Friday, March 18, 2011

Favourites #4: Directors

Woody Allen by William Medeiros
If you remember correctly, I've already featured a favourite director of mine, it was an entry about Quentin Tarantino. But believe it or not, if I were to list down my favourite directors ever, he wouldn't actually be in my Top five.

So without further ado, here's my list of Favourite Directors; whose works I immensely enjoy, and it has nothing to do with their popularity or how much money their movies made. These guys don't just tell a story, they take us into different worlds.

Some are new, others had long established themselves as iconic Hollywood directors. But they all have one thing in common; I'd go see their movies in a heartbeat.

#1 Martin Scorsese
Favourite Works
Taxi Driver [1976]
The Departed [2006]
Shutter Island [2010]

I have been an avid follower of Martin Scorsese after my dad recommended me to watch Taxi Driver, it was soon followed by Raging Bull [1980] and that sealed the deal. After that I started to backtrack his career and imagine my delight when I found out that some of my favourite movies of all time were made under his direction. It's hard to explain, but Scorsese has a way of making otherwise mundane scenes memorable by skillfully placing the camera and move it around to best capture the moments.

#2 Ridley Scott
Favourite Works
Blade Runner [1982]
Gladiator [2000]
Kingdom of Heaven [2005] - Director's Cut

Another director who makes it so damn hard for me to pick a favourite work of his. He first caught my attention with Gladiator, the same movie where Russell Crowe quickly rose in ranks to become my favourite actor ever. Thanks to, in no small part this visionary director he's seen frequently working with. How to describe movies by Ridley Scott? The simplest way of putting it would be 'epic'. Almost everything in every movie of his are so epic, you'd be inclined to think that there are two directors working inside that mind of his.

#3 Christopher Nolan
Favourite Works
Memento [2000]
The Dark Knight [2008]
Inception [2010]

Older does not always mean better, and nothing exemplify that better than the career of our Christopher Nolan here. The dude is a great combination of a great storyteller and a visionary artist. Memento is probably the best example of a very Nolan-esque movie; a simple story told in such a way that keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire running time. So impressed that I am with it, I can't help but become some sort of a fanboy when it comes to his works. Some might argue that the women in his movies were mostly of the damsels-in-distress archetype, but to focus on that would mean that you're denying yourself of his otherwise very deep, cerebral movies.

#4 James Cameron
Favourite Works
Aliens [1986]
Terminator II: Judgment Day [1991]
True Lies [1994]

The man I would hail as the master of action movies. Whatever intensity his movies lack in terms of intellect, he sure as hell makes up for it by making some of the most kick-ass action movies ever... ever. The things is, it's easy to forget just how hard it is to make a good action movie, because they are either cool, or lame. There's no "okay" if you really think about it. James Cameron however, not only makes them look cool but more importantly, memorable. Believe it or not, good scenes make good movies. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised by just how many people tend to forget that. Take Terminator II for example; there is not one bad scene in there, because each scene sets up the next one, making the movie experience a seamless mixture of action and science fiction.

#5 Steven Spielberg
Favourite Works
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [1989]
Saving Private Ryan [1998]
The Terminal [2004]

Nobody hates Steven Spielberg. But how could you? Quite a number of his movies are considered landmark ones. The best thing about him? His versatility. He is not known for just any one genre, he has made a classic war movie, memorable science fiction movies, action-adventure movies and even simple drama about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. There isn't much I can say about his artistic style because for me, he is more of a storyteller than an artist. But don't get me wrong, he is darn good at what he does.

#6 John McTiernan
Favourite Works
Predator [1987]
Die Hard [1988]
Last Action Hero [1993]

It's much too easy to forget that John McTiernan had such a great career as a director, with movies like Rollerball [2002 and Basic [2003] ending his career on a down note. He hasn't made a movie since. But even so, if he had made only two movies in his entire career, and they happen to be Predator and Die Hard, he would still end up on the same spot on this list anyway. Why? Because those two movies really made a mark in Hollywood's history, and not to mention they are some of the all-time best in their respective genres.

Honourable Mentions
Akira Kurosawa, John Huston, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Sergio Leone, Luc Besson, Zack Snyder, Danny Boyle

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