More Modern Movie Picks
Shane Steinberg | Tuesday, October 7, 2008
It has been said that the “Golden Days” of cinema have long since passed. Sure, “Citizen Kane” is but a memory that can be bought as a 60th anniversary DVD, and the raw essence of romance has never again been so vividly depicted as it was in “Casablanca,” but that doesn’t mean that brilliance in filmmaking is a lost art.It seems that the original classics were the first films to combine all the elements of masterful filmmaking. They will always be put on a pedestal that new movies, no matter how masterful, are incapable of reaching. Why? Sadly, because we all (especially many top critics) have a preconceived notion that nothing can top the great films of the past.Yes, the caliber of movies as a whole has suffered in recent years, but the ‘masterpiece’ is still very much alive. It took 20 years for the film industry to realize that “Citizen Kane” was worthy of being called “the greatest film of all-time,” so perhaps all is not lost. Maybe one day a modern film will be put on the same pedestal as the classics. The following is a list of the five 21st-century American films most likely to attain legendary status down the road. 5) United 93: Paul Greengrass’ heart-wrenching docudrama is undying in its commitment to telling the arresting true story of what happened to the doomed heroes aboard United Airlines flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. Both impossible to watch, yet too difficult to turn away from, “United 93” is pitch-perfect and represents the most inexorably true account of 9/11 to grace the silver screen to this day. 4) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: Everything about the last installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is epic. Clocking in at a lengthy 3:30, Peter Jackson’s send-off to J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved classic manages to tie together every element of the journey while achieving the type of metaphorical brilliance the first two films lacked.3)There Will Be Blood: This one is destined to be studied by film students for years to come. Paul Thomas Anderson’s unrelenting work details the life of a genius oil man, Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel-Day Lewis in one of the most searing performances in movie history. His greed and moral corruption lead him down a path of conflict with religion and humanity alike, is, in its purest form, an aesthetic revelation the likes of which haven’t been seen since “Citizen Kane”. 1 (tie) Mulholland Drive: David Lynch’s masterpiece is film at its very best. From the bewildering opening scene, when Lynch first immerses his audience in a fever hallucination of a film, until the perfectly measured ending, a spine-chilling air of brilliance engulfs the theater. This incredibly tantalizing dive into the heart of insanity and the subconscious becomes more ingenious as it unravels, and once solved, all that is left is the overwhelming feeling that what Mr. Lynch has created is so beyond perfect, it’s downright scary. 1 (tie) No Country For Old Men- The Coen brothers’ jaw-dropping neo-western veiled as a thriller brilliantly blends all of the themes that the Coen’s have played around with ever since their directorial debut in “Blood Simple”. Both awe-inspiring in a “Popcorn movie” sense and undeniably triumphant in an “Oscar season movie” sense, this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel about life, death, and the loss of innocence, is incredibly measured and flawless from head to toe. Javier Bardem’s turn as a psychopathic killer tasked with hunting down Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a foolhardy southerner who is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when he stumbles across a satchel filled with $2 million is enough to send shivers down even Hannibal Lecter’s back. Simply put, with “No Country for Old Men” the Coen brothers have not only managed to top “Fargo”, but they have made perhaps the finest film of the 21st century.