It’s often said Alfred Hitchcock made the same couple movies over and over and over, with slight variations. (Which isn’t entirely true: there’s the odd comedy or drama here and there, plus outright experiments like Rope or The Birds.) Does that lack of adventure make him a lesser filmmaker? Or is doing one thing better than anyone else enough?
The Dardenne Brothers: Former documentarians Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes have made the same general movie since 1996’s La Promesse : a stark, realist, morally-searching portrayal of the working class. Rosetta , The Son , L’Enfant and Lorna’s Silence —all peerlessly observed examinations of the working class, almost boring in their brilliance. Not that we’re complaining.
Michael Haneke: The Austrian fireband is the definition of a love-him-or-hate-him artist: If you love him, you might not love all his films, but you at least appreciate them; if you hate him, you hate and find pestering and school-marmish all of his chilly explorations of humanity’s evils and paradoxes. It would be a stretch to adore Cache but find nothing of worth in his most hated work, Funny Games .
Tyler Perry: So alike are this absurdly prolific media hound’s films, they even gross roughly the same amount, some almost to the dollar. Nice gig.
Jia Zhang-ke: Every year of late, the film-festival circuit is met with one, often even two, doc-fiction hybrids from China’s premier minimalist chronicler of his country’s questionable attempts at progress, each foisting the same techniques—long takes, hangout scenes with non-pros, out-of-nowhere goofy special effects—upon subjects like the Three Gorges Dam ( Still Life ), the fashion industry ( Useless ) and a factory-turned-apartment complex ( 24 City ) .
Michael Bay: More like reliably terrible! Amirite?
Pixar: Well, I’d love to report that Toy Story 3 is just another gem from a company whose worst (or, more accurately, least amazing) product is Cars . But they don’t screen their mega-praised films in time for alt-weeklies. Thanks, guys.