Re: The Director's Thread!
Some of my very favorites:
-The Coen brothers are my #1 pick. Their movies have everything I could possibly want--compelling drama, smart humor, deep characters and themes, entertaining plots, great acting performances, and stunning visuals. A majority of their movies is great or better, and the rest are at good at the very least. They also hold special importance for me because they were the first filmmakers who made me look at films more in-depth.
-Quentin Tarantino was the next director I got really into. Pulp Fiction ties Fargo for the "movie that made the biggest impact on the way I looked at movies" award, and most of his other ones are great too. Every new movie he comes out with feels bold in a different way than the ones before it, though I do agree he's played out revenge themes at this point. I'll still look forward to whatever he makes next.
-Wes Anderson doesn't get enough credit. I feel like he's mostly known for quirkiness, but his films are so much more than that. They have so much genuine emotion beneath the jokes, and there are so many great character moments and funny lines to catch on repeat viewings. Except for Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I just loved immediately, I've liked every Anderson movie more the second time I saw it.
-Alexander Payne is the most underrated director today. Rarely do I get big laughs and emotionally hard-hitting scenes in the same movie, but Payne does it again and again. His characters always feel very realistic and well-developed. Many of them are not initially likable but become relatable as their stories progress; and it works great every time.
-I love Woody Allen's brand of humor and I have a certain appreciation for his cynicism, which often leads to stories that challenge conventional audience expectations. His "earlier funny movies" are hilarious, and his more "mature" ones are very thought-provoking. He has a few movies that might have benefitted from a little less cynicism, and some of his movies are overly similar to each other, but there's still a wealth of good times to be had with Allen. I've seen more of his films than any other director.
-Among classic directors, I think Alfred Hitchcock makes the most entertaining movies. They're both masterful from an artistic standpoint and extremely fun to watch. Most of the ones I've seen did not feel dated at all, and several (especially Vertigo and Rope) really pushed the boundaries of the classic Hollywood era.
-Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. I'm tired of typing, so I'll just say that the sheer volume of great movies these two have made--and in a wide variety of genres--is incredible.
Some others I like a lot, with a couple favorite movies from each:
Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away)
Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner)
Stanley Kubrick (The Shining, Paths of Glory)
Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life, Days of Heaven)
Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, Sex Lies & Videotape)
David Fincher, (Zodiac, The Social Network, Seven)
Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation.)
Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Ace in the Hole)
Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Young Adult)
James Cameron (Aliens, Terminator 2)
Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz)
- "As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."--Roger Ebert