When ultra-intense and ultra-short optical pulses propagate in transparent dielectrics, the dynamic balance between multiple linear and nonlinear effects results in the generation of laser filaments. These peculiar objects have numerous interesting properties and can be potentially used in a variety of applications from remote sensing to the optical pulse compression down to few optical cycles to guiding lightning discharges away from sensitive sites. Materializing this practical potential is not straightforward owing to the complexity of the physical picture of filamentation. In this paper, we discuss recent experiments on using beam shaping as a means of control over the filament formation and dynamics. Two particular beam shapes that we have investigated so far are Bessel and Airy beams. The diffraction-free propagation of femtosecond Bessel beams allows for the creation of extended plasma channels in air. These extended filaments can be used for the generation of energetic optical pulses with the duration in the few-cycle range. In the case of filamentation of femtosecond Airy beams, the self-bending property of these beams allows for the creation of curved filaments. This is a new regime of the intense laser-pulse propagation in which the linear self-bending property of the beam competes against the nonlinear self-channeling. The bent filaments generated by ultraintense Airy beams emit forward-propagating broadband radiation. Analysis of the spatial and spectral distribution of this emission provides for a valuable tool for analyzing the evolution of the ultra-intense optical pulse along the optical path.