Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Master List #29: Seven current filmmakers who have a perfect record

Answering a good friend's call to name a currently-working filmmaker who I thought had done nothing but excellent work, I felt compelled to do a little research. So, very quickly, here are the filmmakers whom I believe have, as of December 2016, have a perfect record. Not all the films listed here are flat-out masterpieces of the same cloth, but all achieve what they set out to, with extreme artistry. I should note that I required that a filmmaker be making movies for at least a decade, and they had at least four suitable films under their belt (many of these filmmakers have done extensive episodic TV, music video, and short film work, but I'm really concentrating on their features, whether done for theatrical release or television). Here are my choices:
Mike Leigh (17 titles)
Bleak Moments (1971)
Hard Labour (1973, TV)
Nuts in May (1976, TV)
The Kiss of Death (1977, TV)
Abigail’s Party (1977, TV production shot on video)
Who’s Who (1979, TV)
Home Sweet Home (1982, TV)
High Hopes (1988)
Life is Sweet (1990)
Naked (1993)
Secrets and Lies (1996)
Career Girls (1997)
Topsy-Turvy (1999)
All or Nothing (2002)
Vera Drake (2004)
Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Another Year (2010)
Mr. Turner (2014) 

Alfonso Cuaron (7)
Love in the Time of Hysteria (1991)
A Little Princess (1995)
Great Expectations (1998)
Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Children of Men (2006)
Gravity (2013)

Paul Thomas Anderson (7)
Hard Eight (1996)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Magnolia (1999)
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
The Master (2012)
Inherent Vice (2014) 

Alexander Payne (6) 
Citizen Ruth (1996)
Election (1999)
About Schmidt (2002)
Sideways (2004)
The Descendants (2011)
Nebraska (2013)
Downsizers (due in 2017)

Nicole Holofcener (5)
Walking and Talking (1996)
Lovely and Amazing (2001)
Friends with Money (2006)
Please Give (2010)
Enough Said (2013)

Kelly Reichardt (5) 
River of Grass (1994)
Old Joy (2006)
Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Meek's Cutoff  (2010)
Night Moves (2014)
Certain Women (2016)

Spike Jonze (4)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Adaptation (2002)
Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
Her (2013)

Terrence Malick, The Coen Brothers, Brad Bird, Michael Haneke, Peter Weir, David Lynch, Mike Judge, Christopher Nolan, Terrence Davies, Edgar Wright, Pedro Almodovar, Darren Aronofsky, David Cronenberg, and Quentin Tarantino almost made the list, except for one or two missteps each. Lynne Ramsay, Bennett Miller, Sylvain Chomet, and Charles Ferguson all have perfect records, but each needs to get working on another feature or two. The following filmmakers nearly got mentioned as well, but when I investigated their careers, I realized there were many more of their films I needed to see; nevertheless, I find it kind of impossible to believe any of these artists have helmed anything less than superlative cinema: Ross McElwee, Lars Von Trier, Werner Herzog, Zhang Yimou, D.A. Pennebaker, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Agnes Varda, Albert Maysles, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, and most especially Frederick Wiseman; the extraordinary work that I have seen of his convinces me that I have more great films to eventually see.


Lisa said...

Many movies here that are now on my must-watch list! Great compilation!

Chris said...

Great post! I would also add Jason Reitman, although Labor Day looks a but iffy, from what I hear.

filmfan1970 said...

Great list there, Dean, but I do think Alexander Payne belongs on the list as well.

Dean Treadway said...

Okay, I made some changes...kicked Ramsay and Miller off for having only three films, and added Payne and Aronofsky (even though I'm not the biggest fan of PI).