Now for my favourite directors (and occasional screenwriters).
In all of his films (bar Interiors) I have laughed out loud several times. The slightly surreal approach he has in his stories are great, adding an air of unpredictability to the plot. He also writes great parts for women. The scene in Hannah and Her Sisters where the three sisters meet up for lunch is beautifully choreographed, both in its dialogue and camera movements.
The bombastic humour in all of his films is charming and appealing. He also keeps their humanity in the foreground, letting us see their foibles as well as their strengths. Almodovar is also another male writer/ director who writes great roles for women.
This man was simply a genius. He crossed genres with great ease, and would often make a genre-defining film (comedy: Some Like It Hot; noir: Double Indemnity). Wilder also knew how to get the best from his actors. Though Marilyn Monroe was having breakdowns during Some Like It Hot her performance is wonderful. And the slow collapse of Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend is wonderfully paced.
I have been rendered mentally speechless watching all three of his films. They all deal with some aspect of imprisonment, making them often difficult viewing. But it is so hard to look away when they are shot, lit and acted so beautifully. For me Shame is his best.
Like Wilder Kubrick could cross into any genre and be exceptional. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest science fiction film ever (and I do love a good science fiction film). Dr Strangelove is one of the funniest films ever made, and a brilliant satire.
For someone who only made a handful of films in his lifetime, Tarkovsky figured filmmaking out very quickly. Though I cannot pretend to understand what he is saying to me half the time, his films are so beautiful that I am happy to simply let them wash over me. He rarely uses special effects, instead taking natural elements, like fire, water, wind, and imbue them with a mythical or metaphorical quality.
I have noticed that all of these directors not only direct, but also have a hand in writing the films (if not being solely responsible for the script). Do I subconsciously subscribe to auteur theory? Probably yes.
These listed here are either directors who I have seen a lot of, and like but don't love, or have seen only one or two of their films, and don't feel I can say I love them yet.
A few others: Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Preston Sturges, Roman Polanski, Hayao Miyazaki, Rob Reiner, Franco Zeffirelli, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Fritz Lang, Nicholas Roeg