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Directors Who Deserve Reappraisal
#1
I was arguing for the merits of Robert Zemeckis in the WELCOME TO MARWEN thread when I got the idea for this topic.  MARWEN is probably a bad movie (I don't plan on seeing it), but I am always perturbed by the trendy ease with which post-2000 Zemeckis gets dismissed.  Zemeckis is one of the more reliable craftsman working today and he should not be taken for granted.  His more recent body of work contains strong stuff regardless of how summarily it was shunted aside.  As far as I am concerned, BEOWULF was the uncredited table-setter for GAME OF THRONES, and ALLIED was superior to the very good BRIDGE OF SPIES.  Both were written off. 

But at the top of my list of known directors who do not get their due is probably Robert Mulligan.  He gets a fair amount of acclaim for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and SUMMER OF '42, but the recurring implication is that the rest of his filmography is disposable.  It is not.  It is in fact one of the more interesting, skillful and varied resumes of any American director.  THE OTHER is second to nothing in the long and competitive category of 70s horror except maybe THE EXORCIST.  THE NICKEL RIDE is one of the all-time great crime film mood pieces that should have a reputation equal to THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE.  THE STALKING MOON is a masterpiece of patiently executed suspense that should not be obscure among Westerns nor any other genre.  THE MAN IN THE MOON is some sort of criterion of the coming of age film.  And so on.  I recently read a long and spirited defense of CLARA'S HEART (which, like many Mulligan movies, was quietly rejected upon release) that makes me eager to fill in the gap in my library. 

What I chiefly adore about Mulligan is that his work is without self-importance.  There is such a maturity to the way he unfailingly serves the material rather than getting in way with show-offy choices that better regarded directors indulge in.  He is absolutely not, as he is too often accused, pedestrian or flavorlessly workmanlike in his style.  Watching his films is like taking a masterclass in composition and camerawork.  He just isn't a stylistic narcissist, demanding your attention with unmotivated flourishes.  This lack of ego and desperation is a particularly rare talent these days, and it is sadder still that it went under-appreciated even in the context of more patient 60s and 70s cinema, amongst which he was routinely shrugged off as old-fashioned. I cannot recommend his films enough to those who only know him by his nostalgic commercial successes.  The work is enduring, and I am confident that retrospective critical opinion will some day catch up to it. 

Any other examples that folks care to vouch for?
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#2
I didn't like ALLIED or FLIGHT at all, but Zemeckis is a technical vanguard. The guy is at the forefront of filmmaking tech; if anything, his mo-cap works suffer because the technology hadn't quite caught up to his vision yet.

SUMMER of '42 is now on Amazon Prime. It's eluded me for years.

I'm not sure if he needs a reappraisal, but Peter Weir has made several stone-cold masterpieces, and in a perfect world, he'd have the chance to make several more films.
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#3
It is obscene that we haven't gotten a Weir film since THE WAY BACK. It would be one thing if he was voluntarily retired, but apparently he had been trying to get funding for an adaptation of a horror novel called THE KEEP for years, to no avail.
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#4
I had a nice little write-up for Peter Hyams typed out here but it got lost in the ether. So I'll just say Peter Hyams.
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#5
Hyams did 2010 and OUTLAND. He's cool in my book, even if he has had a few stinkers.
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#6
(01-04-2019, 05:22 PM)Alt-molt Wrote: I had a nice little write-up for Peter Hyams typed out here but it got lost in the ether. So I'll just say Peter Hyams.

When I went to Tokyo, the first night I was there, I met an older guy at a bar(it was movie themed) and when I told him I was from Chicago he was like. "Running Scared? Have you seen this film? It's in Chicago." I'm like "Yeah, but it's been awhile". He's like "Peter Hyams is my favorite director. I love all his films." He was actually a really cool guy and he told me I had to watch The Star Chamber, which I had never seen(I have now). I love Tokyo.
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#7
"Coz there'll be starlight all night, when we're close together..."

If ever a movie should be used to bond us as a people it is RUNNING SCARED.
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#8
(01-04-2019, 06:13 PM)Alt-molt Wrote: "Coz there'll be starlight all night, when we're close together..."

If ever a movie should be used to bond us as a people it is RUNNING SCARED.

[Image: Michael-McDonald-Sweet-Freedom.gif]
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#9
Hyams' only misstep for me was A SOUND OF THUNDER.
I didn't love Zemeckis' ALLIED or THE WALK but did quite enjoy FLIGHT.

Let's keep this going...
Ivan Retiman
John Badham
Craig R. Baxley
Hal Needham
Howard Deutch
James Cameron
Andy Sidaris
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#10
Hyams fucked up THE RELIC. That's my major beef with him. Had that turned out correctly, we could have a pretty cool franchise with the Pendergast series.
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#11
Yeah, I also forgot about STAY TUNED and END OF DAYS. Not his two strongest by a longshot.

