April 02, 2018

Modern Masters: 2018 List

Sharing with you, like 2015, 2016 and 2017, the names of ten film-makers with the most impressive filmography during 2000 to 2017. This list has been created by going through the TSPDT list of 1000 greatest movies of the century and the ranking is calculated by considering the number of movies each director has in the top thousand and the respective rank of those movies in that list.

Two names from last year's list have failed to make it to top ten: American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (Current Score: 4194 points) and Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien (4034 points). With no releases lined up for this year, the two may not make it to Top Ten next year as well. Steven Spielberg (3784 points), who was ranked 7th in 2015 and 6th in 2016, too has not made it to the list despite favorable reviews of his last film 'The Post'. With his latest release, 'Ready Player One' getting mixed reviews, it is unlikely that he will re-enter the list next year.

Apart from the three names mentioned above, and the ten below, no other film-maker has been mentioned on this list in these four years. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, for example, has 3221 points currently, almost 100 points behind the name at the tenth position.

With the top ten names that follow, I have also mentioned their past ranks, if they have made it to Top Ten anytime between 2015 to 2017. 

10. Claire Denis (71-year old French filmmaker; 2015-9th, 2016-10th, 2017-8th): The only woman film-maker on this list, Denis, with 4219 points, is ahead of Tarantino by only 25 points. So the American may replace her next year. But he does not have an upcoming release while Denis is making her first English language film, 'High Life', that stars Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche that comes out this year. Denis fell from last year's 8th position with her 2017 film 'Let the Sunshine In' not being listed in the Top 1000 of the Century. All other feature films she has made this century are currently in the list:  Trouble Every Day, Friday Night, The Intruder, 35 Shots of Rum, White Material and Bastards.


9. Paul Thomas Anderson (47-year old American filmmaker): With only two points more than Denis, with 4221, PTA has made his debut on this list, thanks to his latest film 'Phantom Thread'. He has directed four other films this century, and all of them have met greater acclaim than his latest. 'There Will Be Blood' is ranked 4th, 'Punch-Drunk Love' 25th and 'The Master' 94th. 'Inherent Vice' is ranked 239 as well. However, since he is expected to take a couple of years to come up with his next film, he may not be here on this list next year.


8. Martin Scorsese (75-year old American film-maker; 2015-8th, 2016-9th, 2017-7th): Despite no release last year, Scorsese stays on this list. And his score, 4563, suggests that he may continue to be here although his next release, 'The Irishman', comes out in 2019. He has directed seven films since 2000, all of which feature in Top 1000: Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, Hugo, The Wolf of Wall Street and Silence.

7. Christopher Nolan (47-year old British-American film-maker, youngest on this list; 2015-10th, did not feature in 2016 and 2017) With 4643 points, Nolan is back in Top Ten, arriving at rank 7th, thanks to his latest release 'Dunkirk'. He has directed eight other films since 2000, seven of which feature in Top 1000: Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar. There is no news on his next feature, but he is likely to stay on this list next year as well.

6. Wes Anderson (48-year old American film-maker; 2015-5th, 2016-4th, 2017-5th): One rank further down from last year, and just one point ahead of Nolan, Anderson has directed six films since 2000, all of which feature in Top 1000: The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited. His latest, 'Isle of Dogs', has premiered at Berlin this year, winning him the Best Director trophy. It is almost a certainty that it will make it to Top 1000 next year and Anderson may reclaim his position in Top 5.

5. Apichatpong Weerasethakul (47-year old Thai film-maker; 2015-6th, 2016-7th, 2017-6th): With 4717 points, Weerasethakul has entered the Top 5 for the first time. He has directed seven films since 2000, six of which feature in Top 1000, including 'Tropical Malady', 'Blissfully Yours', 'Syndromes and a Century', 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives', 'Cemetery of Splendour' and 'Mysterious Objects at Noon'. His next film will come out only in 2019, and he may lose his position to Wes Anderson next year.

