What made me really happy when I was compiling this list was just how varied, vast and interesting the styles of direction are that I have been fortunate enough to experience, but what made me really sad was the lack of female directors that made this list. Clearly, the role of director is still a very male dominated field in Hollywood. I did happen to notice that all of the best movie nominations at the Golden Globes this year were all for male directors. And the saddest thing of all about this is, that it is not at all indicative of female directorial ability or talent in any way, shape or form, what it is indicative of is the lack of opportunities for upcoming female directors, and that is something that really needs to change.
Some of the best movies and television programs that I have seen over the last few years were both written and directed by women. Women have incredible and engaging stories to tell both in front of and behind the camera, and I for one would like to see more of them in the future. So, please make sure that you too are making an effort to see more movies that have been directed women in a show of support for all of the female directing pioneers that are out there telling their stories and sharing their visions in a very male dominated industry.
So without any further ado, here are my favourite movie directors (in no particular order other than my recall ability) and my favourite movies that they have brought to life on screen.
David Lynch - A true visionary in every sense, he's the man behind Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man and Eraserhead. Lynch is known for his surrealist cinema stylings and deeply original point of view.
BEST MOVIE: Mulholland Drive
Wes Anderson - The king of quirk with a distinct visual style and amusing narrative. He's delivered gems like The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel and has produced two incredible stop motion children's animations as well, one of which is on my Hall of Fame.
BEST MOVIE: Fantastic Mr Fox
Lars von Trier- A Danish director and scriptwriter that has had a long and controversial career. Basically he seems to enjoy destroying beautiful things in all of his films, which are gritty and damning. He's responsible for Nymphomaniac, Antichrist, Dancer in the Dark and Dogville, which all left a mark on me.
BEST MOVIE: Melancholia
Jason Reitman - Reitman seems to 'get' women and understand difficult relationship dynamics, and his films certainly portray that knowledge. He brought us Juno, Up in the Air, Tully and Young Adult which were all exceptionally good.
BEST MOVIE: Labor Day
Taika Waititi - A clever New Zealand comedy filmmaker who always seems to get the right balance between poignancy and laughs in his films. He's the funny guy behind Moana (he wrote the first screenplay), What We Do in the Shadows, Eagle vs Shark, Boy and most recently Jojo Rabbit.
BEST MOVIE: Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Peter Jackson - Jackson is responsible for all of the journeys that I took in darkened cinemas to Middle Earth, I bloody love ya Peter! Besides the all of the LOTR's and The Hobbits, he is also the man behind King Kong, The Lovely Bones and the incredible documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.
BEST MOVIE: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
John Hughes - Hughes pretty much dictated everything that I became obsessed with in my teens. From bad boys to '80's fashion Hughes could do no wrong. I have rewatched Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science countless times, they're absolute classics.
BEST MOVIE: The Breakfast Club
Stanley Kubrick - Probably one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Kubrick has crossed so many genres that his body of work is dizzying! He gave us giants like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Spartacus and A Clockwork Orange.
BEST MOVIE: Eyes Wide Shut
Alejandro González Iñárritu - With a flair for telling the most compelling international stories about the human condition, this highly acclaimed Mexican director gave us some unforgettable cinematic experiences like Birdman, Amores Perros, 21 Grams and The Revenant.
BEST MOVIE: Babel
Oliver Stone - A controversial director that has been accused of being a conspiracy theorist. He actually wrote the script for Scarface (which was directed by Brian De Palma) and also gave us Platoon, The Doors, Born on the Fourth of July and Wall Street.
BEST MOVIE: Natural Born Killers
Michel Gondry - A French director that uses strong visual themes and compositions (often called Mise-en-scene) to tell a story. Because of this, Gondry's movies are visually striking and are often considered to be art house or avante-garde. He gave us The Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind and most recently the brilliant television series Kidding.
BEST MOVIE: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Guillermo del Toro - A visionary fantasy director from Mexico who creatively brings monsters and mythical creatures to life in his films. Generally science fiction, horror or fantasy based, del Toro gave us some amazing otherworldly journeys through The Shape of Water, Hellboy and Crimson Peak.
