I am a big fan of short-film forms of media, especially in the music video format, because it forces the director to convey his/her visual companion to the song in a very limited amount of time - often forcing the more talented ones to think outside the box and create something more abstract, complex, and satisfying then most feature films. I picked up the Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze sets almost immediately because I knew their movie and video work quite well, and I was not disappointed with either set (Chris Cunningham's set was too limited and disturbing for me, though he is also undeniably brilliant). Of the second series, I bought the boxed set and this disc is easily the best of the bunch.
Mark Romanek's work in this medium is my favorite for several reasons. for one thing, he does not repeat himself in overall theme or approach (maybe reusing floating motifs occasionally), but finds what fits the song and the essence of the artist and manages to capture this on film. Just look at the two most personal (and for my money, best) videos on this set, Jay-Z's controversial "99 Problems" and Johnny Cash's haunting and stunning cover of NiN's "Hurt". you see right away that they are staggeringly unique. However, both pieces manage to relate completely to the songs, sum the the artist's entire career and background, contain stunning visual imagery and become emotionally engaging in different ways - the first time I saw the Jay-Z video I was shocked at the bleak finale, while the Cash video moved me (and many others, if the included documentary is any indication) to tears. It is amazing that Romanek is able to evoke so much from his collaborators in such a short amount of time.
Some other highlights on this fantastic set (thanks to whoever gave the complete listing) include NiN's infamous "Closer", featuring creepy abstract gothic imagery and shot entirely by hand-crank camera; Fiona Apple's ferociously powerful and seductive "Criminal" video; Michael and Janet Jackson's futuristic (and notoriously expensive) faux-battle in "Scream"; and Lenny Kravitz's infectious whirlwind light show in "Are You Gonna Go My Way?". If you are even remotely interested in film or music video, or are aware of the artists in this set and enjoy their work, I highly recommend picking this up IMMEDIATELY. As a bonus, every video features commentary from Romanek and usually also from the artists involved, and the documentaries alternate between highly informative and explorative to just plain hilarious - Chris Rock, Robin Williams, and Ben Stiller mercilessly shredding Romanek to pieces in "Romanekian" is funny as hell!