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Who do you feel are the greatest, best, your favorite directors WORKING today? (1 Viewer)

JohnRice

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Cameron fits the criteria of "working director" because he has for some time had ongoing projects on the books. He certainly takes his time but I'd say he is very much a working director as he has been "working" on this series of sequels for some time. I do wish he would have focused on doing new projects/stories rather than Avatar for the rest of his career but I think he is going for the big cash grab here. His problem is that these Avatar pictures were meant to be big events you would see in the cinema and now post pandemic and the long wait in general probably increases the chances that these will be failures financially.

On Avatar not being listed as a favorite, people that like the picture always tell me it is a picture you had to see in a cinema to appreciate because it was so immersive. Even these fans of it tell me it just is not the same experience at home because you can't replicate that.

I did not see Avatar in a cinema and my attempts to watch it at home, not in 3D, have been failures as I just did not get into the film. So, I love the idea that he made a picture that you HAD TO go to a cinema to see but I missed that aspect of it. I'm mostly a fan of his run of Aliens, Terminator, and The Abyss. Everything else, I seem able to do without.

I always look at him as a guy that puts technological accomplishments over things like story, characters, acting, dialogue...these seem to be far less important to him than the idea that you sit in your chair and say "Holy cow, look at that!" which I admit can be thrilling. The drawback to me is his pictures just tend not to stick with me at all. I don't ponder them later or think about them even for a bit when they end. I think pictures that make favorites lists, for me anyway, tend to stick in your mind and keep popping up in your thoughts.
Someone like Cameron demands mention of Villeneuve, in my book. To me, Villeneuve manages every bit as much visual awe (actually more, as far as I'm concerned) while being an auteur as well and maintaining reasonable commercial success. I put Cameron more in the category of McTiernan, though much more prolific. They both are (or were) exceptional at what they do, but what they do is a bit limited.
 

TravisR

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Ha, I've been watching his LA weather reports and wondering why he is doing that. He literally just reads the weather and wishes everybody a good day. Is there something I am missing or is this leading up to something?
He used to do weather reports years ago on his website so I think he's just doing them again because he likes to do them.

Cameron fits the criteria of "working director" because he has for some time had ongoing projects on the books. He certainly takes his time but I'd say he is very much a working director as he has been "working" on this series of sequels for some time. I do wish he would have focused on doing new projects/stories rather than Avatar for the rest of his career but I think he is going for the big cash grab here. His problem is that these Avatar pictures were meant to be big events you would see in the cinema and now post pandemic and the long wait in general probably increases the chances that these will be failures financially.

On Avatar not being listed as a favorite, people that like the picture always tell me it is a picture you had to see in a cinema to appreciate because it was so immersive. Even these fans of it tell me it just is not the same experience at home because you can't replicate that.

I did not see Avatar in a cinema and my attempts to watch it at home, not in 3D, have been failures as I just did not get into the film. So, I love the idea that he made a picture that you HAD TO go to a cinema to see but I missed that aspect of it. I'm mostly a fan of his run of Aliens, Terminator, and The Abyss. Everything else, I seem able to do without.

I always look at him as a guy that puts technological accomplishments over things like story, characters, acting, dialogue...these seem to be far less important to him than the idea that you sit in your chair and say "Holy cow, look at that!" which I admit can be thrilling. The drawback to me is his pictures just tend not to stick with me at all. I don't ponder them later or think about them even for a bit when they end. I think pictures that make favorites lists, for me anyway, tend to stick in your mind and keep popping up in your thoughts.
I always say this when James Cameron comes up but he can shoot and edit an action sequence that makes sense and is still exciting and looking at the tons of garbage action movies out there, that is a rare talent. Admittedly, he keeps his stories and dialogue relatively simple (probably a smart business move when pretty much every movie he's made for 3 decades has been one of the most expensive movies ever made and it's also smart for places where the movie will be dubbed or subtitled and the audience will want it simple) but he's a world-class talent when it comes to action. As much as I love Tarantino or Fincher or P.T. Anderson, none of those guys could come close to Cameron when it comes to where Cameron's greatest talents lie.

And to be clear, I'm not saying that Cameron does better overall work than those guys. Just that in certain areas of filmmaking, Cameron is as good as it gets.
 

Jeffrey D

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He used to do weather reports years ago on his website so I think he's just doing them again because he likes to do them.


I always say this when James Cameron comes up but he can shoot and edit an action sequence that makes sense and is still exciting and looking at the tons of garbage action movies out there, that is a rare talent. Admittedly, he keeps his stories and dialogue relatively simple (probably a smart business move when pretty much every movie he's made for 3 decades has been one of the most expensive movies ever made and it's also smart for places where the movie will be dubbed or subtitled and the audience will want it simple) but he's a world-class talent when it comes to action. As much as I love Tarantino or Fincher or P.T. Anderson, none of those guys could come close to Cameron when it comes to where Cameron's greatest talents lie.

And to be clear, I'm not saying that Cameron does better overall work than those guys. Just that in certain areas of filmmaking, Cameron is as good as it gets.
Agree about Cameron’s ability to direct action scenes. Arguably the best scene involving action in any film is the Tech Noir shootout, followed by the car chase in the first Terminator film. I still remember how thrilled I was watching it for the first time.
 

