Friday, September 24, 2010

My Top 100 Directors

Below is a list of my Top 100 Directors that I submitted once again for Included is a film of theirs that cements them on this list for their directorial style and as a film that represents them at one of their best.

Woody Allen (Annie Hall)
Pedro Almodovar (Talk to Her)
Robert Altman (MASH)
Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums)
Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream)
Hal Ashby (Being There)
Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal)
Brad Bird (The Incredibles)
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment)
Frank Capra (It's a Wonderful Life)
John Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence)
Park Chan-wook (Oldboy)
Charlie Chaplin (City Lights)
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather)
Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation)
David Cronenberg (A History of Violence)
Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous)
Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men)
Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption)
Brian De Palma (The Untouchables)
Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth)
Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs)
Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven)
Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter)
Federico Fellini (8 1/2)
Abel Ferrara (The Addiction)
Todd Field (In the Bedroom)
David Fincher (Fight Club)
Bob Fosse (All That Jazz)
Stephen Frears (The Grifters)
Costa Gavras (Missing)
Terry Gilliam (Brazil)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel)
Paul Greengrass (United 93)
Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman)
Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon)
Howard Hawks (His Girl Friday)
Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven)
Werner Herzog (Aguirre Wrath of God)
Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo)
John Huston (The Maltese Falcon)
Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise)
Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich)
Bong Joon-ho (The Host)
Neil Jordan (The Crying Game)
Wong Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love)
Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront)
Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry)
Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange)
Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai)
David Lean (The Bridge on the River Kwai)
Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon)
Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing)
Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Sergio Leone (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)
Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused)
Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men)
David Lynch (Blue Velvet)
Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven)
Michael Mann (The Insider)
Sam Mendes (American Beauty)
John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away)
Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine)
Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line)
Mike Nichols (The Graduate)
Christopher Nolan (Memento)
Alan J. Pakula (All the President's Men)
Alexander Payne (Sideways)
Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch)
Roman Polanski (Chinatown)
Sam Raimi (A Simple Plan)
Jason Reitman (Up in the Air)
Guy Ritchie (Snatch)
David O. Russell (Three Kings)
John Sayles (Lone Star)
John Schlesinger (Sunday Bloody Sunday)
Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull)
Ridley Scott (Blade Runner)
Jim Sheridan (In America)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)
Steven Soderbergh (Traffic)
Todd Solondz (Happiness)
Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List)
Andrew Stanton (Wall-E)
Oliver Stone (Platoon)
Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction)
Francois Truffuat (The 400 Blows)
Gus Van Sant (Elephant)
Lars Von Trier (Dancer in the Dark)
Peter Weir (The Truman Show)
Orson Welles (Citizen Kane)
Wim Wenders (Paris Texas)
Billy Wilder (The Apartment)
Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People)
Zhang Yimou (Hero)

Monday, September 13, 2010

East Asian Directors Marathon #8- The Killer (1989, Hong Kong, John Woo)

"Easy to pick up, hard to put down."

Very few filmmakers out there are like John Woo. Very few people can do what he does. I've seen Hard Boiled, Bullet in the Head, and all of his American films except for Face/Off and the one with Jean-Claude Van Damme. For me, he is the god of action movies. He understand that beneath all the gunplay and explosions that an important character arc has to be taking place, a story has to be told, and every time a bullet is fired there is an impact on our psyches. In some regards, all of his films remind me of Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and I'm comfortable with defending that comparison.

So I'm obviously a John Woo addict, but what was my problem with The Killer? I mean, on the positive side, Woo practically created a hybrid of a samurai movie meets a crime noir, the film was full of deep themes of redemption and tragedy, and there was a significant amount of badass male bonding. I could see how this inspired hit-man movies from Leon to Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai to even the recent The American. Yet, those films were much less heavy-handed. Out of nowhere in this film, characters would force themselves to talk of compassion and peace while pausing in the middle of a shootout. The symbolism (especially in the church scene) got a little too heavy for me with the doves flying around. I suppose I'm happy it was heavy handed in the epic sense and not in the dull sense that Oliver Stone sometimes ventures into. I was actually reminded of the recent Zhang Yimou movies that I saw where the action overpowered the characters in the story. There was style over psychological depth and I can admire Woo for restraining himself (compared to something like Bullet in the Head), but I prefer plots and films that try to break new ground.

