Let's talk quantity

Contributor; Antwerp, Belgium
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Let's talk quantity
Time for a confession ladies and gentlemen. Like many other male specimen on this planet, I suffer from a very serious, yet very common disease. Well ... maybe it's not an actual disease, it's more like a default really. I've tried to hide it as well as possible, not wanting to bother the nice readers of ScreenAnarchy, but I'm afraid I'll have to give in at some point. So instead of beating around the bush, trying to postpone the moment of my confession, I'll just come out and say it: I Like Lists!

It doesn't matter about who or what really. Give me any filmrelated topic and I can make you a list in less than 5 minutes time. And it's not just making my own lists, it's also going through other people's lists. I'm practically addicted to sites like icheckmovies.com, trying to finish whatever list that's on there. For no good reason at all.

Sure we kid ourselves that lists provide interesting tips, but that's not why someone is going through the IMDb bottom 100 is it? Take away all the excuses and so-called advantages, and in the end we would still be making them. It's probably just some miss-wiring in the brain, so I've long since decided that I would stop to try and fight it.

That said, I wasn't going to come up with just any list for ScreenAnarchy, it's actually an anniversary list. From the time I've started seeing film as something more than just any other regular hobby, I've been keeping track of directors (who doesn't have an Excel or two at home, right?).
The official reason why I made this list is that it tells something about my interest in film that transcendents what I actually think is good cinema. The result is a list of 50 directors that crossed the 10-film limit on my personal checklist. The actual reason for making it is that 50 and 10 are two round numbers and they look pretty cool together, so I figured that's reason enough for a nice ToM.

So here goes, my personal list of 50 directors of which I've seen 10 films or more. Take it any way you wish, but just enjoy the list:

50. Sammo Hung Kam-bo (10 films)

The reason why I've "only" seen 10 Sammo Hung films so far is because you can only try and catch up with so many HK action directors at once. And it's not that Hung makes bad flicks, he just cannot compete with the likes of Woo-Ping Yuen or Tsui Hark. I respect him a lot more as an actor, where he constantly defies the laws of physics by combinig agility and grace with a rather set posture. It's simply amazing to watch him fight on screen, as a director though his films can get a little sloppy.

Best: Yat do King Sing (Blade of Fury) - Worst: Fay Lung Kwo Gong (Enter The Fat Dragon)

49. Gus van Sant (10 films)

Van Sant is a pretty interesting guy to track. His oeuvre knows a pretty clear separation between his experimental work and his mainstream films. The first Van Sant film I ever saw was Gerry, which remained a personal favorite ever since. Together with Elephant, Last Days and Paranoid Park it forms the most interesting period of his directing career. His mainstream films are pretty decent too, but never amount to much more than that.

Best: Gerry - Worst: Drugstore Cowboy

48. Bobby & Peter Farrelly (10 films)

Let's face it, good comedies are hard to find. Most comedies are agreeable at best, featuring one or two good jokes already spoiled by the trailer and some mildly entertaining filler to sell the rest of the film. Not everything the Farrelly brothers do is equally satisfying, but they've kept a real nice record of releasing films that feature at least a couple of memorable scenes and a fair few good jokes. I'd never put them in my list of favorite directors, but whenever they release a new film I'm there to watch it.

Best: Kingpin - Worst: Hall Pass

47. Hiroyuki Tanaka (10 films)

There is something mind-boggling about Hiroyuki Tanaka's work. His films are perfectly suited to quench the appetite of a hungry niche market, but somehow his work never (or hardly ever) makes it to EN-friendly DVDs. Unless you speak Japanese or German (for some reason they do release his films over there), better make sure to catch his films at festivals whenever you can. Tanaka has a truly unique sense of rhythm and timing, stocking his films with as much humor and geneneral weirdness as the script permits. His latest films have turned a little darker, his best work was made around the turn of the century. A personal favorite of mine.

Best: Kôfuku no Kane (Blessing Bell) - Worst: Dangan Ranna

46. Hayao Miyazaki (10 films)

If you are only the least bit interested in Japanese animation, there's just no way you can get past Miyazaki's work. Founder of the famous Ghibli studios and probably the entry point into anime for most regular Western film fans, his best films possess a certain warm, laid-back glow that are quite unique indeed. His films can get a little too eco-minded or preachy at times, so I like Miyazaki best when he keeps the scope of his films small and intimate.

Best: Tonari no Totoro - Worst: Kaze no Tani no Naushika (Nausicaä)

45. Joel Schumacher (10 films)

A remarkable director who somehow managed to hide himself in the margins of popular Hollywood filmmaking while still keeping a high profile. Not all his films are good, depending on what you prefer you'll probably end up liking his more traditional films, others will flock to his more modern experiments. And then there's people like me, who actually believe he made the only Batman film (Batman & Robin) that did justice to the entire Batman saga. Sue me.

