DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #15 – #11
My 50 Favourite Directors #15 – #11
My dungeon director project will be coming to its thrilling conclusion this week! Check in on Wednesday and Friday to see who made the top 10!
*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*
#15. Sergio Martino
What I’ve Seen: The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), Torso (1973), Gambling City (1975), A Man Called Blade (1977), The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978), Screamers (1979), The Great Alligator (1979), 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)
I have seen a mere 11 of Sergio Martino’s 42 full length feature films. Martino has directed a number of comedies, the one genre of Italian film I haven’t explored much. Martino makes this list thanks to his seriously outstanding Giallo entries which are absolutely among the best of their breed! I gave four of Martino’s films a perfect mark; The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, All the Colors of the Dark and Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key. I also loved Torso, Gambling City and A Man Called Blade; actually I have enjoyed all 11 of the Martino films I’ve seen. Martino’s Giallo have all the important elements that make the sub-genre so bloody brilliant and beloved by me! The twists and red herrings, glove-wearing killers, beautiful women, amazing cinematography and sex and violence! Martino is also a big fan of Edwige Fenech and Anita Strindberg and so am I!! These two beautiful talented ladies are just another compliment to Martino’s great flicks! His thrilling puzzles are constructed by the great Ernesto Gastaldi who penned all my aforementioned faves. Seriously, you gotta check out Gastaldi’s resume; the man has written some seriously awesome shit! I’m ashamed I only discovered Sergio Martino’s films relatively recently. Martino is a Giallo master!
#14. Roman Polanski
What I’ve Seen: Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion (1965), Cul-de-sac (1966), Dance of the Vampires (1967), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Chinatown (1974), The Tenant (1976), Tess (1979), Frantic (1988), Bitter Moon (1992), Death and the Maiden (1994), The Ninth Gate (1999), The Pianist (2002), The Ghost Writer (2010), Carnage (2011)
I have seen 15 of Roman Polanski’s 20 full length feature films (he also has a film in pre-production called D). I love several films on this list but Polanski has lifelong membership in the favourite’s club due to his “Apartment Trilogy”; Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant. These are three of the best films I have ever seen in my life! Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby have been on my top 100 favourite horror film list since I started keeping one! Although Repulsion is masterfully filmed I think Catherine Deneuve probably deserves equal credit. Deneuve’s performance as Carol in Repulsion was a freaking revelation! The woman is positively alarming! Mia Farrow’s performance in Rosemary’s Baby is also pretty bloody fantastic. And I do love my satanic-oriented shenanigans! The Tenant is more of a dramatic thriller and it is a wonderfully quirky and mysterious one! It stars Polanski who is not only a great director he is an actor and writer (along with Gérard Brach who collaborated on the writing of several of Polanski’s films). It also features the lovely Isabelle Adjani. I also love and adore Knife in the Water, Dance of the Vampires, Cul-de-sac and Chinatown. While I don’t actually dislike any of Polanski’s Post 70s films they don’t move me the same way as his earlier work. Beautifully-filmed, well-written, character-intensive and with a ribbon of black humour running through them; Roman Polanski’s films mesmerize me and fill me with wonderment.
#13. Ishirô Honda
What I’ve Seen: Godzilla (1977), Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), Mirâman (1973), Space Amoeba (1970), Destroy All Monsters (1968), The War of the Gargantuas (1968), King Kong Escapes (1967), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965), Monster of Monsters: Ghidorah (1964), Dagora, the Space Monster (1964), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Atoragon: Flying Supersub (1963), Matango (Attack of the Mushroom People) (1963), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Mothra (1961), The Human Vapor (1960), Varan the Unbelievable (1958), Rodan (1956), Godzilla (1954)
20 is a significant number of titles to see from one director, but it is just a drop in the bucket of Ishirô Honda’s 52 full length feature films! Japanese director Ishirô Honda is maestro of the monsters and the undisputed king of the wildly fun sub-genre! I have enjoyed every single title on this list! Godzilla was the first film I ever seen and I have seen it countless times since! The film was a pretty monumental achievement for its time! His collaborations with special effects guru Eiji Tsuburaya are particularly grand! 100s of miniature structures smashed to bits for my entertainment! I am also a huge fan of Honda’s Destroy all Monsters, The War of the Gargantuas, Mothra Vs. Godzilla, Terror of Mechagodzilla, Matango, Mothra and Rodan!! A friend said “You can’t put Ishirô Honda in between Polanski and P.T. Anderson” and I said “To hell I can’t!” Seriously! For the pure joy Honda’s films have brought me over the years he really deserves to be in my top 10! Damn rankings! Ishirô Honda holds the key to my heart!
