SYNOPSIS: The life of photographer Ansel Adams is chronicled by Adams himself.
CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: How we train ourselves to look at life differently as we age and to learn to see what isn’t there, as opposed to what is obviously there.
PROS AND CONS: I am going to be biased here. I do a lot of film photography and one of my earliest influences was Ansel Adams. So this was a really great film.
In this documentary, Adams recounts his life and the techniques that he uses to produce some of his iconic landscapes. For the avid darkroom addict, this is really good stuff.
What you walk away with is a fascinating documentary of what might be appear to be an ordinary life, but in the end turns out to be an extraordinary life. To see Adams sitting with Georgia O’Keefe talking about their friend Alfred Steglitz was just the icing on the cake.
SYNOPSIS: An FBI investigator searches for a serial killer in a small northwestern town.
CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: Surreal life in rural America. In a small town, secrets are never kept long and everyone has an agenda.
PROS AND CONS: It has been a while since I saw this film. This is the pilot film on which the television show was based, so it has a different ending and slant than the TV version.
This is an excellent film. We forget how good it is with all the Hollywood glitz and glamour that has come out since, but this is good simple film-making with excellent; cast, direction, story, production design and soundtrack.
The most pleasant aspect of this film was the soundtrack. Since I now view these laser discs on an upgraded sound system with surround sound, the soundtrack and foley work in the film really comes through (the low rumble of the fog horn in the open scene was something that I had never heard before and it really set the scene.).
3. Romance and Reality.Beginning at a castle in the Loire and then traveling through the hills of Tuscany and Umbria to the cathedral baptistry at Pisa, Clark examines both the aspirations and achievements of the later Middle Ages in 14th century France and Italy.
4. Man: The Measure of all Things.Visiting Florence, Clark argues that European thought gained a new impetus from its rediscovery of its classical past in the 15th century. He also visits the palaces at Urbinoand Mantua and other centers of (Renaissance) civilization.
CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: Society and culture in ancient times as portrayed by the art that they left behind.
PROS AND CONS: This is one of the crown jewels in my documentary library.
As I have stated before when I watched the first installment of this series, it is like sipping coffee and listening to one of the smartest people on the planet walk you through the great galleries and cathedrals of Europe.
This series is showing its age, especially with the video tape format. We tend to get spoiled with digital, but the improved sound on my audio system was a definite bonus.
SYNOPSIS: A mystery novelist becomes intimately involved with the persons that she bases her characters on.
CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: The secrets that everyone has and the tangled web that psychopaths weave for revenge.
PROS AND CONS: A good film that keeps you guessing all the way through, including up to the final scene. A noir-ish drama with numerous plot twists.
Sharon Stone and Paul Verhoeven need special mention here for brining soft-core pornography out of the shadows and into the mainstream. Stone is exceptional as the highly educated and insatiable protagonist.
For some reason, all the really good crime dramas always seem to take place in San Francisco. Michael Douglas obviously graduated from the “Streets of San Francisco”, but his character here is hardly squeaky clean.
SYNOPSIS: A New York newspaper reporter uncovers a plot to that could have stopped World War II
CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: Plot twists and intrigue set against surreal backdrops.
PROS AND CONS: A good film. Near the end of Hitchcock’s days in the British film industry before he moved to Hollywood. The plot meanders a bit at times and some scenes are a bit long.
What does come across is the slow transition from early Hitchcock works that resembled thespian theater to the wild ride genre that is indicative of “North by Northwest” and the “Indiana Jones” films. Hitchcock pulls out the stops with over the top sets and action/drama sequences in this film.
The film has obvious patriotic undertones and is clearly meant to prod America into entering the war on the side of Britain. Something that is made abundantly clear in the final scene.