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Palm Pictures presents
Director's Series Vol. 5: The Work of Director Jonathan Glazer (2005)

"I saw Jonathan's stuff, which was so dramatic, so technically proficient, and had such wit. I think it was mainly because of that Radiohead video. I had no idea what song it was, which is possibly symptomatic of his music videos. The images are so strong that you never even listen to the music."
- Nick Cave

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: October 04, 2005

Stars: Radiohead, Jamiroquai, Richard Ashcroft, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, UNKLE, Blur, Massive Attack, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Harris Savides, Danny Huston, Jean-Claude Carriere, Milos Addica, Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone
Director: Jonathan Glazer

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:21m:25s
Release Date: September 13, 2005
UPC: 660200308223
Genre: compilation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B+A-B+ B+

DVD Review

Jonathan Glazer, director of Sexy Beast and Birth, is yet another talented, undeniably creative type who honed his craft on music videos and commercials, and in this fifth entry in the Director's Series collection from Palm there are eight videos and eleven commercials for us to marvel at.

There's no sense questioning Glazer's ability as a man with vision, and one peek at Birth should galvanize that point immediately. And for his music video work, this vision follows a very symmetrical path (except perhaps for Jamiroquai), built upon striking and stark visuals, where the harsh ugliness of an array of anguished faces reinvents Nick Cave's Into My Arms from a beautiful ballad into a sucker punch of grief and sadness. It's funny to see how that works in the hands of someone like Glazer, because having long admired Cave's song as one of the great love songs of the past decade, it was seeing the video that tripped my emotions off one path and onto another.

More familiar videos, such as the wacky moving floor of Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity or the chase-a-derelict-down-a-dark-road of the color-treated clip for Radiohead's Karma Police sit like distant bookends on a long shelf, where in between stand the colorful yet threatening Clockwork Orange homage for Blur's Universal. But Glazer's distinctive eye for subtle unpleasantness is evident in nearly all of these clips, and seeing them laid out together reinforces that.

Glazer's commercial work is also very appealing and equally thought-provoking, made for diverse products like Guinness or Levis, and they are like mini (very mini) feature films—it almost seems wrong to call them ads. His comfort zone of stark black-and-white imagery in Volkswagen's Protection, where the concept of being small and safe is sold by a cascade of harrowing and dangerous scenarios, is probably the emotional standout of his commercial spots, while the run-through-walls superhero power of Levis goes for a lighter, though just as compelling, comic-book style effect to sell the idea of freedom.

The material is always engaging, but the comparatively abbreviated list of content is noticeably shorter than some of the other titles in the series, and as such it land on that grey line between "must own" and "should watch".

Music Videos:

Radiohead - Street Spirit
Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity
Richard Ashcroft - A Song for the Lovers
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms
UNKLE - Rabbit In Your Headlights
Blur - The Universal
Radiohead - Karma Police
Massive Attack - Karmacoma

Commercials:

Wrangler - Ride
Guinness - Surfer
Guinness - Swim Black
Guinness - Dreamer
Volkswagen - Protection
Stella Artois - Last Orders
Stella Artois - Whip Round
Levis - Kung Fu
Levis - Odyssey
Barclays - Bull
Barclays - Chicken


Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Image presentation runs the gamut of fullscreen and nonanamorphic widescreen, depending on the music video or film clip. Detail, which really is highlighted on the many black-and-white segments, is excellent, and while Glazer doesn't employ too many bizarre effects, it is really this stark contrast between dark and light that showcases the quality of this release. The interview segments are rather grainy, however, and have soft coloring.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 stereo surround tracks for these Director's Series discs are above bar, delivering fairly full, resonant audio quality with moderate but rich bass activity. There isn't the broad encompassing soundstage one might hope for on a disc largely centered on music, but you'll have no problem playing this one loud and enjoying it.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
6 Feature/Episode commentaries by Denis Lavant, James Lavelle, Nick Cave, Graham Coxon, 3D, Jay Kay, Richard Ashcroft
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. 56-page book
Extras Review: Sadly absent is the introspective documentary of the caliber found on the Mark Romanek disc in this series; instead Palm has included a pair of separate interview segments, the first (09m:19s) featuring Ray Winstone and Sir Ben Kingsley discussing the film Sexy Beast, and the second (15m:32s) featuring Nicole Kidman, Harris Savides, Danny Huston, Jean-Claude Carriere, Milos Addica talking about Glazer's brilliant Birth. Also included are excerpts from Birth (03m:30s) and Sexy Beast (03m:11s).

Six commentaries (Denis Lavant, James Lavelle, Nick Cave, Graham Coxon, 3D, Jay Kay, Richard Ashcroft) for the corresponding music videos are included, and while it is always a treat to hear Nick Cave, folks like Blur's Graham Coxon likewise offer fond recollections of Glazer's work process. And for international flavor, Denis Lavant contributes a commentary in French (with English subs) for UNKLE's Rabbit In Your Headlights. Most of the commentary segments begin with a brief video clip of the artist speaking, which then segues into the music video. Diary of a Lunatic (07m:22s) is rambling series of band introductions that lead into an early video by Glazer for the band Lunatic.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

For this fifth entry in Palm's Director's Series, it is Jonathan Glazer's turn in the spotlight. The downside for this release is the relatively brief list of music videos, though it is augmented by some truly visionary commercials.

If you have the rest of the series, you no doubt plan on picking this one up. It will not disappoint. However, if you're picking and choosing among the titles, Glazer's disc seems to have less overall content than some of the others. Still, though things like Nick Cave's Into My Arms and Blur's The Universal are about as diametrically opposed as humanly possible, they remain equally stunning.

Recommended for series completists.

 


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