BEST MOVIE: Pan's Labyrinth
Danny Boyle - This British director delivers equal measures of intense action and sincere emotion into everything that he does. He's tried his hand at many genres and kept us gripped with Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, The Beach and more recently, Yesterday.
BEST MOVIE: Slumdog Millionaire
Sam Mendes - The buzz around this director has been huge this year, given the success of 1917. However, let's not forget all of his other epic offerings like American Beauty, Skyfall and Revolutionary Road.
BEST MOVIE: 1917
James Wan - An Australian-Malaysian director who rose to prominence after he co-created the Saw film franchise. Since then he has been scaring the pants off people with memorable horror films like The Conjuring, Insidious and Annabelle films.
BEST MOVIE: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case
Greta Gerwig - Actress and filmmaker, Gerwig collaborated with her partner (who is also a director) Noah Baumbach on several films before she kicked off her solo directing career in 2017 with Lady Bird. Since then, Gerwig has become a respected and predominant modern Hollywood director.
BEST MOVIE: Little Women
Ridley Scott - I feel like I grew up watching Ridley Scott action and science fiction films. He's been entertaining me for decades and he's had some mind blowingly great movies like Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster.
BEST MOVIE: The Martian
Michael Moore - A controversial American documentary filmmaker that gets up in everyone's face; love him or hate him, Michael Moore is hard to ignore. He's hit some very high notes with Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko and Where to Invade Next.
BEST MOVIE: Bowling for Columbine
Guy Ritchie - Before he married Madonna, Ritchie was making heaps of kick arse British gangster movies that were really funny and very entertaining. He has just recently gone back to doing that again with The Gentlemen, but let's not forget that he also did Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, RocknRolla and believe it or not, the 2019 live action version of Aladdin.
BEST MOVIE: Snatch
Jim Jarmusch - The patron saint of independent cinema since the '80's, Jarmusch's films are really arty, really cool, very edgy and hypnotically contemplative. He gave us Paterson, Deadman and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
BEST MOVIE: Only Lovers Left Alive
Steven Soderbergh - When Soderbergh made Unsane in 2018 and filmed it all on his iphone he made us feel like we were wasting our lives! He's a pioneer of independent cinema and his body of work is incredibly impressive; he gave us Contagion, Erin Brockovich and the Ocean's franchise.
BEST MOVIE: Logan Lucky
Christopher Nolan - He probably got a bit pigeon-holed for a while due to his Batman trilogy efforts (which I also loved) but let's not forget that he also gave us other memorable epics like Inception, Dunkirk and Memento.
BEST MOVIE: Interstellar
Sam Raimi - Raimi terrified audiences in the 80's with The Evil Dead and then enchanted them in the early 2000's with Spiderman so it would be fair to say that his work is varied and vast. He also gave us some very noteworthy cult horror movies like Army of Darkness, Drag Me to Hell and Don't Breathe.
BEST MOVIE: The Evil Dead
Clint Eastwood - He blew everyone away when he started directing and acting in a string of extremely good and Oscar worthy movies, which he is still doing to this day. The man's got some serious talent and gave us gems like Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River.
BEST MOVIE: Unforgiven
Tim Burton - No-one does eccentric gothic horror and fantasy films better than Burton, he is the master! He has a style that is all his own, and with a lot of help from wife Helena Bonham Carter and actor Johnny Depp he's given us fantastical romps into magical fantasy worlds that have included Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Beetlejuice, Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands and Alice in Wonderland.
BEST MOVIE: Sweeney Todd
Ang Lee - A visionary and a genuinely beautiful storyteller. It's rare for me not to get choked up when I watch an Ang Lee movie, they are just so deeply affecting. He gave us the gorgeous Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Life of Pi and The Ice Storm.
BEST MOVIE: Brokeback Mountain
Sofia Coppola - Daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia has proven her worth as a director in her own right by delivering thoughtful explorations of female relationships and genuine, modern impressions of the human experience. She was responsible for The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette and The Beguiled.
BEST MOVIE: Lost in Translation
Judd Apatow -An American comedy director that started out producing and developing the television show Freaks and Geeks in the late 90's. He went on to direct Trainwreck, The 40-year-old Virgin and Knocked Up and also write some of the funniest movies that I have ever seen.
