Matt Yglesias pines for the taught simplicity of Hard Boiled. Ironically, I think because older filmmakers had less to work with, they were forced to rely upon a wider range of techniques to communicate the action on screen.
Sure, having an 18 wheeler hurling over the actor’s head is exciting, but it can often be too exciting. The viewer may become so over-stimulated that a certain numbness can take hold, limiting emotional penetration. A classic example of this is the film Duel, where with a relatively limited budget Spielberg was able to capture an enormous sense of tension and exhilaration.
Of course, greater technology doesn’t have to mean excess. Duel could probably been enhanced with some CGI here and there. But the point is that the filmmaking must not get lost in the gimmickry adoration of more, at the expense of actual storytelling.