Best: Phone Booth - Worst: A Time To Kill

44. Gordon Chan (10 films)

One of those directors that squeezed himself into my list just because he works with lots of actors I happen to appreciate. Stephen Chow, Jet Li, Anthony Wong, Donnie Yen and even Xun Zhou are just a few of the big names that feature in his films. Most of his work is entertaining, though it's hardly worth recommending to people who don't share a similar love for HK cinema. One thing is certain though, Chan does best to stay in Hong Kong, his American adventures are quite horrible in comparison.

Best: Mo Jong Yuen So Hak-Yi (King Of Beggars) - Worst: The King Of Fighters

43. Martin Scorsese (10 films)

Scorsese is a director I've come to know through various top list listings. His films are popular amongst film critics and he's without a doubt one of the most critically acclaimed directors of our time. The thing is though, I've pretty much hated every film I've seen from his so far. It's not that I didn't give him a chance, I just don't care for his general approach to cinema. I generally dislike the actors he works with, his audiovisual signature disappoints me and the tales he tries to tell are just not my cup of tea. I don't think we'll ever get along.

Best: Shutter Island - Worst: The Departed

42. Norio Tsuruta (10 films)

I'm not a terribly big fan of the (once) recent wave of Japanese ghost flicks, but it's hard to contest they are usually quite short and mildly entertaining, making them easy filler material. Tsuruta is one of the key figures in the Japanese horror scene, with a selection of decent films that easily rise above the generic output so prominent in the genre. His early films are somewhat amateurish, but I must admit he's shown considerable growth over the years.

Best: Orochi (Blood) - Worst: Honto Ni Atta Kowai Hanashi: Dai-Ni-Ya  

41. Sogo Ishii (11 films)

He recently switched his name over to Gakuryu Ishii, but until he starts outputting some real work under that name he'll remain Sogo Ishii to me. The only one to actively challenge the punk cinema of Tsukamoto, even leadig the way with his earlier films. Sogo Ishii's work is not as cyber-minded, but contains everything good punk cinema should have. Ironically though, his best film is a very small yet exquisitely shot drama.

Best: Kyoshin (Mirrored Mind) - Worst: Panic in High School

40. Ryuichi Hiroki (11 films)

It's quite remarkable that Hiroki is one of the few male directors that respectfully succeeds in capturing the spirit of his female characters, especially taking into account his pinku background. While most of his oeuvre is filled with dramas, recently he's been trying out different genres, though still  grounded in his very typical way of direction. No epic big-budget superhero films, but small, slightly fantastical portrayals of a female characters with extra-ordinary powers. That's Hiroki for you.

Best: Yawarakai Seikatsu (It's Only Talk) - Worst: Tokyo Gomi Onna (Tokyo Garbage Girl)

39. Wong Kar Wai (11 films)

One of the first Chinese/HK directors I went after. I admit that my first encounters were a little difficult, maybe because I'm not a very big fan of Doyle's older work, but when I discovered Wai's love trilogy I was quite blown away. Over the years I've come to love Wai's smokey settings, warm music and superb feel for lighting and composition. One of Hong Kong's true masters and a rare international arthouse talent.

Best: 2046 - Worst: Chungking Express

38. Peter Jackson (11 films)

I have fond memories of the early cinema of Peter Jackson. Braindead was the first film I was allowed to rent by myself (and what a hit that was), Bad Taste was that one film I once saw on TV without knowing anything about it, and which I spent hunting down for the next 10 or so years. It's a shame he ever started work on the LotR trilogy, the absolute embodiment of loud, epic Hollywood fantasy that I loath with a vengeance. Apart from that, great director.

Best: Braindead - Worst: LotR Trilogy

37. Stanley Kubrick (11 films)

If you feel disliking a director like Scorsese is blasphemy, better skip this part. The difference between the two directors is that I have an easier time figuring out why people like to see Kubrick's films. I actually even like a few of his more recent works, but his older stuff feels like it lacks subtlety, and at least to me it comes off as moralistic and uneven. Definitely a director you should check out though, if only because of his almost unblemishable status amongst critics.

Best: Eyes Wide Shut - Worst: Barry Lyndon

36. Steven Soderbergh (11 films)

Soderbergh belongs to that very rare breed of directors that knows how to both exell in commercial as well as arthouse cinema. When he rounds up big names to make one of his epic projects they turn out entertaining, but he can just as well shrink down to the bare minimum and still make an interesting film. If not that, he earned my life-long respect for the trouble he went through releasing Bubble (simultaneous theater, dvd, vod release).

Best: Schizopolis - Worst: Kafka

35. Shunji Iwai (12 films)

Iwai is a softy. Even though his older films come with a rawer edge, he's famous for his warm, fluffy yet subtle renderings of youth and love. Iwai is an old favorite of mine, though his recent output is somewhat lacking. Not in quality mind, just in existence. A perfect director for those trying to break into Japanese dramas, his films feature most of the trademark signs but are just that little more accessible that most of its peers.

