Monday, February 11, 2013

Favorite Working Directors ('12 List)

Meant to publish this earlier in the year, but got caught up with graduating and then not finding a job. Now I feel in nice enough mindset to approach this. I've upped the list to 30 people and the rankings are a mix of quantitative and qualitative thoughts, but this is just mostly a minor way to celebrate who I think are the filmmakers whose work I follow closely with a critical eye and am sure to see their projects on the big screen. The blurbs I've included are relatively simple thoughts, I just didn't want to find myself writing paragraphs, but to at least have something definitive following their names.

1. Steven Spielberg
Pretty difficult to not say he is the greatest director of our time. His reach is so far. He can go from dark historical dramas to sci-fi/fantasy adventures.
Up Next- Possibly an adaptation of Robopocalypse.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Duel (1971)
-The Sugarland Express (1974)
-Jaws (1975)
-Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
-Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
-E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
-Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
-The Color Purple (1985)
-Empire of the Sun (1987)
-Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
-Jurassic Park (1993)
-Schindler's List (1993)
-Amistad (1997)
-Saving Private Ryan (1998)
-A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
-Minority Report (2002)
-Catch Me If You Can (2002)
-War of the Worlds (2005)
-Munich (2005)
-Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
-The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
-War Horse (2011)
-Lincoln (2012)

2. Woody Allen
Not every film is a hit, but I'm more amazed at how active he is with one film a year. His best works are delightful, surprising, and loving whether they are comedic or dramatic or somewhere in between.
Up Next- Blue Jasmine with an unique cast led by Sally Hawkins. Set in San Diego.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-What's Up, Tiger Lily (1966)
-Bananas (1971)
-Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972)
-Sleeper (1973)
-Love and Death (1975)
-Annie Hall (1977)
-Interiors (1978)
-Manhattan (1979)
-Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
-The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
-Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
-Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
-Alice (1990)
-Husbands and Wives (1992)
-Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
-Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
-Everyone Says I Love You (1996)
-Deconstructing Harry (1997)
-Sweet and Lowdown (1999)
-Match Point (2005)
-Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
-Midnight in Paris (2011)
-To Rome with Love (2012)

3. Martin Scorsese
Um... he's just really good. There's no one like him. I can leave it at that.
Up Next- The Wolf of Wall Street written by Terence Winter and starring DiCaprio is out this year with a great supporting cast.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Mean Streets (1973)
-Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
-Taxi Driver (1976)
-Raging Bull (1980)
-The King of Comedy (1983)
-After Hours (1985)
-The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
-Goodfellas (1990)
-Cape Fear (1991)
-The Age of Innocence (1993)
-Casino (1995)
-Kundun (1997)
-Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
-Gangs of New York (2002)
-The Aviator (2004)
-The Departed (2006)
-Shutter Island (2010)
-Hugo (2011)

4. Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
The make some of the most clever movies around. Often ironic or spiritual ranging across numerous genres with characters that are the ultimate good, the ultimate evil, and somewhere in between.
Up Next- Inside Llewyn Davis coming out this year. A lot of folk music sung by Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Blood Simple (1984)
-Raising Arizona (1987)
-Miller's Crossing (1990)
-Barton Fink (1991)
-The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
-Fargo (1996)
-The Big Lebowski (1998)
-O' Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)
-The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
-Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
-The Ladykillers (2004)
-No Country for Old Men (2007)
-Burn After Reading (2008)
-A Serious Man (2009)
-True Grit (2010)

5. Roman Polanski
Known for bringing fresh energy to genres like noir or horror, he is one of the several filmmakers on this list who still surprises even as he grows older.
Up Next- A thriller about a politician called D.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Repulsion (1965)
-Cul-de-sac (1966)
-Rosemary's Baby (1968)
-Macbeth (1971)
-Chinatown (1974)
-The Tenant (1976)
-Tess (1979)
-Frantic (1988)
-Death and the Maiden (1994)
-The Pianist (2002)
-Oliver Twist (2005)
-The Ghost Writer (2010)
-Carnage (2011)

6. Spike Lee
Some of his films work as activism, but all practically have some sort of social commentary as a central fabric the world he brings to life. At his best he is bold and poetic and at worst he is still showcasing something interesting.
Up Next- Oldboy comes out this fall. A remake of Park Chan-wook's 2003 film.
Worth Checking Out... (bolded favorite)
-Do the Right Thing (1989)
-Jungle Fever (1991)
-Malcolm X (1992)
-Crooklyn (1994)
-Clockers (1995)
-Get On the Bus (1996)
-He Got Game (1998)
-Summer of Sam (1999)
-25th Hour (2002)
-Inside Man (2006)
-Miracle at St. Anna (2008)
-Red Hook Summer (2012)

