Woody Allen: With some directors (say, Steven Soderbergh), being prolific is a plus, like a good friend from out of town visiting frequently. For others, constantly churning out product can be more compulsion than artistic expression. Enemy No. 1: the one born Allen Konigsberg. Every year, whether he has something to say or not, the film world is met with another Woody Allen, often a ghost of a former triumph. Match Point is a dumbed-down Crimes and Misdemeanors, while You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger redid Husbands and Wives . Recently, Allen’s had trouble getting financing. Good.
Clint Eastwood: It’s good that Clint has only gotten speedier in old age—in theory. But how many are keepers? From the last three years alone, Changeling, Invictus and Hereafter are only mildly preferable to shuffleboard.
Alex Gibney: Documentaries tend to eat up entire years for their makers, who wrangle an avalanche of facts or keep cameras rolling on the unformed blob that is real life. But not Gibney—the director of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Taxi From the Dark Side churns them out like sausages. This year alone has seen Casino Jack, Client 9 and a short in Freakonomics. And the reason he works fast: He works shallow.
Michael Mann: Not that Mann is a poor director, but he’s been given more second chances than practically anyone in Hollywood. Heat, The Insider, Ali, Miami Vice and Public Enemies were all hugely budgeted films that underperformed. Would execs do the same for a female director?
Tyler Perry: Is it a new month? Time for another Tyler Perry joint.
Michael Winterbottom: Like Gibney, this Brit works fast, loose and shallow. When he has the right collaborator—say, Steve Coogan, with whom he made 24 Hour Party People, Tristram Shandy and The Trip—he can lean on them. When he’s not, you get Code 46, 9 Songs or The Killer Inside Me.
Six Long-Running Film Franchises