In the first BBC Culture series that reviews the decade in arts and culture, journalist Nicholas Barber recalls the key moments of cinema over the past 10 years.
It used to be so simple. If you wanted to see a movie, you would go to the movies and watch the actors say their lines in a constructed setting. Now, however, the scenario may not exist except on a computer screen. Maybe the actors don't exist either. As for cinema, why go when you can watch the new big budget Hollywood movie on TV or on the phone?
The movie industry was more shaken in the 2010s than in almost any other decade – and the shockwaves did not subside. It is difficult to say whether cinema will be present in the late 2020s and what its format will be, if any. But there's a good chance that by 2030, a digital avatar of Marlon Brando starred as Spider-Man in a virtual reality adventure streamed directly to a corner of his Netflix brain.
Still, let's not worry about the next decade yet. Let's remember how revolutionary this decade was with our guide.
Streaming becomes mainstream
Hard as it may be to believe, Netflix only launched its streaming service in 2010 and did not produce its own movie until Beasts of No Nation in 2015. Since then, Netflix and Amazon have been responsible for some of the best releases of the decade.
Amazon was behind Manchester by the Sea, You Never Really Been Here and the Cold War; Netflix can claim credits for Rome, Marriage Story and The Irish.
Not everyone approves: The Cannes Film Festival refuses to let movies into the competition if they don't have a proper theatrical screening. And there are those of us who still insist on buying DVDs and Blu-rays, even though we are running out of space to store them.
Computer-generated images may not be new, but the extent to which they are being used certainly is. Just last year, we had old Samuel L Jackson in Captain Marvel, old-age Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator: Dark Destiny, older Will Smith in Project Gemini, and elderly Robert De Niro in The Irish. Before that we had digital Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and now we have the perspective of a digital James Dean in an upcoming Vietnam War drama.
Other technological advances include the high frame rate format (plus frames per second) in The Hobbit and Project Gemini trilogy and the development of virtual reality, which now has its own strand of competition at the Venice Film Festival. If you're afraid that we all live in the Matrix now, don't forget that Sean Baker's Tangerine movie was shot with three iPhones, so 21st century technology can sometimes be used to capture reality rather than replace it. -over there.
When Ridley Scott was launching the 2014 biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, he decided that the ideal people to play a group of ancient Egyptians would be Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul. When it was pointed out that none of them looked especially Egyptian, Scott argued to Variety magazine: "I can't make a movie with that budget and say my main actor is Mohammad so-and-so, I just won't be funded." And that would have been a tragedy, wouldn't it? Imagine if Exodus: Gods and Kings had not been funded!
Scott was following the Hollywood tradition of whitening, but was late. The lack of diversity in the 2015 Oscar nominations led to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign; Ghost in the Shell was convicted of casting Scarlett Johansson in a role that originated in Japan and Disney was careful to choose actors of Polynesian descent to voice Moana in the film of the same name.
Meanwhile, hits such as Creed, Born to Fight, Black Panther, and Spider-Man reminded producers that non-Caucasian stars could attract mass audiences; Moonlight – Under the Moonlight has won the Oscar for best film, Mexican directors have become a common Oscar presence and racism was the theme of Cross Stories, 12 Years of Slavery, Free Django, Selma, Green Book: The Guide, Klan Infiltrator , Harriet (not yet released in Brazil) and more. Oscar is not so white now.
The future is feminine
The fall of sexual harassment producer Harvey Weinstein coincided with the rise of the Me Too and Time's Up movements. But the ensuing campaign was not only to stop sexual abuse in the film industry, but also to address wage disparity, female underrepresentation. in movies and other insidious signs of institutional sexism.
Before Weinstein's charges of serial harassment were exposed, there was already a tendency for heroin action thrillers such as Lucy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Hunger Games. Subsequently, festivals and studios promised to strike a balance between male-and female-directed films close to 50/50. Things are slowly changing, but they are changing.
Film historians will remember the 2010s as the Disney decade. The studio's exploration of the catalog itself has been incredibly inspiring. Month after month, there is live action (or, in the case of Lion King, a kind of live action) remakes of his classic cartoons, such as Aladdin, Dumbo, and Mogli. But Disney's master scam was to buy the rights of other companies, especially the Star Wars and Marvel franchises.
As a result, the highest grossing movie in eight of the last 10 years belongs to Disney, whether it's tagged as Marvel (four), Star Wars (two), Pixar (one) or one of the studio's cartoons (Frozen). Disney has also taken over 20th Century Fox and has just launched its own streaming service. The 2020s could also be the Disney decade.
For those of us who grew up reading superhero comic books in the 20th century, it was strange that our niche interests stood out in mass entertainment. Now it seems like a month has gone by without Fox launching an X-Men movie, Sony launching a Spider-Man movie or Warner launching a movie about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or the Joker.
But none of them can match the triumph of Marvel Studios, whose wave of box office hits swept everything ahead of them. Dare to say you're not impressed by the quality, as Martin Scorsese and Ethan Hawke did, and brace yourself for the reaction of the avengers of social media.
Movies that were theoretically from other genres, like Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, Doctor Sleep, and Frozen II were actually undercover superhero movies, and all studios tried to copy Marvel's 'shared universe' model, in which several separate movies happen in the same reality.
The 2000s were a frighteningly bad decade for terror. The success of the Deadly Games and its annual sequels led to a series of 'torture pornography' movies that were more disgusting than scary. And there have been numerous efforts to sell old characters to new audiences, for example, Halloween: Resurrection, Freddy Vs. Jason and Friday 13th.
In the 2010s, on the other hand, horror was reborn as one of the only genres in which original dramas with provocative stories and bold concepts can be made on a reasonable budget and embraced by critics and audiences alike.
The prime examples are Run! and Us, by Jordan Peele, Hereditary and Midsommar – Evil Doesn't Wait for the Night, by Ari Aster, The Witch and The Lighthouse, by Robert Eggers, The Evil Stream, by David Robert Mitchell, A Quiet Place, by John Krasinski, Grave by Julia Ducournau and The Babadook by Jennifer Kent. Just don't call it 'high horror' – a snobby term that makes horror fans look for sharp wooden pegs.
Whenever a movie like Sick of Love goes moderately well, fans of romantic comedy declare that the genre we love is back. But it is time for us to leave this relationship behind and move on with our lives. Rom-com (a term for romantic comedies) flourished until the 1990s, soured in the 2000s, and dried up in 2010. Briefly, it was replaced by the comedy of friends, where falling in love with one or the other matters less. than going out with the guys, like Mission Maid of Honor.
The fact is that the comedy itself has fallen from the list of priorities in Hollywood. In 2004, for example, it was possible to see Everybody Almost Dead, Team America, Mean Girls, Sideways, Anchor: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and With the Whole Ball – proof that the industry was taking it seriously. be funny.
But the past decade has seen comedy actors such as Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn move into drama and comedy directors turning to television, political docudrama and superhero films. In 2006, Anthony and Joe Russo made Two is Good, Three is Too Much; In 2016, they made Captain America: Civil War.
This is not to say that Hollywood comedies are no longer produced. They are. But the most notable comedies of recent years have been darker and weirder than those of Will Ferrell's type, and often filmed away from the US. Lobster, Anomalisa, Toni Erdmann and Parasite will make you laugh, but it will be a restless and nervous laugh.
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