2011 Mid-Year Report

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2011 is halfway through, and it is time for us to take a breath and get ourselves prepared for what we may very well have to include six months from now in the roundup of the best in entertainment for the whole year.

Best in Movies
The best films I have seen so far this year are Bridesmaids and Midnight in Paris.  I haven’t caught The Tree of Life, so I can’t yet say if it loves up, or down, to the hype.

In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen pulled out his best directing tricks since those he showed off in Match Point.

Woody’s literacy also earns him accolades for his screenplay, while Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo wrote a fascinating look at female friendship with Bridesmaids.

As for acting, the top female leads were Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) and Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), while James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class) led the way for the men.  The top supporting ladies were Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Lin Shaye (Inisidious).  The Supporting Actor fielded is already crowded, with Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class), Bruno Ganz (Unknown), Peter Sarsgaard (Green Lantern), and Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway (Midnight in Paris).

Best Trailers
Hanna blew our mind with its wild tonal shifts, X-Men: First Class promised us a visceral period piece, and the wedding invitation in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 marked the ultimate in cheese.

Best in Television
The top shows that I caught that debuted in 2011?  Portlandia, Sports Show with Norm Macdonald, and Bob’s Burgers at number 1.  Honorable mentions go to Perfect Couples and Happy Endings.

Best Songs
At the top is, of course, Adele with “Rolling in the Deep,” while former Tony! Toni! Toné! member Raphael Saadiq brought the funk with “Stone Rollin.'”

Best Music Videos
Guest stars galore has been the name of the game for great music videos for 2011.  First off, two clips from Chris Marrs Piliero: Ke$ha’s “Blow” (featuring James Van Der Beek) and the Black Keys’ faux-trailer in “Howlin’ for You” (featuring Tricia Helfer, Corbin Bernsen, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Todd Bridges).  There were also twisted tales from Katy Perry – “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” with Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Rebecca Black, Hanson, Kenny G, Corey Feldman, and Debbie Gibson – and Martin Solveig ft. Dragonette – “Hello,” with tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils and fellow DJ Bob Sinclair.  Meanwhile, sans guest stars, Taylor Swift was at her cutest and wittiest yet in “The Story of Us.”

Natty Pups

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The trailer for Bridesmaids – the first female-centric Judd Apatow production, directed by Freaks and Geeks alum Paul Feig – has been released.  It stars Kristen Wiig as Maya Rudolph’s maid of honor, but as you watch the trailer, keep an eye out for the real highlight at the 1:51-1:52 mark:

The puppies are awesome not only because they are so cute, but they are also awesome because it is not clear at all what they have to do with the rest of the trailer.

There seems to be a trend in which trailers include random shots, like this one, that cannot be made sense of in the context of the trailer.  A good many trailers these days, Bridesmaids clearly among them, are at their ends just mishmashes of quickly edited shots set to fast-paced music.  Bridesmaids’ puppy shot, though, sets a new standard: not only does it lack context and not only is it completely out of place, it also does not tease out the story in any way and its tone stands it contrast to the rest of the trailer without it lasting anywhere near long enough for that change in tone to make a difference.  Except insofar as it makes you go, “Aww.”