Walter Kittel

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I considered listing Cameron on the basis of his resume, but felt like he wasn't really active enough for me to include him in my prior post. Mostly chiming in to agree about Cameron's ability to shoot an action scene.

In Terminator 2: Judgement Day there are some splendid action sequences. One of the things that really impressed me about the motorcycle / truck chase sequence (after the mall shootout) was the dynamic movement of the camera. How well it 'flowed' and kept you in the scene at all times. Just really well done.

- Walter.
 

Chuck Mayer

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Cameron is my favorite director, bar none. I didn't mention him because he was already mentioned. Directing the biggest movie of all time, waiting 12 years until releasing his next film, which ITSELF became the biggest movie of all time seems to clearly indicate that his talents exceed simply making great action scenes and being the best VFX director in the business. As cross-cultural populist filmmaking goes, Cameron can tell mythic stories with a human touch. Many folks probably believe his homespun dialogue and straightforward plotting are indicative of his storytelling limits, when I'd argue he wants to ensure his reach meets his grasp. His commentary on Soderbergh's Solaris is pretty telling on his filmmaking pedigree.

I don't believe he is the best director, mind you. Just my favorite.
 

Joe Wong

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As I mentioned previously, Cameron is one of the better (actually, "best") directors of action, together with the likes of Spielberg and McTiernan. He's not focused solely on the explosiveness or scale of the action, but the way it moves (or like Walter says so succinctly, the "flow"), how the various players are positioned, and most of all, how to develop suspense and excitement. Contrast with the quick-cut technique of many directors over the past 20 years, which substitutes visual mayhem for coherence. An example is the bombastic Michael Bay, who's mostly about spectacle and explosions and gets repetitive.

Cameron also has a penchant for writing compelling female characters - Ellen Ripley coping with fear and finding the (maternal) strength to fight back against the aliens; Sarah Connor evolving from the hunted to the hunter; Rose Dewitt Bukater breaking free of society shackles in Titanic, amongst others.

To follow Chuck's comment, the fact that he would make 2 original films (Titanic and Avatar) that would, in this day and age, go on to be the all-time box office champ, is also a singular feat.

Am I a Cameron fan? Yes!
 
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Reggie W

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OK, I'll toss in Nicolas Winding Refn. Definitely not commercially viable director in a major sense, but his movies are interesting and challenging.

Definitely enjoy Refn's pictures and I think his run of Bronson-Valhalla Rising-Drive was fantastic. His next will be the remake of Maniac Cop he has long wanted to do.

NWR.jpg
 
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Bryan^H

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I would have loved to include Steven Spielberg on my list. But his choices of projects over the last 20+ years has left me almost completely uninterested in anything he does currently. I haven't loved, or even 'really liked' any of his movies past Saving Private Ryan.
 

JohnRice

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Definitely enjoy Refn's pictures and I think his run of Bronson-Valhalla Rising-Drive was fantastic. His next is will be the remake of Maniac Cop he has long wanted to do.

View attachment 93376
I'm a big fan of Drive in particular, but I've really enjoyed the psychedelic stuff he's done since then, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon.
 

Jeffrey D

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I would have loved to include Steven Spielberg on my list. But his choices of projects over the last 20+ years has left me almost completely uninterested in anything he does currently. I haven't loved, or even 'really liked' any of his movies past Saving Private Ryan.
I really liked Catch Me If You Can, but the rest of his recent work is nothing more than OK, in my opinion.
 

Bryan^H

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I really liked Catch Me If You Can, but the rest of his recent work is nothing more than OK, in my opinion.
I can't really count A.I. because while I enjoyed it I can't look at it as anything other than a film Stanley Kubrick was supposed to make but handed it off to Spielberg instead.

Every time I see it, I get discouraged because I see the Kubrick moments waiting to shine, and be completely revelatory...but instead of what should have been, we are given the homogenized version through a family friendly scope. It both works, and doesn't at the same time. Weird case in cinema.
 

TravisR

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Definitely enjoy Refn's pictures and I think his run of Bronson-Valhalla Rising-Drive was fantastic. His next is will be the remake of Maniac Cop he has long wanted to do.

View attachment 93376
It's so funny that he's very highly regarded by critics and he's remaking the renowned art film Maniac Cop.

The Neon Demon was one of my favorites of the year that it came and it assured me that Drive wasn't a fluke.
 

Joe Wong

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I really liked Catch Me If You Can, but the rest of his recent work is nothing more than OK, in my opinion.

While I grew up on Spielberg films (Jaws was the first time I remember going to the cinema, at 6 yrs of age!) and consider him one of the greatest directors, he is probably past his peak (I say probably because he's still got West Side Story and others in the works). He had 2 amazing stretches (1975-82 and 1993-1998), but he is still capable of innovative, efficient, thought-provoking and, just simply, entertaining, filmmaking.

