P.T. Anderson - a pretty good director so far. I'm much more excited to see Wes Anderson's next movie, however.
Danny Boyle - I still haven't seen 127 Hours, but I feel like Boyle peaked very early in his career with Trainspotting and has been trending towards highly competent mediocrity ever since. Well, mediocrity is too harsh. He definitely seems to elevate his source material and picks interesting projects — but, I dunno, at this point, I'd probably rather see a Spike Jonze film.
The Coen Brothers - Talented directors whose movies are still appointment viewing even though they often frustrate the hell out of me. I wish they'd take a two-year sabbatical and join the Peace Corps. Curious to see what kind of films they'd make after that kind of life experience. Still, I'd keep them here over, say, Woody Allen.
Alfonso Cuaron - My love of Children of Men blinds me here, despite the fact that he's made nothing since and his filmography before that is patchy but filled with promise. I hope Gravity is amazing. I'll be there opening night; that much I know. Will it be more awesome than whatever film Fernando Eimbcke makes next? That I don't know.
David Fincher - The American Danny Boyle. Would I keep him here over Steven Soderbergh? Tough call ... but probably.
Werner Herzog - Bless his renewed prolificness ... yet I still haven't been drawn to see any of his recent films. I'm much more interested in Abbas Kiarostami these days.
David Lynch - I'm somewhat surprised to see Lynch in this initial list of fifteen. That's not a knock against him, really, but, like, this forum put Lynch ahead of, say, Pedro Almodóvar? Kind of shocking ... the awesomeness of Mulholland Dr notwithstanding.
Terrence Malick - I should probably finish Tree of Life before discussing Malick's place here. I might be more interested in Lynne Ramsay at the moment, however.
Hayao Miyazaki - I like the spirit of his films, I really do, but honestly I'm not sure where I'd rank him on a list of top directors. There's really nobody else to compare him to right now, though — not Lasseter, not Bird, not Stanton – so points for that. Still, I'm much more excited for Brave than I am to finally catch up with Ponyo.
Christopher Nolan - I'm surprised by my own excitement over the trailer for Dark Knight Rises or whatever it's called. It was probably the best part of seeing The Avengers. Still, to this point, Nolan has been a better writer of concepts than of screenplays; and a better director of moments than of movies. Easy to forget that.
Martin Scorsese - I have a love-hate relationship with his movies. It remains true that I'd rather watch films he recommends than watch films he directs.
Steven Spielberg - Speaking of love-hate relationships ... um, yeah.
Quentin Tarantino - He should take that sabbatical with the Coens.
Gus Van Sant - I like this guy, he intrigues me, and he makes some pretty good movies. But so does, like, Ken Loach. Why one over the other? I can't say.
Wong Kar Wai - It's been a while since My Blueberry Nights and longer still since, you know, better things. Hopefully his Ip Man movie or whatever it is is good. We'll see. I'd be more excited for a new Hou Hsiao-Hsien movie, though.
Here's the new list:
Danny Boyle Frederick Wiseman
The Coen Brothers
Gus Van Sant
Wong Kar Wai
I didn't go into this knowing which director I'd know out, but in my comments I felt I was hardest on Boyle, so I just went with that. Do I have to justify my addition of Wiseman? I mean, he's got the track record, he's still making near great movies (La Danse), he's still appointment viewing for me, and he's exceptional in every sense of the word.
Next up: PeacefulAnarchy.