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  1. 1. James Cameron
    2. Steven Spielberg
    3. Robert Zemeckis

    As a fan of science-fiction, highly streamlined action sequences (the non-cgi kind) and both tongue in cheek and memorable characters, mine are pretty straightforward, because all 3 men have made many films that I'll never tire of and continue to get highest marks from me. They made the movies of my childhood, of my youth, the present and the future. As far as technical skills on set, writing and attention to characters, they're among the best IMO.

    Of the 3 I would have to say Cameron is the one with the least duds to his name, so he's my favorite director. I've loved everything he directed, except for Piranha II which I've never seen (and don't want to), and his deep-sea documentaries, which are good and interesting but not great films compared to his 'normal' motion pictures. And he helmed the awe-inspiring Aliens, which is and always will be the best movie ever made. As every film shows, his mastery in the staging of action scenes is unsurpassed. punk

    From Spielberg these are my favorites: Close Encounters, Indiana Jones Trilogy, E.T., Poltergeist (yeah it's partly his), Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, A.I., Bridge of Spies. The man will be remembered for so much classy and inspired work, but not everything he has done is worthy of remembrance. However of all three directors he is the one that has moved me the most in many of his films. Sentimental he may well be, but for me that's a plus.

    Zemeckis' best films IMO: Contact, followed by Forrest Gump and the first Back to the Future. These three films are simply amazing in the storytelling and attention to characters. His knack for always picking the right actor for a role is another great quality. Like letting go of Eric Stoltz and choosing Michael J. Fox, a stroke of genius. I adore his trickery with the camera and he has a great eye for visual effects that don't seem like it.
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
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      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2017 edited
    Just three?

    I think it would go something like this:

    1. Steven Spielberg
    2. Ridley Scott
    3. Michelangelo Antonioni

    But also honourable mentions to David Lynch, Satyjajit Ray, Tim Burton, David Fincher (pre-ZODIAC), Krzysztof Kieślowski, Andrei Tarkovskij, Michael Haneke, Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, Akira Kurosawa, James Cameron, Terrence Malick, Sergio Leone, David Lean, Robert Zemeckis, Hayao Miyazaki, Francois Truffaut, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Ingmar Bergman (early stuff), Terry Gilliam, Michael Mann, Peter Weir, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Verhoeven, Vittorio de Sica, Mel Gibson, Darren Aronofsky, Luc Besson, George Miller, Francis Ford Coppola, Yasujiro Ozu, Theo Angelopoulus.....I could go on.

    For female directors, I'm particularly fond of Kathryn Bigelow, Celine Sciamma, Sofia Coppola, Jane Campion, Claire Denis, Agnes Varda, Andrea Arnold, Kelly Reichardt, Julie Taymour, Maren Ade, Lynne Ramsay, Julia Ducournau....

    It would be easier for me to list favourite directors within certain countries or periods.
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBobdH
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2017 edited
    Haha, I'm facing the same problem as Thor! Only three? But I understand the limitation, as it forces you to decide...

    1. Stanley Kubrick
    2. Steven Spielberg
    3. Paul Thomas Anderson

    The first two were easy to come up with.

    Stanley Kubrick is a brilliant director, who made either masterpieces or incredibly interesting films, sometimes flawed (especially in his early work, when he was still figuring this directing stuff out, which is permitted), but never boring. His masterpieces include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, the list goes on. I'm also a strong defender of Eyes Wide Shut. So precise in his directing, such a clear vision, so intelligent and intellectually stimulating or challenging.

    Steven Spielberg has been my favourite since childhood and could be seen as the other side of the same coin with Kubrick. Don't have to explain this one too much, being the legend as he is, but I love how he combines a talent for perfectly judged entertainment, with brilliant set pieces, great humor, innovation, new ideas, with on the other hand incredibly successful and intelligent serious works, not just Schindler or Ryan but also a raw film like Munich. Jurassic Park may be my favourite film of all time, because of the strong childhood memories, and then there's A.I., a masterpiece marriage of Kubrick's and Spielberg's sensibilities. Such humanity and joy in his films.

    These are, for me, at the top, followed by the rest, of which it's a lot more difficult to choose. But I'm going for Paul Thomas Anderson. A self professed 'child of Kubrick', his films are similarly precisely put together with once again a clear personal style, knows how to get brilliant performances out of his actors, great use of music, in charge of every aspect of his work and knows what he's doing. I'm not really fond of Sydney, his first film, but after that he only made films that are great at worst, a masterpiece at best.

    And then other favourites include Andrei Tarkovsky, Terrence Malick, Federico Fellini, Nicolas Winding Refn, Steve McQueen, Martin Scorsese, Jean Pierre Jeunet, Michael Haneke, Francois Truffaut, Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky, Andrea Arnold, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Ingmar Bergman, Jim Jarmusch, Paul Verhoeven*... well, lots. I also love the direction Alejandro G. Inarritu is headed with his career lately.


