The grotesque, but fascinating demise of Gwyneth Paltrow in Steven Soderbergh's outbreak horror global flick Contagion.
When Owen Wilson's Gil met Salvador Dali (played with a never before seen sense of humor by Adrien Brody) in Midnight in Paris.
The nuttiest and most hilarious sequence of the year: when the Bridesmaids gals took that ill-fated plane ride to Las Vegas-- Kristen Wiig was "ready to paarrtttyyy," and welcomed everyone to the celebration of perhaps the most artfully executed girls-gone-wild piece ever created for the silver screen.
The nervy, stomach-inducing sequence atop the world largest building in Dubai, whereTom Cruise scaled in Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol. Shot with such tense, such verve, such "how the hell did do that" kind of cinematic magic that franchise filmmaking appears to have lost some time ago. I didn't feel good watching it, what with the butterflies in my stomach churning of the fear of heights I never knew I had, but damned if I wasn't compelled.
The alarming and worthwhile sense of discovery in watching the absorbing charm of Elizabeth Olsen tackling a dense, hard to define character of many names in Martha Marcy May Marlene. Ditto the arrival of Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, just to cheat a little.
The shock and awe of George Valentin's nightmare possibly becoming a reality as everyone has a voice but himself, the greatest silent movie star in the world in The Artist.
"Life a Happy Song," the best musical sequence in a feature film since Catherine Zeta-Jones belted "All That Jazz" in The Muppets.
The opening prologue to Melancholia, in which director Lars von Trier romantically and beguilingly scored his end-of-the-world operetta to tune of Wagner's Tristan & Isolde. von Trier has never been quite so unnervingly and beautifully poetic.
That nifty, ultra cool, so-stylized it hurts elevator shot in Drive, where Ryan Gosling became not just a movie star, but a generational icon.
The sad and haunting conclusion to best romantic story of the year-- the bittersweet farewell of the lovers from Weekend.
What are your favorite cinematic moments of 2011?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!