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The 29th Best Director of All-Time: Howard Hawks

Hawks. The last five years have not been kind to Howard Hawks on my rankings here. He was not just a supervisor as a director. He’s no byproduct and benefactor of an efficient studio system.

The 28th Best Director of All-Time: Steven Spielberg

Spielberg.  I have Spielberg’s filmography point totals higher than his #28 ranking here which would suggest, correctly I believe, that his oeuvre is stronger than he is as a director. I love Spielberg’s films. I

The 27th Best Director of All-Time: Woody Allen

Allen. I’m a great admirer of the work of Woody Allen. I hesitate saying “fan” because I feel like that implies some sort of personal affinity or preference and I don’t think that’s an accurate

The 26th Best Director of All-Time: Josef von Sternberg

Josef von Sternberg. Von Sternberg’s strength is his top three films and his overall landmark and meticulous aesthetic approach and innovation. It’s hard to ignore someone so synonymous with mise-en-scene, obviously an important aspect of

Ash is Purest White – 2018 Zhangke Jia

A pretty daunting film formally- I could see it working on me more with a second and third viewingA three-pronged love story—three different time periods (like Zhangke Jia’s previous Mountains May Depart) and carried out

The 25th Best Director of All-Time: F.W. Murnau

Murnau. It’s hard not to imagine where Murnau would be on this list if he hasn’t died in a car accident at age 42. Top 10? He was a master of cinematography (both the Oscar

The 24th Best Director of All-Time: Terrence Malick

Malick’s case is incredibly strong for a relatively modern auteur.  He is certainly having a puzzling decade by first giving us perhaps his best career work- and then falling on his face with a weaker

The 23rd Best Director of All-Time: Sergei Eisenstein

Eisenstein. I don’t have a ton of Eisenstein films in the archives but they all have fantastic grades (and 5 in the top 500) and certainly he warrants the distinction of “style-plus” direction.  It’s more

Batman – 1989 Burton

It is an imaginative triumph from Tim BurtonDeserved production design Oscar win from Anton Furst (committed suicide in 1991) who worked previously on 1987’s Full Metal Jacket-  Burton is the artist here (along with Furst)-

Leave No Trace – 2018 Granik

July 2018 1.0 Another very solid film from Debra Granik (Down to the Bone in 2004 and Winter’s Bone in 2010)- clearly she can create atmosphere and gets strong performances (whether it is Vera Farminga,

Night Flight – 1933 C. Brown

Like an ensemble Grand Hotel film and an answer to Hughes’ Hell’s Angels at the same time with a great cast including both Barrymore’s- John and a walking Lionel Selznick producedActive camera from Clarence Brown-

The 22nd Best Director of All-Time: Kar-Wai Wong

Kar-Wai Wong. For the purposes of this list his strengths are his two giant masterpieces and the fact that he is certainly a “style-plus” director.  It’s hard to think of an auteur that is more

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