Lights, Camera, Action! :: A Discussion of Directors and Their Craft

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Radiohead, Jun 13, 2002.

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  1. Radiohead Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2002
    star 4
    I think this thread is long overdue here at the Amphitheater. This thread should serve two main purposes: first, to talk about our favorite directors and discuss their best (or worst) works; second, to discuss the finer points of directing a film and to point out how our favorite directors approach certain scenes.

    So, without further ado, here are my favorite directors (in no particular order... except alphabetically):

    Tim Burton
    Wildly imaginative, distinctive, and just a bit crazy, Burton manages to put a unique stamp in all of his films. His movies cannot be mistaken for anyone else?s.
    Best Film: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
    Most Underrated Film: Pee-Wee?s Big Adventure (1985)

    Francis Ford Coppola
    The acclaimed director never fails to inject his films with just the right atmosphere and sense of reality (or unreality).
    Best Film: The Godfather (1972)
    Most Underrated Film: The Conversation (1974)

    Walt Disney
    One of the most important visionaries of the 20th century is also one of its best film-makers.
    Best Film: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
    Most Underrated Film: Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947)

    David Fincher
    Stylistic, edgy, and dark, Fincher is one of the best directors around right now. Fincher plays on the audience?s excitement to drive the emotional force of the story forward.
    Best Film: Fight Club (1999)
    Most Underrated Film: The Game (1997)

    John Ford
    The master of the western and the occasional Irish period piece, Ford is a talented and durable film-maker. We can credit him for a lot of John Wayne?s success.
    Best Film: Stagecoach (1939)
    Most Underrated Film: The Quiet Man (1952) and The Searchers (1956)

    Alfred Hitchcock
    If Ford is the master of the western, then Hitchcock is the master of manipulative terror and suspense thrillers. His greatest films are all gripping, narrative forces.
    Best Film: North by Northwest (1959)
    Most Underrated Film: Notorious (1946)

    Ron Howard
    The performer-turned-director has done pretty well for himself, don?t you think?
    Best Film: A Beautiful Mind (2001)
    Most Underrated Film: Cocoon (1991)

    Stanley Kubrick
    Though hardly prolific, Kubrick?s best films always fill audiences with a sense of overpowering or awe-inspiring wonder (or, at times, humility).
    Best Film: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    Most Underrated Film: Paths of Glory (1957)

    Akira Kurosawa
    Largely ignored (and unknown) by mass audiences here in America, Kurosawa is rightly considered the master of film-making in Japan. His best films are at the same time wonderous, painfully beautiful, and gripping.
    Best Film: The Seven Samurai (1954)
    Most Underrated Film: Ran (1985)

    George Lucas
    The guy created the Star Wars universe. That?s enough for me.
    Best Film: Star Wars (1977)
    Most Underrated Film: THX-1138 (1970)

    Michael Mann
    A modern day master of action and crime films. But, that doesn?t mean he can?t handle more serious and cinematic fare, either.
    Best Film: The Insider (1999)
    Most Underrated Film: Manhunter (1986)

    Ridley Scott
    Scott has made some of the most visually striking and exciting films of the last half century.
    Best Film: Gladiator (2000)
    Most Underrated Film: Thelma and Louise (1991)

    Steven Spielberg
    Spielberg fills his best films with a sense of child-like wonder and curiosity. Truly an explorer in the art of film, Spielberg has taken audiences where they have never been before. Probably the most powerful director of our time.
    Best Film: Schindler?s List (1993) and Saving Pvt. Ryan (1998)
    Most Underrated Film: Duel (1971)

    Billy Wilder[
  2. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Paul Verhoeven
    He shoots from the hip and doesn't pull his punches. Or something.
    Best film: RoboCop
    Most underrated film: Flesh+Blood

    Sam Mendes
    He made American Beauty. Let's hope he can give us something of equal quality with Road to Perdition

    Ridley Scott
    A visual genius.
    Best film: Alien
    Most underrated film: The Duellists

    Luc Besson
    best film: Léon
    most underrated film: The Messenger

    James Cameron
    Like him or not, he's guaranteed to show you something cool you haven't seen before.
    Best film: The Terminator
    Most underrated film: True Lies.
  3. DarthNut Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 1999
    star 6
    Oliver Stone
    Best Film - JFK
    Underrated - Any Given Sunday

    Mel Brooks (funniest director!)
    Best Film - Spaceballs / Blazing Saddles
    Underrated - Robin Hood : Men In Tights

    Steven Spieldburg
    Best - Saving Private Ryan
    Underrated - I think it's impossible to underrate this guy

    Francis Ford Coppola
    Best - The Godfather
    Underrated - The Godfather Part III(c'mon, it's not that bad.

