Brian De Palma arrives in the final third of 2006 with one of his best films, and yet no one will realize it for years to come. De Palma's work is routinely ignored and undervalued for the very simple reason that he makes cinema. He hasn't shown much interest in making socially significant films; he probably won't make a To Kill a Mockingbird or a Hotel Rwanda anytime soon. And he's not much interested in adapting Henry James or E.M. Forster for the big screen. As a result, he is often seen as inferior. He never reaches beyond cinema into other realms; he only makes movies.

Thirteen years later, many see Carlito's Way as arguably De Palma's greatest achievement. (The film critics at Cahiers du Cinema selected it as the best movie of the 1990s.) And yet in the thick of 1993, no one cared. Schindler's List, The Piano and The Age of Innocence were the rage. And it's noteworthy to remember that, as beloved as his Scarface is today, De Palma received a 1983 Razzie nomination for his trouble (he has received five in all).