Best: Hana to Arisu (Hana & Alice) - Worst: Ghost Soup

34. Ryuhei Kitamura (12 films)

Kitamura's goal was to make it to Hollywood, he royally succeeded in that task. Taking a similar route as Peter Jackson (start off with some low-budget over-the-top horror to put your skills on display), Kitamura quickly rose to stardom when Versus was released. From there on he kept working hard until he landed the deal to direct Midnight Meat Train, a surpringly enjoyable adaptation of Barker's short story. Clearly Kitamura is all style over substance, but he's got a great sense of humor and bags of style to waste on his films, so that's hardly a bad thing.

Best: Versus - Worst: Azumi

33. Danny Pang (12 films)

I separated the Pang Brothers as I believe there's a definite difference in style and quality when it comes to their individual output. Danny used to be the lesser of the two, though in recent years he did prove his worth. They are an interesting duo, strong as a team but each boasting their own unique talents. Danny is the flashy one of the two, so if you like a little blitz once in a while, do try some of his solo projects.

Best: Chung Oi (In Love With The Dead) - Worst: Gin Gwai 10 (The Eye 10)

32. Ka-Fai Wai (12 films)

If you like to keep up with Johnnie To's work than there's no way to avoid Ka-Fai Wai. Regular contributor and script writer, many of To's films als co-signed by Ka-Fai Wai. Looking at his solo films though, I wonder how many credit he actually deserves. It's not that Wai's solo projects are bad, but they just never seem to reach the heights of To's work. Usually pretty decent filler with some interesting ideas, but a little sloppy in the details.

Best: Sun Taam (Mad Detective) - Worst (Love for All Seasons)

31. Takashi Shimizu (12 films)

If you've got the least bit of interest in Japanese horror there is no way escapting the work of Shimizu. He's the man behind the infamous Ju-On series, spawning a series of sequels and two American remakes. Good stuff, but his other work is probably just as interesting, if not more. Shimizu is a force to be reckoned with, even when his popularity has dropped to alarming low levels the past few years.

Best: Marebito - Worst: The Grudge 2 (USA)

30. Wilson Yip (12 films)

When HK action flicks were lying down flat on their face, Yip stood up and injected the genre with some much-needed fresh juice. SPL was a an important film for the international distribution of HK cinema, after that it only got better for Yip. Famous for his two excellent Yip Man films, many people fail to see the good stuff he made before he got famous in the West. It's definitely worth checking out his older work, if you haven't already.

Best: SPL - Worst: The Flying Heroine: Little White Dragon

29. Wes Craven (12 films)

There's no point denying Craven's influence on the horror genre. It's quite remarkable how he resurfaced in the 90s, setting in motion the wheels to a whole new sub genre of horror flicks. If you're only the least bit interested in horror flicks, his films will be the first ones to pop up. Which is exactly why he's in my list. I'm not a very big fan of the man's work, though he did make some decent films along the way. He made a lot of crap too, which you're bound to hit pretty quick once you start digging into his oeuvre.

Best: New Nightmare - Worst: Last House On The Left

28. Dante Lam (13 films)

There aren't many people capable of challenging Johnnie To at his own game, but Dante Lam comes awfully close sometimes. He's not as consistently strong or confident as To, but with Fire of Conscience he made a film that shows more than just a little promise. Lam is known for his action films, but he's also done some interesting experiments on the side. Most notably two animation films, which is quite a rare venture for a succesful Hong Kong director.

Best: For Lung (Fire Of Conscience) - Worst: Luen Ching Go Gup (Love on the Rocks)

27. David Lynch (13 films)

If, at one point in your life, you decide that watching movies would be a nice hobby, Lynch is one of the first names that other fanatics will throw at you. Together with Tsukamoto's Tetsuo, Eraserhead was a real eye-opener for me. A film that showed me a different kind of cinema, one that lay much closer to my cinematic needs than what I'd seen before. Lynch remains at his best when things are vague and mood takes over from plot, his more accessible films are not really my cup of tea though.

Best: Rabbits - Worst: Industrial Symphony No. 1

26. Steven Spielberg (13 films)

Probably the biggest name in modern cinema, Spielberg is the man that takes on every subject, every genre and every actor, and turns it into family entertainment. His films are fluffy, safe and quite frankly, incredibly dull. It's a real shame because he started off quite nice, not really sure what exactly went wrong but by the time Jaws was released unto audiences I lost all interest in his films. Well, not all interest as I watched quite a few of them, but mostly because of the hype, not because I was hoping to catch a fine example of cinematic entertainment.

Best: Duel - Worst: AI

25. Shinya Tsukamoto (14 films)

Tsuka belongs in  my top 5 list of directors, hands down. I still cherrish the madness of the first Tetsuo, I love the quieter rage of Vital and absolute dig the kinetic chaos of Tokyo Fist. The man had a very keen eye for beautiful architecture, elevates editing to an artform and knows a thing or two about hiring the right man for his soundtracks. His films are definitely not for everyone, but his cinematic madness is still unique, even today. If there is one director that should ever get a chance at making a live action version of Blame!, Tsuka's the man.

