by Nathan Rabin
The future Star Wars director began his career with two tales of deception—Brick and The Brothers Bloom—that reveled in the spoken word and the language of film.
Paul Thomas Anderson followed up the perfect Boogie Nights with the powerfully, deliberately ragged Magnolia, a film that begins where a lot of films end: at the bottom.
Between his debut, Kicking & Screaming, and The Squid And The Whale, Baumbach struggled to figure out what kind of filmmaker he would be. Two films, the low-budget experiment Highball and the thorny comedy Mr. Jealousy, captured a director losing the voice he had while finding another one.
Bigelow followed her breakthrough vampire classic with a flawed but fascinating study of women, weaponry, and authority starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
In a thrilling twist, the director followed The Sixth Sense with a less-loved but superior look at the superhero mythos.
The director’s 1986 debut, She’s Gotta Have It, suggested he would spend his career making sexy comedies. Two years later, he made it clear he had more on his mind.
In the debut of his new column on follow-ups to cinematic breakthroughs, Nathan Rabin looks at Mallrats, Kevin Smith’s widely disparaged attempt to make a Porky’s-style comedy after Clerks.