    * Being Dutch I almost have to, but I must say knowing his early work, which I'm not exactly fond of, drags down my appreciation of him for his brilliant American works like the fantastic Starship Troopers.
    Procrastinate now. Don't put it off.
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      CommentAuthorBobdH
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2017
    Thor wrote
    3. Michelangelo Antonioni


    Could you expand on him a bit? I've recently seen my first Antonioni, L'Avventura, and want to explore more.
    Procrastinate now. Don't put it off.
    • CommentAuthorMilan NS
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2017
    Herzog
    Polanski
    Carpenter
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2017 edited
    * Being Dutch I almost have to, but I must say knowing his early work, which I'm not exactly fond of, drags down my appreciation of him for his brilliant American works like the fantastic Starship Troopers.


    Have you seen ELLE yet? The best film last year (well, actually THIS year in Norway). I'm a big fan of both his early, Dutch work and his later work. I've seen everything he's done except for the early shorts.
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2017 edited
    BobdH wrote
    Thor wrote
    3. Michelangelo Antonioni


    Could you expand on him a bit? I've recently seen my first Antonioni, L'Avventura, and want to explore more.


    Oooh...you have lots in store. Where to start with the recommendations?

    The most interesting thing about his 40s and 50s stuff is the documentary shorts. Some of the genre films have redeeming values too, but they're a far cry from his more arthouse-oriented aesthetic later on. He was not an auteur yet. He never latched on to the Italian neo-realism that many of his colleagues and contemporaries did.

    The Italian 60s films are where it's at -- L'AVVENTURA, LA NOTTE, L'ECLISSE (his least accesible work, and better saved for last -- although it's a masterpiece), IL DESERTO ROSSO.

    My personal favourites, however, are the English-language films BLOW UP, ZABRISKIE POINT and PROFESSIONE: REPORTER (my no. 1 favourite of his work). Sure, it's a tad more conventional, storyteling-wise, but they're also more involving as character portraits. All his themes -- the issues of identity, ontological dualism, the problematization of truth etc. -- are all there, wrapped in an engrossing universe. Not to mention his static, long distance shots ("the anthropological camera eye") and the emphasis on PLACES as a way to mirror the character's states of mind.

    I also love his CHINA documentary and many elements of his later movies, like IDENTIFICAZIONE DI UNA DONNA and BEYOND THE CLOUDS, which he did with Win Wenders. Also, his very last movie -- the short film LO SGUARDO DI MICHELANGELO (2004) is very moving. I'm less enthusiastic about his installment in the anthology movie EROS from the same year.
    I am extremely serious.
  2. Directors:
    Steven Spielberg
    Ridley Scott
    Peter Weir

    Producers:
    George Lucas
    Dino de Laurentiis
    Gene Roddenberry


    Directors auteur cinema:
    Volker Schlöndorff
    Franco Zefirelli
    Loui Malle

    smile Volker
    What’s all that nonsense talk about dark matter or dark energy? We know perfectly well, what it is that binds the galaxy together.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2017 edited
    Curious that you make a distinction between directors and auteur directors when all the names under both are very much auteurs. Perhaps you intended to make a distinction between those who primarily work within Hollywood/mainstream formats and those who don't.
    I am extremely serious.
  3. Well, that's right. There is the term "Europäischer Autorenfilm". I don't like it because it seems to suggest a certain intellectual anti Americanism. It also seems to imply that there is no off Hollywood film in the US and that Hollywood itself produces nothing than rubbish. But yes I do feel the need to distinguish between commercial blockbuster cinema and l'art pour l'art cinematic endeavours.

    Volker
    What’s all that nonsense talk about dark matter or dark energy? We know perfectly well, what it is that binds the galaxy together.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2017 edited
    Not sure about the German word or its etymological origin, but within film theory, the word 'auteur' (as originally coined by the French Cahier de Cinema folks) does not separate between Hollywood and alternative cinema. In fact, their first usage was about American filmmakers, not European. These days, we tend to use the term about any director with a distinct visual and thematic style -- which obviously can be applied to both types of cinema.

    Personally, I think the term has lost much of its meaning (it's also been subdivided into further categories, like 'action auteurs'), so I reluctantly use it. Only if I really have to.
    I am extremely serious.
  4. Yeah, having read about it a bit I was perplexed that film genre theory was actually created as a polemic with the auteur theory. As in, what has one have to do with the other? I am battling this view in my PhD, where the director I am dealing with is definitely an auteur (though it's not that easy to pinpoint as his style is zero-style narrative squared) and yet uses genre elements. Contrary to what that guy wrote, he actually did make a combat film, for example.

