Forced hot air: 10 of the most overpraised and pretentious directors working today.

(no particular order )
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Oliver Stone
Director, Platoon
Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success. William Oliver Stone was born in New York City...
“ Stone never let's the facts get in the way of the world as he sees it. His President films (JFK, Nixon, W) are filled with character assassination and inaccuracies and his Viet Nam trilogy is uneven, mawkish and narrow. Natural Born Killers is a reckless gore fest satire without humor and Alexander epic tedium. Stone makes controversial statements and films but the pay off is usually disappointing. He's good for a quote but always writes checks he can't cash.

Most original and work: U-Turn Worst: Nixon ” - st-shot
Mike Nichols
Director, Closer
He, along with the other members of the "Compass Players" including Elaine May, Paul Sills, Byrne Piven, Joyce Hiller Piven and Edward Asner helped start the famed "Second City Improv" company. They used the games taught to them by fellow cast mate, Paul Sills 's mother, Viola Spolin...
“ Nichols peaked in 1967 (The Graduate) but somehow has managed to remain "distinguished" (Arthur Miller syndrome) with a streak of "sophisticated" but dull renderings on the American scene. After bungling the epic Catch 22 he lost his sense of humor (Buck Henry?) with ghastly comedies like The Fortune, Heartburn and Postcards from the Edge. His dramas (Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood, Closer) in spite of mega star casts are morose, visually drab and preachy.

M.O.W. : The Graduate Worst: The Fortune ” - st-shot
Spike Lee
Director, Inside Man
Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended school in Morehouse College in Atlanta and developed his film making skills at Clark Atlanta University...
“ Lee is more promoter than filmmaker. He makes provocative and reckless statements but is incapable of transferring it to the screen due to his complete lack of grasp of film syntax. She's Gotta Have It showed promise and X could have been outstanding with an hour of its self indulgence lopped off but Do the Right Thing and Bamboozled are juvenile in their approach and Crooklyn, Girl 9, Jungle Fever and Mo' Better Blues all stumble along with reams of superfluous dialogue. He's proved to be even more inept in other genres with a musical (School Daze) and a war film (Miracle at St. Anna) and his documentaries on sports stars suffer from fanbot hero worship.

M.O.W. She's Gotta Have It. Worst: Bamboozled ” - st-shot
Quentin Tarantino
Writer, Pulp Fiction
Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old. In January of 1992...
“ QT makes comic books not films. Reservoir Dogs showed a lot of promise three quarters of the way through before falling victim to a gaseous verbosity that would permeate all his other work ( Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and especially Grind House). The Kill Bills are chop socky retro of inane action, oh so stoic character and sadistic mayhem while Inglorius Basterds (sic) is a hipster in your face updated Dirty Dozen, Fuller wannabe, blood fest fairy tale. Other than his yappy scripts of endless dialogue Tarantino's work is more cannibal than original.

M.O.W. Reservoir Dogs Worst: Grind House ” - st-shot
“ The length and flaccid style of Kasdan's films can be torturous. Silverado and Wyatt Earp are overlong and stilted westerns while his contemporary dramas The Accidental Tourist and Grand Canyon wallow in sluggish melancholy. Body Heat's a decent neo-noir but the Big Chill is nostalgic slop and the comedies (French Kiss and I Love You to Death) are forced and abrasive. He's Henry Jaglom with a big budget and that's a recipe for disaster.

M.O.W. Body Heat Worst: French Kiss ” - st-shot
Barry Levinson
Producer, Sleepers
Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Violet (Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in furniture and appliance. He is of Russian Jewish descent. Levinson graduated from high school in 1960, attended college at American University in Washington, DC. He did well, but decided he wanted to go to Los Angeles...
“ Levinson's filmography is comprised of healthy doses of sentimental claptrap (Diner, The Natural, Avalon, Tin Men) and tepid controversy lackadaisically presented (Wag the Dog, Man of the Year). His protagonists are one dimensional, noble, predictable and in great need to be loved. He keeps a loose leash on his leads with varying results. Hoffman in Rain Man and Redford in The Natural work while Robin Williams in Man of the Year, Warren Beatty in Bugsy and Hoffman in Wag the Dog chew the furniture. Many of his films start at a decent pace (Diner, Sleeps, Wag the Dog) but usually always run out of steam before the credits.

M.O.W. Sleepers Worst: Man of the Year ” - st-shot
“ Brooks has written and directed six pictures; all high gloss soap operas. During many of his laboriously paced tepid scenes you sometimes expect to hear the house organ from The Guiding Light as passions run lukewarm. These contemporary dramas run from decent (Terms of Endearment, As Good As it Gets) to dreadful (I'll Do Anything, How do You Know?); with all submerged in suds in which Brooks pulls at the heart strings with his thumbs.

M.O.W.: As Good as It Gets Worst: How Do You Know? ” - st-shot
Michael Mann
Producer, Heat
A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch. He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile, in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release, Thief starring James Caan as a safe-cracker who falls under the spell of the mob...
“ The king of cinema bombast, Mann's hollow epics celebrating the rugged individual are mostly all heat and noise with very little substance. The Last of the Mohicans has a good look and is well paced. The Insider is admirable for it's restraint, especially in comparison to the hysterical fireworks you get in Heat, Collateral, Miami Vice and Public Enemies. His gritty characters in the unbridled fantasy world in which they live usually resort to posing in between the carnage and duty to cool. Heat is presented like a solemn religious event featuring the first meeting of the high priests (Pacino, DiNero ) of tough guy cinema maintaining stoic confidence in the violent playworld Mann creates for them. Public Enemies is a grossly lensed, misguided mess of a film in which Johnny Depp is more Elvis than Dillinger.

M.O.W. Last of the Mohicans Worst: Heat ” - st-shot
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated with a degree in drama from Hofstra University...
“ By the end of the 70s Coppola had three ( The first two Godfathers, The Conversation) bona fide classics under his belt. Apocalypse, Now lumbered a bit but was still bravura filmmaking. After 1980 however his output consisted of half hearted, uninspired work that ran from mildly interesting (Tucker, Gardens of Stone) to insipid (Jack, Peggy Sue Got Married) to just plain hack (Cotton Club, One From the Heart, Dracula and the abominable Godfather 3). He then re-edited, added more lard and re-released Apocalypse, Now (Redux) which only proved he was right the first time. Whether it was loss of interest or talent (or spending too much time in his wine cellar) Coppola has not approached anything he did in his prime for thirty years.

M.O.W. The Conversation Worst: Jack ” - st-shot
Steven Soderbergh
Director, Ocean's Eleven
Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to Baton Rouge...
“ Soderbergh's slick hack work on the Ocean franchise enables him to branch out, experiment (Bubble, The Good German, Girl Friend Experience) and take chances with unbankable material (Kafka) . The results however are pure drivel. Out of Sight is incredulous from the get go and The Limey's promising start hits a wall midway. Solaris and Traffic have been done before and better and his two part bio on Che suffers from selectively dishonest hero worship. His compositions are murky and sloppy, his pacing sluggish (The Informant ) but as long as he has the Ocean gig he'll never have to worry about going hungry or funding his meager talent.

M.O.W. Sex, Lies and Videotape Worst: The Informant ” - st-shot