To wit (even if the following films aren't in the same league as his earlier classics):

* the exploration of weighty sci-fi themes in A.I. (2001) and Minority Report (2002)
* the first half of War of the Worlds (2005) was an assault on the senses, and featured cool camerawork (as Tom Cruise escapes with his family from the first attack in NJ, the camera swivels everywhere, adding to the urgency)
* the horror and ensuing moral dilemma of Munich (2005)
* the pure escapism of Ready Player One (2018), where he deftly directs an adaptation of a novel that heavily features the works of... Spielberg!
* and finally, after almost 40 years where no one in his films had ever won an acting Oscar (though several have been nominated), he directs Oscar-winning roles in Lincoln (2012) and Bridge of Spies (2015).
 

TravisR

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Looking at Spielberg's work from the year 2000 forward, I think he's made a number of excellent movies like Catch Me If You Can, Munich, The Adventures of Tintin, and Lincoln. Personally, I think that early every other movie he's made in that period would probably rank as a highpoint in the career of many directors.
 

Joe Wong

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Looking at Spielberg's work from the year 2000 forward, I think he's made a number of excellent movies like Catch Me If You Can, Munich, The Adventures of Tintin, and Lincoln. Personally, I think that early every other movie he's made in that period would probably rank as a highpoint in the career of many directors.

Definitely agree. The clout he has in the industry stemming from his earlier box office successes has given him the freedom to tackle challenging (eg., Munich) and diverse material (ranging from animation to sci-fi to adventure to historical tales), while extending the craft of filmmaking in the latter part of his career.

Most other directors would be happy to have resume that includes A.I., Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, War of the Worlds, Munich, Lincoln, Bridge of Spies, The Post, and Ready Player One, amongst the others he made in this period.
 

Reggie W

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It's so funny that he's very highly regarded by critics and he's remaking the renowned art film Maniac Cop.

Ha, yes, he has said for a long time it is one of his favorite films. It will be interesting to see what he does with it because I assume it won't be a straight remake. He has talked about it for so long I would think he has some sort of unique concept in mind for how he wants to do it.
 

Reggie W

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I'm a big fan of Drive in particular, but I've really enjoyed the psychedelic stuff he's done since then, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon.

I also enjoyed those pictures and thought they were both fairly funny. I assume he intends the comedy in them but Refn is so odd it is possible he may not. I thought The Neon Demon was the better of the two as Only God Forgives is so over the top it nearly goes totally off the rails into absurdist comedy. I don't think Gosling really knew what to make of the finished product.

I think Refn really understands how to create atmosphere in a film and to move through telling a story with little to no dialogue. These are his strengths I think. He has an excellent visual sense and creates beautiful images. When he has strong stories and a lead that commands the screen (Hardy-Mikkelsen-Gosling) he really can turn that into something special.
 

TravisR

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I also enjoyed those pictures and thought they were both fairly funny. I assume he intends the comedy in them but Refn is so odd it is possible he may not.
I may be misreading his work but I think they're supposed to have humor in them. Not that they're comedies but he's putting some of his own brand of humor in there.
 

Reggie W

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I always say this when James Cameron comes up but he can shoot and edit an action sequence that makes sense and is still exciting and looking at the tons of garbage action movies out there, that is a rare talent. Admittedly, he keeps his stories and dialogue relatively simple (probably a smart business move when pretty much every movie he's made for 3 decades has been one of the most expensive movies ever made and it's also smart for places where the movie will be dubbed or subtitled and the audience will want it simple) but he's a world-class talent when it comes to action. As much as I love Tarantino or Fincher or P.T. Anderson, none of those guys could come close to Cameron when it comes to where Cameron's greatest talents lie.

I am in the process of moving so in the midst of the tear down of my home cinema. I probably will upgrade the home theater when I get into the new house but I have to sort out which room will be my cinema to determine how I want to do that.

I will do a run through some Cameron pictures once I get in there and have reset. My feeling at the moment, and I have not watched any of his pictures in quite a while is he does action with an old school approach...meaning yes, you are supposed to understand the dynamics of where people are in the scene and how the action unfolds. I am basing this thought on his older films though as I have not really watched his pictures one we reach Titanic. So, I can't say what he he did in say, Avatar.

I do agree his action scenes, the ones I think about in Aliens, Terminator pictures, or The Abyss are far better than the way they portray action in many pictures post 2005 or so. Recent action seems to revolve just around lots of movement within the frame, general chaos, and seems more influenced by video games than motion pictures. I mean I can see the link between action in the early Star Wars pictures and how Cameron shoots his scenes.
 

Reggie W

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I do want to introduce more directors to this thread because while Scorsese, Spielberg, and Cameron are still working directors and all still are key figures in the film industry, I'd like to also mention some other guys too.

I think these guys probably split a lot of people between love them or hate them but I think the Safdies are a couple of outstanding young talents. Perhaps destined for a career like the Coens but then again maybe not as the pictures they have made so far don't seem to mesh with the trajectory of where motion pictures are headed.

They came to my attention with Good Time and then sort of blew me away with Uncut Gems allowing Adam Sadler to deliver his career best performance, I think. I look forward to whatever it is they come up with next and hope they don't get stuck just on a streaming service.

Safdie-Brothers-02.jpg
 

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