5 Directors Worth Talking About
For the Cinema Punch Podcast Punch
Every month we choose a “Theme Review” and watch four movies based on that theme and talk about it’s strengths and weaknesses. The aim is to look at movies under a more critical eye and bring to light maybe some films you hadn’t seen before or in a good long while.
So far we have discussed “Movies We’ve Never Seen Before”, “Horror Movies”, “Family Movies”, and “Asian Extreme Movies”. But for January (and a whopping FIVE total sundays which means FIVE total Theme Reviews) we’d like to focus on the work of one specific director. And we need your help picking that lucky guy!
Here are your choices, listed alphabetically:
1) WOODY ALLEN
Woody Allen started out as a stand up act in NYC before venturing into the Film World. Clearly versed in topics of Jewish Faith, Being Poor, Ladies, Philosophy, Film, Literature, Life, and most importantly, Death… Woody Allen brings all these together to make well written and visually impressive films.
He’s had some of the most well known movies in Cinema History (Annie Hall consistently ranks in most Top lists) as well as some clunkers. For most directors, these clunkers may build up and tarnish their record or take an emotional toll, but Allen remains the HARDEST working director alive. He pumps out at least one movie a year and has been doing so since 1977. Some directors (Kubrick, Malick) only put out one per decade, while Allen has been working non-stop for five decades.
Five movies worth discussing: Annie Hall, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris
(Special note: For Allen, we picked one movie per decade)
2) TIM BURTON
Burton is probably one of the best examples of what an Aurteur is. What is an Auteur? According to http://www.dictionary.com it is a filmmaker whose individual style and complete control over all elements of production give a film its personal and unique stamp. Basically, if you weren’t told the movie you were watching was a Burton movie, you’d still know it from how it looks.
Burton, for the most part, has stuck to his own weird, artistic stylings while always being a bit off beat comedy-wise. There have been a few intersting choices (Planet of the Apes remake?) but with his newest movie Dark Shadows, based on the old Vampire-y soap opera, looks to be a true ‘return to form’.
Five movies worth talking about: Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Big Fish
3) JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE
Oh great, a FRENCH guy. That means his movies are probably going to be real artsy, boring, and have people talking in French. Kind of, no, and well, yeah, of course. Melville helped define the aspects of The French New Wave and even helped Jean-Luc Godard develop his ‘jump cut’ style.
If you want to be cool, you have to watch Melville movies. His movies are inspired by the coolest of Hollywood gangster and film noir flicks and helped American Filmmakers figure out what they were doing right. Le Samourai remains one of the coolest movies ever made and Le Cercle Rouge is like a spiritual companion to Michael Mann’s Heat.
Five Movies Worth Talking About: Bob la Flambeur, Le Doulos, Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge, Un Flic
4) Steven Spielberg
Spielberg is, without a doubt, one of the most influential filmmakers ever. His style has become the norm, what everyone else aspires to do. What they teach as basics in film school are things Spielberg implemented in the 70s. And indeed, Spielberg is one of the first Directors to have ever really gone to ‘Film School’ because before then, they simply didn’t teach people how to make movies.
The result of Spielberg’s technical training and natural vision is a combination of entertainment and art. JAWS is a prime example of a well executed film and popcorn entertainment. This set in motion the snowball effect that lead to Massive Big Budget Tent Pole Summer Blockbuster Movies that we have today. But no matter how hard everyone else tries to copy him, Spielberg remains one of the best.
Five movies worth talking about: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Munich, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, JAWS
5) BILLY WILDER
They just don’t make ’em like Billy Wilder used to. Wilder is a Director Lover’s idol. His movies are sharp, fun, and often their simplicity speaks volumes over the coverage and editing most films fall back on today. Wilder is also one of only five directors to ever win Best Picture (Producer), Best Director, and Best Writer for his work on The Apartment.
He set the template for Film Noir with Double Indemnity and perfectly utilized Jack Lemmon for his comedic sensibilities and Marilyn Monroe for her stardom. He’s a funny writer/director, an autuer, undeniably cool, and inspiring to other directors. He’s all four previously mentioned directors combined.
Five movies worth talking about: Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, The Fortune Cookie
So go to Cinema Punch on Facebook (‘Like’ us on the top right of this page) and vote on who you think we should discuss ad nauseam for the month of January. Thanks!
(Note: All ‘movies worth talking about’ are not final and may change)