#12. Paul Thomas Anderson
What I’ve Seen: There Will Be Blood (2007), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Magnolia (1999), Boogie Nights (1997), Hard Eight (1996)
Paul Thomas Anderson has the teeniest resume in my entire list of 50 directors with just five full length feature films! I have seen every single one of his films in the theatre and gave four out of five of his films a perfect score! His deeply flawed characters and dysfunctional families appeal to me on a variety of levels. I was slightly horrified by the news that Adam Sandler was to star in Anderson’s follow up to Magnolia. I really am not fond of Adam Sandler but his turn here is magnificent! Anderson creates one of the most unlikeable-likable characters I have ever stumbled upon! Who the hell wouldn’t be a little “off” being the only male among a family of overbearing sisters constantly intruding in your life? Punch-Drunk Love has become one of my favourite love stories of all time! Generally speaking, Anderson employs many of my favourite actors and actresses; John C Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jason Robards among others. It can’t hurt your film having some of the most talented actors/actresses working today! All of Anderson’s projects feel like a new experience; Boogie Nights and Magnolia are these brilliant massive ensemble pieces with multiple key characters where Punch-Drunk Love and There will be Blood are more intimate looks at a central male character. In any case, the one thing all Anderson’s films have is intriguing wonderfully written characters! Anderson’s sad, lonely, angry, broken characters are a breath of fresh air in a sea of happy-ending sappy drivel. I would be hard pressed to choose which of Anderson’s films my favourite is; I like each one for different reasons. Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most talented and intriguing directors working today and I am beside myself with excitement to check out The Master coming out soon.
#11. Joel & Ethan Coen
What I’ve Seen: True Grit (2010), A Serious Man (2009), Burn After Reading (2008), No Country for Old Men (2007), The Ladykillers (2004), Intolerable Cruelty (2003), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), The Big Lebowski (1998), Fargo (1996), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Barton Fink (1991), Miller’s Crossing (1990), Raising Arizona (1987), Blood Simple (1984)
I have seen all 15 full length feature films from the Coen brothers. I really struggled with Joel and Ethan Coens placing on this list! I have loved the Coens since seeing Raising Arizona in the theatre in the 80s. Up until recent years the Coens never ever disappointed. While I feel no less strongly about the films I love from the duo they have had a few “oopsies”; The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, and True Grit. The mighty Coens have five films I gave a perfect rating to; Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, Fargo and The Big Lebowski; Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men and Brother Where Art Thou? would not be far behind. From Crime to comedy Coen’s films have highly entertaining stories, characters and seriously fucking talented actors and actresses! Some of my all time favourite actors and actresses have appeared in the Coen’s films; William H. Macy, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand, John Turturro, Peter Stormare, and Albert Finney among others! I have seen just about every single one of the Coen’s film on the big screen and actually went to see Barton Fink at the theatre three times! The extraordinarily talented writing, production and directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen have already left their unique signature on cinematic history but I think they just might have a few more tricks up their collective sleeves. I look forward to checking out Inside Llewyn Davis which is in post-production. Despite a few broken eggs I look forward to the potential omelette of awesomeness these amazing multi-talented men might concoct next!