The 215th Best Director of All-Time: Ari Aster

Aster. Aster just made his debut in 2018- but Aster’s start is most certainly one of the great starts to a career in recent memory (Steve McQueen comes to mind as a comparable).  On their own, both films are among the handful of greatest cinematic achievements of their respective years. However, when you combine them—you have the emergence of a young master. They share not only a genre (horror), but they are both meditations on the grieving process, studies of the occult, powerful dramas (one a family drama, the other a relationship drama)—and Aster share’s Chazelle’s ability to use

The 215th Best Director of All-Time: Ari Aster2020-07-15T13:27:19+00:00

The 214th Best Director of All-Time: Barry Levinson

Levinson. Barry Levinson is here because of the impressive filmography- I can’t call him a style-plus director. However, both his debut (Diner- one that never gets mentioned among the best debuts of all-time and should) and second film (The Natural) are highly ambitious. He never hit those artistic highs again in his career. Still, not many directors left with two films that land in their respective decades top 100. Best film: Diner. It is remembered for the talented ensemble cast (in the mid-90’s this felt like a who’s who but that has faded a little), the quotable dialogue, hilarious

The 214th Best Director of All-Time: Barry Levinson2020-07-14T18:02:39+00:00

The 213th Best Director of All-Time: Paul Greengrass

Greengrass.  There is shaky-cam cinema and then there is Paul Greengrass. His handheld camera visceral style is a brilliant example of auteur cinema working within the Hollywood blockbuster. He has a patented visual approach and a top 500 of all-time film (barely) and there just aren’t many of those left at slot #213 on my best director list here. He already has six archiveable films and counting too—a strength as well. Best film: The Bourne Ultimatum The film’s narrative is slim- it is essentially Bourne protecting 3 people: Paddy Considine, Julia Stiles, and (with a twist)- Joan Allen- it’s

The 213th Best Director of All-Time: Paul Greengrass2021-04-18T10:47:53+00:00

The 212th Best Director of All-Time: Damien Chazelle

Chazelle. Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash and La La Land combination in 2014 and 2016 made him one of artform’s most accomplished directors at such an age (both before the age of 32).  Indeed, he’s the youngest ever winner of the best director Oscar (and if you don’t think that award means anything the directors directly before him wining were Cuaron, Iñárritu, Iñárritu… and the three after him were del Toro, Cuaron again and Bong Joon-Ho). There’s certainly a thematic consistency in his work—and as far as the visuals- he does seem like the once-in-a-generation-level talent that can truly do it

The 212th Best Director of All-Time: Damien Chazelle2020-07-13T20:15:56+00:00

The 211th Best Director of All-Time: Gaspar Noé

Noé. The Argentinian provocateur is not for the timid. Those who mandate subtly in their art will not admire his work. The scandal surrounding his films’ subject matter seem to get most of the headlines when people talk about Gaspar Noé--but he’s a natural born stylist—endlessly inventive with the camera and influential.  He is a clear auteur, a brand, and I think the collective whole is shaping up nicely--an impressive body of work. Best film: Irreversible. Tough to stomach if your focus is on the content— but as cinema-- this dizzying display of cinematography is just too ambitious and

The 211th Best Director of All-Time: Gaspar Noé2020-07-13T17:53:27+00:00

The 210th Best Director of All-Time: René Clément

Clément. Clément gets lost in history because he wasn’t from the French New Wave—yet his best film came out in 1960- a year overstuffed with brilliant films. For the purposes of this list, Clément’s strength is that he has a top 500 of all-time film (Purple Noon- there are hardly any of the top 500 left) and has not one but two films in the top 100 of their respective decade (Purple Noon and Forbidden Games).  His weakness would be that there isn’t much after that (at least that I’ve seen). Best film: Purple Noon. If you’re familiar with

The 210th Best Director of All-Time: René Clément2020-07-14T16:40:54+00:00

The 209th Best Director of All-Time: John Sturges

John Sturges. No relation to the great Preston Sturges who flourished in a very different decade (1940s) and genre (comedy). John made big budget action movies in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the strength of his resume includes the trio of films at the top of his list down there: Bad Day at Black Rock, The Magnificent Seven, and The Great Escape. He absolutely knew what he was doing with widescreen, cinemascope- often, and beautifully, staging his ensemble of actors throughout the frame like Visconti did. His weakness is the lone film that lands on the top 100 of

The 209th Best Director of All-Time: John Sturges2021-07-03T13:24:27+00:00

The 208th Best Director of All-Time: David O. Russell

David O. Russell. Russell has a put together an impressive body of work. I have not been able to catch his debut yet- 1994’s Spanking the Money- but five of his subsequent six films (has seven total) have landed in the archives. His greatest stretch was an extremely fertile period from 2010-2013 with The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle (getting a little stronger with each). It felt like he was (and his muse Jennifer Lawrence) taking over after American Hustle  and indeed, for a snapshot in time, was one of the best auteurs on the planet. He

The 208th Best Director of All-Time: David O. Russell2020-07-11T11:12:33+00:00

The 207th Best Director of All-Time: Alejandro Jodorowsky

Jodorowky. Jodorowsky is a talented artist who works in many different formats (not unlike fellow cinematic surrealist David Lynch). The avant-garde Chilean auteur is best known for his 1-2 punch in the early 1970’s (El Topo and The Holy Mountain), his iconoclastic spirit, infrequent output (I think it’s 8 total films in 50+ years and I think he’s “disowned” a few of them). He’s also remembered for his failed adaptation attempt of Dune (he never completed his, not failed in the same way as Lynch). His strengths are The Holy Mountain and the fact that he has a clearly

The 207th Best Director of All-Time: Alejandro Jodorowsky2020-07-10T13:30:51+00:00

The 206th Best Director of All-Time: Masaki Kobayashi

Kobayashi. I’ve had the chance now to watch three of the four most highly touted films by Masaki Kobayashi-- hardly exhaustive (painfully- I regret I haven’t been able to catch his 10-hour The Human Condition film yet). Still, his extremely impressive trio of films during the 1960’s is enough to land him on this list. Harakari is flat-out brilliant- and the main reason he’s on this list but there isn’t a massive drop-off with The Samurai Rebellion and Kwaidan. He’s certainly an auteur.  Kobayashi took full advantage of the frame – full canvas – the 2.35 : 1 ratio

The 206th Best Director of All-Time: Masaki Kobayashi2020-07-07T21:54:15+00:00

The 205th Best Director of All-Time: Leos Carax

Carax. Leos Carax was born in 1960- the year of Godard’s Breathless and has been lauded as the heir apparent to Godard and the French New Wave since he came onto the scene in the mid 1980’s. He’s made only a total of five features since his debut in 1984. His strength for the purchases of this list is the utter rareness of his voice. These four archiveable films (have not been able to catch up to his debut Boy Meets Girl yet) are bold gambles – uncompromising. His weakness would be only a lone single film- The Lovers

The 205th Best Director of All-Time: Leos Carax2020-07-06T13:15:50+00:00

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
Go to Top