Peter Bogdanovich: In Trainspotting , Sick Boy theorizes: We all have “it” then lose it. (His example: Sean Connery.) Clearly there are many exceptions to this rule. But not Peter Bogdanovich. The Roger Corman protégé enjoyed a stretch as a filmmaker both regarded and profitable; one weekend The Last Picture Show and What’s Up, Doc? were the country’s two top moneymakers. His falloff wasn’t the unfairly maligned At Long Last Love but sometime soon before the unnecessary 1990 Picture Show sequel Texasville . Recovery: unlikely.
Tim Burton: Ever since Ed Wood, Tim Burton has been more brand than artist, trying, with increasing strain, to make each film “a Tim Burton film.” Tim Burton does Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ! Tim Burton does Alice in Wonderland ! For a true stretch, how about Tim Burton’s Northanger Abbey ?
Blake Edwards: Perhaps because their trade relies so much on timing, many comic filmmakers slow down in old age. But Edwards kept going. Read ’em and weep : A Fine Mess , Blind Date , Skin Deep , Switch , plus at least six too many Pink Panthers .
Carol Reed: The English director won his Oscar for Oliver! , his follow-up to the Sistine Chapel snoozefest The Agony and the Ecstasy . No trophies, alas, for early masterworks The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, Odd Man Out and Night Train to Munich.
Nicolas Roeg: Although Roeg was an ace cinematographer before he turned director, his first six films—notably Performance , Walkabout and The Man Who Fell to Earth —were notable for their daring hyper-editing. He calmed down considerably with Insignificance , and suddenly no longer mattered. His last, 2007’s Puffball , like many of his films post-heyday, saw limited release in the U.S.
Wim Wenders: Faraway , So Close . The End of Violence . The Million Dollar Hotel . Land of Plenty . It’s easy to forget this guy was the starkest and least compromising of the New German Cinema wave whose “World Cinema” sell-out film ( Wings of Desire ) is actually amazing.
Overly unusual protagonists and the requisite miserable Swedish locations aside, this is standard detective stuff.
Another great Italian neo-realist weepie from Vittorio De Sica—who had already given the world Shoe-Shine and Bicycle Thieves —this tale finds an old genetleman (Carlo Battisti) so impoverished he seeks to off himself.
2014 Films: The Year’s Most Likely