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The Ten Greatest Directors

Welcome to the final installment of The Ten Greatest Directors.

We started with a list of 45 directors and each post removed ten directors from the list with an explanation as to why we cut them. It wasn’t easy, but we’re finally down to the Ten Greatest Directors. There was a lot of debate behind the scenes, but here they are, in no particular order. We’re simply naming them The Ten Greatest Directors.

Jean-Luc Godard
He is one of the pioneers of the French New Wave wasn’t just a great director but changed the language of filmmaking forever. Prior to Godard, such things as having a character address the camera, jump cut editing, and non-linear storytelling were considered taboo. Now, without Godard, we wouldn’t have Tarantino, Von Trier, or Coppola.

Federico Fellini
The ultimate dreamer who made dreams come alive on the screen. His films were a dance with a rhythm, intelligence, and sly wit that no other director in history can match. His legacy is assured and his movies are timeless. Be sure to see La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2. They changed the way viewers looked at filmmaking.

Ingmar Bergman
The auteur of the top 10 also is underrated when it comes to delivering a film that also enlightens and entertains. His strongest attribute was dealing with the most basic human emotions: love, life, death, and family and making the films convey these feelings without condescending the audience. I have never watched a Bergman film without thinking about it for at least a week afterwards. They stay with you like all great art.

Charlie Chaplin
Most people know him as The Tramp — the iconic character with the funny mustach, top hat and cane. And it’s a phenominal character, but he also wrote and directed his best films, like The Kid, City Lights, and The Gold Rush. He had 72 films directed, won a lifetime achievement award from the Academy, best actor, and even one for best original score. He knew how to make great films, and was a notorious perfectionist.

Fritz Lang
If you don’t know him, the directors you love certainly do. Lang is one of the most influential directors, and is considered the father of film noir. He never won an Academy Award — most likely because he was born in Germany, and even though he moved to America because of his strong distaste for nazis, was still looked at as a “German filmmaker.” His movies, like M, Metropolis, and Fury are classics still shown in film schools around the world to this day. They are iconic, timeless, and resonate with great awe.

Alfred Hitchcock
He was master storyteller who churned out movies like it was his job… which it was. Over a 50 year career, he cranked out nearly 70 films as a director, plus he wrote and produced his own television series and other films. But he will be remembered most as a director for his uncanny ability to capture suspense, play with our minds with stunning visuals, and create iconic images in films like “Psycho” “The Birds” “North by Northwest” “Vertigo” and the list goes on. He set the stage for other directors in a genre he brought respect to.

John Ford
He’s arguably the greatest. He directed more than 100 films, including classics like Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, and also was a four-time Oscar winner for directing. His pace, understanding of timing, respect for actors and iconic imagery all make up his incredible talent. A master, through and through, and a workhorse.

Martin Scorsese
He came out of the NYU film school, and lead a generation of directors that bucked the Hollywood system and its traditional film-making techniques  and story lines. He made movies, like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, that challenged the viewer and put them in an uneasy chair. His mafia movies, like Good Fellas and The Departed, are unmatched in the genre. He approaches film humbly, and understands stories and imagery like no other. We love Scorsese, and we hope he never retires.

Stanley Kubrick
Kirk Douglas, after the making of Spartacus, said, “Stanley Kurbick is a talented shit.”

He only made 15 films in his career, which was one of his regrets as a director, but he was a perfectionist and his pictures were a reflection of that. His last film, Eyes Wide Shut, took five years to make. No other director has been given that freedom, and for good reason. Every Kubrick film is a masterpiece.

There has never been a director who understood a camera better. He was a still photographer before he became a motion picture director and his use of light and how it impacts stories and characters as a storytelling vehicle is extremely thoughtful. His storytelling skills are superb, but he never used narrative stories, or rarely did. His movies made you feel the story. They never handed it to you on a silver plate. He challenged viewers with his stories and portrayed them with stunning beauty. He was the Mozart of film making.

