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The Greatest American Director Working Today (1 Viewer)

Nathan V

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While Scorsese is my absolute favorite director of all time, as he seems to see the world in a fashion remarkably similar to mine, anyone who hasn't seen Million Dollar Baby needs to head out to the movie theater. NOW. This is the best studio release in 7 years, and easily among the best, if not the best, american films of the new decade.

Ernest, (and other people, of course) what are your thoughts on Eastwood's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil?" I saw the dvd for $6, but I wanted to ask for an imformed opinion before buying, as it seems to have had quite a mixed reaction. Is that simply a result of bad timing (i.e. Perfect World), just plain underrated (Bird), or is it just a weaker effort?

Regards,
Nathan
 

Nathan V

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I was looking over this thread, and saw this, which I'd posted earlier-

"[Eastwood] seems good at just 'shooting the script' and letting actors do their thing....I don't subscribe to the "if I didn't notice the direction, music, etc, that means it was perfect" theory. For 'normal people,' I suppose that makes sense. But for film fans like us (and photographers like me), our eyes are already paying extra attention to the separate elements of cinema, and if we don't notice their strengths, then, frankly, the are bland, IMHO. Restraint can be a very good thing (michael bay, where are you), but I do have difficulty calling Clint one of America's best directors."

-and well, I've gotta say, I was wrong. After recently rewatching Mystic and White Hunter, Black Heart, and seeing Million Dollar Baby, which I can't seem to get out of my head, Clint is now very high on my list of favorite directors. He does not "shoot the script," as I'd said; his direction is sublime, laid back, precise, and just as enormously effective as the flashier fellows like Scorsese or Mann. And the noirish lighting schemes of his last two films is brilliant. In "White Hunter, Black Heart," in which Eastwood plays a director, he gives a speech about minimalist directing, citing Hemingway as a literary equivalent, which I think is a perfect analogy. He is far above the many "non-directors" working today (i.e. Brett Ratner, Ron Howard, etc). As with the other greats, there are no films directed quite like an Eastwood film. It took me a little while to realize that.

Nathan
 

Ernest Rister

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a strange bird, almost a black comedy. I think David Lynch may have been a better fit for the project than Eastwood. But for $6, it's worth it just for Kevin Spacey's performance.
 

Rob Tomlin

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I edited my post from December to put Michael Mann back on my list in light of his work on Collateral! :emoji_thumbsup:

I also agree that Eastwood is definitely one of the best directors working today.
 

Rob Tomlin

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Scorsese gets screwed (again).

Don't get me wrong, I love Clint, and if Marty had to lose to someone, I'm glad it was Clint. I just preferred the work Marty did in this case.
 

Chris

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Agreed. While not as good as the incredible book it's based on (something I fear with another one of my fav books, "Memoirs of a Geisha") it's a great watch just for Spacey..

Look, in my mind, the best director going is Tarrintino. His visual style and adept use of both scenery and actors makes his movies stunning. There are very few moments in film I found as beautiful as the fight scene at the end of KB1.

Others that I consider very highly are:

Coen Bros. Even in films others douse, their direction is solid, managing to pull the best out of scripts.

Clint Eastwood. I think although people here seem to go back and forth, Eastwood, especially in M$B and Unforgiven managed to make incredible use of the dynamics of light, and the use of darkness to advance mood. It's old camera work, but it's done so brilliantly it has to be commended.

Speilberg.
 

StevenFC

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Aug 23, 2003
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Not Eastwood that's for sure. The last thing I liked that he was involved in was "In the Line of Fire". The last thing that he directed that I liked was "Unforgiven". And don't get me started on "Mystic River" (one reason why I passed on MDB). Good Lord--did the Academy voters actually see that ham-handed, bloated, confusing piece of dreck??

I would have to go with Spielberg (we won't mention "Minority Report" or "Lost World"). Although I think the Coens are the most creative.
 

Adam_S

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In terms of oscar:

In the last forty years, only Milos Forman, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, and Clint Eastwood have won two best directing oscars, three of those are still actively working today--and Forman just takes a long time between projects.

Both Scorsese and Spielberg have had five nominations each, the same as George Cukor, John Huston, Fellini, Hitchcock, Altman, Curtiz, Kazan, Stevens, Vidor and John Ford (who had an 80% win rate, taking 4 of those), not too shabby. Of contemporary filmmakers, only Woody Allen has had more, with six nominations btw, matching Frank Capra

David Lean and Fred Zinneman had 7 nominations, Billy Wilder 8 and William Wyler an impressive 12 nominations.

I'm wondering just how high Spielberg and Scorsese will go in the coming years. I don't see them as past their prime, and I think the coming years will be some of the most interesting and exciting of their careers, certainly Spielberg has shown an amazing variety of genres and absolute mastery over every aspect of all of them in the years since Lost World. And Scorsese has just hit two nominations in two years, looking at three in five with the buzz Ernest is floating over Infernal Affairs and his own reputation with crime film material. his previous noms for Bull, Temptation, and GoodFellas were separated by about five years with more than ten separating Gangs of New York.
I wouldn't be surprised to see these filmmakers reach higher and better than ever.

My favorite working directors:
Spielberg, definitely
Scorsese
Coens
Cameron Crowe
Paul Thomas Anderson


How about this, Eastwood threw down the gauntlet tonight, "39 days" he said "well oiled machine" he said. Spielberg is also a fast filmmaker, (look at how quickly Catch me if you can came together, it had a very short principle photography time)--and he may be doing something very different with Vengeance, something, dare I say it in the Million Dollar Baby vein.

Who wouldn't want to see Martin Scorsese put together his remake of Infernal affairs for a fraction of what was spent on his last few films--to have it shot hard, fast, gritty and (hopefully) brilliant?

I would love for Eastwood's 39 days to be the beginning of a new trend in American filmmaking--now that would be a wonderful thing.
 

Ernest Rister

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I had no idea when I started this thread that Scorsese and Eastwood would find themselves dueling for Oscars, I even used Scorsese for counterpoint against Eastwood's actor-centric style. Little did I know we'd be seeing the two men pitted against one another.

As for the lean-and-mean 39 day shoot, it wouldn't hurt the movies in the least to deconstruct themselves for a bit and get back to their roots, especially in the wake of what I would term auteurist excess in the last few years. It wouldn't hurt Scorsese, either, to get lean and mean again. I'm going to get pelted for this, but Scorsese sort of lost me in the early 90's with the direction he started taking with Age of Innocence. I didn't connect with his films again until Gangs of New York, which I loved (and I still don't understand why people have it out for that film).

You guys want to know a film I treasure, a film that reminds me a lot of Eastwood's style, made by a film driector who gets no mention in film schools because he didn't show himself off?

I'll give you a clue.

Robert Rossen.

Who?

Exactly.

How about two more words.

The Hustler

FANTASTIC movie. Raw, actor-driven, minimalist morality play.

Eastwood is walking in his footsteps. A director serving the story, letting the actors carry the load while the director creates the spaces for the actors to work in.

A great night could be made of watching The Hustler and Million Dollar Baby, back to back. If you;re a complete film nerd, that is.
 

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