    Christoper Nolan
    Best - Memento
    Underrated - he's only done one other movie besides Memento (Insomnia), so it's hard to fill this in.

    DarthNut,
    the nuttiest guy around.
    Go Nets Go! Lakers suck!
  4. Radiohead Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2002
    star 4
    Underrated - I think it's impossible to underrate this guy

    His first directing job on television was Duel, which was a TV movie. It's very underrated. It's a great movie.

    Also, the discussion in this thread shouldn't be limited to lists of our favorite directors. Like I said in the first post "This thread should serve two main purposes: first, to talk about our favorite directors and discuss their best (or worst) works; second, to discuss the finer points of directing a film and to point out how our favorite directors approach certain scenes."

    Discuss.

    :)
  5. Adakin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2001
    star 1
    No one has mentioned Scorsese yet!
    IMO there are none better.
    There are a few as good but none better.
    I can't wait for Gangs Of New York.
  6. DarthNut Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 1999
    star 6
    Scorsese is very good, especially when he teams up with De Niro, like in Goodfellas.

    DarthNut,
    the nuttiest guy around.
    Go Nets Go! Lakers suck!

  7. AgentCoop Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2002
    star 4
    David Lynch:One of the few filmmakers I can think of truly deserving of the much-overused title "genius". Lynch brings a unique artist vision to filmmaking as well as being a skilled film craftsman.

    Best Film:"Blue Velvet" or "Mulholland Drive".

    Most Underrated Film:"Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me".

    Oliver Stone:An often-controversial filmmaker with a keen eye and an uncanny ability to re-create events from the past.

    Best Film:"Natural Born Killers".

    Most Underrated Film:"The Doors".

    I'll think of more later. :D
  8. Qui-Gon Zero Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 1999
    star 4
    Awesome! Time for another top ten list.



    1. Quentin Tarantino
    Favorites: "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs"
    Opinion: He can make any bit of dialogue, or any moment of violence, sound and look cool. I never feel that any of his cuts are unneccesary. He has a great way of adding a 70's sensibility without an audience ever forgetting that it is present day. His sets and characters are incredibly memorable.

    2. Robert Rodriguez
    Favorites: "Desperado" and "From Dusk Till Dawn"
    Opinion: I adore his comic book way of directing action. He's a quick, efficient, and frugal director who prefers ingenuity over costly devices.

    3. Danny Boyle
    Favorites: "Trainspotting" and "Shallow Grave"
    Opinion: He has an incredible eye for gorgeous longshots that always draw me in. He makes it look easy for a shot to look beautiful or utterly disgusting.

    4. Alex Proyas
    Favorites: "The Crow" and "Dark City"
    Opinion: His dark and elaborate sets are an experience within themselves. He always goes the extra mile to get what he wants. His attention to detail is extraordinary.

    5. David Fincher
    Favorites: "Fight Club" and "The Game"
    Opinion: It's always easy for me to sense how much fun he is having with his dark settings and themes. It's such a joy to watch. His editing and directing ideas always come across as fresh and inventive.

    6. Tim Burton
    Favorites: "Ed Wood" and "Edward Scissorhands"
    Opinion: His imagination is unlike anyone else. His quirky sets and characters are so defined that you almost feel that these places and people exist. I'm always very glad that a director like Tim Burton is around.

    7. James Cameron
    Favorites: "Aliens" and "True Lies"
    Opionion: He has yet to make a movie that I didn't like. He's a director that never seems to slouch when it comes to doing his homework. His action sequences always seem to have that extra "bang" and creativeness.

    8. Oliver Stone
    Favorites: "Natural Born Killers" and "U-Turn"
    Opinion: His editing ideas are some of my favorites. I absolutely love the way that he'll visually show an audience the subtext of a scene or a character's hidden intentions.

    9. Steven Spielberg
    Favorites: "Saving Private Ryan" and "Jurassic Park"
    Opinion: He really does direct movies thru the eyes of a boy. He's a master of making anything look larger than life. He always puts you right in the middle of the action and he also makes it look easy to pull tears out of you.

    10. John Carpenter
    Favorites: "Halloween" and "The Thing"
    Opinion: Anyone who makes 30 million dollar B-movies, is pretty awesome in my book. He makes the kind of movies that not many directors would have the cajones to do. He's a geeky horror fanboy's dream.