BEST MOVIE: Superbad
Alfred Hitchcock - The most influential and extensively studied filmmaker in the history of cinema, how could I possibly leave Hitchcock off my list? He's been giving audiences thrills and chills for years, and he still is with his extensive repertoire of thriller classics like North by Northwest, The Birds, Rear Window and Vertigo.
BEST MOVIE: Psycho
David Fincher - Ever since I saw The Game in 1997 I became interested in seeing more of Fincher's work. He's delivered a strong, controversial and impactful body of work and was responsible for Seven, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network and Gone Girl.
BEST MOVIE: Fight Club
Paolo Sorrentino - An Italian director with an eye for truly beautiful and meaningful cinema. His films are absolute masterpieces and offer viewers moments of contemplation and glimpses of magic - I am obsessed with his work. He's responsible for Youth and This Must Be the Place.
BEST MOVIE: The Great Beauty.
Joel and Ethan Coen - Genius brothers who bring something fresh, quirky and unique to the screen every time. Their repertoire is so vast and so excellent that I really struggled to pick my favourite because they delivered The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Fargo, Raising Arizona, Burn After Reading and True Grit, all of which were exceptionally great.
BEST MOVIE: No Country For Old Men
Alfonso Cuaron - A critically acclaimed Mexican director with an impeccable body of high quality work that crosses just about every genre of cinema including thriller, fantasy, science fiction and drama. Thanks Cuaron for giving us truly unforgettable moments like Y Tu Mama Tambien, Gravity and Children of Men.
BEST MOVIE: Roma
Francis Ford Coppola - Widely considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Coppola practically had an all out nervous breakdown whilst filming Apocalypse Now in 1979. His commitment to 'getting the film right' has led people to see him a visionary of cinema. He gave us such giants as The Godfather trilogy, Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Outsiders.
BEST MOVIE: Apocalypse Now
Quentin Tarantino - Known for his uber violent, non-linear storylines that contain extended dialogue, huge ensemble casts and loads of Pop Culture references, Tarantino has a style that is all his own. Many of his films pay homage to all of his own cinematic loves, especially Japanese martial arts, kung fu movies, spaghetti westerns and Italian horror. He's the man behind the following cinematic juggernauts - Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Django Unchained, Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2, Death Proof and The Hateful Eight.
BEST MOVIE: Inglourious Basterds
Martin McDonagh - Considered to be the most acclaimed living Irish- British playwright, McDonagh caught my attentions when he made In Bruge, and then delivered again with Seven Psychopaths in 2012. But we all know him best for his amazing 2017 offering that made my Hall of Fame.
BEST MOVIE: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Kathryn Bigelow - Spreading herself across a wide range of genres, Bigelow is not afraid to grapple the big topics. She is forging the way for future female directors with her stellar repertoire which includes Zero Dark Thirty, Near Dark and Point Break.
BEST MOVIE: The Hurt Locker
Darren Aronofsky - A director with a flair for delivering surreal, melodramatic and often disturbing content in his movies. Audiences often seem divided on Aronofsky's material, but I think that he is one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation. He brought us Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, Pi, The Fountain and Mother!
BEST MOVIE: The Wrestler
Steven Spielberg - Okay, I know that he can be cheesy as hell, but when he gets it right - he really gets it right. There's a reason that Spielberg is still filling cinemas, the man knows how to make a movie. Besides I was virtually raised on Spielberg's material. He gave us E.T., Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, Ready Player One, Schindler's List, Raiders of the Lost Ark, War of the Worlds and Jaws.
BEST MOVIE: A.I.
Tarsem Singh - An Indian director that creates films that are a complete immersion and a true feast for the senses. Stunning and absolutely unforgettable, I love his vision and wish that he would make more movies. Singh gave us Immortals, The Cell and Mirror Mirror.
BEST MOVIE: The Fall
Paul Thomas Anderson - Contemplative and filled with flawed and desperate characters, Anderson's movies explore dysfunctional families, alienation and loneliness and they are deeply affecting. He delivered some of my favourite cinematic experiences like Magnolia, Boogie Nights and Punch Drunk Love.
