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Fox Lorber presents
The Directors: Joel Schumacher (1997)

"I don't think I'm a great director. I don't think I'm touched by the gods...I know a couple of geniuses; I'm not one of them."
- Joel Schumacher

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: May 29, 2000

Stars: Joel Schumacher
Other Stars: Kevin Bacon, Ed Begley Jr, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Ossie Davis, Michael Douglas, Tommy Lee Jones, Nicole Kidman, Chris O'Donnell, Susan Sarandon, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Campbell Scott, Alicia Silverstone, Kevin Spacey, Kiefer Sutherland, Uma Thurman and Dennis Quaid
Director: Robert J. Emery

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for language, violence
Run Time: 00h:58m:27s
Release Date: February 29, 2000
UPC: 720917307428
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Most of the entries in Fox Lorber's series The Directors, produced in conjunction with the American Film Institute, feature the director, perhaps two or three stars and a host of minor names. This disc features a roster of big stars that puts the rest of the series to shame.

Schumacher's career has gone from obscure comedy to hit teen dramas, to box office blockbuster with both the John Grisham franchise (The Client and A Time to Kill)and the gigantic (some would say bloated) Batman franchise (Batman Forever and Batman and Robin). This episode gives us a look at how Schumacher went from assistant costume designer to director of some of the hottest films going (oddly enough, Woody Allen plays a role in the story).

Schumacher is rather self-effacing, and acknowledges that he's been lucky to a certain extent. He's certainly been fortunate in his casts, many of whom (such as the St. Elmo's Fire alumni) have gone on to be major stars. This makes the list of interviewees quite impressive. Unfortunately, the limited running time means that we don't get much time with any of them, which lessens the impact of the interviews.

While some of Schumacher's films have been enjoyable, the Batman films don't connect in the same way that Tim Burton's earlier entries had been. Part of this can be explained by the interview with Tommy Lee Jones (Two-Face), who states that it's nice to play a comic book character without subtleties. Clearly, the cast and crew were only looking at bad comic books. Had they looked at good comics, perhaps they wouldn't have produced such bad movies.

In any event, Schumacher is clearly liked by his casts, and the uniform thread in the program is that it's a lot of fun to make movies with him. Their pleasure is infectious and one leaves this documentary wanting to give The Lost Boys and Falling Down a spin in the DVD player.

Besides the mentioned films, we also get clips from The Incredible Shrinking Woman, D.C. Cab, Cousins and the execrable Dying Young.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: About half of the films covered have clips which are presented in widescreen format; the remainder are pan & scan. The films given the respect of widescreen treatment are The Lost Boys, Flatliners, Falling Down, The Client, Batman Forever and A Time to Kill. Oddly, Batman and Robin is presented only in P&S.

The quality of the filmclips is uniformly high, with the exceptions of Shrinking Woman and D.C. Cab. Those two are presented in rather smeary and washed out prints. The other films have solid blacks and good shadow detail, as well as bright and vivid colors. The interview sequences all appear naturalistic with decent but not eye-popping color.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The mono soundtrack is undistinguished but perfectly adequate for a television program. The film clips understandably sound rather limited in range. The theme music is as cheesy as ever.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Weblink to http://www.winstarvideo.com
Extras Review: Not much, is the short answer. We get a two-screen filmography for Schumacher, and a weblink. There's a single-screen menu with six chapters, titled by films, and that's it. No subtitles are supplied.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

If you like interviews with big stars, this is definitely the disc for you. Fans of Schumacher's works will find this to be a revealing discussion on his part, even if not on the part of the many stars. In all, a decent retrospective of a man who has made some of the bigger movie hits of recent years.


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