The Great Directors: The Making of 21st Century Hollywood

NOT AVAILABLE. ————.Animation. UPC 739815005428.Ea.: 29 min. w/educator's guide. filmography. time line. notes. Dist. by Ambrose Video. 2013. $199.99. Series UPC 739815005374.
Gr 9 Up—This informative and wide-ranging survey will have immediate appeal for its inclusion of many movies known, and loved, by teens. Both this and the "Hollywood's Greatest Directors" series cover a lot of ground. "The Summer Blockbuster" segment glowingly praises Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, aided with clips from Jaws and the first "Star Wars" trilogy, here referred to as the first franchise, though James Bond may beg to differ. (It's also debatable that Apocalypse Now is "the best war film ever made.") Au courant, the series includes splashes of current moneymakers: the "Transformer" movies, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, and Iron Man. The focus moves away from the mainstream to independent cinema, "a new form of literature," in the second episode, which serves as a valuable introduction to John Cassavetes, 2001, and Annie Hall, mixed in with Quentin Tarantino. "Immigrant Directors" introduces the "Master of Innuendo" Ernst Lubitsch and even ventures to the Blacklist era in the bio of Elia Kazan. Though the wrong date is given for Alfred Hitchcock's seminal Vertigo—it's 1958, not 1954 (and the director, son of a grocer, wasn't born into "English society")—teens who haven't seen his thrillers will be drawn to them, especially Psycho (yes, the shower scene is included). The segment on documentaries goes back to the days of Robert J. Flaherty, and Mara Deren and Stan Brakhage represent experimental filmmaking. The concluding chapter arguably credits CGI for propelling "a second golden age of animation" that it says exceeds old-school Disney. Overall, there's plenty of material for launching popular culture reports and as a visual who's-who for fine arts collections.—Kent Turner, School Library Journal

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