The 233rd Best Director of All-Time: Jonathan Glazer

Glazer. Jonathan Glazer directed some of the absolute best music videos of the 1990’s including Karma Police for Radiohead and Virtual Insanity for Jamiroquai. He made his debut feature in 2000 (Sexy Beast)- certainly a fertile time for burgeoning auteurs. I think Ben Kinglsey’s flashy, spectacular performance largely stole though show though and Birth had mixed reviews in 2004 (took me years after to discover it). Then there were nine years between Birth and Under the Skin in 2013 and that is finally when the narrative shifted on Glazer. Looking back now, despite the infrequent output, Glazer is recognized

The 233rd Best Director of All-Time: Jonathan Glazer2021-06-08T12:53:33+00:00

The 232nd Best Director of All-Time: Franklin Schaffner

Schaffner. He’s far from the greatest auteur working in Hollywood from 1968-1978—but the run Franklin Schaffner went on from Planet of the Apes through The Boys from Brazil (especially the stretch from 1968-1973 with four films in the archives) is very impressive. He’s a style-minus director though, his strength here is inarguably the filmography.  He does have a consistency though—Schaffner made epics—just a few years removed from when they largely fell out of favor. Best film: Patton. Schaffner is a bit in the shadows of George C. Scott’s towering performance and rising star Francis Ford Coppola’s screenplay. But the

The 232nd Best Director of All-Time: Franklin Schaffner2020-07-31T16:28:38+00:00

The Nun – 1966 Rivette

Rivette’s dedication to the visual motif of imprisonment, bars holding Anna Karina’s Suzanne is quite the formal achievement Rivette’s second feature after 1961’s Paris Belongs To Us. Godard had made 9 features in that time- haha. Rivette has always been the long-form artist of the New Wave- this clocks in at over 140 minutes as well handsome black and white drawings in the prelude, unlike most of the New Wave- this is an 18th century story—but certainly has a contemporary statement from Rivette It is a nice resume builder for Anna Karina. Proves she’s more than just a muse

The Nun – 1966 Rivette2020-07-31T13:55:42+00:00

Paris Belongs to Us – 1961 Rivette

The debut French New Wave auteur Jacques Rivette—a leisurely-paced, but fascinating paranoia-infused opaque mystery 142 minutes for a debut- indeed, even early, Rivette is the long-form voice from the New Wave A strong opening as we travel through Paris with the camera and fly in through the window to our unlikely (and uknowning) detective Anne- played by Betty Schneider A bizarre score, part guitar and part jazzy percussion  secrecy, conspiracy, “we’re a cog in a vast machine” in the text and Lang’s Metropolis in the text, Rivette uses Parisian architecture in the shadows to effect-- but this is a

Paris Belongs to Us – 1961 Rivette2020-07-31T12:55:35+00:00

The 231st Best Director of All-Time: Lewis Milestone

Milestone. Lewis Milestone helped legitimize the earlier talkies in the 1930’s- specifically with his big movie- All Quiet on the Western Front (for years held as one of the all-time great films). Milestone is an important figure to this time of transition in cinema’s history (when many, if not most, thought (and still do) that silent cinema was vastly superior). He’s important to the war genre as well with both a strong WWI and a strong WWII entry. For the purposes of this list here, he has a place because of All Quiet—but also the depth of filmography- there

The 231st Best Director of All-Time: Lewis Milestone2020-07-30T19:49:31+00:00

The 230th Best Director of All-Time: Jack Clayton

Clayton. Jack Clayton directed only seven films, and the one that was the most popular (The Great Gatsby)- isn’t remembered all that fondly (and certainly isn’t his best). The Innocents is the film everyone always forgets when listing the greatest horror films of all-time. Clayton is also an important figure in the British new wave, or the angry young man/men series of films in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Both Room at the Top- a remarkably assured debut- and The Pumpkin Eater land in that subgenre and he’s beside/behind only Tony Richardson here in that movement. Oddly enough,

