The best films of the 21st century – so far


Recently, “New York Times” film critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis shared their list of the top 25 movies of the 21st century, so far. There were some great choices. My colleague in the Florida Film Critics Circle, Alfred Soto, recently offered his in response. It also included some great choices.  Though there is crossover with both lists, as is the case with the subjectivity of criticism, I felt some films were overlooked, including some popular titles but also some obscure ones.

Below are my choice films. The only movies I have not included are shorts, so no “I Am Your Grandma” from Jillian Mayer (Jillian Mayer on inspiration behind “I Am Your Grandma” ahead of Art Basel Miami Beach debut) or Canada’s “Crème Caramel” (The best movies of 2014, according to Hans Morgenstern — Part 2). But I do include documentaries and even a couple of avant-garde films. In my case, Bill Morrison tops Jean-Luc Godard. Without further ado, here are what I consider the best films of the 21st Century, so far. If I reviewed one of the movies, a link is provided.

  1. Decasia
  2. Mulholland Drive
  3. Embrace of the Serpent (White Light from the Mouth of Infinity)
  4. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive presents complex, enthralling portrait of the jaded vampire)
  5. The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse, the first masterpiece film of 2012)
  6. The Master (The Master harnesses cinema’s power to maximal effect)
  7. White Material (Capsule in My Top Movies of 2010)
  8. (500) Days of Summer (Capsule in My Top Movies of 2009)
  9. Take This Waltz
  10. Frances Ha (Frances Ha reveals Noah Baumbach’s luminous lighter touch)
  11. The Royal Tenenbaums
  12. The Death of Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV presents patiently beautiful portrait of death)
  13. Lost in Translation
  14. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)
  15. In the Mood For Love
  16. A History of Violence
  17. Man On Wire
  18. The Proposition
  19. Under the Skin (Under the Skin proves sci-fi is a genre best served obtusely)
  20. Possible Worlds
  21. Blue Is the Warmest Color (Blue Is the Warmest Color and the pain of loving)
  22. Le quattro volte (Le quattro volte skips the dialogue to tell precise and profound story)
  23. Film Socialisme (Godard’s ‘Film Socialisme’ and the entrancing “music” of visuals)
  24. Holy Motors (Holy Motors pays tribute to cinema while exploring its edges)
  25. The American Astronaut

Hans Morgenstern

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