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Paul Whitington's movies of the century, so far - let the debate begin


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Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alex Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Alex Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Pat Collins' mesmerising peripatetic tale Silence

Pat Collins' mesmerising peripatetic tale Silence

Scarlett Johannson in Under the Skin

Scarlett Johannson in Under the Skin

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Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Have the first two decades of the 21st century been good for film? It's a vexed question, but now seems a pertinent time to pose it, with cinemas across the globe either closed or three-quarters empty.

Add to the pandemic the looming threat of streaming giants such as Netflix, Apple and Amazon Prime, who understandably have little interest in the traditional theatrical distribution model, and you have a potentially apocalyptic scenario.

Grim times then, but there have been massive box-office hits in the years since the turn of the millennium that raised attendances and made cinema-going seem once again relevant. Avatar, James Cameron's hi-tech, high-concept behemoth dominated multiplexes at the turn of 2009 and became the biggest box-office hit ever. In 2008, Marvel dipped its toe into big budget cinema with Iron Man, the first instalment of a mighty franchise that would dominate mainstream movie-making for a decade.