4. Joel and Ethan Coen (American film-makers, respectively 63 and 60 years of age; 3rd position in 2015, 2016 and 2017): For the first time, the Coen brothers have left the Top 3, may be because two of their films 'Burn After Reading' and 'Hail, Caesar!' are now ranked 950 and 990 respectively. Next year, one of these may not make it Top 1000, further affecting their position, especially because they are only 13 points ahead of Weerasethakul. However, with their anthology series, 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' coming up, they may continue to maintain a high position. They have directed ten films since 2000, eight of which feature in Top 1000: No Country for Old Men, A Serious Man, Inside Llewyn Davis, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, True Grit and The Man Who Wasn't There apart from the two mentioned above.


3. Jia Zhangke (47-year old Chinese film-maker; 2015-4th, 2016-5th, 2017-4th): One position higher from last year, Jia Zhngke breaks into Top 3 with 4788 points. He has made seven films since 2000, six of which feature in Top 1000: Platform, Still Life, The World, Unknown Pleasures, A Touch of Sin and 24 City. He does not have any release this year with his next, 'Ash is Purest White' , coming in 2019.

2. Michael Haneke (76-year old Austrian film-maker, ranked 1st in 2015, 2016 and 2017): Finally, after staying on the top for three years, Haneke is down by one rank. He is still, with 4920 points, fairly ahead of everyone else. His first film in five years, 'Happy End' generated mixed reviews and could not make it to Top 1000. He has directed seven more films since 2000, six of which are in the Top 1000: Cache, The Piano Teacher, The White Ribbon, Code Unknown, Amour and Time of the Wolf. 

1. Richard Linklater (57-year old American film-maker, ranked 2nd in 2015, 2016 and 2017): Linklater reaches the top position this time despite his latest, 'Last Flag Flying' not making into Top 1000. He has directed thirteen films since 2000, eight of which feature in Top 1000: Before Sunset, Boyhood, Waking Life, Before Midnight, School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly, Everybody Wants Some! and Bernie. In 2018, his next film 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' comes out, with Cate Blanchett playing the titular role. 


Very few film-makers in this list have an upcoming release, but I have a feeling that the list will throw more surprises next year. And may show a drastic change over the next five years. For now, I am happy that my favourite among working film-makers is on the top, and until March next year, I will celebrate this.

March 10, 2018

Oscars 2018: The Regulars





Unlike the last few years, I was unable to publish this post before the Oscars were handed out. But despite the delay, I think it was important to post it, to celebrate the unsung heroes (female and male technicians and artists), who have made it a habit to get nominated for the Academy Awards.


9 Nominations
  • Alexander Desplat (Music Composer): Nine nominations in the last twelve years, including two wins. That's some form! Won for 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and 'The Shape of Water'. Other works include 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', 'The King's Speech', and 'Argo'.
  • Doug Hemphill (Sound Designer): Between Dick Tracy (1990) and Life of Pi (2012) and finally 'Blade Runner 2049' (2017), only one win. And that was in 1993 for 'The Last of the Mohicans'. So it has been 25 years without a win despite frequent nominations.
  • Gregg Landaker (Sound Designer): 'Dunkirk' resulted in Landaker's fourth win, but first in twenty-three years. The first three wins were for 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back', 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and 'Speed'. 
  • David Parker (Sound Designer): Nominated for the first time thirty-four years ago for 'Never Cry Wolf'. Won for 'The English Patient' in 1996 and then for 'The Bourne Ultimatum' in 2008. 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' earned him his ninth nomination but it did not convert into a win.
  • Diane Warren (Songwriter): Nine nominations in thirty-one years. And not a single win. Well, she has won a Grammy, an Emmy and a Golden Globe. But an Oscar eludes her. This time she lost to 'Coco'.

10 Nominations
  • Joe Letteri (VFX Artist): In the last sixteen years, he has won ten nominations and four wins (for 'Lord of the Rings': Parts 2 and 3, 'King Kong' and 'Avatar'). Was nominated for 'War for the Planet of the Apes' this time, but 'Blade Runner 2049' prevented him from his fifth win. 

