The Year in Film and Music

In this Year in Film and Music special edition, you'll hear from local writers and musicians about their year. We'll take a look at ambitious movies with inconclusive endings. You'll learn about the loss of two seminal local music venues, and much more.

Dec 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

Bipolar Express

Local writers and musicians offer their highlights from a topsy-turvy 2011


wise man (or woman, for all I know) once said, “You take the good, you take the bad/You take them both and there you have/The facts of life.” Life is, essentially, those ups and downs and how you respond to them in the spaces between. 

Though always true to some extent, in 2011 the good news/bad news balance was as evident as it’s ever been. But the lack of resolution or concrete answers also created an unshakable sense that the world is locked in flux — it’s a “rebuilding year” for earthlings, to use sports terms. Thankfully, there seems to be some sense of hope that everything will be all right and the “bad news” of the year will get better or resolved. But that might just be the proud American in me. Read more here.

This Is The End?

In 2011, the most ambitious movies often featured inconclusive conclusions


ne of the most frustrating things about movies — good movies, with quality actors playing interesting characters — is that they too often resort to clichéd endings to wrap up their stories. That’s why it’s refreshing to see that 2011 brought us a spate of movies with quizzical, ambiguous endings. 

“So what’s wrong with wrapping everything up neatly?” you may ask. Nothing, if it works. But too often it doesn’t. We spend two hours or so involved in the inner lives of interesting characters that seem to have free will, then — boom! — they do exactly what screenwriting convention expects of them all along. They’ve succumbed to formula.

Read more here.

Getting Over Going Under

Grappling with the loss of two seminal local music venues in 2011

There’s something about the written word that adds finality to a subject. Contracts are finished with a signature, newspapers are often considered bastions of truth and obituaries often put a person’s death in perspective for their loved ones. 

Perhaps this is why I put off writing this story for so long; I didn’t want to admit the truth that at the end of the year two of the most important places in my life will have ceased to be. Covington club The Mad Hatter has already shuttered its doors and the Southgate House in Newport is closing on New Year’s Day.

Read more here.

Breakout Breakdown

A look at the film world’s best breakthrough entertainers of 2011


everal performers were working overtime in 2011. Brad Pitt planted The Tree of Life, then scored with Moneyball and even had time to lend vocal support to Happy Feet 2. George Clooney multi-hyphenated himself as co-writer/director/co-star of The Ides of March and then vacationed as a mere performer in The Descendants. Even Clooney’s Ides co-star Ryan Gosling got in on the act with additional turns in Crazy Stupid Love and Drive. And let’s not forget Daniel Craig, the not-so-secret agent playing all over the field all year long (Cowboys & Aliens and Dream House, with The Adventures of Tintin and the David Fincher remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo forthcoming).

Read more here.

Out of the Cloud, Against the Stream

For those who still want a hard copy, 2011 brought an abundance of eclectic, sometimes eccentric DVD releases


get a bit jittery come December. A nervous tick sets in. An anxiety rests deep in the gut.

It’s time to pick the best DVD releases of the year.

And I have no idea what to choose. Not for lack of selections, of course. 

This year has been particularly strong in regards to the quality of DVD releases, despite the medium’s unsure future in the hands of consumers who want programming streamed digitally rather than delivered on flimsy plastic discs.

Read more here.