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

Uncut Gems – 2019 Safdie

A roller-coaster, a time bomb, a heart-attack—you pick the analogy--- the Safdie brothers have confirmed their arrival as major auteurs, in a big way, with Uncut Gems. Their specific brand of narrative propulsion is their directorial trademarkIt’s not even really a story- it’s a scenario—the Safdie’s wind it up and let it go— aided by the proclivity of claustrophobic close-ups, overlapping (and loud) dialogue, New York City, savage selfishnessThe film lacks the level of dedication to the neons and specific color palate in Good Timeambient noise a character in the film, overlapping dialogue like Altman, but at a crazy

Uncut Gems – 2019 Safdie2020-07-03T10:28:07+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

Stray Dog – 1949 Kurosawa

Kurosawa takes De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves concept the year before, a stolen object (in this case a colt pistol) as the driving force for the narrative. At some point this film evolves into a compelling man-hunt police procedural (like say Fincher’s Seven) with gorgeous  compositions Kurosawa’s trademark wipe editingI wonder if Kurosawa shot the film chronologically- you can almost feel him get better over the course of the film—the compositions get stronger and stronger over the course of the film, the opening has a bunch of montages of the doggedly determined rookie detective (played by Mifune) searching—montage after montage

Stray Dog – 1949 Kurosawa2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

Raising Cain – 1992 De Palma

A flawed work from Brian De Palma but it’s De Palma—meaning there are some exceptional cinematic moments paired (often right alongside) some cringe-worthy storytelling/writing and pulpy pop psychologyThe psychological thriller, De Palma always the Hitchcock acolyte has fashioned another retelling of Psycho to go with his superior 1980 work Dressed to Kill (also a psychologist with identity issues who wears a wig)Part Sybil and a forerunner to Shyamalan’s Split De Palma uses canted dutch angles perfectly here showing Lithgow’s disturbed worldview Lithgow is going for it- it’s a tall ask as he has to portray five different personalities (who

Raising Cain – 1992 De Palma2020-07-03T10:28:07+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

The 191st Best Director of All-Time: Cristian Mungiu

Mungiu. Cristian Mungiu is the leader of the Romanian New Wave that took place during the 2000’s—the crowning achievement of the entire movement is pretty easily Mungiu’s 4 Months 3 Weeks, 2 Days. Mungiu has made five feature films to date (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days was his second film) since 2002 (his debut) and I’ve been able to get my hands on three of them—all of them in the archive below. He’s one of the few auteurs left that I have not mentioned that has a masterpiece and that’s his strength, though certainly Beyond the Hills and

The 191st Best Director of All-Time: Cristian Mungiu2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The 190th Best Director of All-Time: Danny Boyle

Boyle. Boyle’s trademark kinetic style makes him an easy-to-spot auteur. He’s often been accused throughout the years (decades) over over-directing. I don’t believe in such a thing—or if I did—it would meant as a compliment that is shared by Kubrick, Hitchcock, Fincher, Wes Anderson, and many others—even if Boyle isn’t quite in their class (I believe they’d say those other four have more control and balance). Trainspotting is a big beacon, a shining light and clear top 500 of all-time film (and there are fewer and fewer directors with a top 500 film left and a definite aesthetic as

The 190th Best Director of All-Time: Danny Boyle2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The Baron of Arizona – 1950 Fuller

A fascinating true story of forgery and deception- fits with Fuller’s obsession with exposing the sordid underbelly or ugly truthShot by James Wong Howe (Hud, Seconds – both would come later of course but Body and Soul before)- a great coup for Fuller to get him in in just Fuller’s second feature with not a ton of budgetVincent Price is both good in his performance and impeccably cast as well—shrewd, dominantTold in flashback structure with cigars and brandy and men in tuxedos You can tell Fuller sort of admires the character—the dedication to spend three years at the monastery,

The Baron of Arizona – 1950 Fuller2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

I Shot Jesse James – 1949 Fuller

Sam Fuller’s debut, and in typical Fuller fashion it was shot on almost no-budget in 10 days. Much of the acting in Fuller’s filmography is suspect— but John Ireland here is one of the exceptions—he’s tremendous as the infamous coward Bob Ford. The scene of him telling the ballad singer to sing the song about him to his face. This is the same year for Ireland as All the King’s Men- an impressive year Fuller’s close-ups, digging into the frazzled psyche headspace of his characters- a trait Fuller has an investigative streak in him—unveiling--- to get the seedy underbelly,

I Shot Jesse James – 1949 Fuller2021-04-18T10:51:08+00:00

Mustang – 2015 Ergüven

A stellar debut from Turkish director (and shot in Turkey) Deniz Gamze Ergüven— certainly the plot is similar to Sofia Coppola’s debut in 1999- The Virgin Suicides A strong debut from Turkish director (and shot in Turkey) Deniz Gamze Ergüven— certainly the plot is similar to Sofia Coppola’s debut in 1999- The Virgin Suicides voice-over opening, the five sisters in school uniforms are shown on the beach having fun then stealing apples (I don’t know how biblical we’re getting here but choosing apples to steal here doesn’t seem like a coincidence) – a bit of Zero For Conduct from

Mustang – 2015 Ergüven2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

Companeros – 1970 Corbucci

The sixth archiveable film in an incredibly fertile period for Sergio Corbucci—all westerns, another one here starring Franco Nero, with a score from Ennio MorriconeNero’s lone antihero (always out for himself here and the almighty dollar) isn’t the rugged western hero—but this time a well-dressed, slick businessperson-like hired hand The sixth archiveable film in an incredibly fertile period for Sergio Corbucci—all westerns Nero voice over that I think Corbucci forgets about Like most of Corbucci’s work there is politics or revolution vs. greed—usually entire characters that are all about a cause (here Fernando Rey as the professor vs Palance—there

Companeros – 1970 Corbucci2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00
Go to Top