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Added by Larri on 23 Aug 2011 03:45

Favorite Directors

Sort by: Showing 16 items
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Apart from occasional sentimentality and his urge to please audiences maybe way too much sometimes, I think Spielberg's a really skilled storyteller. I can't explain it much better than to say his movies rarely fail to entertain me. But even if his oeuvre consists heavily of saturday matineé movies, there always seem to be tons of inspirational moments and truck loads of excitement.
Although he makes movies as mainstream as it gets, it doesn't mean they lack personal touch as Spielberg puts much of his own life and feelings into them (Close encounters, E.T.).

Strong thumbs up for:
- Duel
- Jaws (my # 1 favorite of all time)
- The Indiana Jones Quadrilogy (Raiders in my top30)
- E.T.
- Jurassic Park (TOP10!)
- Schindler's List
- Close Encounters
- Münich
- Minority Report
- Catch Me If You Can
- The Sugarland Express
Average listal rating (322 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Mann makes these very stylish and glossy movies with beautiful people and modern day soundtracks but as much as it may sound like a recipe for a quickly outdated Rob Cohen production, somehow his films never feel corny or anything and actually contain quite intriguing peeks into life of crime, investigation and various character types in that world. Complete with gorgeous sights of big cities.
Mann's also known as a perfectionist and a professional photographer. Listen to what he says about lights and sodium and other stuff creating a certain look in the Collateral commentary. That's some nerdy shiz.

I must admit though that I'm not always a fan of his storytelling. Thief and Heat I got the second time around, Manhunter I was able to figure out only after 'Red Dragon' (I'm the only one on this so maybe I'm a dummy) but I don't think any of us knew what the hell was going on in that Miami Vice movie!

- Thief
- Manhunter
- Last of The Mohicans
- Heat (Top20)
- The Insider
- Collateral
Average listal rating (265 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
As I started watching movies, I was largely into action films, and as much as I enjoyed movies like Commando and Terminator, I still couldn't quite understand the fascination in someone getting shot. You don't see the bullet. Well, John Woo clearly made up for it by having his action scenes filled with gunpowder, massive amounts of fake blood, and entire buildings being torn apart. Add to that the physicality the actors had to go through, the use of slow motion, the use of glaring contrasts (i.e. calm music, our hero holding a baby in the middle of a bloody action action scene) and many many other things, and you have me wielding invisible guns for the next week.
Woo's known to be influenced by Sam Peckinpah, who was famous for same kind of action scenes, so that's where some of Woo's stuff comes from. But that's no shame.

Check out:
- A Better Tomorrow 1 & 2
- Hard Boiled (in my top20)
- The Killer (Top 30)
- Face/Off
- Bullet in the Head
- Red Cliff
- Hard Target
I always got the impression that Carpenter loves doing B-movies (with good taste though) and never wanted to move on to huge Oscar-movies. By production values, his movies tend to look a bit humble, but it doesn't really matter when the real talent is there. You can't create the tension in movies like Halloween and The Thing by accident!

Also check out:

- They Live
- Starman
- Memoirs of an Invisible Man
- Assault on Precinct 13

(and Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, too, I guess. I was never the biggest fan but people seem to dig.)
For years I've been trying to figure out what it is that I like about Clint's directing jobs, and the best answer I can come up with is that, really, he just seems a very straightforward, no-nonsense storyteller. Of course, he can pick some intense stories as well. The absence of flashy title credits, tricky transitions, artsy camera angles, etc. etc. to me is a sign of a man who knows what he's doing and refuses to complicate his ways for the sake of showing off. So, in a way, with Eastwood I always look at not what's on screen, but whatever unnecessary there isn't. Therefore, there's often a quite timeless feel to his films.

Also, quite opposite to Michael Mann or David Fincher's method of tediously go reportedly over 40 takes of a scene before turning on the camera, for example, I find it baffling how Clint can usually get all of his shots in one take. How's there's any room for the actors to turn in better performances when they only have one take?
Yet they always end up cleaning the table at the Oscars. Mysterious.