Akira Kurosawa
Ironically, Kirosawa was panned in Japan in his early days for being too influenced by western directors, like John Ford, and for bringing too much emotion to his pictures. But that was his strength. He captured both the action of war and its drama. He paid exquisite detail even to the most mundane characters, and brought humanity to war and famine. “The Seven Samurai” “Yojimbo” “Rashômon” and “The Hidden Fortress” continue to influence directors to this day.

The Ten Greatest Directors Part 4

File photo of director Woody Allen  on the set of "The Bop Decameron" in downtown Rome
Welcome to part 4 of our series on The Ten Greatest Directors.

We started with a list of 45 directors and each day until our anniversary have remove five directors from with an explanation as to why we cut them. The next post in the last one, with 15 directors left.

Let us know which ones you think should stay, and which should go — and maybe some directors  you thought should have been in the mix that weren’t.

Woody Allen
I’m a big fan but Woody Allen is more of a brilliant writer than a director. That doesn’t mean he isn’t great but he’s not one of the ten best ever.

Oliver Stone
Has some amazing work (Platoon, JFK, and Born on the 4th of July) but he’s also made some legendary stinkers, like Alexander, Any Given Sunday, and U-Turn.

Yasujiro Ozu
A legend who’s films get better with age but outside of Late Spring and Tokyo Story, the rest are merely average to good. This one hurt to drop.

Milos Forman
Had three amazing films — One Flew over the Cuckoos’ Nest, Amadeus, and The People vs Larry Flynt — but his work filmography is short and there’s not much outside those three films. I also contend his work didn’t revolutionize films the way the rest of the directors on the list did.

Christopher Nolan
I think in 10-15 years he may end up in the top 10. But, he hasn’t built up enough of a resume yet to be considered one of the 10 best ever.


Ridley Scott
Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Matchstick Men, and of course, Blade Runner, are all excellent pieces of work. He’s a great director, but when you get right down to it, there are directors left with far greater films.

Sergio Leone
Not a lot of people may realize this, but he only directed 13 films — five of which were uncredited. A Fistful of Dollars is arguably the best western ever made, as is Once Upon a Time in the West. He’s the king of spaghettis westerns, but it’s not enough to be named one of the ten best ever.

Joel and Ethan Coen
Fargo, True Grit, No Country for Old Men, The Man Who Wasn’t There and The Big Lebowski are just a few of their excellent films. They have such a strong case, but I think they’re just on the periphery. Talk to me in a few years.

Paul Thomas Anderson
The Master, There Will Be Blood, Magnolia and Boogie Nights are all great films, but he has a very small body of work. I think he’ll be considered the best of his generation when he’s done, and maybe one of the best ever. But today, he’s not.

David Lynch
Mulholland Drive is one of the best films of the past 25 years, Eraserhead is an intriguing film with lasting power, and the Elephant Man is a masterpiece. At this point, we’re not cutting directors with ease. This one stings.

Directors Remaining
Quentin Tarantino
Charlie Chaplin
Billy Wilder
Fritz Lang
Terrence Malick
Robert Altman
Ingmar Bergman
Federico Fellini
Martin Scorsese
John Huston
Stanley Kubrick
Jean-Luc Godard
Alfred Hitchcock
Akira Kirosawa
John Ford

Amazing Spider-Man trailer leaked


As some of you may know, I’m a huge Spider-Man fan. He’s my favorite comic book character in the Marvel universe. He’s a smart and misunderstood kid who gains superhuman abilities and, after an incident involving his uncle, tries to make the best of it, as hard at times as it can be. Even as Spider-Man, he was never is well liked or trusted.

I was not disappointed from what I saw after watching the trailer. Marc Webb is definitely coming at this with a different approach. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect seeing as he had just finished “500 Days of Summer.”