7. Werner Herzog
One of the most unpredictable filmmakers around, his obsessive subjects often serve to pull you further into whatever unique world he's decided to focus on.
Up Next- His documentary Happy People, that was made in 2010 about life in the Taiga, will finally be released. After that he might do a T.E. Lawrence film with Robert Pattinson or a documentary about hate crimes in America.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972)
-The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)
-Heart of Glass (1976)
-Stroszek (1977)
-Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
-Woyzeck (1979)
-Fitzcarraldo (1982)
-Cobra Verde (1987)
-Little Dieter Needs to Fly (1997)
-My Best Friend (1999)
-The White Diamond (2004)
-Grizzly Man (2005)
-Rescue Dawn (2007)
-Encounters at the End of the World (2007)
-Bad Lieutenant (2009)
-My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (2009)
-Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010)
-Into the Abyss (2011)
-On Death Row (2012)

8. Clint Eastwood
Although I'm much more a fan of his later output, the man's overall work ethic is to be admired. His films feel classical and meditative while spanning a wide genre of stories.
Up Next- Possibly a remake of A Star is Born. Names attached include Beyonce, DiCaprio, Bale, and Cruise.
Worth Checking Out (favorite bolded)
-Unforgiven (1992)
-Mystic River (2003)
-Million Dollar Baby (2004)
-Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
-Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
-Changeling (2008)
-Gran Torino (2008)
-Invictus (2009)
-Hereafter (2010)
-J. Edgar (2011)

9. David Lynch
Working in bits of surrealism and noir, the man's filmography runs from bizarre cult favorites to spiritual family films. Most importantly, he is constantly redefining himself.
Up Next- A project with Laura Dern. Hopefully it's a film.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Eraserhead (1977)
-The Elephant Man (1980)
-Blue Velvet (1986)
-Wild at Heart (1990)
-Lost Highway (1997)
-The Straight Story (1999)
-Mulholland Drive (2001)
-Inland Empire (2006)

10. David Fincher
His visually meticulous films are becoming more diverse as time goes on. There's a reason why his name is becoming more of an adjective to describe a style all of his own.
Up Next- Still trying to get his version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea made with Brad Pitt. He also might adapt Gone Girl into a film.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Se7en (1995)
-The Game (1997)
-Fight Club (1999)
-Panic Room (2002)
-Zodiac (2007)
-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
-The Social Network (2010)
-The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

11. Quentin Tarantino
A filmmaker's whose films greatly showcase... his love for films. You can go through each of his movies, scene by scene and frame by frame, and talk about his homages and own originality for a while.
Up Next- Possibly another WWII movie called Killer Crow. He still wants to do a 30's gangster film or a continuation of Kill Bill.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Reservoir Dogs (1992)
-Pulp Fiction (1994)
-Jackie Brown (1997)
-Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003)
-Kill Bill Volume 2 (2004)
-Death Proof (2007)
-Inglourious Basterds (2009)
-Django Unchained (2012)

12. Christopher Nolan
Having delivered what's been called a new age of blockbuster, he is really just able to bring his style of thematic twists to mainstream audiences. The Kubrick comparisons aren't necessary as he seems to be of his own type.
Up Next- Possibly the abandoned Spielberg project called Interstellar.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Following (1998)
-Memento (2000)
-Insomnia (2002)
-Batman Begins (2005)
-The Prestige (2006)
-The Dark Knight (2008)
-Inception (2010)
-The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

13. Danny Boyle
Often called an MTV-style filmmaker... and yet he's from Britain. To call his films energetic is an understatement.
Up Next- Trance, a heist film with McAvoy, Cassel, and Dawson, comes out this year.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Shallow Grave (1994)
-Trainspotting (1996)
-28 Days Later (2002)
-Millions (2004)
-Sunshine (2007)
-Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
-127 Hours (2010) 

14. Wes Anderson
Another wholly original voice. From impressive shot set-ups to lavish set designs to his unique characters, his style is extremely specific but oft imitated.
Up Next- The Grand Budapest Hotel starring Ralph Fiennes and many others. Slated for 2014.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Bottle Rocket (1996)
-Rushmore (1998)
-The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
-The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
-The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
-Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
-Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

15. Pedro Almodovar
His earlier films were colorfully sexualized comedies, but as his career progressed, he was sure to use that same energy as his films became more like character studies about secrets and relationships.
Up Next- I'm So Excited comes out this summer. It takes place on an airplane.
Worth Checking Out... (bolded favorite)
-Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
-All About My Mother (1999)
-Talk to Her (2002)
-Bad Education (2004)
-Return (2006)
-Broken Embraces (2009)
-The Skin I Live In (2011)

16. Peter Jackson
He started with bloody horror movies and then moved onto several adaptions that have showcased his distinct vision. All that and he still seamlessly brings about human emotion into even the most fantastical stories.
Up Next- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The second part in his Hobbit trilogy.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Heavenly Creatures (1994)
-The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
-The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
-The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
-King Kong (2005)
-The Lovely Bones (2009)
-The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2011)

17. Paul Thomas Anderson
Often makes energetic films with outrageous performances. He has put his spin on spirituality, romantic comedies, westerns, and is the heir apparent to Robert Altman.
Up Next- Inherent Vice with Joaquin Phoenix and Charlize Theron. Probably in 2014.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Hard Eight (1996)
-Boogie Nights (1997)
-Magnolia (1999)
-Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
-There Will Be Blood (2007)
-The Master (2012)