Best: Tetsuo - Worst: Yôkai Hanta - Hiruko (Hiroku The Goblin)

24. Jeffrey Lau (14 films)

Hong Kong humor is an acquired taste. It's rather simple, often silly, quite random and not what you call intellectually satisfying. It is great fun though and Lau is one of the best the genre has on offer. The cool thing is that even the most respected arthouse actors (hi there Tony Leung) are not ashamed to make complete fools out of themselves when Lau is behind the camera. If you ever wanted to see Tony Leung impersonate a duck wearing big plastic lips and ears, here's your chance. Not all of Lau's work is worth your time, but there are some real diamonds hidden away in his oeuvre.

Best: Sediu Yinghung Tsun Tsi Dung Sing Sai Tsau (Eagle Shooting Heroes) - Worst: Meng Gui Da Sha (Operation Pink  Squad II)

23. Tim Burton (14 films)

Burton is one of my greatest disappointments of all time. Not because I hate his films, but because there is so much potential in his work that isn't realized. Lauded for his darker edge, I usually find it lacking in his films. Vincent was a great little short, but from there on Burton became quite soft. Mars Attacks! is a lovely exception, where Burton is allowed to kill off a slew of famous actors without much grace. Most of his films are interesting because of what they could have been, not because of what they are.

Best: Mars Attacks! - Worst: Batman

22. Krzysztof Kieslowski (14 films)

The only reason why Kieslowski is up here is because of his Dekalog series. 10 films in total and required viewing for those who want to start dabbling their feet in Eastern Europe cinema. Personally I liked his Trois Couleurs series a lot better, of which Rouge is the real masterpiece. Eastern Europe poverty isn't really my kind of thing though, so I never really looked beyond his famous works, but I don't think I'm missing out all that much.

Best: Trois Couleurs: Rouge - Worst: Dekalog, Dwa

21. Takeshi Kitano (15 films)

I love a director who takes control over his films. Kitano is one of the most epic public figures in Japan and looking at his output it's not hard to see why. The man does everything, and even when he focuses on one single project (like making a film), he still wants to do as much as possible, all by himself. Cinematography, editing, acting, scripting and directing ... watching a Kitano film is like watching a part of the man's soul. Most fans turned away from Kitano when he started his infamous self-referential trilogy, but I must say I loved each and every one of those films. The first live-action Japanese film I watched was a Kitano film (Hana-bi), I've been a fan ever since.

Best: Dolls - Worst: Violent Cop

20. Kim Ki-duk (15 films)

Probably the best thing about Asian dramas is that characters are allowed to be silent. Drama is not conveyed through overly sentimental emotions or lengthy conversations, but simply through actions. Ki-duk's characters are often impenetrable, but all the more interesting because of it. His earlier films are a little crude, but around the turn of the century his stylistic strength started to surface. I've loved most of his films ever since and I'm eagerly awaiting his next work. An outcast amongst Korean directors, but that's exactly what makes him a favorite of mine.

Best: Hwal (The Bow) - Worst: Ag-o (Crocodile)

19. Hsiao-hsien Hou (15 films)

Millenium Mambo was the first Hou film I watched and I still consider it his best work. It's a little different from his other films, boasting a more modern and energetic vibe, but still holding on to that oh so very familiar, warm melancholy. Watching a Hou film is going on a short leasure trip. Most of his films are gentle, lovingly capturing his characters and allowing the audience a little space to breath. Don't watch his films hoping for intricate plots or well-constructed plotlines, but enjoy a nice spring day in Taiwanese surroundings.

Best:Qian Xi Man Po (Millenium Mambo) - Worst: Dongdong De Jiaqi (A Summer At Grandpa's)

18. Kiyoshi Kurosawa (15 films)

To put it somewhat disrespectfully: the "other" Kurosawa. He benefited quite a lot from the Japanese horror hype, though his films never really seamed to belong in that particular category. Kurosawa is a director with a message, or at least a strong concept. The genres he works in are usually little more than hooks for what he's trying to convey. I'm not a big fan of his horror work though, I stomached his dramas and crime films a lot better. Trying to find his obscurer works can be a little tricky, but it's often worth the trouble.

Best: Akurai Mirai (Bright Future) - Worst: Kyua (Cure)

17. Stuart Gordon (15 films)

Like many of the 80s horror legends, Gordon went through a period of trying out many different genres. And like many of the 80s horror legends, he failed horribly. His early horror films are quite fun, if not all that great, but his recent work houses some pretty interesting films. Edmond and Stuck are quite mature horror films that go beyond the fun of cheesy cult and deserve a more appreciative audience. Approach Gordon's work with caution though, because before you know it you're knee deep in ridiculous genre fare that should never have seen the light of day.