BEST MOVIE: There Will Be Blood.
Martin Scorsese - An American director best known for his gangster and crime movies, he is widely considered to be one of the most influential directors of the New Hollywood era. He tends to cast the same actors in many of his movies, and he has a long professional relationship with Robert De Niro. Scorsese gave us Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, The Departed, Raging Bull and most recently The Irishman.
BEST MOVIE: Casino
David Cronenberg - Sometimes called the 'Baron of Blood' due to his visceral body horror movies. Cronenberg has made films that people never forget that they have seen, because they are so grotesque! It's really no surprise that I love his work! He gave us The Fly, Videodrome and Scanners.
BEST MOVIE: eXistenZ
Alexander Payne - One of the best filmmakers of all time, Payne's movies are full of dark humour and satirical depictions of a dysfunctional modern America. He's the man behind Sideways, About Schmidt and Nebraska.
BEST MOVIE: The Descendants
Jennifer Kent - Kent made her directorial debut in 2014 with the haunting film The Babadook. She is an Australian director that is willing to handle sensitive and disturbing material. Her 2018 movie The Nightingale caused waves due to it's graphic content, but I thought that it was one of the best film of that year.
BEST MOVIE: The Nightingale
Roman Polanski - I wish that someone that wasn't a pedophile had directed Rosemary's Baby because it's definitely one of my favourite movies of all time. But the love ends there Roman because you're just not a good guy.
BEST MOVIE: Rosemary's Baby
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: aka 'I still love ya'
- Terrence Malick - The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life, total game changers.
- Brian de Palma - Carrie and Scarface, enough said.
- Dario Argento - 1977 Suspiria, nothing has come close to matching it in crazy colour design and stylised macabre.
- Neill Blomkamp - District 9 was next level genius, can we get more of that please?
- Baz Luhrmann - Absolutely loved the Red Curtain Trilogy, and let's not forget The Great Gatsby or Australia.
- Duncan Jones - you had me at Moon.
- Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea, one of the most affecting movies I've ever seen.
- Woody Allen - actually I really don't love ya - NOT at all, you're a weirdo and you're a creep! However, I cannot deny that Blue Jasmine, Annie Hall, Mighty Aphrodite and Vicky Cristina Barcelona were all worthy watches.
Release Date: 2018
Rating: R 18+
Running Time: 136 mins
A gritty period drama, written, directed and co-produced by Jennifer Kent, that delivers with such intensity that many people actually walked out of the theatre during its initial screenings due to the graphic and disturbing nature of the movie.
Set in 1825 Tasmania, the film brutally depicts the horrific treatment of both convicts and indigenous Australians during the early British colonisation of Australia. Jennifer Kent clearly did a lot of research into the history of Australian convicts and also the Aboriginal people of Tasmania before making this film and it shows; because this film feels so deftly honest and authentic in its storytelling.
The language spoken by the Aboriginals in this film is Palawa Kani, which is nearly extinct and The Nightingale marks the first time that it has ever been spoken in a mainstream movie. Filmed on location in the Tasmanian bush, the harsh and unforgiving landscapes further add to the sense of impending dread and danger - which seems to be the main theme of this deeply affecting story.
Clare Carroll, a young Irish convict, mother and wife, works as a servant for the British army. With the voice of a nightingale she draws attention from the Lieutenant who begins to viciously mistreat her. Her husband desperately tries to gain her freedom but only exacerbates the issue and what follows is an evening of complete horror. Clare, determined to make her wrongdoers accountable for their savagery, hires an Aboriginal tracker named Billy and sets off to exact her revenge.
Heartbreaking, shocking, harrowing and desperately confronting, The Nightingale is a film that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. This is a tough but powerful watch that is strengthen by extremely convincing performances from Aisling Franciosi as The Nightingale/ Clare, Baykali Ganambarr as the gorgeous tracker Billy and Sam Claflin as the unflinchingly cruel Lieutenant Hawkins.
If you have the strength to watch the truly ugly side of British colonisation, then this is an unmissable watch.
FINAL SAY: I'm still here you white bastards! I'm not going anywhere! I'm home!
4 Chilli Peppers