- Unforgiven
- Bridges of Madison County
- Gran Torino
- Million Dollar Baby
- Letters from Iwo Jima
- Changeling
- American Sniper
Average listal rating (495 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
Ok, I don't personally love Leone's movies as much as everyone else but I totally get why he's so admired. Some individual scenes (especially the gun duels) are still as innovative as they were back in the 60s. There are homages to these but I don't think anyone's ever tried topping them. Maybe those climactic scenes are just so mesmerizing that it's a bit of a hard fall for me to get back to the rest of those epics.
But I still like the movies.
Also, I don't know who's in charge of sound in his films but that plays A HUGE part in them. And Leone knows how to use as little dialogue as possible while still keeping it interesting with the visuals and those little soundbits of creaking plank wood and unoiled hinges. Just check out the opening to Once upon a time in the West. About ten minutes of seemingly nothing happening, yet it doesn't feel like it. It's brilliant!

- The Dollar Trilogy
- The America Trilogy
This is a regular film student choice for a favorite director but my reason comes from a different place. I'm not a film student but I used to watch Hitchcock movies with my dad as a kid. Even if I don't get as excited about them as I did back then, I can still understand why they're so highly appreciated. Rear Window's a POV-masterpiece. North by Northwest's like an early Bond adventure. Vertigo's a feverish obsession thriller. And do we even need to mention the limitation he willingly set for himself in Rope? There's no denying that the man made some unforgettable films.

Also check out:

- Psycho
- Trouble with Harry
- Man Who Knew Too Much
- Rebecca
- Spellbound
- Frenzy
- The Birds
I'm a little ashamed to admit I like De Palma, NOT because it's De Palma, but because there maybe something about the gratuitous nature of his movies that makes it for me. Violence, bad language and nudity tend to fascinate people, and I would honestly be a hypocrite if I said I liked my Scarface without those moments that truly kick me in the ass.
On the other hand, I do think he's got some strong stories on his hands as well. Stories he can tell. I've rarely seen so many crime-related films by the same director that were told not only with style, action and powerful drama, but with clarity and relatability. Goodfellas? Can't latch onto anyone. American Gangster? A plotwise chore. De Palma, you're not.

- Blow Out
- Carrie
- The Untouchables
- Scarface (Top20)
- Carlito's Way
- Dressed to Kill
- Casualties of War
In some parallel universe, where starvation no longer exists and North Korea is the leading country of the free world, there is a James Cameron who not only directed the sequels to The Terminator and Alien, but also a 2 1/2 hour-long 'Predator II', 'Total Recall: The Awakening' and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace with Lois Lane preferably as a goddamn combat soldier.

Sure, the dude's seemed full of himself after Titanic's success (or it may be a misconception on my part), and Avatar, after 12 years of silence, was a bitter disappointment, but the record speaks for itself. This man has covered hours and hours of other-worldly spectacles. With relatively few movies, too!

- Terminator 1 & 2 (in my Top40)
- Aliens (TOP10!)
- True Lies

Okay, I kinda like Titanic too.
Average listal rating (44 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 0
+ Jerry & David Zucker

The movies these guys used to make are so silly, without much actual to say (you know, as opposed to satires like Dr Strangelove or whatever) and most of the time just bred from other succesful movies seeing as they are parodies, yet I could talk all day long about all the tiny things that make 'em so funny. Like how they exploit and celebrate every single verbal misunderstanding you can think of (-"How are you, sir? - Hawaii? What the hell am I doing in Hawaii?" You see?). And how everyone is so serious-faced around the dumbest things imaginable. Or how they aren't afraid of going for some low-blows while ultimately remaining that good taste, just to name a few major credits.

Oh, and how friggin fast they are with their jokes. Whether they're in the background or foreground, verbal or visual, or something to do with being familiar with pop culture perhaps, you'll always find something new. No matter how many times you watch'em.

