Studios and production houses have been pumping out films like never before, and the last couple of decades has produced some of the best cinema we’ve ever seen. However, with so much content, it’s easy for these golden gems of the silver screen to get lost in the masses of mediocre entertainment piled onto streaming platforms like Netflix.
Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of 6 absolute must see films that have been released in the last twenty years, so you can make sure you haven’t missed out on any of the best cinema has recently had to offer.
1. Uncut Gems (2019)
A very different Adam Sandler movie than we’re used to, “Uncut Gems” is a 2019 crime thriller film about Howard Ratner, a New York City jeweller addicted to gambling.
He acquires a valuable black opal and plans to auction it off for profit, but his chaotic life and risky bets lead to a web of violence and betrayal. The film explores themes of addiction, ambition, and the consequences of one’s actions in a gritty portrayal of New York City. It received critical acclaim for its intense performances and frenetic pacing.
2. Inception (2010)
The first Christopher Nolan film on our list, but not the last, “Inception” is a 2010 sci-fi thriller and has made its mark in cinema history. The story follows Dom Cobb, an extractor who enters dreams to steal secrets. He’s tasked with performing an inception, planting an idea instead. The film explores the complexities of dreams and reality, featuring stunning visuals and a talented cast, notably Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hardy.
Inception’s complex, mind-bending story, has captivated audiences and ensured its place as a modern classic.
3. Avatar (2009)
You have to have been living under a rock to miss this one. Directed by James Cameron (Titanic) and set on the beautiful fictional planet of Pandora, Avatar follows a paraplegic Marine who infiltrates the native Na’vi community using an avatar. The film features groundbreaking visuals and explores themes of nature, exploitation, and cultural clashes. “Avatar” became the highest-grossing film upon release, showcasing its lasting impact.
Its visual FX stunned viewers, although the more recent release of the 2nd film in the series was not met with the same admiration.
4. Casino Royale (2006)
Referred to by many as the best Daniel Craig James Bond film, and even the best Bond film of all time, although many have a difficult time choosing between Craig and Connery.
Casino Royale was directed by Martin Campbell and stars Daniel Craig, this movie is the first in the rebooted efforts of the James Bond franchise and follows Bond as he tries to bankrupt a terrorist financier in a high-stakes poker game. Based on the novel, James Bond was a notorious roulette player, so you’d expect that he’d try his luck at online casino roulette. However, the movie depicts James Bond indulging in a full spectrum of casino games, from baccarat to poker. Being supported by MI6, he keeps his wits about him around the poker table, decoding bluffs and dodging bullets all in the same film.
5. Interstellar (2014)
The second Christopher Nolan film on our list, ‘Interstellar’ is set in a near-future Earth facing a global food crisis, the story follows a group of astronauts who embark on a space mission to find a habitable planet for humanity. The protagonist, Cooper, joins the mission leaving behind his family.
As the crew ventures through a wormhole, they encounter mind-bending phenomena and grapple with the concept of time dilation. The film explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the exploration of the unknown. Cooper’s journey becomes a race against time to save humanity and reunite with his family.
“Interstellar” is celebrated for its visually stunning depiction of space and its ambitious exploration of scientific concepts. It features a stellar cast including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain, delivering powerful performances. The film’s thought-provoking narrative and emotional depth have made it a favourite among science fiction enthusiasts.
6. Parasite (2019)
“Parasite” is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho. The story revolves around the Kim family, who live in poverty and struggle to make ends meet. Through a stroke of luck, the son of the Kim family, Ki-woo, secures a tutoring job for the wealthy Park family, however, unforeseen events and hidden secrets soon unravel, leading to unexpected consequences for both families.
“Parasite” skillfully explores themes of social class, wealth inequality, and the inherent struggles of the lower class. The film brilliantly combines dark humour, suspense, and biting social commentary, creating a captivating and thought-provoking cinematic experience.
Achieving critical acclaim worldwide, the film won numerous awards, including the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, making it the first South Korean film to receive such recognition. The film’s success has brought some much needed international attention to South Korean cinema, and solidified Bong Joon-ho as one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers of our time.