The best films of the 21st century. Part one (Topic)

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The best films of the 21st century. Part one


Read about the best films of the 21st century by American film critics.

The most surprising thing that happened in cinema at the beginning of the 21st century is the tendency for TV series to move to the cinema level. When their budget, scripts and cast are comparable to the highest grossing blockbusters. Don't believe me? Check out our Top Netflich TV Shows .

Oil ("And there will be blood")

Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007

The film tells the story of an American oil magnate, Daniel Plainview, who convinces the residents of a small California town to let him drill in their territory. At this time, the story of the confrontation between Daniel and the preacher, Eli Sunday, begins. Two men, each selling their own "brand" of faith, thus give rise to a timeless struggle between God and Mammon, in which it is often not so easy to figure out who is on whose side.

Manola Dargis

"Oil" is a masterpiece of the 21st century, which touches upon the themes of love, death, faith, greed and all that avalanche of oil and blood that is rich in American history in the 20th century. The film seems to drive a harrowing story through an observer brilliantly played by Daniel Day-Lewis, who pursues his savage and empty dream. His figure embodies the best of the United States only to become the worst.

The film is a crude vision of the country and, at the same time, there is a subtle reference to one of the national achievements: cinema. The story begins in 1898, when Plainview drills for the first time like a prehistoric creature, just like the opening scene at the dawn of mankind from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey.

Andersen's beautiful painting, which lasts more than two and a half hours, concludes its narrative with events that take place around 1927, completely in the spirit of its literally translated from the original language of the title "And there will be blood" (and there will really be blood) and, at the same time, bowing again one masterpiece of American cinema "Citizen Kane".

Spirited Away

Director Hayao Miyazaki, 2002

"Spirited Away" by the famous Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki shows us the incredible and sometimes terrible adventures of the little girl Chihiro. The beauty and magic of the film is not fully reflected in its title, but we asked Guillermo del Toro, a huge Miyazaki fan and greatest movie mage, what he thought of this film. Here are excerpts from a conversation with Guillermo del Toro, director of Pan's Labyrinth and The Forms of Water:

Guillermo del Toro

I discovered Miyazaki as a child in Mexico. Many years later, as an adult, I saw "My Neighbor Totoro", and this film moved me to tears. I literally cried, seeing all this beauty and achievements of the director, who managed to convey the child's innocence. Immediately after that, I rushed to find other films of the director and reviewed everything I could find. The fact that it is called Disney from the East is not true, because Miyazaki is not a copy, he is unique in itself.

In Spirited Away, we meet a girl on the verge of becoming a girl who leaves her childhood behind her, both figuratively and literally. The story begins when Chihiro is still a child, but a little later there is a transformation in her gestures, clothes, behavior, emotions, she becomes a young girl, and already at this stage she must go through the loss of everything. Chihiro loses her parents, her name, she is even called zero. It is a beautiful, melancholic meditation that has always characterized Miyazaki's films.

The filmmaker's approach to monster creation is unique. They are completely new in appearance, but their essence is rooted in antiquity. Almost always they represent the primary forces, the spirits of the earth, wind, water, i.e. they can be called elementals.

Of course, I largely share Miyazaki's views. The same sense of loss, melancholy and tragedy - this is what I tried to convey in "The Devil's Ridge" and "Pan's Labyrinth". Sometimes beauty takes you in a direction beyond description. This is not something contrived, fabricated, but an act of artistic creation and nothing like the purity of this beauty can not be found in the real world. Miyazaki is well aware of this, and he has this power to create beauty on the screen.

By the way, if you have an interesting animation, then don't miss our top of the most extraordinary anime . They will force you to reconsider your views on animation and anime in general.

Million Dollar Baby

Director Clint Eastwood, 2004

We often hear the phrase that in our times they no longer make such films as before, but about Clint Eastwood, practically the only one in the 21st century, we can say with confidence that he just makes such films. In the years following the release of Million Dollar Baby (which won him its second Best Picture Oscar), Eastwood caught the eye of the public for reasons entirely unrelated to cinema. He is remembered for his famous Chrysler ad and for arguing with an empty seat at the 2012 Republican Convention, as well as for his genuine admiration for Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign. But it's all just spending time and letting off steam. From the moment he turned 70 in 2000, he continued to perfect his craft, creating some of the most powerful works, as well as the strangest. A ghost story? Musical? A painting about Nelson Mandela? Why not?

But Clint Eastwood has always felt most confident in classic American genres such as westerns, crime films, etc. And this film about boxing can be called the most appropriate to his favorite themes. The fame of "Million Dollar Baby" is not based on the novelty of the genre or its presentation, but rather on the traditional conventions, which are served with the confidence and ease of a master.

Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank both received well-deserved Oscars for their roles in the film. Freeman plays a veteran boxer nicknamed Scrap Metal, who is also a friend and confidant of Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). Frankie is haunted by regrets about the past, besides, the best student leaves him, and then he agrees to coach the young and talented athlete Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank).

If for some reason you haven't seen this movie yet, there won't be any more spoilers, and for those who have already watched, it is clear that the movie has something much deeper than the plot. Even in 50 years "Million Dollar Baby" will be in the golden fund of the world cinema.

Touch of Sin

Director Jia Janke, 2013

The concentration of violence and sadness is what distinguishes Chinese director Jia Janke's "Touch of Sin". The four parts of the film were inspired by the coverage of the country and what is really going on there. Thus, by connecting different stories together, Jia, in his own words, "painted the face" of modern China.

Zhao Tao, the director's wife, appears quite often in Jia's films. This time, she plays Xiao Yu, who works at the reception in the sauna. She is dating a married man whose wife is well aware of this relationship, and one day she beats Xiao. Like other parts of the picture, this one also has a lot of brutal naturalism, complemented by surreal moments, and the general mood of the picture is an escalation of tension.

However, this is not the end of the story, but just the beginning. There is something about all of this from horror films - close-ups of the victims bleeding, but also from the 1971 film King Hu's "Zen Touch" in the wushia genre.

The film won numerous awards, including the Cannes Film Festival for Best Screenplay.


Directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, 2015

More than any other studio or individual filmmaker in the 21st century, Pixar is driven by the motto "Making films for everyone." And each person seems to have their own favorite Pixar. A massive Facebook poll was set up to choose the best Pixar movie and the case turned out to be as exciting and serious for the respondents as if it were about their friends, children or toys, which they loved most. Such polls raise the deepest emotions to the surface.

Some chose films from the top five, calling "WALL-E" the best film, and "Cars" the most interesting. Many in the voting process changed their opinions. Almost all 14 films released by Pixar since 2000 have received voices from their ardent fans.

While trying to be fair to all films in the world, we still had to limit ourselves and in the end the choice was not so difficult. The movie that sits at the very top of the list is Pixar's Puzzle. Today it is a creative, moving, gripping and philosophically insightful story about developmental psychology in the 21st century.

The personification of abstract concepts and the visual realization of human consciousness are achievements that were realized thanks to the incomparable creative solutions of the team of filmmakers. As for the main idea of the film, it is that Sadness is as much an integral part of our life as Joy. This theme is brilliantly presented by the film itself, from which tears come through, but at the same time it causes a storm of joyful emotions, and all this in equal measure.

If you love cartoons, then don't miss our Top Best Cartoons of 2018

For other best films of the 21st century, read the second part of the article.

The Topic of Article: The best films of the 21st century. Part one.
Author: Jake Pinkman