Like a commenter before me addressed, the best way to do it is starting from a wide and then getting in close if needed. Since you said that you're looking for the fastest way to shoot, I'm going to assume that you really have no time for rehearsals and plan to jump straight to the shoot. That's ok, but I find it better to have scene rehearsed beforehand so that we would have a starting point from which to build upon and make it better and more alive. One thing that you should do is try going through scene at least two times from start to finnish before pressing 'record', to figure things from blocing to actors expressions, then shoot few wides, by then actors would end up feeling more free in the environment and what you should look out for are small thing in their perfomances. Like if they're using props, making facial gestures, hand/body movement... And use that for close up/mid shots... So if you have a scene of two people drinking coffee, and your actor plays with that cup you can use it as a close up to make your scene alive. But the way to best figure out what to cut to is to find some visual metaphor and imply it in your movie, if he is feeling trapped then try traping him inside of a frame with what you have in your enviroment, or if it's the opposite you can shoot him from low ange oppisite the sky, or if he's put down by other people than make him small inside a frame. You don't have to do it if it's not your style, but those are the things to think about that can make your movie more visually stimulating. But, if you have no time for that, best rule of thumb, shoot your wides and then go in for coverage, and try covering as much as possible. From close up/midshots to details of props that are part of the scene. Some might dissagree because it can be a mess in the editing room, but I personally like to leave myself a room to change my mind about a scene, so that if i want to start it differently than I originally planed, I have footage to work with. Downside is that you'll end up with lots of unused footage, and editing process is a lot harder. But even though you're geting wides you don't have to start from a wide, that's pretty standard coverage and to honest kind of boring, you can always mix it up a bit in post but you're just shooting it that way so you always have something to cut to. What I like to do, even if i'm shooting mid shots or over the sholders, is to shoot it entirely from start to finnish so that actor would have something to react to and give a more lively performance and I have more things to cut to if needed. Again, just my process, I know that it's not so efficient, but to sum it up... Shoot the entire scene from start to finnish from as much setups and angles as possible to get all the coverage. But even though I like it that way I pretty much know where i'll cut it and the rest is there if needed. So if you don't have the time, sit down and plan your scene beforehand and shoot it for that... One wide, a sentence or two in mid shots if it's heating up, a closeup for the final, maybe a close up of hands/object used for the veriety... So even though it looks like you worked your but off shooting whole day, you actually shot only those two close up that day, thus saving time and being reserved about your close ups which makes them have more imact when you do use them. I know I probably confused you more, but that is a creative process and at the very end you have to have to decide why you're cutting to something. But, if you want to have the job done and nothing more... Wides to make your actors more free in the enviroment and play it out from beginning to end, shoot few over the shoulders, sigles, and close ups accordingly to punctuate what's being said and that's a wrap. I hope I was at leas some what helpful and wish you the very best.
I'm sorry, I'll cheat a little but I guess we're all here to share oppinions together and lists are kind of limiting.
I guess the No. 1 classic movie that comes to everyones mind is Citizen Kane. Now saying that it is THE BEST is maybe a bit of a strech but it's a perfect blend of really good story, great direction and so.e of the best cinematography filmed. I haven't seen it for a long time but there is some great special effects trickery there, also the smal things that just help tell the story better... Like how the table gets longer and longer, representing distance Kane and his wife have developed, or using the good old Hitchcock technique how the person that is biggest in the frame has control, or how at the begginibg he set up the twist bu having child Kane in the background of the window playing while in the foregroung you have an argument concerning his future... It's one of the best character studies, a movie that can not be summed up in few sentences like movie producers like to do... just a perfect movie.
Also a great film is a Carol Reed picture, also starring Orson Welles... The Third Man. It has some of the best cinematography, simple but really moving story and great direction. Reed in on the top of his game at the moment, coming off of two big successes and here he excels. The Third man has the best use of tilt angles I have every seen in any movie ever, these days theres a certaing kind of thing you expect off of chase sequence and how it will be shot, here most of the shots are static, with a tilt but used to a such a great effect + great blocking of the actors, great lighting... You get a really suspenseful chace sequences and you didin't need all the fancy rigs and suff.
Roman Polanski movies... One of the best, on one hand he totally gets Hitchcock and his thing (size of the image, relation of the image with the pevious ones and the ones coming...) but unlike Hitchcock, he will get much better performances out of people (due to a fact that he took acting lessons and Hitchcock is more about casting the right peole and then letting the magic of cinema to it's trcik) and is a great perfectionist when it comes to his framing and shots. Knowing this you whould expect him to have some flashy cinematography but it actually isn't at all. He is all about progression of the story, and havibg the cinematography serve the story but not try too hard. If you can tell your story in one shot aka not interupting actors, then do it. But know when to cut and to what, know exactly how to frame it... what kind of framing sugests what to the audience member and how can I use that to my adventage. Every Polanski film is a film worth seeing, but I'd pay more attention to framing, nuonces, how he sets and reincorporates things in Chinatown (David Fincher did a great commentary for Chinatown with the screenwriter of the movie... They talk some grat stuff and helped me understand Polanskis framing even more), 101 how to do jump-scares in horror movies, ussage of music and mood in Repulsion... All there shings come together also in Tenant, Pianist and Rosemary's baby (being probably the best Polanski film).
I don'f even have to mention that Hitchcock is essential (Truffaut has great book on Hitchcok which is essential for the aspiting screenwriters and directors) but a lot of great things about him pee miss. Vertigo is a picture that come to mind, but it can actually teach us a lot about casting... It is the art imitating life scenario, Hitccock, losing his pecious bloond to a prince makes him desprate and tries to remake her... Grace Kelly is a perfect Hitch blond but the fact that Kim Novak is just not quite perfect really fits with the theme of the movie. But other Hitchcock classic i like is Lifeboat where he never took the camer off the boat, you're always there with the characters. Frenzy, even though not a great Hitchcok movie has some interesting camera movement, Rear Window, Notorious, Rope, The Wrong Man, Suspicion, To Catch a thief a have some great and neat visual trickery to tell the story visually.
Movie that I really enjoy and has some interesting camera movement is Americanization of Emilly. It isn't drawing attention to it self, it's simple and to the point but kind of fascinating. Even though it's made it 60s, it has all 50s cheese but in it's core theme, it's bald.
Last year at Marienbad is a film that has a stunning cinematography, and the story deals with the uncertanty issue and is really complex...
Martin Scorsese's work, obviously... David Fincher is a modern director who comes to mind also, Michael Haneke, Nicolas Winding Refn, Coen Brothers movies... I went on for too long, but I hope i was of some help. A lot of these movies don't have ehat many would call a great cinematography but it's because these days that has no meaning. Everyone is trying to make a pretty pictore that's over lit or over exposed or is staging a longtakes just to try and imlress you, or lots of jumpcuts... Try watching old filmsof D. W. Griffith or Jean Renoir or Fritz Lang to get the sense of how was film grammar invented and what visual toold they used because it' all dialogue today. Also, some of THE BEST cinematography i got from genious Werner Herzog who is one of the few to transcend all genres. I think now is enough... :)