Film - Directors Week Top 60 (20-11)

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A week spent celebrating the work of some of our favourite directors starts with the team’s top 60 choices. Today is 20 to 11...

Find the rest of the Top 60

This week we are celebrating those filmmakers that have provided us nothing but joyful times in our viewing lives. Not necessarily joy as in laughs and happiness, but that feeling you get when, despite the subject matter, you know you’ve just seen something that will stick with you long after the cinema lights have come back on. The list is by no means definitive so don’t judge us. What we did was ask everyone who writes for us to give us a list of ten film directors, and then we scientifically, okay we just added up all the choices, and then we built the list from duplicated names. Our finalised list won’t be to everyone’s liking I am sure, but we hope you enjoy the list none the less and at the weekend enjoy all our thoughts and reviews on filmmakers and their art. Where a final decision on placement was needed due to a tied vote, the final decision was made by Steve Taylor-Bryant. With biography information from IMDb, here is the list from 20-11…

Crimson Peak

20. Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. In his filmmaking career, Del Toro has alternated between Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces, such as the gothic horror films El espinazo del diablo (2001), and El laberinto del fauno (2006), and more mainstream American action movies, such as the vampire superhero action film, Blade II (2002), the supernatural superhero film Hellboy (2004), its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), science fiction monster film Pacific Rim (2013), and the gothic romance film, Crimson Peak (2015).

He is also a prolific producer, his producing works include acclaimed and successful films such as The Orphanage (2007), Julia's Eyes (2010), Biutiful (2010), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Puss in Boots (2011), and Mama (2013). He was originally chosen by Peter Jackson to direct The Hobbit films; he left the project due to production problems but was still credited as co-writer for his numerous contributions to the script.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak. 

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

19. Kevin Smith

Kevin Patrick Smith was born in Red Bank but grew up in Highlands, New Jersey, to Grace (Schultz) and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He is very proud of his native state; this fact can be seen in all his movies. Kevin is of mostly German, with some Irish and English, ancestry.

His first movie, Clerks (1994), was filmed in the convenience store in which Smith worked. He was only allowed to shoot at night after the store closed. This movie won the highest award at the Sundance film festival and was brought to theatres by Miramax. The movie went over so well that Smith was able to make another movie, and another movie, and another, and so on.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

A Scanner Darkly

18. Richard Linklater

Self-taught writer-director Richard Stuart Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, to Diane Margaret (Krieger), who taught at a university, and Charles W. Linklater III. Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. Typically setting each of his movies during one 24-hour period, Linklater's work explored what he dubbed "the youth rebellion continuum," focusing in fine detail on generational rites and mores with rare compassion and understanding while definitively capturing the 20-something culture of his era through a series of nuanced, illuminating ensemble pieces which introduced any number of talented young actors into the Hollywood firmament. Born in Houston, Texas, Linklater suspended his educational career at Sam Houston State University in 1982, to work on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He subsequently relocated to the state's capital of Austin, where he founded a film society and began work on his debut film, 1987's It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988). Three years later he released the sprawling Slacker (1991), an insightful, virtually plotless look at 1990s youth culture that became a favourite on the festival circuit prior to earning vast acclaim at Sundance in 1991. Upon its commercial release, the movie, made for less than $23,000, became the subject of considerable mainstream media attention, with the term "slacker" becoming a much-overused catch-all tag employed to affix a name and identity to America's disaffected youth culture.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – A Scanner Darkly and Boyhood. 

Death Proof

17. Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.

In January of 1992, first-time writer-director Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) appeared at the Sundance Film Festival. The film garnered critical acclaim and the director became a legend immediately. Two years later, he followed up Dogs success with Pulp Fiction (1994) which premiered at the Cannes film festival, winning the coveted Palme D'Or Award. At the 1995 Academy Awards, it was nominated for the best picture, best director and best original screenplay. Tarantino and writing partner Roger Avary came away with the award only for best original screenplay. In 1995, Tarantino directed one fourth of the anthology Four Rooms (1995) with friends and fellow auteurs Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez and Allison Anders. The film opened December 25 in the United States to very weak reviews. Tarantino's next film was From Dusk till Dawn (1996), a vampire/crime story which he wrote and co-starred with George Clooney. The film did well theatrically.

Since then, Tarantino has helmed several critically and financially successful films.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Pulp Fiction and Death Proof. 

Being John Malkovich

16. Spike Jonze

Spike Jonze made up one-third (along with Andy Jenkins and Mark Lewman) of the triumvirate of genius minds behind Dirt Magazine, the brother publication of the much-lamented ground-breaking Sassy Magazine. These three uncommon characters were all editors for Grand Royal Magazine as well, under the direction of Mike D and Adam Horovitz and Adam Yauch before the sad demise of Grand Royal Records. Jonze was also responsible for directing the famous Beastie Boys: Sabotage (1994) short film as well as numerous other music videos for various artists.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Being John Malkovich and Her. 


15. Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano was born in Tokyo in 1947 and entered show business in 1972 as "Beat" Takeshi, the stage name he continues to use today as a performer. As part of the comic duo Two Beats, Kitano was one of the leading figures in the manzai (stand-up comedy) boom in the late 1970s. With his distinctive art of speech and his idiosyncratic perspective, Kitano became one of the most popular entertainers in the country during the 1980s.

Since his 1989 directorial debut, Kitano has written, directed, edited or starred in almost a film per year without losing the momentum of his originality and heightened artistic sensibility. The extraordinary success of 1997's Hana-Bi (1997) confirmed Kitano's place as a leading figure of international cinema. Among its numerous awards, "Hana-bi" won Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion and was named Best Non-European Film by the European Film Academy. "Hana-bi" was cited on numerous "Best Films of the Year" lists, often in the #1 position.

In 2000 Kitano made Brother (2000), his first film shot outside of Japan. "Brother", like other Kitano-directed films such as his debut _Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki (1990) (US title: "Violent Cop"), Boiling Point (1990) (US title: "Boiling Point") and Sonatine (1993), centred around yakuza (gangster) characters. The filmmaker contrasted the violence and action of those films with comedy or tenderness in films like A Scene at the Sea (1991) (US title: "A Scene at the Sea"), Getting Any? (1994) (US title: "Getting Any?"), Kids Return (1996) (US title: "Kids Return") and Kikujiro (1999). For the first time in six years, Kitano remained strictly behind the camera on Dolls (2002), his tenth film as a writer-director.

As an actor Kitano has also appeared in films that he has not directed himself. He won international attention for his role in Nagisa Ôshima's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983). He collaborated again with Oshima in 1999's samurai epic Gohatto (1999) (US title: "Taboo"). He appeared in Kinji Fukasaku's controversial box-office smash Battle Royale (2000) (US title: "Battle Royale"). His credits in films directed by non-Japanese filmmakers include include Robert Longo's Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and Jean-Pierre Limosin's Tokyo Eyes (1998).

After an incredibly prolific and diverse 25-year career, Kitano continues to be one of the foremost personalities in Japan. He participates in five TV programs weekly, as well as several TV films and specials per year. He has written a number of novels and collections of short stories, essays and poetry. Also, an accomplished cartoonist and painter, Kitano's artwork can be seen in "Hana-bi" and "Kikujiro".

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Boiling Point and Hana-Bi. 


14. Ridley Scott

Described by film producer Michael Deeley as "the very best eye in the business", director Ridley Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham). His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him throughout the United Kingdom and Europe before they eventually returned to Teesside. Scott wanted to join the Royal Army (his elder brother Frank had already joined the Merchant Navy) but his father encouraged him to develop his artistic talents instead and so he went to West Hartlepool College of Art and then London's Royal College of Art where he helped found the film department.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Alien. 

The Good German

13. Steven Soderbergh

Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where his father was a professor and the dean of the College of Education at Louisiana State University. While still in high school, around the age of 15, Soderbergh enrolled in the university's film animation class and began making short 16-millimeter films with second-hand equipment, one of which was the short film "Janitor". After graduating high school, he went to Hollywood, where he worked as a freelance editor. His time there was brief and, shortly after, he returned home and continued making short films and writing scripts.

His first major break was in 1986 when the rock group Yes assigned him to shoot a full-length concert film for the band, which eventually earned him a Grammy nomination for the video, Yes: 9012 Live (1985). Following this achievement, Soderbergh filmed Winston (1987), the short-subject film that he would later expand into Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), a film that earned him the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or Award, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director, and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Ocean’s Eleven and The Good German. 

The Virgin Suicides

12. Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. In 2004 she became the first American woman ever nominated for a best director Oscar. The two other past Oscar nominees were Jane Campion, who is a New Zealander, and Lina Wertmüller, who is Italian.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. 


11. Jon Favreau

Initially an indie film favourite, actor Jon Favreau has progressed to strong mainstream visibility into the millennium and, after nearly two decades in the business, is still enjoying character stardom as well as earning notice as a writer/producer/director.

The amiable, husky-framed actor with the tight, crinkly hair was born in Queens, New York on October 19, 1966, the only child of Madeleine (Balkoff), an elementary school teacher, and Charles Favreau, a special education teacher. His father has French-Canadian, German, and Italian ancestry, and his mother was from a Russian Jewish family. He attended the Bronx High School of Science before furthering his studies at Queens College in 1984. Dropping out just credits away from receiving his degree, Jon moved to Chicago where he focused on comedy and performed at several Chicago improvisational theatres, including the ImprovOlympic and the Improv Institute. He also found a couple of bit parts in films.

TheDreamCage Most Watched – Chef and Elf.

Image/biography – IMDb.
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