    The most interesting thing was when I watched and analyzed the film the director made, called "The Free City", about the defense of the Polish Post Office in Gdansk (Freistadt Danzig). Many of you might know this historical episode (the Polish post office, which was planned to defend for a couple of hours, kept their defenses for the whole day, survivors were later summarily executed; the attack was performed by the SS) from The Tin Drum, either the novel or the film.

    The film was supposed to be called The Post Office, but changed titles somewhere during production or post. It was made in the 1950s. While everyone states that the film is about the said event, it's really about how the rising anti-Polish sentiments essentially made the whole invasion inevitable. Analyzing the film for a chapter, I was astonished by my first intuition (later confirmed by analysis) that I'm essentially watching a political thriller!
    http://www.filmmusic.pl - Polish Film Music Review Website
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      CommentAuthorDreamTheater
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2017 edited
    Thor wrote
    * Being Dutch I almost have to, but I must say knowing his early work, which I'm not exactly fond of, drags down my appreciation of him for his brilliant American works like the fantastic Starship Troopers.


    Have you seen ELLE yet? The best film last year (well, actually THIS year in Norway). I'm a big fan of both his early, Dutch work and his later work. I've seen everything he's done except for the early shorts.


    I found it a good and interesting watch, how this woman would go against what most would do in such a situation. I liked it well enough, must've been tough for Huppert to do something that according to Verhoeven, was the only actress willing to do what he asked. He did a good job but I like him the most for his Hollywood films.
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
  5. Can't believe I forgot about Tarantino... I would actually tie him with Zemeckis, the guy has made nothing but great films, full of sadistic humor, ultra-violence and characters I would never want to meet in real life. But I have to be in the right mood, and when I am he entertains me like the best of them, like in Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Inglorious Basterds, and my favorite guilty pleasure of him, Death Proof.

    Also worth to mention are some films from directors that have excelled in telling a story for the ages. I would take these with me to a deserted island and watch ad infinitum (so definitely in my top 20)... Braveheart by Mel Gibson, Magnolia by P.T. Anderson, Fearless by Peter Weir, Star Wars by George Lucas, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. I'm probably forgetting some.

    Thanks for replying everyone. Interesting to see how diverse we all are.
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
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      CommentAuthorchristopher
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2017 edited
    This is a tough question. #1 for me is easy: Steven Spielberg. Past that point it's a tough choice. I'd probably have to go with the Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan. But I really like the Coen brothers and I would probably put them in my top three if I were in the right mood. And I really like Wes Anderson. And Robert Zemeckis. And Alfred Hitchcock. And Tim Burton. I think Guy Ritchie makes really enjoyable films. There are a few directors right now that I'm really excited about that haven't been working too long. Jeff Nichols is first and foremost among that group. I also really like Taika Waititi. I'm impressed with what the the Russo brothers have done for Marvel so far, and I liked their work on Community. I wonder what they would do if they weren't directing superhero films.
  6. Rob Cohen has a brother who directs? tongue
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
  7. I'd hope to God he doesn't biggrin

    Of course Chris meant the Coens!
    http://www.filmmusic.pl - Polish Film Music Review Website
  8. DreamTheater wrote
    Rob Cohen has a brother who directs? tongue
    PawelStroinski wrote
    I'd hope to God he doesn't biggrin

    Of course Chris meant the Coens!


    Of course. That's what I typed isn't it wink
  9. Sometimes I am a bit envious of people who can list favourite directors. I have never been interested enough in the filmmaking process to have a favourite. I'd certainly never go see a film based on who directed it.
    The views expressed in this post are entirely my own and do not reflect the opinions of maintitles.net, or for that matter, anyone else. http://www.racksandtags.com/falkirkbairn
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      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2017
    I'm impressed you manage to have a film interest without a director interest, Alan!
    I am extremely serious.
  10. I know a few people in my family that have no clue who are all the wonderful people that make the films they love... let alone the actors that play in them. I could never watch a film without having an interest in that. In fact IMDB has been my go to place since I got connected to the net for all things concerning information on the people behind the scenes. That and the supplemental features on dvds, blu-rays.

    Remember when studios used to put credits in giant letters before the first scene began? Those were the days. My interest only increased by seeing all the well-known names appear.
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
  11. Thor wrote
    I'm impressed you manage to have a film interest without a director interest, Alan!

    Really? There's many things that attracts me to films. The director is rarely one of them. Or the composer for that matter.

    The plot or how it looks are two important drivers of my enthusiasm for a film.
    The views expressed in this post are entirely my own and do not reflect the opinions of maintitles.net, or for that matter, anyone else. http://www.racksandtags.com/falkirkbairn
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2017 edited
    FalkirkBairn wrote
    Thor wrote
    I'm impressed you manage to have a film interest without a director interest, Alan!

