We’ve reached the point where movies are less popular than other forms of pop culture yet remain compelling—as much for what they recall about the humanities as the inhumanity they routinely deliver. Thus 2011′s year-end mania for the specious cultural tributes of The Artist and Hugo, even though both films, while apparently reverential, were actually false to how cinema is made and enjoyed. —Thus, the critics’ disrespect for Spielberg’s two ingenious state-of-the-art assessments (to be examined in the next issue of CityArts). Thus, this year’s better-than list, which again finds superior alternatives that defy falsely hyped movies. Art vs. Trash.
Incendies > A Dangerous Method
Denis Villeneuve’s blood-rich inquiry into the epic complexities of man’s inhumanity-to-man defies the nihilistic excuses favored by David Cronenberg’s Freudian one-gunmanship and ethnic spite. Catharsis vs. Egotism.
The Adventures of Tin Tin > The Artist
Spielberg restores the essence of cinema (from the Greek “kinesis,” meaning movement), defying Hazanavicius’ too-cute silent movie hoax. Joy vs. Inanity.
War Horse > Hugo
Spielberg revives genre esthetics as spiritual expression, defying Scorsese’s fatuous history lecture. Feeling vs. Sentimentality.
To read the "Better-Than List" in full, head to City Arts.