The trailer began with Parker’s parents going away. I’m not sure if this essential to the story, a flashback or a brief introduction but I’m really hoping it’s essential to the story. None of the three films went into Parker’s past with his parents but from the comics, there’s a lot there. Anyway, there are cuts of him in school, at home, and of course him going to where he meets his fate. In those images, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is wearing a lab coat, which pretty much shows they’re being consistent in the comics with her pursue of science (unlike in SM3); she is also the first love of Peter.

The one thing that threw me off, though, was at the end of the clip. Yesterday I read on First Showing that Webb was trying to do as many effects physically as opposed to CG; which took them months to capture. What threw me off was the clip was a first-person shot of Webhead swinging about NYC, obviously using lots of CG. I’m guessing this is one of the few shots that they had to succumb to using CG. It is heartening to read a director trying to avoid CG on their film (didn’t Lucas give Jackson shit for not using CG in LotR?). Spider-Man is probably the worst superhero character to shoot a movie with regards to trying to avoid a lot of CG because of his abilities and all the web-slinging he does.
Even though I am getting sick of the reboots, remakes, prequels, sequels, and adaptations, Spider-Man is one I will never get sick of… wait, I said the same thing prior to seeing SM3. Oh shit. Let’s cross our fingers for no SM3, you guys.

The Illusionist

Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature, this wistful tale follows the fading fortunes of aging illusionist Tatischeff , who’s forced to perform in obscure venues as his act is eclipsed by the growing popularity of rock bands. He gets an emotional lift, though, from a wide-eyed girl named Alice, who thinks he possesses magic powers. But Tatischeff’s “sleight of hand” efforts to impress her with expensive gifts may lead to his financial undoing.

Rating: 4 out of 10

“L’illusionniste” is sad. That’s the way I felt the whole movie. Sure there’s a flash of the fun times the magician had when he had a successful act in Paris, but really it’s about his decline.

I spent the whole movie waiting for the change, for something good to happen. It didn’t. On his way down, the illusionist spends some time in Scotland where he befriends a young girl, Alice. I thought this was where some happiness would come in. But Alice just seems selfish and unappreciative of his generosity.

Sometimes I enjoy movies like this, a story that is linear seems more honest and life doesn’t always have a happy ending. So maybe it was my mood or maybe I was waiting for some of the silliness that was in their previous film, “The Triplets of Belleville,” but it just felt a little empty.

Latest Green Lantern Footage Released


Hot damn, that was very surprising. I think the CGI used in this film perfectly utilizes its technology in a superhero setting. I’m not particularly knowledgeable on Green Lantern, but essentially the guy can create and do anything out of nowhere with this ring. There are a few shots of Hal Jordan using this ring… and it’s pretty awesome. The world that Hal travels to after he obtains the ring looks absolutely beautiful, much more of an appealing setting than “Avatar” but that’s just me.

I was very hesitant on Ryan Reynolds simply because I’m sick of his sarcasm masked with handsome-type charm he weaves in almost of all his rolls. “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” and “Waiting…” were the only ones I found him entertaining in. Peter Sarsgaard looks pretty good as Hector Hammond, whom I know nothing about other than this guy clearly loses his mind.

The Green Lantern oath that Hal vows is a bit cheesy but I love it. It’s that cheesiness in comic books that I love. Satisfies the inner 8 year old. Unless this is this footage is the best four minutes of the film, I have hopes for this. Again, like “Captain America,” it’ll make the blockbuster bucks whether it’s good, bad or so-so.

Heidi the Crosseyed Opposum

A couple of us here at The Movie Brothers were beaten in our Oscar picks by a cross-eyed marsupial. (I’m won’t name names, Victor and Kyle)

Reuters is reporting a quirky story from Germany, where an opossum named Heidi guessed all but one of the Oscars, incorrectly picking “127 Hours” to win best picture, which instead went to “The King’s Speech.”

The 2-1/2-year-old opossum correctly predicted Natalie Portman (“Black Swan“) to win best actress and Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech.) as best actor during a series of appearances on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show on U.S. broadcaster ABC last week.

