The 133rd Best Director of All-Time: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pasolini. I’ll be the first to admit that there is work to be done here on my end regarding Pasolini. I’ve seen six Pasolini films, once a piece, between the years 2004-2006. That certainly doesn’t make me an expert (hoping to dig in further soon). As far as his resume, the 1 film in the top 500 of all-time isn’t the problem—it’s the 1 film in the top 100 of the decade that hurts his case (though Salo is very close). The strength of Pasolini’s case is level of authorship in his films. Accattone has hinds of neorealism, as

The 133rd Best Director of All-Time: Pier Paolo Pasolini2021-04-16T11:25:18+00:00

The 132nd Best Director of All-Time: Marcel Carné

Carné. All three of Carné’s archiveable films land in the top 100 of their respective decade. There isn’t much beyond that as far as resume. I’ll get to it below but the disconnect I have with the critical consensus on Children of Paradise is reason why Carné has fallen to the #132 slot here. Best film:  Children of Paradise. Immaculately curated production design—Carné successfully builds the world of 19th century Paris. total archiveable films: 3 top 100 films:  0 top 500 films:  1 (Children of Paradise) Children of Paradise. Immaculately curated production design—Carné successfully builds the world of 19th

The 132nd Best Director of All-Time: Marcel Carné2020-07-03T10:28:36+00:00

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – 1939 Thorpe

I’m not IMDB’ing what else Richard Thorpe directed by this is a solid adaptation of Twain with the perfect casting (even if he’s actually 19 years old) of Mickey Rooney as the titular heroRooney is smooth-talking, mischievous, charming—with his barefeet and pipe- an ideal HuckleberryA very nice tracking shot in a teacher giving her class a warning about being like Huckleberry in a film that is otherwise directed in a very utilitarian fashion by Thorpe A yarn- very entertaining and easy to watch 91 minutesIt is narrative brilliance to put these two snake-oil salesman here (Walter Connolly as The

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – 1939 Thorpe2019-12-30T15:26:36+00:00

Happy-Go-Lucky – 2008 Leigh

It is not on that level of an artistic achievement but I think Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky (probably more of a triumph for Sally Hawkins—who is wonderful here-- than Leigh himself) makes for an interesting pairing with Leigh’s greatest work- Naked. The 1993 masterpiece is dark, a story about a singular character (most of Leigh’s work is about a family and/or ensemble) who is dark, angry at the world--- and here, we have the polar opposite- a genuinely positive, happy person (mostly despite the ugliness in the world around her that seems hell-bent on snuffing her happiness out)This is the

Happy-Go-Lucky – 2008 Leigh2020-07-03T10:28:38+00:00

Waves – 2019 Shults

Trey Edward Shults’ Waves feels like something big. It is Shults’ third film—at the age of 31. Waves is a breakthrough for Shults’—it looks and feels like Krisha (Shults has an identifiable aesthetic—the mark of an auteur)—but where Krisha is a 6/10 in ambition—Waves is going for it—there wasn’t a more ambitious film made in 2019 in many ways—and that’s a year where Tarantino and Scorsese were given 100m+ in budget to do whatever they want. Waves starts off with a bang—after a brief shot of Taylor Russell’s Emily riding through the streets on a bike we’re off and

Waves – 2019 Shults2019-12-30T13:30:32+00:00

Footloose – 1984 Herbert Ross

Kevin Bacon and Kenny Loggins give this film just enough to sneak into the archives. The entire soundtrack (most of it original for the film) is perfect. Loggins, as mentioned, does much of it- but how good is John Cougar’s “Hurt So Good” in the Honkey Tonk bar. I like “let's hear it for the boy” by Deniece Williams with the montage of Kevin Bacon teaching Chris Penn how to dance. Haha. I like “let's hear it for the boy” by Deniece Williams with the montage of Kevin Bacon teaching Chris Penn how to dance. Haha. Lori Singer is

Footloose – 1984 Herbert Ross2020-07-03T10:28:38+00:00

Little Women – 1994 Armstrong

Gillian Armstrong’s Little Women, the third archiveable version after Cukor’s 1933 version and the 1949 from Mervyn LeRoy, doesn’t feature transcendent direction, but it is an admirable adaptation thanks to a talented cast and a hell of a music score from Thomas NewmanThe opening credits are dazzling- I had to check to see if they were from Saul Bass (they are not). They’re from Australian designer Belinda Bennetts, and certainly it looks influenced (or ripped) from Scorsese’s 1993 period drama from revered American literature (from Saul Bass). Still—they are beautiful and elegant and launch the film in the proper

Little Women – 1994 Armstrong2020-07-03T10:28:38+00:00

The 131st Best Director of All-Time: George Romero

Romero. Genre diehards will hate that’s it has taken me this long to get to Romero and vice-versa for those who view horror as some sort of lower art-form (which it isn’t—in the hands of the right auteur). Romero is a style-minus director, I don’t think that can be argued- the visuals just aren’t overly remarkable and it’s not the framing or the editing. But there’s a consistency in his work (beyond working mostly in the same genre, and sub-genre (zombie horror). There’s the strong black protagonists. There’s a razor sharp social commentary that is a little different for

The 131st Best Director of All-Time: George Romero2020-07-03T10:28:38+00:00

The 130th Best Director of All-Time: Michael Cimino

Cimino. Cimino is probably as well known for killing the fertile artistic period of American cinema of the 1970’s with expensive economic (but certainly not artistic) failure of Heaven’s Gate as he is for his 1978’s best picture winning Deer Hunter. Cimino only has three archiveable films and although I think Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a fine film—it doesn’t sniff the top 10 of 1974 so his case really rests on The Deer Hunter and Heaven’s Gate. That is a remarkable 1-2 though--- and they are certainly clear companions (long films, immaculate visuals, sagas/opuses/portraits) and look at the compositions

The 130th Best Director of All-Time: Michael Cimino2021-08-23T23:58:25+00:00

The 129th Best Director of All-Time: Stanley Donen

Donen. Donen has a unique case here. He has one bright shining star of a film (Singin’ in the Rain- just missing my top 100 by an eyelash) that he wouldn’t be here without. The resume is a little light after that in some respects. He does not have another top 500 film of all-time or a top 100 film the decade in fact. However, he has a trademark look (vibrant use of color) and genre (usually musicals—6 of the 9 archiveable movies) – so there is an undeniable trademark and consistency there. Best film:  Singin’ in the Rain.

The 129th Best Director of All-Time: Stanley Donen2020-07-03T10:28:38+00:00

The 128th Best Director of All-Time: Anthony Minghella

Minghella. Minghella is a classical British auteur who died too early (at age 54) and made literary adaptation epics: The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain. His strength, for the purposes of this list, is that he’s the only director left with two top 500 of all-time films (English Patient, Mr. Ripley). There is no misidentifying his work either—they all have radiant David Lean-like photography. His weaknesses are apparent as well. Even at director #128 on this list four films in the archives, and two films in the top 100 of their respective decade is a

The 128th Best Director of All-Time: Anthony Minghella2020-07-03T10:28:38+00:00

The 127th Best Director of All-Time: René Clair

Clair. For a very small window of time Clair was the greatest director in the world along with von Sternberg. From 1930 to 1931 he made three of the best 1000 films, and three of the best 100 films of the decade—Under the Roofs of Paris, Le Million, and - À nous la liberté.  He would add a few solid Hollywood films to his resume in the 1940’s but it’s really the basis of these three films that he’s here at #127 above others. They all bare the stamp of his unique visual style. Best film:  Le Million. I

The 127th Best Director of All-Time: René Clair2020-07-03T10:28:38+00:00
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