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Critics’ picks for the best indie films of 2011 so far

Critics’ picks for the best indie films of 2011 so far (photo)

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I’m a member of indieWIRE’s criticWIRE, which collects grades and reviews from indie movies from critics. Today they posted their list of the best indie movies of 2011 so far, as determined by the ratings of me and the rest of the criticWIRE corps. A lot of these movies received grades at festivals like Sundance or Cannes and haven’t gotten theatrical distribution in the United States yet. That makes the piece doubly useful: it’s a recap of 2011 so far and a guide to the movies you should keep your eye on in the second half of the year as they get their awards season releases.

Here’s criticWIRE’s list of the best American fiction films of 2011 so far (go to indieWIRE for their lists of the highest rated foreign films and docs). For the purposes of usability, I’ve added release dates and distributors — and the good news is all ten of these movies do have distributors, which means at some point down the line you’ll have the chance to see all of them. I’ve only seen two of these movies so far myself, so I’ve got plenty of catching up to do as well. I’m looking forward to it.

criticWIRE’s Best American Films of 2011 (So Far)

1. “Sound of My Voice,” directed by Zal Batmanglij
Release Date: TBD (Fox Searchlight)

2. “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” directed by Sean Durkin
Release Date: October 7, 2011 (Fox Searchlight)

3. “Weekend,” directed by Andrew Haigh
Release Date: TBD (Sundance Selects)

4. “Pariah,” directed by Dee Rees
Release Date: TBD (Focus Features)

5. “Cold Weather,” directed by Aaron Katz
In release; available on DVD August 2 (IFC Films)

6. “Like Crazy,” directed by Drake Doremus
Release Date: October 28, 2011 (Paramount Vantage)

7. “Meek’s Cutoff,” directed by Kelly Reichardt
In release (Oscilloscope Pictures)

8. “Terri,” directed by Azazel Jacobs
Release Date: July 1, 2011 (ATO)

9. “Submarine,” directed by Richard Ayoade
In release (The Weinstein Company)

10. “Take Shelter,” directed by Jeff Nichols
Release Date: October 14, 2011 (Sony Pictures Classics)

What’s the best movie you’ve seen in 2011 so far? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!


The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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