18. Lars Von Trier
Part of the Dogme 95 collective, his work is often provocative, but always emotional and usually sad.
Up Next- The Nymphomaniac starring Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Breaking the Waves (1996)
-Dancer in the Dark (2000)
-Dogville (2003)
-Manderlay (2005)
-Antichrist (2009)
-Melancholia (2011)

19. Mike Leigh
Often improvises with his actors before approaching a proper script with story and dialogue. Has delivered some of the most heartfelt and heartbreaking works from Britain.
Up Next- Has yet to announce anything.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Naked (1993)
-Secrets and Lies (1996)
-Topsy-Turvy (1999)
-Vera Drake (2004)
-Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
-Another Year (2010)

20. Todd Haynes
Having delivered so many personable works, I find his focus on cryptic characters with much to be hide to be powerfully moving.
Up Next- Has yet to announce anything.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Poison (1991)
-Safe (1995)
-Velvet Goldmine (1998)
-Far From Heaven (2002)
-I'm Not There (2007)
-Mildred Pierce (2011)

21. David O. Russell
A master of irony in several forms and among the many whose films never slow down one they start.
Up Next- American Bullshit starring Bale, Adams, Cooper, and Renner. About the Abscam scandal.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Spanking the Monkey (1994)
-Flirting with Disaster (1996)
-Three Kings (1999)
-I Heart Huckabees (2004)
-The Fighter (2010)
-Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

22. Terrence Malick
Has made some of the best looking movies. They are often dream-like and are about those who discover an inherent goodness or kindness.
Up Next- To the Wonder with Affleck, McAdams, Kurylenko, and Bardem. Then he has Knight of Cups and another film, both with large casts.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Badlands (1973)
-Days of Heaven (1978)
-The Thin Red Line (1998)
-The New World (2005)
-The Tree of Life (2011)

23. Darren Aronofsky
Whether the film is high-concept or more earthly and gritty, his visual innovation and thoughtful endings deliver great experiences.
Up Next- The biblical epic Noah with Crowe, Connelly, Hopkins, Winstone, Lerman, and Watson. Coming in early 2014.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Pi (1998)
-Requiem for a Dream (2000)
-The Fountain (2006)
-The Wrestler (2008)
-Black Swan (2010)

24. Alexander Payne
His characters and situations often feel real no matter how quirky or unique the circumstances of the romance or crises at hand may seem.
Up Next- A father/son drama called Nebraska with Will Forte and Bruce Dern. Hopefully comes out this year.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Citizen Ruth (1996)
-Election (1999)
-About Schmidt (2002)
-Sideways (2004)
-The Descendants (2011)

25. Guillermo Del Toro
His works have all been fantasy/science-fiction films, but he understands that for all the visual trickery, there must be a great level of fascinating endearment behind the story and characters.
Up Next- Pacific Rim comes out this summer. Giant monsters fighting giant robots.
Worth Checking Out... (bolded favorite)
-Cronos (1993)
-The Devil's Backbone (2001)
-Hellboy (2004)
-Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
-Hellboy II: The Golden Army

26. Kathryn Bigelow
You can rightfully focus on her success as the 'it' female director of the moment, but her style is incredibly adaptable to whatever story while stilling remaining kinetic.
Up Next- She might return to older attempted projects like a film about the battle of Tora Bora or about the drug wars in South America titled Triple Frontier.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-The Loveless (1982)
-Near Dark (1984)
-Strange Days (1995)
-The Hurt Locker (2009)
-Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

27. Brad Bird
Staring in animation, he understands the old school (his first film was traditionally animated), the new school (digitally animated films from Pixar), and then went to live-action with a kick-ass action film.
Up Next- Sci-fi film called Tomorrowland set in the '50s, written by Damon Lindelof, and starring George Clooney. Probably coming in 2014.
Worth Checking Out... (bolded favorite)
-The Iron Giant (1999)
-The Incredibles (2004)
-Ratatouille (2007)
-Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

28. James Cameron
A director of thrilling and throughtful blockbusters. I think he has a few more in him.
Up Next- Two sequels to Avatar and a thriller called The Informationalist.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-The Terminator (1984)
-Aliens (1986)
-The Abyss (1989)
-Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

29. J.J. Abrams
The best blockbuster filmmaker around. One can see why Spielberg is his idol as his films have just as much heart to them.
Up Next- Star Trek Into Darkness comes out this summer. Then comes Star Wars Episode VII.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Mission Impossible III (2006)
-Star Trek (2009)
-Super 8 (2011)

30. Edgar Wright
Makes highly entertaning films while playing on genre expectations.
Up Next- The World's End with Pegg. Concluding their thematic trilogy.
Worth Checking Out (bolded favorite)
-Shaun of the Dead (2004)
-Hot Fuzz (2007)

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