Graphic Design and New Media Quote

Lupton_Medium_not_message

 

See also my review of the entire book on GoodReads.

I would agree that each media is specific – books and films are different. And when books are adapted into films – the material changes.  But this quote also points out something astute – more and more often, especially in pop culture, an icon or character is a multi-media experience. Batman started in the comics in 1939, and still exists in the comics – but there have been multiple series of films, live action television series, multiple animated television series, animated films, video games, etc. Each of those different presentations, will have different requirements. Films, for example, need a definite ending – both individually and in a series or trilogy. But comics, and television shows, by their very nature are on-going. Video games need interactivity and multiple possible storylines.

 

 

Advertisements

Agile Update – Week 16

Last week was very successful. I wrote four blog posts on WordPress – my weekly Agile Update, posting a recipe that received twelve “likes”, posting the full Doctor Who episode list, with missing episodes, as a formatted table (though it lacks the color of my original in Excel), and reviewing Season 2 of Upstairs Downstairs.

I was extremely successful with exercise – exercising on five days. When I went to Meijer’s to buy hand weights (little mini bar bells), I found a Pilates DVD, but not in the same series I had been using. In fact, it was by another company all together.  I tried out the first segment, which seemed much longer than the 13 minutes it said on the box – and the other workouts on that DVD are all about 30 minutes. However, now I have something for when I want a longer, more intense workout. The Pilates DVD I have is from 10-Minute Solution (5 10-minute segments you can combine it any way you like), and, as I’ve stated, I was taking Yoga classes through church. Well, I thought, “I wonder if there are any 10-Minute Solution DVDs for Yoga?” And since Meijer didn’t have any, I tried Amazon. And there were several available at Amazon. It took me a bit to figure out which ones to get, but I finally settled on four:  Pilates for Beginners, Yoga for Beginners, 10-Minute Solution Yoga, and a Dance Exercise DVD (also from 10-Minute Solution).  Of the new ones, I’ve tried the Yoga for Beginners, and I’m enjoying it, though I don’t like that I need to buy yet more equipment. Again.

Anyway, here was my (daily) schedule:

  • One set Pilates (10 Minutes) – Arms with Weights (2 lb. mini bar bells, one per hand)
  • Pilates – 13-minute set, new DVD
  • Two sets Pilates – Arms, Flexability (20 minutes)
  • Two sets Yoga (for beginners) – 20 minutes
  • 30 minutes of Yoga (3 sets)

I’m enjoying the Yoga and the Pilates with hand weights the best. But I like the other Pilates too, and it makes for a nice change from Yoga (which at times hardly feels like exercise, though I do get sweaty (yuck).  On Sunday, I tried the Dance DVD, the ballet-inspired segment, and for the first time I just couldn’t do it. It made my feet hurt – a lot.

The goal is to now exercise for at least 20 minutes daily, and 30 minutes when I can. For me, who’s never been particularly active, and hated gym class with a passion (not to mention my dislike of sports, especially anything with a ball or something being thrown at me), finding exercise I actually like has been a really amazing thing. It actually feels good, and hopefully all the Yoga and Pilates will help my balance and flexibility, and I might even lose some weight.

In terms of professional development, my class is done and my next class doesn’t start until mid-May. I ordered and received my textbooks, and downloaded the datafiles, samples, exercises, etc from the textbook website. I also have the Photoshop and Illustrator books that I bought on my own. And I just recently bought a book on The GIMP. And since it will be a few weeks until my next class, I might just start the book on the GIMP.  However, I have been reading “Thinking with Type”, which is more of a history of typography rather than the “How To” book I was expecting.

Still, if anyone has suggestions for good books for learning graphics design and/or web design concepts, please leave info in the comments (title, author, and a link to Amazon would be nice). I’m basically trying to get a handle on not only learning programs like InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator (I now have several books on those) but the actual nitty-gritty of good verses bad design. Which seems an incredibly opinionated and fashionable field – but there must be some rules or some place to start.

