he maybe had the least lines of any leading man in this flick, but his brooding dude trying to do right in a whole lot of wrong was beautifully if not brutally done.
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love – It’s surprisingly difficult to make a good romcom, and this ensemble take with a bit of the dramedy focus doesn’t hit it right at every stride, but the camaraderie between Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, a couple of men on the prowl, each in their own way, makes it work.
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo/The Artist – I really appreciated although maybe didn’t love both of these movies, The Girl was beautifully done though maybe too close in timing and accuracy with the book for me to really immerse myself, while Artist did quite a good job utilizing the silent and current medium for a sweet story but alas I just got bored in the middle.
  • Super 8 – Seen through the eyes of kids on the precipice of so many things, they capture the spirit of a time and a place with enough wonder that the somewhat formulaic otherworldly occurrences (think scary monster) following a small town train wreck felt like the perfect summer movie.
  • Colombiana/Hanna – I do love an action flick, and a kick-ass girl trained to be a killer, well these two flicks take slightly different stances on their girl power, but neither fails to entertain.
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critic’s picks – must see movies of 2011

With the Academy Award nominations out I think we can take a look at what folks are talking about from this last year. This critic and nomination list is far from comprehensive but you can see who is getting some of the consensus and some of the wildcards. Those in bold are the ones I’ve seen to date, personally I’m taking a pass on Hugo and War Horse unless someone can make a more convincing case but I might buckle and watch The Tree of Life.

  • 50/50 – GG
  • The Artist – RC, MLS, LH, PH, Sat, BAFTA, GG, CFC, PGA, LS, AA
  • Beginners – Got, OG, LS
  • Bridesmaids – AFI, MLS, AOS, MD, GG, PGA, OG, LS
  • Cave of Forgotten Dreams – RC
  • Cedar Rapids – AOS
  • Contagion – MD
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love – RH, OG
  • A Dangerous Method – AOS, MD
  • The Descendants – Sat, Got, AFI, PH, AOS, BAFTA, GG, CFC, PGA, OG, LS, AA
  • Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame – RC
  • Drive – Sat, BAFTA, CFC
  • Extremely Loud and Incredible Close – LH, AA
  • Fast Five – RC
  • The Future – MD
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – AFI, MLS, LH, PGA, OG
  • Hanna – PH
  • The Help – AFI, Sat, AOS, BAFTA, PGA, AA
  • Hugo – RC, AFI, LH, PH, Sat, MD, GG, CFC, PGA, LS, AA
  • The Ides of March – GG, PGA
  • Incendies – AOS
  • The Interrupters – LS
  • J. Edgar – AFI, MD
  • La Quattro Volte – AOS, MD
  • Like Crazy – MLS
  • Love Crime – MLS
  • Meek’s Cutoff – Got, AOS
  • Melancholia – MD, LS
  • Midnight in Paris – Sat, AFI, MLS, LH, GG, PGA, AA
  • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – OG
  • Moneyball – AFI, MLS, Sat, MD, GG, PGA, LS, AA
  • Mysteries of Lisbon – AOS, MD
  • My Week With Marilyn -MLS, LH, GG
  • Of Gods and Men – MD
  • One Day – MLS
  • Pina – LS
  • Poetry – MD
  • Rampart – OG
  • Rango – RC
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes – RC
  • Senna – PH
  • A Separation – OG, LS
  • Shame – Sat
  • Sing Your Song – LH
  • The Skin I Live In – MD
  • Super 8 – RC, LH
  • Take Shelter – Got, PH
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Sat, MD, BAFTA
  • The Tree of Life – Got, RC, AFI, PH, AOS, CFC, OG, AA
  • The Trip – OG
  • Tuesday, After Christmas – AOS
  • War Horse – RC, AFI, LH, Sat, AOS, GG, PGA, AA
  • Warrior – PH, AOS, MD
  • Weekend – AOS
  • We Were Here – MLS, LH
  • Win Win – PH
  • Young Adult – AOS

AA – Academy Awards, AFI – American Film Institute, AOS – A.O. Scott for NYTimes, BAFTA – British Academy Film Awards, CFC – Chicago Film Critics,  GG – Golden Globe Nominations, Got – Gotham, LH – Leba Hertz for SFGate, LS – Lisa Schwarzbaum for EW, MD – Manolo Dargis for NYTimes, MLS – Mick LaSalle for SFGate, OG – Owen Gleiberman for EW, PGA – Producers Guild Awards, PH – Peter Hartlaub fo SFGate, RC – Richard Corliss for Time, Sat – International Press Academy Satellite

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