Still... CAPRICORN ONE, OUTLAND, THE STAR CHAMBER, 2010, RUNNING SCARED, THE PRESIDIO, NARROW MARGIN, TIMECOP, SUDDEN DEATH. That's a good solid run with some fine stuff. Even the b-movie material works for me.
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#12
How is THE STAR CHAMBER? It's been on my PVR unwatched forever.
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#13
(01-04-2019, 07:05 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: Hyams fucked up THE RELIC.  That's my major beef with him.  Had that turned out correctly, we could have a pretty cool franchise with the Pendergast series.

It’s crazy that such a cool character was left out entirely*, although I don’t know if Hyams is really to blame for that particular decision. He IS to blame for incoherently shooting so much of the movie in complete darkness.

Wanted to throw out David Twohy’s name in here. I feel like he has a reputation as something of a journeyman, and he never quite got his due as one of the better working genre filmmakers. The RIDDICK movies are cosmic and weird and a total blast, and even his more conventional stuff like A PERFECT GETAWAY has a certain energy.  And BELOW remains one of the most unique horror films of the last 20 years.

*Why aren’t there any more Preston/Child adaptations, especially now that Hollywood has burned through most of the Michael Crichton’s stuff?
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#14
Anthony Minghella, who was unfairly maligned as an Oscar-bait director along the lines of Lasse Hallstrom, under the Miramax imprimatur.
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#15
I would add Jean Jacques Annaud and Alan Parker to this list.  Both have pretty solid filmographies and in some ways stylistic and thematic similarities (not to each other but within their bodies of work)
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#16
(01-06-2019, 12:05 AM)bailey Wrote: Anthony Minghella, who was unfairly maligned as an Oscar-bait director along the lines of Lasse Hallstrom, under the Miramax imprimatur.

Minghella directed THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY which as far as I'm concerned is a fucking masterpiece.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#17
(01-05-2019, 08:41 PM)mcirish Wrote: How is THE STAR CHAMBER? It's been on my PVR unwatched forever.

It's worth watching. It's pretty strong most of the way but sort of botches the ending. Douglas is good in it.
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#18
Yep, imagine an Alan Pakula movie but directed by Tony Scott and you've got THE STAR CHAMBER.
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#19
(01-04-2019, 07:05 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: Hyams fucked up THE RELIC.  That's my major beef with him.  Had that turned out correctly, we could have a pretty cool franchise with the Pendergast series.

I have a soft spot for THE RELIC but I'll never argue it's actually any good.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#20
The Relic is good for the type of movie it is. The darkness is baffling though. Even that movie, I can STILL tell what's going on....so I've never understood the "it's too daaaark! Can't tell what's going on!" arguments against other movies. And I do not have a super bright TV....by choice. But Hyams does need to turn some lights on.

Outland is his masterpiece though. It's almost as good as Alien and I stand by that.

And TimeCop is fun. Sudden Death is ehhh..
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#21
Outland is the goods. I haven't seen Timecop since its original release, and doubt I'll be remedying that anytime soon.

For some reasons, I always think Hyams directed BLUE THUNDER instead of Badham. No idea why.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#22
You'd probably be pleasantly surprised by TimeCop, in all honesty.

The Relicis noteworthy for having bizarrely amazing FX considering it's budget, cast, era of release and relative infancy of CGI at the time. And it still looks good. It makes no sense. It feels almost DTV until it starts to look like fucking Jurassic Park. Seriously. The Kothoga monster just looks amazingly convincing and is given some absolutely dynamic shots. For an early 1997 release..
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#23
This thread coincidences with a question I submitted to the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast recently. Why is it given three highly-influential genre-masterworks (Point Blank, Deliverance, Excalibur) John Boorman isn't a part of the conversation among film fans?

He's had one of the more fascinating career trajectories. During the New Hollywood era when his contemporaries were knocking it outta the park, he struggled with a string of expensive bombs (Hell in the PacificLeo the Last, Zardoz, Exorcist II: The Heretic) supported solely by Deliverance being a big commercial hit. Always doing his own thing within the studio system.

Like the flip of a switch in the 80's when his contemporaries were struggling to adapt to the post Spielberg/Lucas Hollywood, Boorman thrived with Excalibur being a big ass hit followed by The Emerald Forest and Hope & Glory doing OK - the latter garnishing Oscar attention. Again always doing his own thing within the studio system.

The real ending to Big...
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#24
Boorman is certainly respected here. Also I don't really know if he needs a reappraisal, as people generally acknowledge his great works are just that. He's just not quite as much of a household a name as some of his contemporaries.
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#25
I don't know that he's underrated necessarily but one director who definitely deserves to be held in higher regard is James Gray. The guy keeps soldiering on making solid to great movies and you hardly ever hear his name mentioned.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#26
I'm hoping that with the Weinsteins out of the picture, Gray can find a production/distribution deal less likely to screw him over.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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#27
(01-05-2019, 11:44 PM)fuzzy dunlop Wrote: *Why aren’t there any more Preston/Child adaptations, especially now that Hollywood has burned through most of the Michael Crichton’s stuff?

I think Preston/Child are very protective of the rights to the Pendergast character. Which, when they made the movie, don't forget, wasn't really a "franchise." The next novel in series came out the same year as the film, and that was a straight RELIC sequel. The next novel was five years later, in 2002, which is a lifetime in Hollywood.
home taping is killing music
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