The Holidays are over hectic and I am behind in full filmographies (I like to have seen all of a director’s work before I write about them), so the Auteur of the Week feature is going on hiatus for a while. It will hopefully be back in time for the New Year. You can always look through the archives here. Oscar Vault Monday, however, will continue to be posted every Monday. If you’re interested at looking at those archives, you can here. I also want to remind you that if you’re doing any shopping on Amazon for the Holidays, I’d be ever so grateful if you went through my aStore. I’ve got several categories set up (including for Auteur of the Week and Oscar Vault Monday), but you can also access your own WishList through my aStore, it’ll just give me referral credit. If you like what you read, going through my aStore is one way to show you gratitude, without costing you any extra than you already planned on spending. I hope everyone has a wonder Thanksgiving! I’ve got a Movie Quote of the Day queued up for each day that I’m gone, so check back to see what they are!
My four-week look at the complete directorial filmography of New Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg is finally coming to a close. You can look at part one here, part two here and part three here. While the last decade may not be my favorite decade of Spielberg’s work, at least three of his films from the 2000s are among my favorite of his films, as well as of all-time.
Before my computer died last week, I was set to start on week three of my four-part Auteur of the Week series on Steven Spielberg. Luckily, this week I am able to use a shared computer (my new one should be here in the next few days!) and finally bring you part three! If you haven’t had a chance yet, you can read part one here and part two here.
Continuing my four-part Auteur of the Week series on Steven Spielberg (you can see the first part here) I’m now going to be talking about the rest of Spielberg’s work in the 1980s. Throughout the 80s Spielberg produced hit after hit after hit, establishing himself even more as one of the greatest directors working in the business. There’s only one film in this era of his filmmaking that I don’t like, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the film. I’ll explain later. I’ve also included a film wherein he only directed a segment – the ill-advised Twilight Zone: The Movie.
First off may I say that I love Steven Spielberg and I can only think of one of his films that I absolutely did not like, the rest I love to pieces. Second, I’m going to be spending the next four weeks worth of Auteur of the Week discussing Spielberg’s filmography. Thirdly, I’ve seen all but one of his films - A.I.: Artificial Intelligence – but I will get it watched before I get to that part of his filmography, I swear. I know some people who do not like Spielberg at all or who like certain films of his and not others. I think that’s a good thing, to be universally liked would be boring. Part of what I love so much about Spielberg is the diversity of his filmography – you’ll find everything from literary adaptations to dramas to action to sci-fi to biopic and back again. I’m only going to talk about the films he has directed, not the films he’s produced. It would take far more than four weeks if we included Spielberg the producer in the mix. I hope you enjoy this trip through his filmography.
Stephen Daldry is pretty much the John Cazale of directors. (Google John Cazale if you don’t get what I mean by that). He’s directed three films and has been nominated for Best Director by the Academy for all three films. Only two of them were nominated for Best Picture, but it’ quite possibly Billy Elliot was thisclose to getting one of those five slots in 2000. Odds are if the Weinsteins hadn’t had a film out that year (Chocolat) that they aggressively campaigned for, it would have. What I love the most about Daldry as a director, and I think this comes from his background as a theater director, is the strong performances he gets out of his actors. I dare you to find one bad, or even “just okay” performance in one of his films. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one. He has director five Academy Award nominated and two Academy Award winning performances. That’s pretty good for a guy who’s only done three feature films so far.
I first discovered Anton Corbijn, or at least put a name to his work, in the summer of 2005 when The Killers released their video for All The Things I’ve Done. It was directed by Corbijn and was most definitely an homage to Russ Meyers’ cult classic Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill. I decided I had to watch everything he’d ever done, which is an impressive amount of really fantastic music videos starting as early as late 80s. I also discovered that he was the photographer responsible for some of the most iconic rock photographs of the last 35 years. About two years later I discovered the band Joy Division, a band that has subsequently become my all time favorite band. Corbijn is responsible for some of the most haunting photographs taken of that short-lived post-punk band, so it was a natural choice, I think, to have Corbijn helm the 2007 biopic of Joy Division’s ill-fated lead singer Ian Curtis. I actually was working for The Daily Californian at the time and reviewed the film at that time, which you can read here. Corbijn has directed two extremely solid films in the last three years and I absolutely cannot wait for him to make another film.
Julian Schnabel only has three films to his name (with a fourth coming later this year), but all three films are both visual and visceral masterpieces. Coming from a fine art background, Schnabel has made three of the best, most visually stunning biopics in the last fifteen years. Schnabel’s films are kind of like his art, they’re bold and they’re colorful and they’re a mixture of all sorts of things and in the end they are celebrations of life itself.
I’ve been a fan of Baz Luhrmann since I saw his version of Romeo + Juliet when it was first released in theaters. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. He wowed me again five years later with Moulin Rouge! a film that is so dear to my heart. Luhrmann is a showman in every sense of the word and his films are some of the showiest films to come out in the last twenty years.