    Other Favorites

    Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element)
    Doug Liman (Swingers, Go)
    Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Alien)
    The Wachowski Brothers (Bound, The Matrix)
    David Lynch (Mulholland Dr, Blue Velvet)
    Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump)
    Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Polterguist)
    Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream)
    Cameron Crowe (Jerry McGuire, Almost Famous)
    Guy Ritchie (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch)
    Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet)
    The Cohen Brothers (Fargo, Blood Simple)
    Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi)
  9. The_Jinx Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2002


    i have a question about Tim Burton. He wrote a book about a clam boy or something and its supposed to be really strange. does anyone know where i can get the book??
  10. Qui-Gon Zero Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 1999
    star 4
    Jinx, the book that you are talking about is called "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories". You can order it thru Amazon.com
  11. Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 6
    Just a correction, Radiohead: While I agree that Walt Disney was a great visionary, he did not direct either of the films you mentioned. His directorial works are much more obscure than the films he produced.
  12. Adakin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2001
    star 1
    Its not a novel or anything. It is made up of quirky little rhymes.
    If you have a Nightmare Before Xmas on DVD & have seen Vincent, on of his earlier short films, its kind of like that.
    Eerie quirky, yet cute!
  13. Adakin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2001
    star 1
    Walt certainly had final cut!
    I though David hand was the supervising Director.
    In fact I thought there were about 6. A few for the musical numbers & couple for the dialogue & Walt overseeing them all?
  14. Radiohead Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2002
    star 4
    Just a correction, Radiohead: While I agree that Walt Disney was a great visionary, he did not direct either of the films you mentioned. His directorial works are much more obscure than the films he produced.

    Thanks, Son of the Suns. That was a significant slip-up on my part. With that said, though, I still think Disney was great.
  15. deltron_zero Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2002
    star 6
    great lists so far, i agree with almost every director mentioned.

    one that i would add...

    Terry Gilliam: i really don't know what to say about this guy except that he's never made a film that i didn't like... a true visionary.
    Best Film: shoot i don't know really hard to pick just one, i'll say 12 monkeys just for the hell of it.
    Most Underrated Film: again, it's tough to pick because i think much of his work is greatly underrated but I'll say Brazil, truly a great, bizzare film that was almost never released. it won critical praise but had next to no commercial success.


    well, there's my addition :D
  16. Radiohead Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2002
    star 4
    Good one, deltron_zero.

    Plus, you can't fault a guy for being a former member of Monty Python.

    :D
  17. Son of the Suns Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 6, 1999
    star 6
    Adakin, Walt certainly had a lot of say in all the films he oversaw, much like Lucas had with ESB and ROTJ. But this thread is discussing the craft of directing, so I don't think it's really appropriate to have Walt in there. That is, unless you're a fan of "The Alice Comedies" and other obscure shorts of his.
  18. deltron_zero Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2002
    star 6
    yeah, gilliam's animations added a cool element to monty python and you can definitely see the beginnings and themes of what would become his directorial work.
  19. Adakin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2001
    star 1
    Cant say I have seen any of his shorts Son Of The Suns.
    In fact I cant say I am a Disney fan at all.
    I kind of missed them. I was too late for the classics & too old for the newer ones. I appreciate them for what they are but my childhood was more affected & filled with things like Willy Wonka, The Sound Of Music & Star Wars!!!

  20. CwrnPuppet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 4
    Todd Solondz
    Stark and documentarian, plays with taboo themes and chracters. Very realistic direction and sparse design.
    Best Film: Happiness (1989)
    Most Underrated Film: Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
  21. Qui-Gon Zero Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 1999
    star 4
    Tim Burton's short films, which are thankfully attached to the Nightmare Before Christmas DVD, are incredible. He was definately motivated from the start. It's inspiring.
  22. Qui-Gon Zero Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 1999
    star 4
    I forgot about Todd Solondz. He really has me laughing tears about things I wouldn't normally be laughing about. Welcome to the Dollhouse is a great movie.
  23. Tod Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 1999
    star 4
    I have to admit that I've never really understood what makes a director good or bad. Since director's responsibility is the whole overall concept I would simplify it and say that if the film is good then the director has been good and the other way round. But then there's some movies which get otherwise good reviews but get blamed for bad directing. So what part of movie's success or failure goes to director's credit?
  24. AgentCoop Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2002
    star 4
    One of the director's primary functions is to dictate the imagery that appears on-screen. He/she composes the shots and determines how the camera moves within the shot to create the desired effect.

    Another of the director's jobs is to work with the actors to achieve the right performance. The level of communication between director and actor can mean the difference between a good performance and a bad performance.

    Most directors are also instrumental in the editing process. Once the film is shot, the individual pieces of film need to be pieced together in a way that tells the story understandably and with the proper tone.
  25. Radiohead Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2002
    star 4
    Exactly, AgentCoop! Well defined.

    Another responsibility I'd give a director is a "personal stamp", or directorial methods that is unique to their style. For instance, a film directed by Tim Burton would not look anything like a film directed by Ridley Scott.
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