11 Nominations
  • Michael Semanick (Sound Designer): After winning for 'Lord of the Rings - Part 3' and 'King Kong', he has been nominated for 'Ratatouille', 'Wall-E' and 'The Social Network', among others. The latest Star Wars movie earned him his eleventh nomination, but could not win.
  • Hans Zimmer (Music Composer): 'Dunkirk' failed to give him his second Oscar, the first and the only win had come for 'The Lion King' in 1995, despite earning nominations for 'Inception', 'Gladiator' and 'The Thin Red Line', among others.

14 Nominations
  • Roger Deakins (Director of Photography): Nominated for the first time for 'The Shawshank Redemption' twenty-three years ago. It was followed by more nominations, for 'Fargo', 'Kundun', 'No Country for Old Men', 'Skyfall' and 'Sicario', among others. Finally, Deakins won his first Oscar for 'Blade Runner 2049'. More to follow, soon?

And then, of course:

51 Nominations
  • John Williams (Music Composer): The 85-year old genius who has composed numerous iconic tunes, including those for 'Star Wars', 'E.T.', 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Harry Potter' and has won five Oscars. Since 1968, he has earned a nomination almost every year. However, he won his last trophy twenty-four years ago for 'Schindler's List' and this time too he lost to the first name on this list.

January 27, 2018

Top 10 at Oscars 2018

The Oscar season is here. In about five weeks from now, the awards will be handed out. I know I'll be travelling on that Monday early morning (Sunday evening in LA) but will try my best to catch the live broadcast. Meanwhile, there is a lot of work to do. I have hardly watched movies in the last few months, and hence will be eager to binge on some.

So if you want to enjoy the Oscar ceremony, make predictions among your friends, root for some and crib about wrong decisions, I share with you here a list of ten movies you must watch. I have been doing this on this blog for five years now. 


These ten movies cover more than two-thirds of all nominations (not including non-feature film categories). Here we go:

  • Blade Runner 2049 (5 nominations): Cinematography. Production Design. Sound Editing. Sound Mixing. And VFX. Director Denis Villeneuve fails to secure a nomination for himself unlike last year's 'Arrival'. DOP Roger Deakins will hope for his first win after being nominated for the 14th time.
  • Call Me by Your Name (4 nominations, including Best Picture): Also for Actor, Adapted Screenplay and Original Song. This film has earned James Ivory his first nomination in 24 years, after being nominated thrice for directing 'A Room with a View', 'Howards End' and 'The Remains of the Day'.
  • Darkest Hour (6 nominations, including Best Picture): Also for Actor, Cinematography, Costume, Make-up and Hair-design, and Production Design. Gary Oldman has already won the Golden Globe for Best Actor (Drama) for this movie and is a strong contender for his maiden Oscar trophy.
  • Dunkirk (8 nominations, including Best Picture and Director): Will Nolan win his first Oscar? Or will he have to wait like several great directors have done before him? The film is also nominated for Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score by Hans Zimmer, Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. 
  • Get Out (4 nominations, including Best Picture and Director): Also for Actor and Original Screenplay. Actor Jordan Peele writes, directs and produces his first movie and secures three Oscar nominations! That's some debut. It is unlikely to win any, but the movie has had a great run in every sense. And is a fantastic movie anyway.
  • Lady Bird (5 nominations, including Best Picture and Director): The movie has won the Golden Globes for Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) and director Greta Gerwig, also nominated for Original Screenplay, is only the fifth director in history to secure an Oscar nomination. Saoirse Ronan also won the Golden Globe for her performance and is a strong contender for the award. Laurie Metcalf is also nominated for her Supporting Role.
  • Mudbound (4 nominations): Adapted Screenplay. Cinematography. Original Song. Supporting Actress. DOP Rachel Morrison becomes the first woman cinematographer in Oscar history to win a nomination.
  • Phantom Thread (6 nominations, including Best Picture and Director): Paul Thomas Anderson has eight nominations to his name, without a win. Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring from acting and all of us are sad. But will this result in his record 4th win? The film is also nominated for Costume, Original Score and Supporting Actress.
  • The Shape of Water (13 nominations, including Best Picture and Director): Guillermo del Toro has already won the Golden Globe for directing this movie, as has Alexandre Desplat for its Original Score. The film is also nominated for Lead Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Costumes, Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, being the only film to get all kinds of nominations: writing, acting, as well as most technical categories.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (7 nominations, including Best Picture): The film has already won Best Actress for Frances McDormant, Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell and Screenplay for Martin McDonagh at Golden Globes, all of whom are nominated for Oscars as well, apart from Film Editing, Original Score and another Supporting Actor nomination, for Woody Harrelson.
More movies to watch: After finishing these ten, one should definitely go for 'The Post', 'Coco', 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi', 'Baby Driver'. 'I, Tonya' and 'Victoria & Abdul'. These 16 movies will make you a pro at Oscars this year. :) I have watched only 7 out of these so far.

