Directors/Film Makers

Robert Rodriguez
My current favorite director. He wrote and directed his first film, El Mariachi, on a shoestring budget of $7,000 (that's one comma, folks.) Shot on 16mm and originally edited on 3/4" videotape, this is one of the film marvels. A great story and excellent actors make up for the usual cop out of expensive effects. It's a REAL film. You can read all about how he did it in the excellent book Rebel Without a Crew. He also wrote and directed the sequel, Desperado, with Antonio Banderas and Salma (yum!) Hayek. His most recent film is From Dusk till Dawn, written by and starring one Quentin Tarantino, along with George Clooney and Salma.
Rodriguez works quickly, efficiently, and creatively. He operates most of the cameras himself and delivers great, interesting, happening films for a lot less than most of Hollywood. He's definitely one of the good guys.
Quentin Tarantino
One of the guys who set Hollywood on end. He's an incredible writer (with some of the best dialogue in films today,) and a decent director. He's got flair and vision...something most of the film industry lacks. A lot of people rag on him for being too violent and too controversial, but he's keeping the whole industry entertaining with this. Dig it: it's not reality, folks, it's fantasy. Deal with it!
Some of his best stuff is actually stuff that other people directed. From Dusk till Dawn was directed by Rodriguez. True Romance was directed by Tony Scott. Both of these are more entertaining to me than Pulp Fiction. I'm not sure whether I'd say they were better films, but they are great.
Often he is criticized for being a bad actor. Most actors are bad...they don't act. They're just themselves and they're cool and people think that makes them a good actor. No. Fun to watch, but not an actor. Quentin at least tries...he's a dork, true, but he at least tries to act. Check out his cameo as Sid in Sleep With Me. Good stuff.
Phil Joanou One of the most under-rated directors of our time. He has one of the most interesting senses of vision and perspective in film. Test me on this: watch Three O'Clock High and notice all the cool things he does with the camera. Watch State of Grace a couple of times and try to deny how great the film is...how sensitive and detached the camera can be. These are two of his earlier films. He also directed Final Analysis with Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, and Kim Basinger; and Heaven's Prisoners with Alec Baldwin, Eric Roberts, and Kelly Lynch. They're both great flicks, maybe not as great as the other two I mention, but really well worth watching.
Tim Burton
YEAH! He's the man! Always worth watching one of his. From seeing Pee Wee's Big Adventure, I knew this was one to watch. On that note, watch it again and notice how intentionally campy it all is... how they lit the tracks that they pushed the road signs upon when Pee Wee's 'driving' the convertible down the winding roads. Beetlejuice? Awesome. Batman? Incredible...the sequel, too. Edward Scissorhands? Excellent. He also directed Ed Wood and dreamed up Nightmare Before Christmas as well as produced it. His latest is Mars Attacks! with one of the best casts in years! He rocks... he rolls. Admire him.
Michael Mann
The first thing I saw him do was Manhunter, based on the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. I was thoroughly blown away by this film. It was the film that happened before Silence of the Lambs (directed by Jonathan Demme.) In many ways this film is superior... Mann was also behind the slick style that was Miami Vice. He was also responsible for the lush production of Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis. His latest was the powerful crime epic Heat, with both Pacino and DeNiro in the same picture. He also put Tom Noonan and Henry Rollins in it...fine by me! Definitely a stylish and excellent director.
John Carpenter
Ahhhh... the Embassy days. Escape from New York, the Fog... He's also the madman behind Halloween, the Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, and Prince of Darkness. One of the best horror and action directors of all time, as well as a genuinely cool cat. He's not been as good in recent years, but he's made enough films in his life that leave most directors to shame. Another good guy.
Francis Coppola
Ok, so he's done some real garbage, but when a guy makes things like Apocalypse Now and the Godfather Trilogy, he doesn't have to apologize to anyone. An amazing, if over-enthusiastic and extreme director at times.
One film I highly suggest is his nearly unknown film Tucker, about the ill-fated autombile maker. A truly great film with Jeff Bridges, Dean Stockwell, and Christian Slater.
Martin Scorsese
Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Goodfellas are some of his better known and regarded films. He's still one of the best directors ever to make a film. He's also very responsible for the success of Robert DeNiro as an actor...you can add Raging Bull to the list, too.
Although he's more of a producer now, with recent credits including Search and Destroy with Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Griffin Dunne, and John Turturro; he still puts together interesting films.
If you've not seen it, definitely see the Last Temptation of Christ. A powerful and very spiritual film.
Stanley Kubrick
The man who made Dr. Strangelove. 2001. A Clockwork Orange. The Shining. Full Metal Jacket. He's a genius. Incredible. There is no way you can ever convince me otherwise. Although it's been about ten years since he's put out a film, he is reportedly working on a film called AI, as in Aritifical Intelligence. He says the technology has finally reached a level where his vision can be translated to film. I also heard that he's been working on it in parts over the past five years...just so the actor he's using can age accurately in the film. Another project looks very commercial: Eyes Wide Shut, with Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Harvey Keitel.
Alfred Hitchcock
Psycho. Rope. the Birds. North by Northwest. Vertigo. Genius. That's all.


Gary Oldman
Sid & Nancy, State of Grace, Bram Stoker's Dracula, the Professional

Mickey Rourke
Rumble Fish, Angel Heart, Nine and a Half Weeks, Barfly

Christopher Walken
the Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction, the Prophecy, Basquiat, the Funeral

Sean Penn
Casualties of War, State of Grace, Carlito's Way, Dead Man Walking

Robert DeNiro
the Godfather Part II, the Deer Hunter, the Mission, the Untouchables, A Bronx Tale, Heat

Donald Sutherland
Johnny, Get Your Gun; JFK; Six Degrees of Separation; A Time to Kill

Andy Garcia
the Untouchables, Internal Affairs, Dead Again, Things to do in Denver when You're Dead

Brad Pitt
Thelma and Louise, True Romance, Interview with the Vampire, Legends of the Fall, Seven

Leonardo DiCaprio
This Boy's Life, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Basketball Diaries, the Quick and the Dead, Romeo and Juliet

Johnny Depp
21 Jumpstreet, Edward Scissorhands, Benny and Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood

James Dean
East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, Giant


Audrey Hepburn
Breakfast at Tiffany's, Wait Until Dark

Susan Sarandon
Bull Durham, Thelma and Louise, Dead Man Walking

Judy Davis
Naked Lunch, the Ref, the New Age

Chelsea Field
the Last Boy Scout, Andre

Bridget Fonda
Single White Female, Singles, It Could Happen to You

Robin Wright
State of Grace, the Playboys, Forrest Gump

Ione Skye
Say Anything; Gas, Food, Lodging

Christina Ricci
Mermaids, the Addams Family, Addams Family Values

Natalie Portman
the Professional, Heat, Mars Attacks!

A brief note on the actresses: I didn't just choose these women 'cos they're beautiful. You may notice that they are all very capable actresses... and a lot of them just haven't been given great parts. Christina Ricci's been given garbage lately, and Chelsea Field is capable of so much more...