How do you judge films and how much you care about directing?

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Do you have a list of favorites or you think your top 10 are the best films?

How much value do you give to directing: and do you know most technicism?

180 degree rule

One take shot

Editing

Zoom, camera lent

Cut to

I would say that a good or great director is always noticeable and makes the directing not a huge point.

A bad director or a mediocre one. Makes his films to be completely unwatchable.



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I like Christopher Nolan. David Lynch has done some ok films (Mullholland Drive is one of my favourites). Villeneuve is ok. Michael Bay is a hack.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
Just some very basic filming lessons changed my way to perceive movies, and made me attentive to invisible tricks and rules. That was the start.

Then there was the wonderful blog by late Scott Eric Kaufman, which provided (and still provides, I hope it will stay online for a few more decades) excellent -and often hilarious- analysis of visual grammar in films, tv series and comics : https://acephalous.typepad.com/aceph...-11282011.html

And then the excellent scene analysis by youtube channels such as Every Frame A Painting or Cinefix.

So yes, I tend now to often consciously notice many directorial choices that used to hit purely unconsciously. I'm still strongly against the "recipe" approach to film-making (in visuals or in storytelling), but there are still artistically clever ways to respond to how our cognition processes audiovisual data, and these often make the difference between a film that flows well or a film that is (involuntary) jarring and confusing. It's nice, when something viscerally feels off or clunky, to be able to point out why and how. It also increases appreciation for witty and elegant filmmakers. And some invisible qualities. Invisible, because the best framing and editing often feels natural to the eye, and is falsely taken as granted.

Being attentive to how it's done opens up a whole realm of surprises and delights. It's the same with all other arts. Still, I keep mostly judging my favorite directors based on the stories they tell more than how they tell it.
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As far as technique goes, I don't like having to do too much work to notice things. I know the big lines of technical stuff, so I know when the movie is using these, and it's important that they use those technical aspects to reinforce the point they're trying to make. Now, it's all fine and dandy if you want to use cinematic language to convey things subliminally or more subtly, but there's an issue when that cinematic language becomes too incestuous. That's something you notice when listening to film analysis from people who went to film school. Every shot, every cut, the presence of plants, mirrors, hair styling, clothing colors, etc, everything means something. It's good to use these, because you have to. It's a visual medium. But it becomes incestuous when you get these directors that went to film school, learned about cinematic language in film school, learned symbolism there and then put that symbolism in their movies, and end up making films that can only be fully understoof by film school crowds.

It's a lot like modern art, where a layperson will find infinitely less meaning in a piece because it just becomes too autoreferential for any outgroup to get anything out of it, unlike the almost universally appreciable classic pieces. I think a lot of arthouse directors fall into that category. Burying anything meaningful into so many layers that the movie loses all surface level enjoyability.

All in all though, directing is almost all I care about in movies now. If a movie doesn't have a distinct vision and personality, I lose interest quick. Mere quality is no longer enough to make a film worthwile. Either that or pop culture appeal.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
I would say I usually give a lot more to the writing and story, compared to the actual directing style. The best directed movie for me is probably High and Low (1963), but I wouldn't put it in my top 10 because although it's great, story wise, I just didn't find it to be quite the top 10.

But is that unfair of me if I choose story as to why it's not in my top 10, where as it's still the best directed movie?



I'm of two minds about director influence:

The kinds of films I like are usually ones where I think the core concept/writing is the best thing about the film. Which points to me generally caring a little less (relatively speaking) about directing.

BUT, you could argue that because of this inclination, any time a film engages me on style or mood alone, that's all the more impressive. I may find that sort of thing shallower than quality writing, in a vacuum, but maybe that makes it a purer expression of the medium: to make you care about something you shouldn't, through the sheer power of cinema. The dumpster monologue in Mulholland Dr. is my go-to example for this. On paper the whole thing is absurd and pointless and silly. In the moment, it's riveting and tense. Does that make it a cheap trick, like jump scares in horror films, or does that make it all the more impressive, to create a feeling out of thin air?

I don't know.



Additional thought: even situations where I really enjoy writing (plot mechanics, high concept films, witty and fast-paced dialogue), the editing actually plays a massive role, so even in those situations you could certainly argue that the directing is exceptionally important.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
Does that make it a cheap trick, like jump scares in horror films, or does that make it all the more impressive, to create a feeling out of thin air?
That's exactly what impresses me most about Lynch. How he manages to elicit sheer terror with almost nothing that you can consciously perceive. For me, it's the polar opposite from cheap jump scares.



I would say that a good or great director is always noticeable and makes the directing not a huge point.
Don’t these 2 attributes cancel each other out?
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I'm almost exclusively interested in the cinematic virtues of a film. The quality of a script is secondary. If a director chooses to be more beholden to the words on a page than the images on his film, I'll tune out pretty quick



How do you judge films...and how much you care about directing?

I judge a film by if I like it or not. I might love a crappy film and hate a good made one.

I don't think directors are the end all be all of movie making. Without a good story idea, script writer and actors you don't get much. I'd reckon that a mediocre director could make a decent movie with an A+ story, script, cinematography, editor and actors.

In fact Orson Welles once said a film wasn't made great by the director but in the editing room.



I judge movies on how well they're able to suck me in and make me care about what's happening and how they make me feel, though the type of feeling is usually less important than the depth so to speak.
Also, like any piece of art, a great movie feels «whole», although it's a hard thing to achieve, and few of even the good ones fully do IMO.

If I notice the directing at all as an isolated thing it's usually at a point where it's pretty bad. I'm not allergic to big budget Hollywood movies per say and can take a few minor annoyances, but there's a limit where too much cheesyness or obviously calculated bs ruins it for me completely so I tend to stay away from anything where «action» is at the forefront and thus avoid most of what's likely to annoy me the most directing wise.



I think I would say that a director can elevate or ruin material and is also almost uniquely positioned to be the auteur of a film project. Not every film needs an auteur. Sometimes really good directing is conveying story, character, and emotion well in-camera. In other cases, it's painting a masterpiece. I expect the director always matters for better or worse.



I have a four question system for judging everything.


1. What is the goal?
2. Does it meet its goal?
3. What did it sacrifice to meet its goal?
4. How much are any sacrifices made up for?



I have a four question system for judging everything.


1. What is the goal?
2. Does it meet its goal?
3. What did it sacrifice to meet its goal?
4. How much are any sacrifices made up for?
I like that, those questions make sense.

Each time you watch a movie do you ask yourself those questions?



I have a four question system for judging everything.


1. What is the goal?
2. Does it meet its goal?
3. What did it sacrifice to meet its goal?
4. How much are any sacrifices made up for?

What if its goal is to solely make money off of a 2 hour cheese fest? If it 100% succeeds with that, is it then a better movie than a flawed masterpiece?



i guess generally the directing is literally eveything, you can't just hand the actors and camera people the script and say "go for it!"...



...well you could, it might be an interesting movie



I like that, those questions make sense.

Each time you watch a movie do you ask yourself those questions?

Every time.


What if its goal is to solely make money off of a 2 hour cheese fest? If it 100% succeeds with that, is it then a better movie than a flawed masterpiece?

That depends on what the cheesefest sacrificed. Braindead didn't make much of one because of had a thorough story that reflected the intentional cheesiness of the special effects and so-called "scares."



That depends on what the cheesefest sacrificed.
Well if the goal was solely to make as much money as possible and the content reflected that 100% by being exactly what the maker thought of as the absolute most effective take on things for achieving that very goal and it succeeded greatly then I'd say there was no sacrifice to be made as far as both intent and abilities goes.