Best: Edmond - Worst: Space Truckers

16. Joel Coen (17 films)

The Coen Brothers have developed a pretty interesting body of work over the years. They've made quite a few amusing films, played around with plenty of quirky ideas and characters and allowed themselves some interesting diversions along the way. But in the end I still feel their films are lacking a little. They float somewhere between Hollywood and arthouse, never delivering enough of both to really satisfy. I want more weirdness, more explicit fun and better punchlines, but they can't quite deliver. It's still worth going through their oeuvre though, you're bound to hit some good stuff along the way.

Best: Barton Fink - Worst: No Country For Old Men

15. Oxide Pang Chun (17 films)

Even though their individual output is quite different, it can still be tricky trying to see the Pang bros as separate individuals. Oxide Pang's solo project are a tad better than his brother's though, a bit more stylized, also a bit more stylish. Even in his lesser films Oxide usually knows to amaze, if only in a couple of scenes. One of the most solid and entertaining directors I know, it's a shame the West lost track of him once the Asian horror hype subsided.

Best: Mon Seung (Diary) - Gin Gwai 10 (The Eye 10)

14. John Woo (17 films)

Woo has been directing films for almost 40 years now. Most people just know his late 80s/early 90s actions films (and his Hollywood work of course), but in the 70s he made quite a few fashionable kung-fu flicks and currently he's starting a new career in Hong-Kong, mostly doing period pieces (and quite succesfully too). Not everything he made is up to standards, but at least most of it is quite entertaining.

Best: Dip Huet Seung Hung (The Killer) - Worst: Ying Hung Boon Sik II (A Better Tomorrow II)

13. Wai-keung Lau (17 films)

Most directors aren't too fond of directing more than one sequel to one of their succes films, but Lau made a grand total of 6 within a timespan of two meager years. Young And Dangerous is the ultimate Hong Kong triad classic, catapulting actors like Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan into stardom. Lau repeated his succes with his Infernal Affairs trilogy, also landing him some respectable international succes. Not all his work is good, but the man has a way with handling a diverse range of genres. If you're up for some solid HK triad action, Lau is a very fair bet. Beware of his more obscure films though, he made some weird (and smelly) stuff too.

Best: Jing Mo Fung Wan: Chen Zhen (Legend of Chen Zhen) - Worst: Wai See Lee Ji Lam Huet Yan (The Wesley's Mysterious File)

12. Yimou Zhang (18 films)

Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon might have kick-started the whole martial arts hype once again, but it's Yimou's Hero that set the standard. Before that Yimou was mostly known for his colorful country dramas, no doubt a pretty big shift in styles. Yimou is regarded as one of the biggest Chinese directors of this age and I'm not going to contest that. That said his films are usually a little on the safe side. If you want something different and more surprising from Yimou, try Keep Cool (if you can find it that is).

Best: Ying Xiong (Hero) - Worst: Qiu Ju Da Guan Si (The Story of Qiu Ju)

11. Siu-Tung Ching (18 films)

Ching is a director that kinda snuck into here. Even though I watched many of his films, I never noticed his name until he entered my list. He's one of the directors responsible for the golden age in the early 90s, a time where every new HK action film seemed to set a new standard. Helming series like Chinese Ghost Story, Royal Tramp and Swordsman, Ching is an essential part of HK's cinematic history. His more recent films never reached those same heights though, so it's best to start with his early work.

Best: Sun Lung Moon Hak Chan (New Dragon Gate Inn) - Worst: Qi Yuan (Witch from Nepal)

10. David Cronenberg (19 films)

Cronenberg is a director who thrives on interesting concepts, but doesn't always fullfill the potential he has on hand. Some of his films carry a bad B-movie vibe that hinders the overall enjoyment, then again most of his films will carry you through on concept alone. His best films were made in the late 80s - early 90s, but throughout his entire career he's made plenty of films that are at least worth a shot. Not really my kind of director, I miss a more distinct audiovisual approach in his films, but still worth the trouble.

Best:Naked Lunch - Worst: Scanners

09. Mamoru Oshii (21 films)

My undisputed number one favorite director. Oshii plays with moods and atmospheres like no other. Whenever he collaborates with Kenji Kawai something beautiful emerges, a technical and cinematical piece of wonder that completely shuts me off from any outside stimulae. His more recent work is hard to find (and admittedly not half as accessible as his earlier films), but most of his masterpieces are widely available. A man that helped shape my views on cinema with the first Ghost in the Shell, and has been doing so from that point on.

Best: Avalon - Worst: Darossu (Dallos)

08. Chia-Liang Liu (21 films)

If you ever wanted to make a dent in the vast Shaw Bros catalogue, you could start out with the films of Yuen Chor or Cheh Chang. But Chia-Liang Liu is probably the most famous of the bunch, having directed films like 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Shaolin Mantis. He's quite skilled in martial arts himself, he's a master choreographer and has a knack for directing too. Liu is quite simply the reigning king of martial arts from the Shaw Bros era.

