Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Get in That Directors Chair!

Whenever I get a little anxious for a new film season --yes, I’m kinda over summer already. I think it was that commercial for Pirates of the Caribbean 3 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest that did it-- I start dreaming about future films. Not necessarily ones I know are arriving soon (I already previewed my most awaited for this year) but projects I hope to see or people I hope get more work. Here are five directors (either fairly new or unprolific) that I’m most anxious to see working again:

Paul Thomas Anderson we already wished him a happy birthday last week and expressed excitement that he’s filming again. He’s made four full length features. None of them have been any less than very good. Great track record. Robert Altman has long been cited as a major influence of Anderson’s. Perhaps he can take a page from Altman’s book and get prolific. That may be a far fetched dream but it’s a sweet one.

Kimberly Peirce has only one feature to her name but it was impressive. 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry won lots of just praise for Hilary Swank & Chloe Sevigny’s moving duet but strangely, Peirce herself, who guided the entire riveting film didn’t seem to gain as much heat from the project. IMDB lists her next project (cross your fingers) as being an Iraq war drama with Ryan Phillipe and Channing Tatum but earlier rumors this year had her making a family drama with Charlize Theron next. I don’t care what she does… just so long as she does something already. It’s been seven years. What gives?

Baz Luhrmann. Surely everyone reading knows my affection for this Aussie wunderkind. In the past 15 years he’s made exactly three films, all of them part of his highly theatrical “red curtain trilogy” (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!). I love the style and even if he changes it up considerably for his next project, I’m anxious. How long exactly will we have to wait? The Alexander project obviously died after Oliver Stone made his first. Now, the fourth Luhrmann film is supposed to be a romantic epic starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. That pairing sounds orgasmic on paper. The trick for Luhrmann as a filmmaker is that now, after Moulin Rouge!, anything less than "Spectacular! Spectacular!” just won’t do.

Fernando Eimbcke made my favorite feature so far this year, the Mexican comedy Duck Season. I know next to nothing about him or his filmography or what’s next (maybe Mexican readers can enlighten us?) but he was totally charming at the Toronto Film Festival and I can’t wait to see the follow-up.

Finally we have Jonathan Glazer. He wowed with his moody, exciting debut Sexy Beast and then floored me with his sophomore effort, the haunting and challenging Birth which I think about more than most of the films in my top ten list for that year. He also made two of the best music videos ever, Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity”. He’s clearly someone to watch --in just about every sense of the phrase.

Agree? Disagree? Who would be on your list of five? And if you're new to the blog, check out the whole thing.


Anonymous said...

I like Glazer. Sexy Beast was great and I think about Birth more than most films that came out that year.

adam k. said...

Did you not like PotC:DMC? I sense snarkiness. That is not the first time you've called it a commercial.

Also, how are PTA and Bazz "fairly new or unprolific"?


PTA has only made 4 films and he hasn't been around even a decade --maybe that's not such a bad output but he's still newish. Baz has only made 3 films in 14 years. I'd call that very unprolific. it's not terence malick but that's less that one film every 4 years. not enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I am interested to see their nexto mov(i)es:

1 - Peter Jackson.
Why? Can it get bigger? Can he still impress in a lesser scale? If he keeps his giant style, I'm totally for him. I love King Kong and Lord of The Rings.

2 & 3 - Baz Luhrmann & Wong Kar-wai
Why? I like waht they do, but I really want to see if they can pull off something unusual. By seeing 2046 and Moulin Rouge you know exactly what to expect, even if they do it in a brilliant way.

4 - Paul Thomas Anderson
Why? Because I feel he'll prove me right when I say in his movies there is so much Scorsese as there is Altman (Boogie Nights is 90's Raging Bull). There Will Be Blood will be an epic with lots of travellings, personal disasters and cynical voice-over narration; the movie I've been waiting for since Casino.

5 - Clint Eastwood
Why? Is there a limit for greatness? How will he deal with such a big project like Iwo Jima movies, when his last masterpieces are about inside and discret tragedies? If he puts these tragedies into these next movies the result can be great - no matter how much I hate Paul Haggis. Clint's masterfull directing skills absolutely overcame Haggis's script failures.

Other ones:
Can Jane Campion recover from disaster?
What about now, Takeshi Kitano? You said no more violence, only comedies... Can you do that?
What will be the next Spielberg? Can he keep that Munich adult tone?

- cal roth

adam k. said...

I guess I think of "unprolific" as "not very impressive" when in fact, it just means "not very productive" or some such. But I do think it's weird to lump those two (albeit new) masters alongside Kim Pierce, who has done one feature, no matter how good it was.

But back to the more important question... what's with the Dead Man's Chest digs?

Glenn Dunks said...