January 03, 2018

Cinema 2017: Favourite Classics








I have been away from this blog for five months. And I could watch only 140 movies in the last one year. The reason behind this will be known to you soon. Meanwhile, as the year ends, let me share with you the list of the ten classics I loved most in 2017. For this, I have considered all movies released before 2013 but first watched by me in the last twelve months:

  1. Berberian Sound Studio (2012/ UK) by Peter Strickland
  2. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005/ Romania) by Cristi Puiu
  3. Far From Heaven (2002/ USA) by Todd Haynes
  4. Happiness (1998/ USA) by Todd Solondz
  5. Monsieur Lazhar (2011/ Canada) by Philippe Falardeau
  6. Mysterious Skin (2004/ USA-Netherlands) by Gregg Araki
  7. The Road Home (2000/ China) by Yimou Zhang
  8. Scarecrow (1973/ USA) by Jerry Schatzberg
  9. Summer Hours (2008/ France) by Olivier Assayas
  10. West Side Story (1961/ USA) by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
Also loved: 'The Believer' (2001/ USA) by Henry Bean, 'Fitzcarraldo' (1982/ West Germany) by Werner Herzog, 'Funny Games' (1997/ Austria) by Michael Haneke, and 'Road to Perdition' (2002/ USA) by Sam Mendes 

And some unforgettable ones: 'The Cabin in the Woods' (2012/ USA) by Drew Goddard, 'District 9' (2009/ New Zealand-USA-South Africa) by Neill Blomkamp, 'Old Joy' (2006/ USA) by Kelly Reichardt, 'Post Tenebras Lux' (2012/ Mexico-France) by Carlos Reygadas, and 'Suspiria' (1977/ Italy) by Dario Argento

    Cinema 2017: Modern Favourites

    I have been away from this blog for five months. And I could watch only 140 movies in the last one year. The reason behind this will be known to you soon. Meanwhile, as the year ends, let me share with you the list of the ten modern movies I loved most in 2017. For this, I have considered all movies released in the last five years but first watched by me in the last twelve months:
    1. Dunkirk (2017/ UK-USA) by Christopher Nolan
    2. Get Out (2017/ USA) by Jordan Peele
    3. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016/ USA) by Travis Knight
    4. Lion (2016/ Australia-UK) by Garth Davis
    5. Manchester by the Sea (2016/ USA) by Kenneth Lonergan
    6. Rams (2015/ Iceland) by Grimur Hakonarson
    7. Taxi Tehran (2015/ Iran) by Jafar Panahi
    8. Toni Erdmann (2016/ Germany-Austria) by Maren Ade
    9. What We Do in the Shadows (2014/ New Zealand) by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
    10. Wonder Woman (2017/ USA) by Patty Jenkins
    Also loved: 'Hacksaw Ridge' (2016/ USA-Australia) by Mel Gibson, 'Moonlight' (2016/ USA) by Barry Jenkins, and 'The VVitch' (2015/ USA-Canada) by Robert Eggers

    And some unforgettable ones: 'The Lure' (2015/ Poland) by Agnieszka Smoczynska, 'The Tribe' (Plemya) (2014/ Ukrain) by Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi, and 'Hard to Be a God' (2013/ Russia) by Aleksei German