Best: Jui Kuen II (Drunken Master II) - Worst: Lo Foo Chut Gang (Tiger on the Beat)

07. Woo-ping Yuen (21 films)

Woo-ping Yuen carried on the work of Chia-Liang Liu. He's probably the most creative and whack martial arts cinematographer alive today, coming up with crazy stunts and fun "everyday" martial arts scenes (like doing the laundry or cleaning up the house). Like Liu Woo-ping Yuen kinda lost his way in the late 80s when he tried to make the jump to HK copflicks, but luckily that's just a small portion of his entire oeuvre.

Best: Siu Nin Wong Fei Hung Ji Tit Ma Lau (Iron Monkey) - Worst:Hu Meng Wei Long (The Red Wolf)

06. Corey Yuen (22 films)

If there's one thing you can say about HK action directors, it's that they last long and they make a lot of films. Yuen has probably enjoyed the most international succes, which somewhat explains his occassional trips to America. It's fair to say not much good came of that though.  He's not quite as skilled as Woo-ping Yuen or Chia-Liang Liu, but when the actors start throwing themselves at each other Corey Yuen can put a pretty mean fight on screen.

Best: Fong Sai Yuk - Worst: No Retreat, No Surrender

05. John Carpenter (23 films)

Carpenter is without a doubt the king of 80s horror flicks. That he made his best film in the late 70s doesn't even matter, by then Carpenter was locked and ready to tackle the 80s and make them his own. He's made a few real classics, sadly the films in between are usually quite crap and not worth checking out. And whenever Carpenter tried to tackle a genre that wasn't horror-related, the results turned out to be rather drab. There's only one way to find that out though, which is why he's so high on my list.

Best: Halloween - Worst: Dark Star

04. Tsui Hark (30 films)

One of the undisputed greats of HK action cinema. His more recent output is not really up to par, Hark seems to be struggling a little with the advancements in modern cinema, but when the HK martial arts genre was peeking in the early 90s he made some absolute classics. It was the cherry on a 15-years long carreer where he dominated HK action cinema and directed some pretty interesting classics. With the recent resurrection of period action films in HK Hark seems to be recovering slightly, quite looking forward to his new film with Jet Li.

Best: Shun Liu Ni Liu (Time & Tide) - Worst: Long Xing Tian Xia (The Master)

03. Johnnie To (33 films)

Somewhere around 2003-2004 something clicked for To. Before that his films had shown a lot of promise, but failed to combine To's typical quirkiness with his superb sense of style. Even though To made a lot of commercial-minded films at first, it was clear that he was hiding some extra talents, they surfaced when he threw himself at the HK police force and gangsters. But he is  at his absolute best when he combines both worlds, as he did in Sparrow. Ridiculously stylish cinema with a big fan wink, only To can make em like that.

Best: Man Jeuk (Sparrow) - Worst: Ai De Shi Jie (The Story Of My Son)

02. Takashi Miike (57 films)

Miike is another one of my absolute favorites. He is one of the few directors that are virtually impossible to predict. He can make anything from cheap exploitation schlock to well-meant arthouse films. He knows no genre boundaries and has no trouble jumping between horror, action, crime and even kid's films. There is one constant though: in just about every Miike film there's a flash of Miike genius. An element that simply doesn't belong and can only be attributed to Miike's unique mind. And that's exactly the reason why I like him so much, even when many of his films turn out to be quite uneven.

Best: 46-Okunen no Koi (Big Bang Love, Juvenile A) - Worst:Shirubaa (Silver)

01. Jing Wong (65 films)

The undisputed king of mass-production cinema. Wong is close to directing his 100th film in just 30 years of service. It's true that most of it is commercial drab, not really worthy of your attention (unless you're a completist like me), but after watching so many of his films it's hard to deny the man's love for cinema. Through these years Wong has worked with all the greats of Hong Kong, and wrote/produced many more films than he directed. He even has 70+ acting credits to his name. Even though his name may not ring too many bells in the West, there is no way past Jing Wong if you have only the least bit of interest in Hong Kong cinema. A true legend, if not for the actual quality of films.

Best:Wong Fei Hung: Chi Tit Gai Dau Neung Gung (Last Hero In China) - Worst:Jing Zhuong Zhui Nu Zi Zhi Er (The Romancing Star II)

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Ard VijnJuly 17, 2011 6:54 AM

Jesus, Niels... Where to start!

First: Well, from now on you can write every single Twitch-O-Meter, seeing as how good you are with lists (hehehe...).

Second: Congratulations on writing an entire MEGA-ToM all by yourself! Wowzers.

Third: Oh man, I'd love to discuss your "best-worst" choices but I'm still pondering most of them.