I wait with baited breath over the new films from Luhrmann and Glazer. Birth has continued to get higher and higher on my all-time list (I think about it more than the most films in general. ever.), and, well, need I say more than Baz Luhrmann + Nicole Kidman + Hugh Jackman = OMG.

PTA I can take or leave (love Hard Eight, really like Boogie Nights, dislike Magnolia). Peirce's sophomore will definitely be one to watch for and unfortunalely I haven't seen Duck Season so I can't really comment on him.

I'm definitely counting down the days until Ray Lawrence's next film Jindabyne. Ray is the director of Lantana, which is an all-timer for me and this one is based on the short story that appeared in Altman's Short Cuts about the fisherman discovering a girl's body. Just fleshed out to feature length.

There's also Aronofski's The Fountain (third film in 8 years), Todd Haynes (third film in 10 years), Mary Harron (third film in 8 years) and Terrance Malick (whatever his next one is, whenever it may be)

And I await the day Brad Bird returns to make something with Pixar.

Ramification said...

My 5 are:

1- John Cameron Mitchell
2- Richard Linklater (2 films out this year!)
3- Pedro Almodovar (dying to see Volver)
4- PT Anderson
5- Baz Luhrman


ok now you people are really cheating. spielberg, almodovar etc... have been around for decades! (I probably stretched the rules with Luhrmann since he arrived in 92 but still... ;)

Ramification said...

i've only discovered Almodovar fairly recently, does that count :)

Jason said...

Kim Pierce is getting ready to shoot her next feature now in Austin, Texas. They're crewed up and production starts Aug. 14... Don't know what it is, though.

Anonymous said...

"Here are five directors (either fairly new or unprolific) that I’m most anxious to see what they do next:"

You don't say they must be "new". Ok, I get they must be unprofilic, but the directors I mentioned can really surprise us - they are in career turning points.

And I forgot Milos Forman!

- cal roth

Glenn Dunks said...

Ray Lawrence's Jindabyne will be his third in 20 years. That sorta counts I think. I made a mistake with Todd Haynes. I forgot about Velvet Goldmine, so his Bob Dyland biopic will be his fourth movie in 12 years (it'll be out next year surely)

Anonymous said...

For me, it's not so much directors as specific projects. I really want to see David Cronenberg tackle the Martin Amis novel London Fields (with Maria Bello and Viggo Mortensen again). Atom Egoyan could adapted the short stories of Adam Haslett (You Are Not a Stranger Here). Alfonso Cuaron can tackle The Life of Pi, etc.

John T said...

For me, five directors of the last decade would include:

1. Stephen Daldry-It's been four years now since he mesmerized with The Hours, will he do well with another Pulitzer Prize Winner?

2. Kathy Bates-She had that fantastic TV Movie Dash & Lilly, but has yet to transpire to the big screen.

3. Anthony Minghella-OK, he's older, but he only entered the public consciousness with The English Patient, so I think this director, who is very sparing with his pictures, should count. Breaking and Entering combines two of the best parts of his previous films (Law & Binoche), so it could be great.

4. Sofia Coppola-After Lost in Translation, is there anywhere to go but down?

5. Fernando Meirelles-After two such auspicious premiere films, what is the third act?

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of the aforementioned directors and I thought I would throw some Canadian ones into the mix.

Alison Maclean - her last film, not counting one documentary, was Jesus' Son in 1999, which I thought was uniquely and beautifully directed. I want to know what she has on deck.

François Girard - he's only made three feature-length films, the last of which was in 1998. He finally has one coming out next year called Silk that looks promising.

Don McKellar - he's only directed two feature films, Last Night (which I thought was great) and Childstar (which I haven't seen, and I don't think anyone else did either). He's also a screenwriter (he wrote the latter two of Girard's films) and actor (he's seemingly been in every Canadian film ever). He's kind of a hit-or-miss guy on all three fronts but I'm awaiting his next film nevertheless.

Gary Burns - a Calgary-based guy who's made four small comedies thus far. They're not perfect by any means but he's a clever writer and he mos def has the potential to make something great.

I'll always welcome new films from Cronenberg and Egoyan, but I suppose neither counts as 'new' or 'unprolific'. I'm kind of waiting for Egoyan to make another film that's anywhere near as good as Exotica or the Sweet Hereafter, but I'm not holding my breath.

Glenn Dunks said...

Stephen Daldry has been off directing for the stage. That one about the detective... at the house... It came to Melbourne and I really wanted to see it but ticket prices were absurdly high.

Anonymous said...

This may seem a little random, but I'd like to see a follow-up from Sharon McGuire, who made a winning directorial debut with the charming 'Bridget Jones's Diary' five years ago. Just compare the original to its sequel, and you can see why she deserves a chunk of credit for how well the first one turned out.

I'm also curious and hopeful that Jane Campion can bounce back after
'In the Cut,' which was, if nothing else, an interesting stretch. Just my opinion though...


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