<em>Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy</em>: Gary Oldman as George Smiley
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Gary Oldman as George Smiley
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Kathleen Murphy and I first threw together a "Moments out of Time" feature for the year 1971. I'd had a brief go at it in 1969 for Seattle's premier counterculture rag The Helix, and pretty perfunctory it was—only a dozen or so films referred to, in lines like "The terrible beauty of The Wild Bunch...." The 1971 tribute ran to several pages of the first 1972 issue of Movietone News, the Seattle Film Society newsletter that, just about that time, turned the evolutionary corner en route to becoming a legitimate film journal. As for "Moments out of Time," it continued, and grew, each year through the decade MTN was published. Subsequently it appeared when and where opportunity presented—including one year in the early 2000s when our host was the spiffy German film mag Steadycam. For the past half-dozen years we've been graciously showcased by the Movies section at MSN.com, where editor Dave McCoy has patiently accommodated us as we (all right, I) send one e-mail after another, tweaking words and punctuation to get the lines to bump in the right place. The 2011 installment has just gone up. It starts like this:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Control (John Hurt), aced out of MI6 after the disaster in Budapest, announces, "Smiley is coming with me." Smiley (Gary Oldman), his back to the camera, tilts his head a millimeter—surprise? acceptance? both?...

The Descendants: the sound Matt King's (George Clooney) flip-flops make on asphalt as he jogs over to his friends' house to get the scoop on his dying wife's infidelity...

• Three figures frozen on a green lawn, bathed in cold white light, from the moon and the planet Melancholia...

• Matchlight on face in front of red door, Le Havre...

• Upside-down shadows of kids at play on gray asphalt, swinging from the top of the frame in The Tree of Life...

• High angle looking down into cave in Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives: on the ochre floor, figures lie sleeping (dead?) just where radiant sunlight meets darkest shadow....

• The slow dissolve from one Western landscape into another, a slant of hill coming to exactly echo a line of clouds; actual and aspirant frontiers in Meek's Cutoff...

• The breathlessly kinetic rhythms of the heist that begins Drive...

Midnight in Paris: the evolution of the expression on Gil (Owen Wilson)—F. Scott Fitzgerald has just introduced him to Ernest Hemingway—from gobsmacked to go-with-the-flow delight…

• Peppy (Bérénice Bejo) and Valentin (Jean Dujardin) artlessly falling in love, as they dance through a series of takes: The Artist...

There are 71 more at http://movies.msn.com/movies/year-in-review/moments-out-of-time-2011/

To see "Moments" from previous years, visit http://parallax-view.org/moments-out-of-time/

—RTJ