Fox Lorber presents
The Directors: Adrian Lyne (1999)
"He's proof that neurosis can work in filmmaking."- Woody Harrleson on Adrian Lyne.
Stars: Adrian Lyne
Other Stars: Danny Aiello, Jennifer Beals, Tim Robbins
Director: Robert Emery
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sexual content, disturbing images)
Run Time: 01h:00m:00s
Release Date: 2000-08-01
DVD ReviewI first came across the name of Adrian Lyne when I saw the theatrical release of his film Jacob's Ladder. The original script for the film (written by Bruce Joel Rubin) had been hailed for years as one of the best unproduced works in Hollywood, but no directors would touch it, fearing it too experimental to function as a major studio production. Adrian Lyne took up the task and produced arguably one of the most thought-provoking supernatural horror films ever made, certainly one of the most critically divisive. Over the years, I'd come to familiarize myself with Lyne's other works and I quickly discovered how revolutionary much of it was.
His movies seem to have set distinct standards ffrom which other filmmakers might glean. Think of the endless relationship thrillers that Fatal Attraction spawned, or the type of supernatural thriller Jacob's Ladder set into motion. His work is also criticized for sometimes being too sleazy, like in the case of 9 1/2 Weeks and Indecent Proposal, but once the controversy settled, these too set the stage for imitations. Even Flashdance, arguably his most laughed-at film, created a distinct tone for that type of dance/ambition drama. His version of Vladmir Nobokov's Lolita was a daring piece of work that, even 30 years after the success of Stanley Kubrick's version, still had controversy surrounding it for its radical themes.
In this episode of The Directors series, Lyne discusses his work in sequential order, along with additional interview segments with actors from his films. The comments from actors like Jeremy Irons, Tim Robbins, Woody Harrelson, Anne Archer, and Jennifer Beals all seem to have the same underlying theme; that Lyne is an effective director because he's so passionate about what he does. Lyne himself takes up most of the time with his own comments, obviously coming across with that same sense of passion about his work.
The documentary does a good job of compressing Lyne's career into an easy-to-watch format. While a few production anecdotes are presented by the interviewees, for the most part the subject and tone is about Adrian Lyne's abilities, style, and technique. Overall this works, but the relatively short length of the disc makes things feel a bit rushed.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B
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Image Transfer Review: The disc is mixed footage of various interviews with people along with clips from the movies of Adrian Lyne. Unfortunately, overall the picture quality is rather low. While the interview segments are watchable, many of them carry slight pixelization and shimmer in the background. The clips from the movies are jaw-droppingly awful, though. The clips are hazy, almost as if done from a direct from a poor VHS transfer, and have problems with grain and artifacting. The clips from Jacob's Ladder are OK, but this might be since Jacob's Ladder is, to the best of my knowledge, one of only two Adrian Lyne films on DVD, at least with an expert transfer. I didn't expect perfect image quality in these kinds of documentaries, but the visual problems with the clips is a little disappointing since it weakens the impact of the material. This is, after all, a piece about appreciating film. On the up side, the film clips are presented in their proper aspect ratio.
Image Transfer Grade: C
Audio Transfer Review: The audio is 2-channel with a Pro-Logic, mono-only encoding. The audio is certainly adequate, however it does take away from the film clips. The interview dialogue is well-rendered and clear. The movie clips are fairly poor and lack any definition. There are no signs of anything stereo or directional and surrounds are not used, nor is the LFE channel.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
- Adrian Lyne Filmography/Awards bio.
- DVD-ROM Weblinks.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsIf anything bad could really be said about this disc, it is the rather short running time of one hour. Since Adrian Lyne's film career spans 7 movies, information on all of them packs into the hour, but it does so very tightly. All of the Directors series discs are one hour, which works for someone like Adrian Lyne, but it seems short for filmmakers with longer, more detailed careers. All that aside, it's an informative look into Lyne's attitude towards filmmaking and how he progresses. It would be a good rental. (On a side note, I would like to fully recommend Artisan's excellent special edition DVD of Jacob's Ladder, for those interested.)
Dan Lopez 2000-09-01