Sir Guy Ritchie
British director whose movies, for a long time, Mark Kermode really intensely disliked - all guns, gangsters and geezers - but who experienced something of a revival after the unexpectedly good Sherlock Holmes was released in December 2009.
Mark initially disliked Sir Guy's debut Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, although other critics were impressed with its new visual style. However, after it was released in the US and remarketed as a comedy, Mark did come to see some merit in it. The follow-up, Snatch, was basically the same film but just with Brad Pitt in it. But by now Sir Guy was married to Madonna and it has to be said that the union of these two artists did not yield great works. Instead it yielded Swept Away - "a misogynistic horror" according to Mark, awarded 10 Razzie nominations in 2002 - and then the ne plus ultra of terrible movies, 2005's Revolver.
To fully appreciate the glory of Revolver, it is important to listen to Sir Guy's interview on the Daily Mayo in which he explained - or at least attempted to explain - the "concepts" behind the film. He also explained that the terrible critical reaction to the movie was down to reviewers not giving it a long enough "gestation period" in which to assess it. Mark meanwhile - having giving it a full gestation time - performed an astonishing Madonna impression during his review, mocking the influence of Kabbalah on the script.
Also in that interview, Sir Guy pledged that he would not make any more guns and gangsters films, because he wanted to continue making movies that explored concepts. But in fact after Revolver tanked at the box office and extended critical gestation only gave birth to further abuse (with the strange exception of The Sun Online), Sir Guy went back to the old formula for RocknRolla. Mark hated that too - describing it as "worse than Rancid Aluminium" - but what annoyed him especially was that it was just the same stuff all over again, whereas at least Revolver had the rubbernecking attraction of being one of the worst films that have been or will be made in the 21st Century.
(In this post-RocknRolla period, Mark tested whether he liked The Boat That Rocked because it was genuinely funny - or whether he was just laughing because he likes Richard Curtis - by trying to imagine it had been directed by Sir Guy. He still did laugh, proving that the humour of the film worked for him.)
There was therefore an audible gasp of horror when a listener emailed in to say that Sir Guy's next film was to be a new version of Sherlock Holmes. But incredibly the film - released the same week as Smurfahontas - actually turned out to be good. Notably, it was his first work Sir Guy had directed from someone else's screenplay, rather than his own - leading to the Sir Guy Ritchie rule, simply being that the less influence Ritchie has on the script, the better the movie.
Sadly, then Sword Of The Rings (aka King Arthur Daley, He's Alright or KATLOTS) came along and rather spoiled it again. Ritchie's three-second cameo in that film was the longest three seconds Mark had seen in a film in a long, long time.
Incidentally, RocknRolla being released at the same time as Shane Meadows' Somers Town meant that Mark continually mixed up the two movies' respective directors during his review of the latter, resulting in the unholy hybrid Shane Richie.