Recent progress in laser beam shaping and characterization with novel-type thin-film microoptics is presented. These novel microoptical devices offer several distinctive advantages, such as a short optical path, small angles, low roughness or multilayer design. These features allow shaping of laser beams at extreme parameters with respect to spectrum, angular distribution, intensity, or pulse duration. Particular emphasis is laid on (i) hybrid components for high-power diode laser collimation, (ii) spatio-temporal shaping of localized few-cycle wavepackets, and (iii) microoptics for the vacuum ultraviolet. For the fabrication of thin-film structures, vapor deposition with shading masks was used. To improve the efficiency of diode laser collimation, spatially variable AR coatings and integrated arrays of cylindrical microlenses were developed. Arrays of Bessel-like beams were generated from sub-10-fs Ti:sapphire laser pulses by refractive and reflective microaxicons. We further demonstrated the use of microaxicon arrays for spatially resolved autocorrelation of ultrashort pulses. Deposition and etching transfer of flat VUV-structures was studied. Finally, the generation of single-maximum nondiffracting beams by self-apodizing system design is discussed.