It's a new year of new movies and -- hopefully -- new and exciting filmmakers. When I think of "young and exciting" filmmakers today, I always think of guys like Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell, the Wachowskis, Spike Jonze, Chris Nolan, Tarantino, Linklater, Wes Anderson, etc. But these guys aren't really that young anymore. They still have more than a few chapters of their careers left and hell many of them are half Clint "Chuggin' Along" Eastwood's age. I thought it would be interesting to take a peak at some of the best directing talents age 35 and under.
When I sat down to write this, I thought it would be a walk in a park. There's got to be a ton, I figured. And while I came up with a lot of names, very few impressed me in the same way many young filmmakers did, say, ten years ago.
No, I don't think film is in trouble. Guys like M. Knight Shyamalan, Craig Brewer, Alexander Payne and David Fincher may be old farts (Brewer is a crickety 36!), but they are in the prime of their careers. However, it does make me appreciate the young, original talents currently around. So here's another popping cork to celebrate original voices.
Who? Amenabar is the quiet amigo. He first captured my attention when Cameron Crowe decided to remake his film, Abre Los Ojos, into the psychedelic Tom Cruise hit Vanilla Sky. Cruise went on to produce the incredibly underrated film, The Others, starring Nicole Kidman. He hasn't made a film since 2004's The Sea Inside (which was excellent) but this just has me thinking he's about to unveil something special.
In 2006 he was met with some acclaim for the black-lung comedy Thank You For Smoking. But Juno is one of the year's best films. While Diablo Cody is getting all the recognition for her wickedly funny and rather complete screenplay, Reitman is taking the back seat and hoping people notice how well he staged his scenes, how sharp the performances under him are and how well-cast the movie is.
The man who brought you the TV hit Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz has officially entered must-see status whenever he gets behind the camera. Wright is doing something very interesting with the world of comedy. He's part of a handful of unique filmmakers that are looking to take the laughs and guffaws somewhere different and that is to be celebrated.
After Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, Wright's name might become synonymous with other Oscar faves the likes of Anthony Minghella. Wright nails British period drama but wouldn't it be interesting to see him try his hand at something more modern and vulgar (the "C" word, notwithstanding)?
Please be sure to title your hate mail with "Eli Roth" in the subject line so I know to mentally prepare for the onslaught. Roth is on here for a couple reasons, but mainly for the last three works he's submitted. I'm talking about Hostel (which I loved), Hostel II (which I didn't) and the Thanksgiving trailer (the single-best trailer released in 2007 this side of Machete). Even in Hostel II, which I had problems with, you see a unique and -- here it comes -- skilled filmmaker at work. He knows how to tell a story; he knows a good reveal; and his actors never mail it in. His taste buds are dark, but I can't wait to see what he cooks up next.
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Dre writes three times a week for Film.com. Email him!