Although, if you don't know the language, you might lose a good chunk of chuckles.

Check out:
- Airplane!
- Top Secret!
- The Naked Gun Trilogy (as well as the short-lived Police Squad! TV-series)
- Hot Shots I & Deux
As much as I enjoy LOTR and King Kong and all that supersize budget stuff, I somehow still find his earlier movies the best examples of the joy of film-making. Maybe it's the humility in them, I'm not sure. Or the fact that he clearly makes movies he considers fun yet he puts no less effort into them. He spent 4 years on Bad Taste making the alien masks himself, acting in it, funding it and all that, so don't you dare say he just sits behind the camera and shouts 'Action!'

- Bad Taste (in my Top40)
- Meet The Feebles
- Braindead
- King Kong
Average listal rating (1819 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Let me say, biographies are not my cup of tea. I can't get the point of them, I don't know if I'm supposed to judge one by its historical accuracy or what, but I just have difficulties with'em.
Burton has made pretty much the only biographical movie I've really liked - Ed Wood. And I believe it's for that very reason that, even though it's based on actual people and events, it still seems to take place in Burton's own crazy world many of us have grown to love. Whether you like his movies or not, you gotta at least admit his movies have a distinctive quality to them in terms of tone and visuals.

Also check out:

- Batman (in my Top30)
- Batman Returns
- Edward Scissorhands (in my Top40)
- Beetlejuice
- Sweeney Todd
- Big Fish
Here's another dude who makes movies bordering on B-movie quality with icky effects and 50's sci-fi movie subject matters but there always seems to be something sophisticated about them. His movies rarely go without some food for thought. And even so, it's not like the effects themselves aren't stunning to look at.

- The Fly
- Dead Zone
- Videodrome
- Eastern Promises
- A History of Violence
Average listal rating (822 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
I hate to sound like a douche who can't handle anything out of the norm but I find Lynch's more traditional pieces of storytelling, like The Elephant Man and The Straight Story, more compelling than his experimental, three-hour no-script projects. It's not like he can't do movies that way.
But it's one of my favorite TV shows ever that gets him on this list: Twin Peaks. Even though he didn't direct more than six episodes and the show didn't always go where he wanted, he was the creator along with Mark Frost. I know I said I preferred more conventional stuff but with all its WTF content, I think Twin Peaks has one foot firmly enough on the ground to make it engaging, and one of the finest pieces of TV of our time.

In all fairness though, playing Gordon Cole is enough to warrant a spot on the list. Even if it has nothing to do with directing really.

Also check out:
- Mulholland Drive
- Blue Velvet
Right after Spielberg, Zemeckis is probably the most competent director of fun adventure films of the last 30 years. The balance between thrilling action and, hmmm, let's call'em talking scenes is near-perfect. Romancing the Stone is still probably the closest relative to Indiana Jones (and God knows how many imitators there have been!) and that was the same time as Temple of Doom. The fact that he also penned Back to The Future along with Bob Gale gives him some major points.

His newer motion-capture films I have yet to see.

Check out:
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit
- Cast Away
- Forrest Gump
Okay, so this is a 'Favorite DIRECTORS' list but if it wasn't for his role in "All in the Family" as Mike 'Meathead' Stivic that brought him that much closer to me (gave him a face, to be needlessly poetic) I don't know if he'd be on the list.
As for his directing credits, not only has he made two excellent Stephen King adaptations (!) but he's refused to confine himself to certain genres. Instead, he's covered a wide array of categories all the way from courtroom dramas to romantic comedy, and coming-of-age nostalgia to Hitchcockian thriller.

Some of my favorites include:

- Misery
- When Harry met Sally...
- Stand by Me
- A Few Good Men
- Flipped

However I must go against popular opinion with Spinal Tap. Didn't quite get it. Perhaps one day.

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