Maybe I'm spoiled by those who Woo has inspired whether it be Quentin Tarantino or Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, but there is only room for improvement with Woo's other work and he showed that in Hard Boiled. Also, Woo's filmmaking is admirable for being the most pure sense of this single word- "kinetic."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My 82 Favorite Performances

Below are my 82 favorite performances (don't ask why, I ended up with 82 instead of 92, just so happened that way). The only order they are in is alphabetical. Enjoy.

Alec Baldwin (Glengarry Glen Ross)
"We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest."

Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
"What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?"

Warren Beatty (Reds)
"Well, it's almost Thanksgiving. You could go as a turkey."

Marlon Brando (The Godfather)
"Why come to me? What have I done to deserve such generosity?"

Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront)
"Looked like a hunk of rope and you had wires on your teeth and glasses and everything. You was really a mess."

Nicolas Cage (Adaptation)
"Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head?"

Steve Carell (The 40 Year Old Virgin)
"Really? All your girlfriends wanted to have sex with virgins too?"

Jim Carrey (The Truman Show)
"The early bird gathers no moss. The rolling stone catches the worm."

Choi Min-sik (Oldboy)
"All I could think about in that moment was the guy in the next room was eating with only one chopstick."

George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
"I'm not the guy you kill. I'm the guy you buy."

Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat)
"My name a Borat. I like you. I like sex. Is Nice."

Chris Cooper (Lone Star)
"No telling yet if there's been a crime, but this country's seen a fair amount of disagreements over the years."

Sharlto Copley (District 9)
"This is, this is very illegal, I mean, this is, this is a fine."

Daniel Craig (Casino Royale)
"So you want me to be half-monk, half-hitman."

Tom Cruise (Born on the Fourth of July)
"People say that if you don't like America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America."

Tom Cruise (Collateral)
"No, I shot him. Bullets and the fall killed him."

Tom Cruise (Magnolia)
"What am I doing? I'm quietly judging you."

Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver)
"I ride around most nights, subways, buses, but you know, if I'm gonna do that I might as well get paid for it."

Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland)
"Yes, well, we do dream on a budget here, don't we?"

Vincent D'Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket)
"I am, in a world, of shit."

Kirk Douglas (Paths of Glory)
"Gentlemen of the court, there are times when I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion."

Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now)
"You can either surf, or you can fight."

Colin Farrell (In Bruges)
"After I killed him, I dropped the gun in the Thames, washed the residue of me hands in the bathroom of a Burger King, and walked home to await instructions."

Ralph Fiennes (The Constant Gardener)
"I can't go home. Tessa was my home."

Ralph Fiennes (Quiz Show)
"I've stood on the shoulders of life and I've never gotten down in the dirt to build, to erect a foundation of my own."

Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List)
"When you work closely with them, like I do, you see this. They have this power. It's like a virus."

Peter Finch (Network)
"You've got to say, I'm a human being, god damn it. My life has value. So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get out of your chairs."

Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix)
"If real is what you can feel, smell, taste, and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."

Henry Fonda (12 Angry Men)
"I feel sorry for you, what it must feel like to want to pull the switch."

Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs)
"Why don't you, why don't you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you're afraid to."

Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption)
"Rehabilitated? Well, now let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means."

Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)
"We shall strike a balance between culture and fun."

Elliot Gould (The Long Goodbye)
"Well, that's okay, but I'm not taking off the tie."

Gene Hackman (The French Connection)
"The son of a bitch is here. I saw him. I'm gonna get him. Son of a bitch."

William Holden (Network)
"You need me. You need me badly because I'm your last contact with human reality."

Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs)
"Of each particular thing ask, what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?"

William Hurt (A History of Violence)
"You've been this other guy, almost as long as you've been yourself. Hey, when you dream, are you still Joey?"

Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People)
"When I let myself feel, all I feel is lousy."

