2008-2012 output: Avatar
The best action director of all time in my opinion, he would need to direct more than one flick every decade to make the cut. But what a film!
2008-2012 output: Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World
Again, I almost included this guy in the Top 10 because of how damn much I love “Scott Pilgrim”, but PTA-excepted, I made the conscious decision to focus on filmmakers who’ve made at least 2 or 3 great movies since 2008 for the Top 10. Not that it’s easy to make one kickass flick like “Scott Pilgrim” – many directors never manage to pull off something like that in their whole career. But that just makes it all the more impressive when somebody goes out and knocks a few out of the park in a row.
2008-2012 output: Australia
I’m always this close to including him in the Top 10 (“Moulin Rouge!” remains the best movie I’ve seen in the past decade and change), but mate needs to make more films! At this point, he’s less productive than Terrence Malick! And “Australia”, while wonderful, is no “Moulin Rouge!”.
The Coen brothers
2008-2012 output: Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, True Grit
They’re this close to Gods status – they have made one of my all-time Top 10 faves after all, i.e. “The Big Lebowski” – but they whiff a bit too often to make the pantheon.
2008-2012 output: Shine a Light, Shutter Island, A Letter to Elia, Hugo, Living in the Material World
Like his contemporary Spielberg, Scorsese has directed his share of masterpieces in the 70s, 80s and 90s, while also falling on his face a few times. But unlike Spielberg, Scorsese isn’t currently experiencing a creative renaissance in my opinion. I mean, he’s still technically a brilliant director and I do adore his documentaries, but 1999’s “Bringing Out the Dead” is the last non-fiction feature of his that has knocked me on my ass. So no Top 10 status for Marty.
2008-2012 output: A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis
On the basis of the astonishing “Cosmopolis”, I almost put him in the Top 10. But the so-so “A Dangerous Method” instantly reminds us that Cronenberg isn’t always on his game and can make some somewhat dull (though not uninteresting) work at times. Still, I mostly love his Viggo Mortensen cycle – 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, and Viggo’s actually awesome in “Method”, so…
2008-2012 output: Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Whatever Works, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Midnight in Paris, To Rome With Love
Not a classic in the lot, and at least one mediocre title, but I remain impressed by Woody’s capacity to deliver a film a year, every year, and even his lesser efforts are still enjoyable enough. Best in show these last 4-5 years: “Midnight in Paris”, obviously.
2008-2012 output: The Tree of Life; upcoming: To the Wonder
He’s a lot more productive than he used to be, though he’s hardly Woody Allen yet. “The Tree of Life”, while not perfect, is still breathtaking. On a moment to moment basis, Malick almost qualifies as the best filmmaker in the world.
2008-2012 output: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom
Against all odds, Anderson’s stop-motion woodland creatures movie might just be my favourite of his so far, and I also greatly enjoyed his latest, “Moonrise Kingdom”. In both cases, he proves once again that he’s by far one of the most visually distinctive filmmakers working right now.
2008-2012 output: Where the Wild Things Are
Only one feature in the last few years, but it’s effin’ amazing and his still-impressive music video work (e.g. Arcade Fire’s “Scenes from the Suburbs”) makes him a worthy inclusion.
2008-2012 output: Enter the Void
Not a lot of films qualify as groundbreaking, visionary, game-changing. Noé’s latest does.
2008-2012 output: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Cop Out, Red State
I adore the guy, but maybe more because of his body of work in general than just his movies (though “Red State” is super badass), i.e. his podcasts, live appearances, books, TV shows, comic books, etc.
2008-2012 output: A Christmas Carol; upcoming: Flight
He’ll always be one of the greats for me, if only for directing one of the most influential movies of my childhood (“Back to the Future”) AND one of the most important ones of my teenage years (“Forrest Gump”). But while I like his trio of 3D mo-cap flicks a lot, James Cameron’s “Avatar” has kinda made them a footnote now. Looking forward to his return to live action, though!
2008-2012 output: Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours
His first two flicks from the mid-90s are stone-cold classics in my book, his subsequent ones not so much, but I truly loved “Slumdog Millionaire”.
M. Night Shyamalan
2008-2012 output: The Happening, The Last Airbendner
He used to be a God for me, but I’m kinda tired of defending his lesser work… He needs to deliver another masterwork à la “Signs” or “Unbreakable” soon to qualify again.