Now keep in mind that I didn't watch every film released in 2011, and there's some that I want to watch but haven't gotten around to watching yet (the remake of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for instance). These are just my favorites of the ones that I did see.
Kaboom! = Greg Araki's latest film is a return to the earlier outrageousness of his past work such as Doom Generation and Nowhere. A bisexual college student stumbles upon a possible conspiracy when hes' not having random sex with cute strangers or fantasizing about his cute but dumb jock "straight" roommate. It features a great soundtrack, an attractive cast and funny shenanigans. A really fun movie.
Biutiful = Spanish film starring Javier Bardem about a father who's trying to get his affairs in order before he dies of terminal illness. This film is simply beautiful, emotional and stunning. Javier Bardem is an amazing actor and knocks this one out of the park.
Midnight In Paris = I'm really pleased with Woody Allen's last few films. This was a delighful, quirky story about a guy in Paris who finds himself time traveled back to the past at the stroke of midnight, where he gets to hang out with legendary literary figures and artists such as Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and the Fitzgeralds. I normally don't care for Owen Wilson, but I found his performance in this not as irritating.
Beginners = A very sweet film about a man (yummy Ewan McGreggor) whose still mourning the death of his father, who came out of the closet a few years back after the death of their mother and lived a very happy, fabulous gay lifestyle. He meets a cute French girl at a party and begins to fall hard for her. This is a nice tale about love and loss.
Cowboys & Aliens = I was surprised how much I enjoyed this sci-fi/western hybrid. Daniel Craig is oh so yummy, and seeing him swagger in cowboy gear was worth the price of admission alone. The story was clichéd at times, but it's a big budget Hollywood flick and it managed to entertain, so I didn't mind. The aliens turned out to be really dorky looking, with these DUH expressions on their face. This was a lot of fun.
The Thing = This film was not loved by critics, didn't do well at the Box Office, and yet I found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed it, especially considering I hate remakes/reimaginings of horror films. It's basically a prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter film, that tells the story of what happened at the Norwegian camp prior to Carpenter's film. I was surprised by the gory monster attacks and giddily smiled like a kid as each attack was more brutal and over-the-top graphic. The CGI heavy climax was a bit much, but all in all not a bad film. I enjoyed it a lot.
The Skin I Live In = Pedro Almadóvar's latest film is brilliant, a Cronenbergian story about a scientist that's working on a new tough skin and the guinea pig he's using. This is one of those films that you can't really go into detail without revealing more, but it's well worth the payoff. Almadóvar also draws inspiration from one of his favorite films, Hitchcock's Vertigo, a masterpiece about obsession and identity, whose themes are just as strongly presented here. This is by far one of the best films of this year!
Weekend = A smart, insightful film about 2 guys who meet at a bar and spend the weekend together, getting to know each other and slowly unpeeling layers of themselves. Both actors were handsome bearded hotties and gave great performances. This film really makes you recall past encounters with handsome strangers that have stayed with you even if things never worked out. A very good gay film.
Vanishing On 7th Street = This movie was really creepy, about a group of survivors who band together and try to trust each other after most of the population has been "taken" by these dark, whispering shadows. While the bickering and mistrust between the characters becomes slightly irritating, it's also an accurate depiction of how people would react if such an event took place. Those whispering shadows really creeped me out in some scenes. The ending was rather weak, but otherwise a strong horror film.
Melancholia = Lars von Trier's new film that deals with depression and the end of the world. Kirsten Dunst is Justine, a young woman on her wedding day, trudging along through the event with a sincere effort to pretend that she's enjoying it, while her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) struggles to keep the chaos to a minimum. As the film progresses Justine loses her ability to fake her happiness and Claire's anxiety begins to rise as a planet known as Melancholia comes closer in orbit to Earth. She's terrified that it will crash into Earth, despite her husband's attempt to reassure her that it will only pass close by the Earth's atmosphere but not cause any harm. Director von Trier has openly spoken about his struggles with depression and anxiety, and in this film he evokes both emotions with realistic candor.
Longhorns = This movie is really cute. It takes place in Texas in 1982. Frat boy Kevin thinks that his phase of jerking off his buddies and going down on them is just a phase that all boys go through until he meets openly gay Cesar and begins falling for him. There's lots of naked men, a cool retro soundtrack, and a very sweet story about a guy realizing that he's falling in love with another guy.