Finally: as a listlover myself I want to thank you for what is surely one of the best and most extensive Twitch-O-Meters ever!

CarlJuly 17, 2011 7:11 AM

Proof you have in fact not seen any of the films above: Shutter Island? Really?

Touché Sir!

Niels MatthijsJuly 17, 2011 7:34 AM

I wasn't really sure about including my best/worst opinion for each director, but I felt it was pretty crucial to the list so I left it in.
It is bound to raise some eyebrows, but beyond a more global indication of my personal taste it proofs little to nothing. I guess you're just a little pissed off then, which is fine by me :p

Ard:For your next ToM I expect something similar, don't disappoint me now.

CashBaileyJuly 17, 2011 7:45 AM

Good lord!! your Best/Worst lists has some, shall we say, 'bold' choices.

ABT 2 is Woo's worst film!?! Have you not seen PAYCHECK, WINDTALKERS or MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2?

CHUNGKING EXPRESS is glorious. Wong Kar Wai's worst film is easily MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS. What a mess that was.

Spielberg's best film is JAWS, which also happens to be the greatest film of all time. His worst is INDIANA JONES AND THE EXPOSITION OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Although A.I. was fucking dire as well.

Still, nice shout-out to Sogo Ishii. His film ANGEL DUST is an obscure favourite of mine.

malackowJuly 17, 2011 8:00 AM

As with all of these lists, this one says very little about cinema and more about the person wasting time, making another meaningless list.

About this writer, it says he's seen enough Asian films of enough variety that he should attempt an article on that subject, in an attempt to inspire more readers to check them out.

Other suggestions for future articles from this writer --- in short-list form, so he'll appreciate it...

1. "Why my Asian film fetish includes neither The Kurosawa or Ozu"
2. "Why BATMAN & ROBIN is more faithful to the source than Nolan"
3. "What I have against Herzog"
4. "Why would anyone ever watch more than one Peter Jackson film"

mrhibbertJuly 17, 2011 8:16 AM

This is bound to get a load of comments along the lines of ~**WHAT, YOU DON'T LIKE THE FILM I DID**~ since there's a lot of potential for that. But I'm interested in your thoughts of Chungking Express? (Personally Wong's worst would be along the lines of Blueberry Nights and Eros).

Oh and A Better Tomorrow 2 is also an interesting one. Especially when there's films like Once a Thief knocking around. ;]

ChristopherJuly 17, 2011 8:20 AM

Absolutely right about Peter Jackson - every film since Braindead has been a step backwards!

malackowJuly 17, 2011 8:56 AM

OK, so this "meaningless" list made me run to my Netflix history to see how many ten-film directors I could check off. At that number, some of my favorites don't make the cut...Ozu (8), Kubrick (8), Fellini (7), Renoir (6), Pressburger / Powell (6), Woody (8), Lumet (9), and Melville (7).

And, of Niels' fifty, I've seen The Coens thirteen times but Lynch only nine and Van Zant only six. Also, Yimou Zhang (11), Scorsese (18), Burton (14), and Spielberg (15).

Which leaves, Akira Kurosawa (19), Bergman (12), Herzog (14), Hitchcock (12), and John Huston (16).

There's no way I could make a list of fifty directors who have made at least ten films that I've seen. I guess this means, exactly, what? Niels wins. (And the crowd goes WILD!!!!)

sitenoiseJuly 17, 2011 10:28 AM

Good gosh TMI. Sort of an awesome thing, though. Any complaints will seem tiny against this monolith. I'll just applaud your will to share. Thanks Niels.

Ard VijnJuly 17, 2011 11:10 AM

Any editorial will be meaningless except for those wanting to know about the writer's opinion. And if you don't you can easily skip it and move on to the real news.
Interesting to see that you didn't skip it and that you include proof that you at least have read all the names in the list. And indeed, well spotted that your reply includes a list.

andrewzJuly 17, 2011 11:14 AM

I dunno, I think Ka-Fai Wai's Too Many Ways to be No. 1 proves he can make a very good movie without To's assistance. I'd be more likely to blame Milky Way Image's collaborative writing for most of the "sloppy details". After all, even To cannot seem to make a decent CNY rom-com.

Ard VijnJuly 17, 2011 12:42 PM

Oh crap...

davidcwmatsonJuly 17, 2011 1:14 PM

Chungking Express is worse than Eros or My Blueberry Nights? NO WAY. Awesome list though good work I too share your obsession with lists.

Niels MatthijsJuly 17, 2011 1:55 PM


I have indeed not seen the films you mention. So far I've left most of Woo's Hollywood films alone, I'm trying to watch his older films first.