Heidi, who lives at the Leipzig Zoo in eastern Germany, attempted to duplicate the success of Germany’s oracle Octopus Paul, who correctly tipped each of Germany’s matches in last year’s soccer World Cup, as well as the final between Spain and Netherlands, according to the report.

Better luck next year Kyle and Victor! 😉

Our Oscar Picks

And the Oscar pick winner is….

We posted our Oscar picks last week to see who would get the most correct out of the major categories, and we have a three way tie between Brian, Lauren, and Matt.

The Oscar pick winners are:
Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Animated feature: Toy Story 3

And the Oscar loser is….

We had a two-way tie. With three correct, Victor and Kyle are our Oscar Losers. Better luck next year, guys!

Oscar night is here

Oscar night is here! This is the pinnacle of film awards, and we are aways excited to see who wins.

We’ve made our picks (click here) and can’t wait to see how they unfold. For a complete list of the nominees, click here.

And the winners are…

Achievement in Art Direction: Alice in Wonderand
Achievement in Cinematography: Inception
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Animated Short: The Lost Thing
Best Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Foriegn Film: In a Better World
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Original Score: The Social Network
Best Sound Mixing:  Inception
Best Sound Editing: Inception
Best makeup: The Wolfman
Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderand
Life Action Short Film: God of Love
Feature-length Documentary: Inside Job
Short Subject Documentary: Strangers No More
Achievment in Visual Effects: Inception
Best Original Song: We Belong Together, from the film Tangled
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Picture: The King’s Speech 

The Hobbit set to start production

The Guardian newspaper out of the U.K. is reporting that filming of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” will start next month in New Zealand — a report that follows years of setbacks for the production.

In the four years since Peter Jackson announced that his production company had agreed to make “The Hobbit,” the project has been hit by fire, a union boycott, finance concerns connected to MGM studios, a lawsuit Jackson filed against the company, the departure of original director Guillermo del Toro, and finally Jackson’s own hospitalization last month for a stomach ulcer. The film, based on the much shorter book before JRR Tolkien’s fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings, will start production March 21 in New Zealand, according to The Guardian. It’s scheduled for a December 2012 release.

“Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started,” Jackson, now the film’s director, said in a statement issued by his production company, 3Foot7 Ltd. “This date has been chosen following practical considerations of the filming schedule requirements, actor availability and the NZ seasons. Shooting will take place at Stone Street Studios in Miramar and on location around New Zealand.”

Personally, I don’t really care. I hate the LOTR films. Never been so bored in my life. They were epic, yes, but epically boring. I enjoyed the books, and enjoyed the films when I saw them in the theater, but when I watched them at home on DVD, I couldn’t get through any of them. I don’t know how I ever liked them.

I’ll check this two-part series out, for sure, just because I know the production will be great — maybe even better than LOTR — and I loved the book from childhood.

Transformers 3 trailer

The Movie Brothers’ hatred of Michael Bay is well documented. We named him the worst director working today, and we weren’t big fans of the first Transformers and hated the sequel even more.

Officially, this latest sequel to the franchise is titled “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and its teaser trailer gives us a tiny glimpse into what this is about. In the last film we were forced to endure comical characters — two dumb twins who fought all the time, an old-timer who carried a cane, and we hope they don’t introduce more of the same. In the first one we watched one autobot, Bumblebee, urinate oil onto someone. In the second, a giant transformer, made of construction vehicles, had giant testicles made of wrecking balls that clanged with the sound of church bells. According to the IMDB page, Optimus Prime and Megatron will be back, as will Shia LaBeouf. John Malkovich will also be in the film.

There isn’t much to say about this trailer because it doesn’t show any of the usual cast and starts in the 1960s with the first lunar landing, which is well done. As usual, Bay’s films look amazing. Unfortunately, his track record with storytelling leaves us with little hope for this film. Here’s the first trailer for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”