    Really? There's many things that attracts me to films. The director is rarely one of them. Or the composer for that matter.

    The plot or how it looks are two important drivers of my enthusiasm for a film.


    Yeah, it's fairly common among the 'general public'. But among us film music buffs (who presumably also are film buffs), it's more rare to not have a conscious relationship to the filmmakers, I think. But anything goes!
    I am extremely serious.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDreamTheater
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2017 edited
    If I see a great, visionary film by some unknown I immediately want to know what else he has done. Because directors like that rarely are one hit wonders. They continue to make films in that genre, or in that visionary style. So that's how I get interested in a director. I see many of the director's trademarks reappear in each film, so in that way there's a definite connection for me as a viewer. Even more if the director has a lasting relationship with other people that work on the film, and not limited to director-composer.

    In that way Michael Bay is also one of my favorite directors. The guy knows how to film spectacles of enormous proportions, or simply make a scene visually appealing. He has a unique vision when it comes to putting a scene to film. He knows what he's doing and he works hard for his money. And he makes his movies move at hyper-speed and I think that's ace, but I completely understand that his style may be vomit-inducing for some.
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
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      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 15th 2017
    Yup. I love Michael Bay too -- not only for his strong visual stamp, but also because it's a 'celebration of surface value' in many instances.
    I am extremely serious.
  12. The first thing I check out is the director. The second one is the composer. After that I try to get the gist of what the film is about. Then I ponder the thought of seeing the film in the theatre. Then I drop that thought and buy the DVD instead three month later. smile
    There are a many actors whose work I appreciate but there few actors who make me see a film.

    Volker
    What’s all that nonsense talk about dark matter or dark energy? We know perfectly well, what it is that binds the galaxy together.
  13. Thor wrote
    Yup. I love Michael Bay too -- not only for his strong visual stamp, but also because it's a 'celebration of surface value' in many instances.


    What do you mean by that?
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
    •  
      CommentAuthorThor
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2017 edited
    DreamTheater wrote
    Thor wrote
    Yup. I love Michael Bay too -- not only for his strong visual stamp, but also because it's a 'celebration of surface value' in many instances.


    What do you mean by that?


    That most of the characters and plots in his movies are rather shallow, yet by infusing them with all kinds of advertisement-style tools, he also comments on this particular aspect -- like if it were a music video or commercial (both of which he's done plenty of). Nowhere was that more clear than the brilliant and self-conscious PAIN & GAIN.

    I don't buy the critics who say that he's just a "director-for-hire who likes big explosions" etc. His stylistic trademarks are both too strong and too influential to be reduced to that kind of dismissive description.

    But hey -- didn't mean to open Pandora's Box again. We've been down this road MANY times here on Maintitles. I know he has many detractors here.
    I am extremely serious.
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      CommentAuthorDreamTheater
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2017 edited
    Still not exactly sure what you are referring to in that first paragraph. I should watch Pain & Gain again, because it felt a bit off for me... not what I expected from a Bay flick. I'll keep in mind what you are talking about, maybe that'll clear things up.

    And I don't care if his movies are shallow or basically fast-food cinema for the smartphone generation... Because I don't own a smartphone and I only eat fast-food once every couple of months, and whenever he goes into overdrive during a chase scene, or over the top in a verbal exchange between characters, I just know I'm gonna grin like an idiot and have a good time. His movies are the kind that make my brain just take it all in as it comes, yet feeling almost always satisfied and pondering about the experience of having watched all that relentless and hilarious nonsense. I don't take it too seriously and people that do, well they're the ones that don't get it. cheesy
    "considering I've seen an enormous debate here about The Amazing Spider-Man and the ones who love it, and the ones who hate it, I feel myself obliged to say: TASTE DIFFERS, DEAL WITH IT" - Thomas G.
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      CommentAuthorMartijn
    • CommentTimeMar 16th 2017 edited
    In (relatively) modern times I'd say my prime preferences -due to having such clear, relatable styles that I LIKE (an important addition, as there are several directors whose style I recognise but am indifferent to (Stone, DePalma) , or at worst thoroughly DISlike (Woody Allen, David Lynch))- Spielberg, Gilliam and the Coen Brothers.
    I think (generally) their storytelling skills provide excellent original entertainment or at least greatly enhance existing material.

    Harkening back to Hollywood's glorious past it's much more difficult for me, as there is such a HOST of brilliant visionaries! John Ford, William Wyler, Orson Welles, D.W. Griffith, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock...the list just goes on and on!

    Well. If -gun to my head- I HAVE to make a choice I'm gonna say Charles Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille and Fritz Lang.
    'no passion nor excitement here, despite all the notes and musicians' ~ Falkirkbairn