Saturday, January 16, 2010

Directors I'm excited to see more of in the next decade

Either these directors need to work more because they've made films that have showed their potential, surpassed my previous expectations from them, or it could be that they made great films in the last decade, but not enough of them.

Part 1

Quentin Tarantino

Now I know what you're thinking... "well duh." But let's look at the numbers. Tarantino made three films in the '90s and four films in the 2000s. He's made seven films in 18 years. He has so much more to offer us and after Inglourious Basterds, I feel like he has more amazing stories to tell. Basterds is the best film he's made so far and that's after the disappointing Death Proof. How does he top Basterds? Will he? When will he? He says he's retiring when he's 60 and he's closing in on 47 right now. So, the 2010s maybe the last full decade that we see work from him.

Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson is perhaps one of the most original visionary geniuses in the filmmaking business. But he's made two... two films this decade. He started out with three movies in a four year span (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia), but since 2000, he's made two films. Those two films happen to be brilliant. Punch-Drunk Love is a smaller, delightful film that happens to be filled with all these little brilliant details that you pick up more of each time you see it. Then there's There Will Be Blood which is just a completely different beast altogether. I can go into so much detail about Blood that I'll wait until I write about it in my top 100 movies of the decade. So I'll leave it at that. He's supposedly working with Phillip Seymour Hoffman on a movie about religion, so PTA isn't necessarily slacking. It's just that he takes so long between films. Even though when he finally delivers, it's a treat, PDL demonstrated PTA's ability to make great smaller films. I know he has a couple more epics in his mind as well, but I don't know if I can endure another five year wait after his movie with Hoffman gets made.

Alfonso Cuaron

Cuaron made three films last decade. One is a very sexy, smart, engaging road movie (Y Tu Mama Tambien); another is perhaps the best Harry Potter film of the series (Prisoner of Azkaban), and the other is probably one of the most original, beautiful Sci-Fi movies made in the last decade (Children of Men). So where does he go from there? I have no idea. IMDB has his next film listed as being released in 2012. 2012?! Why? There's so much to look forward to in Cuaron and waiting another two years for his next movie will certainly be difficult.

Alexander Payne

...But Cuaron isn't as bad as Alexander Payne who showed with About Schmidt and Sideways that he's capable of making some brilliant films that has a little bit of humor, a little bit of drama, and all heart. He also proved with Sideways that he can make some technically sound movies. The cinematography in Sideways is quite underrated. Watch it again. He knows how to get great performances out of his actors, even from some mediocre actors (Thomas Haden Church, anyone?). But he made that movie six years ago! What is it with these guys? He has no excuse either. It's not like his movies require the amount of depth and careful attention as a "There Will Be Blood" or any Malick movie. Ok, maybe they do, maybe I'm all wrong, I just feel like with the pace he was at previously, we could've gotten at least two films from him since 2004. I hope we can get at least three movies from him this decade. It just seems strange that he hasn't made anything in six years. Nevertheless, it'll be interesting to see what he comes up with for his follow up to Sideways.

Sofia Coppola

She's already coming out with a movie this year called "Somewhere" so we're off to a good start, but this is another one of those younger directors who take forever between projects. She's in an opposite situation, I feel, than from PTA and Payne. The reactions concerning Marie-Antoinette was very mixed so in that case, it'll be interesting to see how she comes back from that. I know there are some who question her legitimacy concerning the fact that she's the daughter to one of the all-time greats... as if being the daughter of a great director means you also can't be a great director... that can't be right. Nevertheless, I do believe in her talent and am looking forward to see what else she has up her sleeve. And if we can get something as good as Lost in Translation, well, then that'll be a treat.

Spike Jonze

You can't really fault him for only releasing two films this decade. I remember when Where the Wild Things Are was going to be released in 2005. But when it finally came out, the true, raw, emotional talent shone right through the camera lense. Spike Jonze is definitely another one of those original voices in American filmmaking. The way he faithfully adapted Charlie Kaufman's work feels underrated to me, compared to Gondry's brilliant adaptation of Eternal Sunshine. But he knows how to tell difficult stories on screen and that's what is so exciting about him.

Michel Gondry

Speaking of Gondry, he has kept himself quite busy since Eternal Sunshine. He's made "The Science of Sleep" which was visually arresting, but a bit forgettable. Then you had "Be Kind, Rewind" which was cute, but the story was also forgettable. This guy is so visually brilliant that he really needs a strong writer, such as Charlie Kaufman to keep up with him. We need more films from Gondry, great films. I hope the upcoming "The Green Hornet" will be a lot better than what people expect. But I feel a lot of that will hinge on Seth Rogen's performance and writing. Nevertheless, what Gondry does after that should be exciting. He seems to make films at a quicker pace than the others I have listed so I hope to see a few more gems from him and perhaps another masterpiece. Why not?

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson is a peculiar one. He probably has the most definitive, particular style. One of America's few, true auteurs. At least, visually. While Gondry often depends on creative visual effects, Wes Anderson appears to completely control everything from art direction, costumes, camera-work, and the story. You look at something like "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and it's the ultimate Wes Anderson movie. It's everything you can expect from Wes Anderson, but it's all of his strengths as an auteur displayed. While his last two films may have felt like "more of the same" thematically from The Royal Tenenbaums, they both have wonderfully different backdrops and settings. Life Aquatic really isn't as bad as a lot of people think it is. It has a lot of memorable lines and moments. It's The Darjeeling Limited that feels a little more forgettable to me. I'm hoping that Owen Wilson teams back up with Wes Anderson because the Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums movie lineup is brilliant in the way each film tops the other, ultimately leading to Wes Anderson's greatest achievement as a director, so far. That being said "Fantastic Mr. Fox" shows that he very much has that brilliance inside his mind, with or without Owen Wilson's writing assistance. I hope that in the upcoming decade we can get more live-action movies that are on the same level as Mr. Fox.

part two coming soon..

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