Thursday, April 19, 2007

Top 5 Directors That Need To Make More Films (With Video Evidence)

With the recent release of David Fincher's masterpiece, "Zodiac," I started thinking about brilliant directors' that we haven't heard from for awhile. Also, I watched Joe Carnahan's "Smokin' Aces" last night. My head almost exploded.

Without further ado, here's my list of the top 5 director's that need to make more films:

5) P.T. Anderson
Most Popular Films: Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love

Most Recent Film: Punch Drunk Love (2002)

Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of film. He’s able to effortlessly combine great ensemble casts, intertwining storylines, and most importantly, technical skill in all of his films. For what it’s worth, “Boogie Nights” is still one of my favorite films of all time, an earnest and heart-breaking documentation of the rise and fall of Dirk Diggler, played in a breakout performance by Mark Wahlberg. “Magnolia” was one of the first DVDs I ever bought and it demonstrated that Paul Thomas Anderson could coax an excellent performance out of Tom Cruise. Since then, things have been quiet. Where’ve you been, P.T.? We've missed you.

“There Will Be Blood,” his latest film, will hopefully be out within a year from now. May it usher in a new era of P.T. Anderson films that makes him more prolific, and transforms him into a household name.

Video Evidence: One of my favorite opening shots of all time is from “Boogie Nights.” The camera does a curly cue up into the sky before zooming straight into the night club and introducing us to all the film’s major characters in off-handed conversations. “Best of My Love” blares energetically and unforgettably in the background. And the whole thing is done in one long continuous shot. Amazing.

(From Youtube user Poirot8)

4) Joe Carnahan

Most Popular Films: Narc, Smokin' Aces

Most Recent/Upcoming Film: Smokin' Aces (2006)

After making the ponderous, deliberately-paced cop drama “Narc” in 2002, Joe Carnahan took a few years off from feature films and re-emerged with the over-the-top “Smokin’ Aces,” an homage to Quentin Tarantino, Michael Mann, and action films in general. So, it hasn't been THAT long since he's made a film, but "Smokin' Aces" is really the only one that most people know about. Although his two major films could not be more different in tone, Carnahan has proved himself a master of ultra-stylized film-making. While some movies take you by the hand and gently lead you through, Carnahan’s movies grab you by the face and plunge you, screaming, headfirst into scene after scene, leaving you just moments for air. I’m really excited for what may be his next film, “Killing Pablo,” a film based on Mark Boden’s amazing book.

Video Evidence: Carnahan’s BMW Film “Ticker” is a short piece of brilliance. Cool cars, great acting, and an absurd-yet-meaningful plot make this one of the most fun and tense 10-minutes you’ll ever see.

(From Youtube user futaki)

3) Shane Black
Most Popular Film: “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”

Most Recent Film: “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” (2005)

Shane Black hasn’t been making films for that long, but he has a long history in the industry. He wrote the Lethal Weapon Series as well as “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” (a script for which he was paid a record $4 million). He burst onto the scene with “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” which was relentlessly enjoyable. Unfortunately, it was poorly marketed and died a quick death at the box office. Now on DVD, the movie has been able to find a new audience, and serves as a reminder of the enormous potential Shane Black still has.

Video Evidence: What’s great about Black’s work is that his films blend a biting humor with other genres, such as action/thriller. Here are two clips from “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” showcasing Black’s wit and Robert Downey Jr.’s impeccable comedic timing. There’s also a clip from “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” which he wrote but didn’t direct. Still, writing a scene in which a tied-up, spread-eagled, barely-dressed Geena Davis ruins David Morse takes a special kind of talent.

(From Youtube user unendlichkeit)

(From Youtube user boundfeet)

2) Spike Jonze

Most Popular Film: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation

Most Recent Film:
Adaptation (2002)

Damn Spike Jonze. He’s not even forty years old yet but he’s already cranked out enough high-quality work to shame director’s many years his senior. It’s not fair that one man can have so much talent.

Jonze’s films, commercials, and music videos have always been entertaining but the thing that I enjoy when I watch them is the humor of it all. In my mind, when I watch his stuff and I laugh at its genius, I imagine Jonze is laughing right along with me. Hopefully with “Where The Wild Things Are,” he’ll find a project he can really sink his teeth into.

Video Evidence: Rather than put some scenes from “Being John Malkovich” or “Adaptation,” I’m going to put two of Jonze’s commercials: My favorite Gap ad of all time, and a great Nike ad. Think of the work, the talent, the genius that went into these. Then think of what could be if this man kept making films well into his older years:

(From Youtube user gido)

An apocalyptic vision of Y2K
(From Youtube user mlpiddleton)

1) James Cameron
Most Popular Films: Aliens, Terminator 2, Titanic

Most Recent Film: Aliens of the Deep (2005)

No explanation is really necessary here. James Cameron is one of the best directors of all time and “Titanic” still holds the record for highest world gross. The backlash against “Titanic” has been tremendous but I still think it’s a brilliant film, especially the last 45 minutes, which were done pretty much in real-time. But the man doesn’t make enough damn films, instead choosing to spend his time ocean-diving and trying to prove that Christianity is wrong. The internet has been lighting up with news of Cameron’s “Avatar,” set for release in 2009. I really can’t wait to see what else he’s got in him.

Video Evidence: I remember the first time I saw “Terminator 2.” I was in fourth grade and the excitement of getting in an R-Rated movie was exhilarating…and WHAT an R-Rated movie. I still have fond memories of when I first saw this scene below, one of the finest action sequences of any film, ever.

(From Youtube user Zaidanator)