The 239th Best Director of All-Time: Lawrence Kasdan

Kasdan. In the early 1980’s it must have felt that Lawrence Kasdan was going to be one of the next great auteurs. Coming off of writing parts of Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981—it is no surprise Kasdan had the clout to do just about whatever he wanted for his first film. He chose to make Body Heat- one of the great debuts in cinema in the 1980’s. Body Heat is an absolutely electric film, The Big Chill in 1983 is one hell of a follow-up for a sophomore

The 239th Best Director of All-Time: Lawrence Kasdan2020-08-06T16:15:56+00:00

The 238th Best Director of All-Time: Asghar Farhadi

Farhadi. I have five films in the archives already for Farhadi and I have yet to see his second highest rated film: About Elly (2009). There is absolutely a uniformity here in the realistic dramas told by Farhadi. These are well-acted stories of individuals, families, or children hurt by unjust laws, their own history, rumor, social institutions, and/or secrecy. I can’t call him a style-plus director, so his strength is the filmography and authorship—but these visuals for A Separation here give me a little pause- certainly they have to be compared to Antonioni’s L’Eclisse- truly stunning. Best film: A

The 238th Best Director of All-Time: Asghar Farhadi2020-08-05T18:34:40+00:00

The 237th Best Director of All-Time: Claire Denis

Denis. Denis is here because of the strength of her 1999 film – Beau travail- a gorgeously and rhythmically shot tone poem. Denis has thirteen films since her debut in 1988. I’ve seen seven of them, and, thus far, archived four. Her signature is really eschewing the traditional narrative and even forgoing a clear cinematic style. Her films are most often studies of the human condition and social prejudices. from Beau travail-- a visual tone poem-- and a meditation on envy Best film: Beau travail. This is easily the most visually stunning and beautifully photographed film from

The 237th Best Director of All-Time: Claire Denis2022-01-23T00:37:10+00:00

The 236th Best Director of All-Time: Tom Tykwer

Tykwer. It is all about 1998’s Run Lola Run as far as Tom Tykwer’s resume for this list. It isn’t just the end result of the brilliant film—it is just how DIRECTED that film is. It is 80 minutes of a physical cinematic jolt. Both Tykwer’s follow-up efforts show there is talent there- but make no mistake- he’s here on this list because of that one singular achievement. The Wachowskis seem like the driving force behind Cloud Atlas and Heaven was supposed to be the first in a new trilogy from Kieslowski (with all due respect to Tykwer- he’s

The 236th Best Director of All-Time: Tom Tykwer2020-08-03T21:00:04+00:00

The 235th Best Director of All-Time: Carroll Ballard

Ballard. Carroll Ballard made only a total of six films over his career. Four of those six landed in the archives- one per decade in the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s. They are wondrously photographed and all feature animals predominately in their stories. He's a nature photographer. The body of work for Ballard is what lands him here. There’s a consistency here that is certainly worthy of praise. The weakness would be just the one film that lands in the top 100 of its respective decade: The Black Stallion- his debut. Best film: The Black Stallion. As impressive as

The 235th Best Director of All-Time: Carroll Ballard2020-08-03T14:26:22+00:00

The 234th Best Director of All-Time: Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright. Wright has the talent to make a masterpiece, but hasn’t made one yet. While we wait, there’s so much to admire in the body of work of the five films he’s made in total since his debut in 2004. He’s best known for his Cornetto film trilogy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost—uproarious collaborators-- but, a strong case could be made for both of his other films: Scott Pilgrim and Baby Driver, to actually be his best work. Wright is a strong technician. His films are more crisply edited (I’ll get to more on his editing below)

The 234th Best Director of All-Time: Edgar Wright2020-08-01T20:51:41+00:00

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 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

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

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
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