The 230th Best Director of All-Time: Jack Clayton2020-07-30T18:25:21+00:00

Big Wednesday – 1978 Milius

Chiefly, the carefully structured form of the story into four sections, is worthy of admiration. For every chapter break, Milius, a great writer, has the voice-over set to the landscapes of the shoreline. He names the chapters after different “swells”, the “west swell”, “south swell” (part 2) and the final “great swell” – strong form Milius calls it his How Green Was My Valley- and that makes sense that he’d see himself in Ford. Ford is sort of cinema’s Hemingway (minimal, masculine) and Milius certainly adored Hemingway and every one of his films is about masculinity Milius wrote (partially)

Big Wednesday – 1978 Milius2020-07-30T16:27:22+00:00

The 229th Best Director of All-Time: Luca Guadagnino

Guadagnino. A few years removed from it now, it is easier to see Call Me By Your Name a magnificent feat and one of the best films of the back half of the 2010’s decade. As fond as I am of I Am Love and A Bigger Splash (I look forward to a second viewing of both) this strength of Guadanino’s case is in his one truly great film. He works quickly though- three films (all archiveable) between 2015-2019 so there’s certainly the distinct possibility he builds out the depth of that filmography in the 2020’s. He certainly cares

The 229th Best Director of All-Time: Luca Guadagnino2021-04-18T10:45:08+00:00

Sanjuro – 1962 Kurosawa

The narrative lacks the brilliance and freshness of Yojimbo (that can happen with sequels- same music borrowed here) and the worldview is a little more optimistic than Kurosawa’s finest work—but damn, Kurosawa sets up immaculate deep focus, layered, widescreen composition after composition and pack them into the 96 minute running time a strong variation on the same shot in Yojimbo-- one of the best here from Sanjuro Starts with a bang, there is a meeting of the clan of nine (of which Mifune’s titular ronin character will eventually become a part of) – and Kurosawa has five

Sanjuro – 1962 Kurosawa2020-07-29T17:21:18+00:00

The 228th Best Director of All-Time: Ryan Coogler

Coogler. Coogler had multiple archiveable films before the age of 30 (born 1986). His debut is a magnificent indie drama, he’s made the best Rocky franchise film possibly ever (and at least since 1976) and he has given us the greatest film in the MCU. Coogler usually sets his film, or characters, in Oakland, works with Michael B. Jordan and knows how to effortlessly glide the camera around like he’s the second coming of Renoir or Ophuls. He has two films that land in the top 100 of their respective decade- I only have two more of those directors

The 228th Best Director of All-Time: Ryan Coogler2020-07-30T01:08:50+00:00

Bedazzled – 1967 Donen

A very funny film, it is no great accomplishment for Stanley Donen—any number of directors could have pointed the camera and comedians Dudley Moore and Peter Cook Moore and Cook were a sketch comedy duo—talented. Cook wrote the story and screenplay and he plays the devil character (played by Elizabeth Hurley in the 2000 remake by Harold Ramis starring Brendan Fraser which isn’t very good) Moore does the music Making a comedy of suicide here- four years before 1971’s Harold and Maude “the interior decorating is ‘early Hitler’” – haha It is a pretty straight forward comedy scenerio—Cook plays

Bedazzled – 1967 Donen2020-07-28T20:41:02+00:00

The Naked Kiss – 1964 Fuller

An abnormal blend of B-movie melodrama and crime thriller—only Sam Fuller could deliver A strong opening- hand-held camera of Constance Towers (back with Fuller from their work together the year before in Shock Corridor) in a shaky POV close-up wearing a wig and beating a man with her purse to a loud jazz score- haha Fuller is about peeling back the truth- here there’s small-town hypocrisy (this would fit right in with David Lynch’s world- the seedy underbelly of this suburban morally righteous town (and cop). Intentionally hokey (like Lynch)- taking care of children in the hospital wildly unsubtle

The Naked Kiss – 1964 Fuller2020-07-28T17:35:22+00:00
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