The 204th Best Director of All-Time: Yorgos Lanthimos

Lanthimos. Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos has a strong case for being cinema’s single greatest voice since 2009 when he arrived on the scene like a blast of fresh air with the utterly bizarre and remarkably accomplished Dogtooth. Through his subsequent work he deploys a rigid formal/visual structure and breathtaking stylistic cinema while his narratives and voice are branded his absurd black humor world-building. Already, his unmissable signature style and deep filmography is a strength with three films that land in the top 100 of their respective decade. from Dogtooth here- the rigorously manicured mansions and landscaping- from Dogtooth to

The 204th Best Director of All-Time: Yorgos Lanthimos2020-07-03T10:27:57+00:00

Casa de mi Padre – 2012 Piedmont

Part b-movie grindhouse, part pastiche- this uneven film has more than a few thruway moments- but a few absolute stunners as wellSuperb opening credit titles- grabs your attention quickly that there is a clear artistic effortSpoofs like Airplane, Naked Gun or the Italian vignette section of Woody’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (Will Ferrell even speaks in Spanish for the entire film I believe)The film is all over the place, a long instrumental with broken glasses, matchbox car miniatures of a small town, the mannequin sex sceneNot quite the archiveable

Casa de mi Padre – 2012 Piedmont2020-07-03T10:27:57+00:00

Da 5 Bloods – 2020 Spike Lee

In contemporary cinema especially- decades removed from the studio era- it is worth noting and admiring that this is now Spike’s 11th archiveable film and countingOpens on documentary footage, first of Muhammad Ali in an interview, then a montage of powerful 1960’s and 1970’s imagery from the Vietnam era to the angelic voice of Marvin Gaye. Blending doc footage into his features has been a trait of Spike’s going back to the Rodney King footage to open Malcolm X in 1991 and of course the Charlottesville footage to end BlackKklansman in 2018References to Apocalypse Now – both overt with

Da 5 Bloods – 2020 Spike Lee2020-07-03T10:27:57+00:00

The 203rd Best Director of All-Time: Pawel Pawlikowski

Pawlikowski. In future years and decades Ida and Cold War will be rightly recognized as perhaps the greatest one-two punch from any director in the 2010’s and Pawlikowski as one of this generation’s greatest filmmakers. Pawlikowski has a total of three of the top 100 films of the 2010’s and that certainly is a strength. The Polish auteur’s skills as a photographer are surpassed by no one during this decade in cinema either. The Polish auteur’s skills as a photographer are surpassed by no one during this decade of cinema Best film: Ida. A second look as revealed what

The 203rd Best Director of All-Time: Pawel Pawlikowski2021-04-18T10:49:05+00:00

The 202nd Best Director of All-Time: Rouben Mamoulian

Mamoulian. Armenian-born Rouben Mamoulian is best remembered as an innovative voice in the early talkie-era of Hollywood. He took some big swings in the 1930’s. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an important special effects film, Love Me Tonight is the first real Hollywood musical, and Becky Sharp is often cited as the first technicolor film. Love Me Tonight is the main reason Mamoulian is on this list- not too many directors left with a top 500 film of all-time. Best film: Love Me Tonight. With the talkies still in their adolescence (and often struggling a little artistically having

The 202nd Best Director of All-Time: Rouben Mamoulian2021-04-22T13:35:46+00:00

Motherless Brooklyn – 2019 Norton

If you are trying to find films like Chinatown you could do a lot worse than Edward Norton’s Motherless BrooklynNorton is director, writer and lead actor- playing a character with Tourette syndrome and also the narrator The film is set in 1957 and has a very talented cast and crew. It is shot by Dick Pope (coming off career high-water mark Mr. Turner just a few years before), a cast that includes Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale among others. There’s even a song or two (that don’t really mesh with the period) from Radiohead’s

Motherless Brooklyn – 2019 Norton2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

Throne of Blood – 1957 Kurosawa

Often, and rightly, regarded as on the finest Shakespeare adaptations. Kurosawa lifts Macbeth from the Bard, makes it his own by placing the drama in feudal Japan with Mifune and Isuzu Yamada in the lead roles Bookends with fog and haunting songs from the chorus Bookends with fog and haunting songs from the chorus Kurosawa uses a nice last supper-like tableau with the arrangement of the council in the opening sectionsA great scene as the drum beats trepidatiously as Mifune and the Miki character approach their promotion and the fulfillment of the first part of the prophecy A great

Throne of Blood – 1957 Kurosawa2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

The 201st Best Director of All-Time: Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn- when your middle name is Winding- you have to use the full name. Refn is a prolific Danish filmmaker who directed Pusher at age 26 in 1996 (later turning into a trilogy) and has followed that up with seven other archiveable films since and counting. In stretch from 2009 to 2016 with four straight films- I’m not sure you could do a top 10 of the year without including Refn’s work- remarkable consistency. He makes unmistakably violent films, with stoic protagonists, bathes them in color (most often neon) and is quite simply of the most accomplished

The 201st Best Director of All-Time: Nicolas Winding Refn2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

Ikimono no kiroku– 1955 Kurosawa

With coke-bottle glasses, heavy-makeup, and dad-pants—Mifune looks more like Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond than he does the outlaw/warrior in Rashomon or Seven Samurai. He’s stretching his range playing a man double his age, shaken by paranoia/fear of the atomic bomb (has that trademark expressive Mifune scowl on his face though). Certainly a viewing double-feature companion piece to 2011’s Take Shelter from Mike NicholsFrequent and important Kurosawa collaborator Fumio Hayasaka—who scored his films prior to this (including Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai of course) died while completing this and it had to be finished by someone elseKurosawa’s overall artistic

Ikimono no kiroku– 1955 Kurosawa2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

House of Bamboo – 1955 Fuller

Sam Fuller’s eighth film, and often noted as the first Hollywood film set in Japan after the WWIIIt is a pretty far cry from the brilliance of Park Row and Pickup on South Street in 1952 and 1953 but a thoroughly engaging cinemascope on-location film noir that has merit it isn't exactly on the level of Imamura's best work- but Fuller was always inventive- shooting a major scene here through the window creating a layered frame Fuller knows what he’s doing with that larger canvas right away- starts with an opening on a mountain laden with snow and a

House of Bamboo – 1955 Fuller2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

Seven Samurai – 1954 Kurosawa

Kurosawa’s epic masterpiece further cements Kurosawa’s genius status first marked by Rashomon in 1950 and confirmed in Ikiru in 1952. A set-piece used three times I believe is the cemetery on the hill- another breathtaking mise-en-scene and creation of a frame Here the great master has substituted the triangulation of the 2-3 bodies mixed in precise geometrical angles in various depths of fields---in favor of larger ensemble compositions—4, 5, 6, and yes, 7 figures and heads carefully layered and blocking each other throughout the frame. It is an awe-inspiring achievement in photography and composition. larger ensemble compositions—4, 5, 6,

Seven Samurai – 1954 Kurosawa2020-12-31T20:32:29+00:00

Lady in the Lake – 1946 Montgomery

A wild film, filled with some very high highs and very low lowsRobert Montgomery was an actor with over 60 acting credits who even received top billing over John Wayne in They Were Expendable in 1945. He used that clout to direct five films and this is his debutIt is a groundbreaking film in terms of the use of point-of-view camerawork, subjective camera or first-person-camerawork— for 90% of the film Montgomery (playing Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe) is only shown with his hands (extending out from the camera) or in the mirror. There are these terrible interludes where he also

Lady in the Lake – 1946 Montgomery2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00
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