It's here — the midpoint of the movie year — so what to do if Oscars had to be doled out now for the best of 2011 so far? My head hurts thinking about it. No way could I come up with 10 nominees for Best Picture. So far, there are only two sure bets:
Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life dwarfs the big-budget guppies swimming at the multiplex. Drown those suckers. Shot with a poet's eye, Malick's film is a groundbreaker, a personal vision that dares to reach for the stars.
Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris
For all the film's bracing humor and ravishing romance, there are also haunting shadows. That alone makes it a keeper.