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

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

The 200th Best Director of All-Time: Andrew Dominik

Dominik. The New Zealand born director Andrew Dominik is a tough one. There’s his 2007 epic masterpiece that hits artistic heights that many, many directors on this list ahead of him never reach. But the drop off after that film is steep. Dominik is anything but prolific (just 3 features total including his debut in 2000) and his resume is lacking. His second best effort is far weaker than other directors like Carol Reed (who gave us The Third Man). If Dominik is Ridley Scott (and he’s not)- he needs an Alien to his Blade Runner. Until then, part

The 200th Best Director of All-Time: Andrew Dominik2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

The 199th Best Director of All-Time: Sergio Corbucci

Corbucci. I see both the case for and the case against Corbucci. You could describe him fairly accurately as simply as a Leone imitator, the details are below but the ways in which he borrows Leone be far beyond working with Morricone and in the western (or spaghetti western sub) genre. When Corbucci would move away from the zooms, Morricone and the genre he wouldn’t amount to much. I’ve seen a decent amount of his 60+ films he directed and the ones outside of the 1966-1970 stretch are mostly really bad. However, the flip side of the coin that

The 199th Best Director of All-Time: Sergio Corbucci2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

The 198th Best Director of All-Time: Aki Kaurismäki

Kaurismäki. This spot here is a placeholder—Kaurismäki will be higher on the list when I update it as I just recently had a chance to study his work closer. He’s the Finnish Jim Jarmsuch in many, many ways—they are minimalists, deadpan, dark comedies—came onto the scene in the 1980’s.  Kaurismäki became a household name on the festival scene with the proletariat trilogy (Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, The Match Factory Girl). The collective oeuvre here is much greater than any one single film and that’s his strength- films 2-7 below are almost interchangeable and La Vie de Bohème as a

The 198th Best Director of All-Time: Aki Kaurismäki2020-07-03T10:28:00+00:00

The 197th Best Director of All-Time: The Wachowskis’

The Wachowskis’. Lana and Lilly Wachowski came onto the scene with their debut Bound in 1996 and then exploded into the stratosphere with their career-defining work—The Matrix in 1999. Reloaded is much stronger than it is given credit for. Their strength though, for the purposes of this list, is The Matrix- a singularly brilliant film. They’ve failed to keep up their momentum since the early 2000’s, but they are undeniably accomplished world-builders, making ambitious, if often flawed, works. Bound is a very solid film- but I don't think anyone knew they had a film the quality and reach of

The 197th Best Director of All-Time: The Wachowskis’2020-07-03T10:28:04+00:00

The 196th Best Director of All-Time: Budd Boetticher

Boetticher. Budd Boetticher started out doing Z movies in the 1940’s (B-movies isn’t a fit description since he’d elevate from these to do B-movies) under either Oscar Boetticher or Oscar Boetticher Jr. and would end up doing television in the 1960’s but in-between he made eight archiveable films (up there with the most remaining not yet on this list) from 1951-1960. Most noteworthy are the four archiveable films he made with Randolph Scott including Ride Lonesome which is just a flat-out marvelous western. It’s easy to get Boetticher and Anthony Mann confused. Boetticher worked with Scott, Mann worked with

The 196th Best Director of All-Time: Budd Boetticher2020-07-03T10:28:04+00:00

The 195th Best Director of All-Time: Kelly Reichardt

Reichardt. I, and many others, didn’t catch Kelly Reichardt’s 1994 debut River of Grass so when Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy came along in the mid to late 2000’s we thought it was the arrival of a new voice in indie cinema. Meet’s Cutoff in 2010 confirmed that status—a spare, minimal western with clear artistic ambition even if Reichardt’s quiet, patient style may test some. Her strength here is those two films- Wendy and Lucy is rare triumph, and Meek’s Cutoff isn’t far behind. I’ll get to it more in the underrated/overrated section but Reichardt is just now

The 195th Best Director of All-Time: Kelly Reichardt2020-07-03T10:28:04+00:00

The 194th Best Director of All-Time: Robert Rossen

Rossen. Robert Rossen only directed 10 feature films over the course of his career which is rare for a director who worked in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s.  He passed away at the young age of 58 but also was first blacklisted then named names in the HUAC trials. He’s no style+ director and I’m not sure I could easily pair The Hustler with All The King’s Men but the combination of those two make for an overwhelming filmography at this point of the list. Body and Soul and Lilith are ambitious artistically, too. Best film: The Hustler. Pretty

The 194th Best Director of All-Time: Robert Rossen2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The 193rd Best Director of All-Time: Abel Ferrara

Ferrara. Abel Ferrara is synonymous with New York City street cinema- gritty, violent -yes, but films that are also extremely moody, atmospheric as well—not just blunt force. His best work came in the early 1990’s – the one-two punch of King of New York and Bad Lieutenant in 1990 and 1992 at the cusp of the renaissance for the American Indie movement. Ferrara never crossed over like Soderbergh, Tarantino, Linklater or Spike Lee either commercially or artistically-- but good or bad, never makes uninteresting films either. His strength for the purposes of this list are those two films—but I

The 193rd Best Director of All-Time: Abel Ferrara2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The 192nd Best Director of All-Time: Peter Bogdanovich

Bogdanovich. At age 35 Peter Bogdanovich was on top of Hollywood and mentioned alongside Altman, Coppola and Scorsese as one of the most promising young filmmakers in the New Hollywood. His first five feature films all land in the archives and he was on a crazy run from 1971-1974 with four archiveable films in five years. The Last Picture Show is a big reason he’s on this list- it’s a top 500 film— and then he backed it up with Paper Moon two years later—two gorgeous black and white films that are very easy not only praise- but connect.

The 192nd Best Director of All-Time: Peter Bogdanovich2021-04-30T20:32:29+00:00
Go to Top