Diane Keaton (Reds)
"Taxi's waiting, Jack."

Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds)
"My name is Shosanna Dreyfus and this is the face of Jewish vengeance."

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are tonight's entertainment."

Jack Lemmon (Glengarry Glen Ross)
"You do not know your job. That's what I'm saying. A man is his job and you are fucked at yours."

Jack Lemmon (Missing)
"This past week I've felt like... my heart has been torn out of me."

Sergi Lopez (Pan's Labyrinth)
"I'll make you a deal. If you can count to three without stuttering you can go."

Matthew McConaughey (Lone Star)
"How about this, how about you put that shield on this table and vanish before you end up dead or in jail."

Frances McDormand (Fargo)
"So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper."

Ulrich Muhe (The Lives of Others)
"An innocent prisoner will become more angry by the hour due to the injustice suffered. He will shout and rage. A guilty prisoner becomes more calm and quiet."

Liam Neeson (Schindler's List)
"If this factory ever produces a shell that can actually be fired, I'll be very unhappy."

Paul Newman (Road to Perdition)
"This is the life we chose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee, none of us will see heaven."

Paul Newman (The Verdict)
"We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time, we become dead, a little dead."

Jack Nicholson (The Departed)
"I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me."

Jack Nicholson (The Shining)
"Well, that just happens to be exactly what I'm looking for. I'm outlining a new writing project and five months of peace is just what I want."

Edward Norton (Fight Club)
"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time."

Haley Joel Osment (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence)
"Is this the place they make you real?"

Al Pacino (Dog Day Afternoon)
"What's he doing? Go back there man. He wants to kill me so bad he can taste it."

Al Pacino (Glengarry Glen Ross)
"They say that it was so hot in the city today, grown men were walking up to cops on street corners begging them to shoot them."

Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II)
"I don't feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies."

Al Pacino (Serpico)
"You know what they say, don't you? If you love a man's garden, you gotta love the man."

Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking)
"I just wanna say I think killing is wrong, no matter who does it, whether it's me or y'all or your government."

Sean Penn (Mystic River)
"We bury our sins here, Dave. We wash them clean."

Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line)
"Now I've asked you forty different ways and it's time you come up with a fresh answer."

Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys)
"There's no right, there's no wrong, there's only popular opinion."

Brad Pitt (Fight Club)
"I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may."

Sidney Poitier (In the Heat of the Night)
"Now listen, hear me good mama. Please. Don't make me have to send you to jail."

Tim Robbins (Mystic River)
"Jimmy, you're crying now."

Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption)
"They say it has no memory. That's where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory."

Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking)
"I want the last face you see in this world to be the face of love, so you look at me when they do this thing. I'll be the face of love for you."

Roy Scheider (All That Jazz)
"To be on the wire is life. The rest is waiting."

Martin Sheen (Badlands)
"Listen to your parents and teachers. They got a line on most things, so don't treat them like enemies."

Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night)
"I got the motive which is money and the body which is dead."

David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck)
"Cassius was right, the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck."

Sissy Spacek (Missing)
"Hey, Charlie always says guilt is like fear. It's given to us for survival, not destruction."

Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)
"Her husband. We've met before, but something tells me you're going to remember me this time."

Meryl Streep (Adaptation)
"What I came to understand is that change is not a choice."

Henry Thomas (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial)
"You could be happy here. I could take care of you. I wouldn't let anybody hurt you. We could grow up together, E.T."

Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
"What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives."

Orson Welles (Citizen Kane)
"You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really good man."

Orson Welles (Touch of Evil)
"That wasn't no miss, Vargas. That was just to turn you around, so I don't have to shoot you in the back."

Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)
"To meet someone, and they're, they're like a lens and suddenly you're looking through them and everything changes and nothing can ever be the same again."

Robin Williams (Awakenings)
"You'd think at a certain point all these atypical somethings would amount to a typical something."

Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
"Come back and make up a good-bye at least. Let's pretend we had one."

Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line)
"Rule number one, don't propose to a girl on a bus, you got that? Rule number two, don't tell her it's because you had a bad dream."