Niels MatthijsJuly 17, 2011 1:58 PM

I don't know exactly why Chungking Express bored me so much. The music (horrible, horrible choice of songs) is part of it, so is Doyle's cinematography. My Blueberry Nights is actually one of my favorite Kar Wai films, I guess people just try to find different things in films :)

Niels MatthijsJuly 17, 2011 2:03 PM

1. "Why my Asian film fetish includes neither The Kurosawa or Ozu"
I've watched 8 Kurosawa films so far, but I'm not a fan. I pretty much hate his samurai flicks, so far Ikiru is the best Kurosawa I've seen so far. Ozu is a different story, just haven't found to time to really get into his films.

2. "Why BATMAN & ROBIN is more faithful to the source than Nolan"
I wouldn't say faithful .. but if you're doing a film about a guy in a bat suit driving an atrocious bat vehicle then there aren't too many ways I can stomach it. Putting rubber nipples on his suit is one of them though.

3. "What I have against Herzog"
Nothing much, although I'd put him in the Cronenberg category. Solid concepts, the actual films don't always deliver.

4. "Why would anyone ever watch more than one Peter Jackson film"
Because he's made some funny stuff. Meet The Feebles is awesome, so is Forgotten Silver

ChevalierAguilaJuly 17, 2011 3:51 PM

You people pay way too much attention to a list from someone who liked Transformers 2.

DooKJuly 17, 2011 6:05 PM

Haha yeah. Opinions are opinions, as much as you disagree.

JandyJuly 17, 2011 7:56 PM

I don't agree with most your best/worst choices, but I kind of really want to do a list like this myself now. (Listmaking isn't a male-only obsession!) Mine would probably skew about as much toward Golden Age Hollywood as yours does toward Asian genre film.

huffy08July 17, 2011 8:28 PM

Well, some of these choices are certainly...interesting. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The world would be a boring place if everyone worshiped the same things.
I'm kind of surprised Oshii has made that many films. Honestly I think he's a bit overrated, especially his live-action stuff, but I do love Patlabor 2 and Beautiful Dreamer. Even The Sky Crawlers was really good, much better than people gave it credit for being.

ConstanzaJuly 18, 2011 1:14 AM


ConstanzaJuly 18, 2011 1:16 AM


Ard VijnJuly 18, 2011 9:23 AM

Well... I like that the reason for the list being skewed is that he staunchly follows his spreadsheet and only has put in directors of which he has seen more than 10 films. That this happens to be mostly Asian says loads about his preferences already, but it does give an objective answer to questions like "Why isn't Kurosawa in there???".

I mean, I love Akira Kurosawa and I did put him in my "5 most favorite directors" list a few years back (during the first MEGA-ToM), but to be honest I haven't seen 10 of his films yet. So if I made a list like Niels' he would not show up.

JandyJuly 18, 2011 11:11 AM

That's my point exactly, Ard. Going strictly by numbers I'm going to get people like Michael Curtiz and Raoul Walsh not because I think they're the best directors around but because I've just seen a bunch of old Hollywood films. Kurosawa and Bergman and people like that would be unlikely to show up on my list, either.

PicklesThePolakJuly 18, 2011 11:22 AM

I agree with you on the Farrellys, and that's about it. The Scorsese one is baffling. The list was informative, to the effect that I'll know how to gauge your opinion in relation to mine. That is, generally opposite. No disrespect meant- it was a well-written list, we just have vastly differing tastes. I love me some big-budget fantasy, and thought Shutter Island was a middling disappointment. Funny music, though.

Niels MatthijsJuly 18, 2011 5:59 PM

Which is exactly why I made this list. It's easy to hide behind a list where you flaunt your favorites. Many of my own are not in the list simply because they haven't even made 10 films.

A list like the one above shows something more about the writer than simply the films/directors he wants to represent his own taste to the reader. It gives some insights in what I watch beyond the things I like to sell to you guys, which is why I thought I'd be nice to share.

I am somewhat surprised that most people complain about Kar Wai and Woo preferences when I clearly admit to having seen 65 Jing Wong films. :p

sitenoiseJuly 19, 2011 1:58 AM

And thus the brilliance of the list. I messed about creating a list similar in theme. It surprised me and turned out to be a little scary.

Ard VijnJuly 19, 2011 3:45 AM

I won't publish mine, that's for sure. There are too many WTF-names on there.

JamesJuly 19, 2011 8:59 AM

It's just an opinion of someone who wants to share his love for cinema. Why the hate? I like the list, there are some films that I haven't seen. Will check it for now. Cheers :)

sitenoiseJuly 19, 2011 12:56 PM

I've come back and re-read/skimmed this everyday since it was posted. I'm almost baffled by the courage it must have taken to post it. ;) Niels, you've gone from being a Twitch contributor to a top Twitch writer in my book. Even though it may have positioned you as someone I might disagree with a little more than I used to, it marks you clearly as someone who shoots straight and doesn't bullshit. (Not saying I think others do.)

I love the big number of WTF moments here, like, I join you in the minority opinion on "Chungking Express" but can't understand why "In the Mood for Love" is not your (or everybody's, for that matter) favorite. And But, it also makes me ponder a "2046" re-watch.

Great stuff.