Hey Somethings, PCR here.
There are a lot of directors that have a certain “style”, but I feel many of them lean on that style so much that they become a parody of themselves and their movies no longer feel like “A movie directed by…” as much as they feel like “A movie done in the style of…”. Here is a list of my biggest offenders.
You knew he was going to be on this list. He’s shown he can indeed use more than 4 colors (Big Fish, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Mars Attacks!…) but he’s most well known for his ‘gothic fantasy’ color palette as seen in “Batman”, “Sweeny Todd”, “Sleepy Hollow” and many MANY many others. Even “Alice in Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” felt like instead of making a regular movie Tim Burton said “WHAT IF… I use a LOT of colors???”.
M. Night Shyamalan
The man who brought you “Bad Boys II”, “Transformers”, “The Rock” and “Armageddon” has also brought you metric fucktons of explosions, and throws around Dutch Angles like JJ Abrams uses lense flare. Now, I’ll freely admit, I really enjoy Bad Boys II, and seeing that felt he’d be a great director for Transformers (and I still don’t think I was wrong when the first movie is discussed), but it’s like he started becoming a superfan of his own work and “Baysplosions” were really a thing. Still, as bad and campy as they may be, most of them are still amazingly fun, and when Epic Rap Battles of History riffs on you, you’ve certainly put a mark on pop culture.
In my opinion, the worst of the bunch when it comes to ‘Style as Gimmick” because it’s the most egregious. Tarantino has an eye for cinematography for sure, but it’s his scripting and language that, to me, have become problematic. While “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” made him a name when it comes to great conversational scenes and dialogue, “Jackie Brown”, “Django Unchained” and more recently “Hateful 8” felt like he was going out of his way to be controversial when it comes to the use (and sometimes HEAVY use) of certain words (which won’t even be alluded to here… you know which one I’m talking about). I’m not a ‘feet’ guy, but I’d have rather sat through 20 different shots of Quention licking toes than the nearly 50 times “that word” is used in “Hateful 8” (which is still less than half the number of times it was used in “Django”). Now, there are people who defend his use of that language in his films (most notably, Samuel L. Jackson), but in my opinion, if you’re specifically using a word or language for no other reason than to make your viewing audience uncomfortable watching it, then it’s a crutch and only being done gratuitously.