Anyway, overall, it’s been a very good week.

Upstairs, Downstairs Series 2

  • Series Title:  Upstairs Downstairs
  • Season: Series 2 (Season 2)
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  4
  • Cast:  Gordon Jackson, Jean Marsh, Angela Baddeley, David Langton, Simon Williams, Rachel Gurney, Christopher Beeny, Nicola Pagett, Pauline Collins< Jenny Tomasin, John  Alderton
  • Network:  ITV (UK) – Granada

The second season of Upstairs, Downstairs focuses on the Bellamy family, and the “family” downstairs of their servants.  Now married, Elizabeth finds that life with Lawrence (Ian Ogilvy) wasn’t what she expected. He has no desire to have a physical relationship with her, and when his failings become a problem, he arranges for her to have an affair with his publisher. Elizabeth does as he wants, but decides the entire situation is intolerable and returns home – but discovers she cannot get a divorce. She has the other man’s child, and lives separate from Lawrence. Almost immediately she meets and has a torrid affair with Julius Karekin – an Armenian. However, Julius turns out to be a social climber who uses her to raise his own social position and then dumps her.

James, meanwhile, has his own issues – he has an affair with Sarah, the former house under parlour maid, who has left the household to pursue a career on the stage.  When Sarah becomes pregnant, Lady Marjorie and Richard are not amused. Sarah is packed off to Southwold (Lady Marjorie’s father’s country estate) and James is sent to India as a captain in the Life Guards. Sarah, never one to leave well enough alone, returns to 165 Eaton place when her baby is due – arriving on the same evening that King Edward dines with the Bellamy’s at their house.  Sarah survives the birth, but her and James’ baby dies.

Later, Sarah and the new chauffeur, Thomas Watkins, have an affair – when Sarah becomes pregnant again, Lady Marjorie decides that it’s too much and prepares to sack the maid. However, Sarah and Thomas have a plan – Sarah tells an elaborate story of a strange man taking advantage of her, and Thomas offers to marry her to make her “respectable”. Lady Marjorie has a fit, and forbids the marriage, telling Thomas to think of his career – even though Richard had given them “permission” to marry. In the end, Thomas and Sarah leave, and Richard even gives them the money for Thomas to start his own garage business. It’s Ruby, the simple kitchen maid, who is the only one who realises that there was no “mystery man” and Thomas was the father of Sarah’s child all along. Thomas and Sarah spin off into their own series.

Series 2 avoids the controversy and social comment of the first series, and focuses on the Bellamy family and their servants. But Upstairs, Downstairs continues to show historical attitudes that are really quite shocking to a modern audience – such as the racism and class-ism. Even, Hudson, the stalwart butler, seems not only happy with his lot, but protests any movement towards modernity, especially in social attitudes.

Two episodes are of note, besides the previously mentioned episode of the king coming to dinner while Sarah has and loses her baby. The first has to do with the suffragettes. Elizabeth, befriends one of the leaders of the suffragettes, and agrees to not only let them meet in the Bellamy household, but to attack a MP who lives nearby. Rose objects to not only Elizabeth’s actions, but to women voting. However, when she goes to prevent the suffragettes violent attack – she is arrested along with the middle-class women who had organized the attack. Where Elizabeth is released right away after paying a fine – Rose and the other women are not only put in prison – they are force-fed. The brutality, and horror of what happened, is just awful. It is important to remember just what these women endured so that women could have the right to vote.

The second is a study in contrasts – when both Mr. Bellamy’s brother, Hugo, and Hudson’s brother come to visit. Hugo has inherited his family’s wealth and his position, and is a hopeless snob, bully, and basically a terrible person. But Hudson’s brother, a self-made man, and engineer, who is literally building the Empire, by constructing many bridges and such – is a kind, gentle man. Hudson, however, feels somewhat inadequate, decides he must impress his brother and his family – so he puts them up in an expensive hotel, and takes them to expensive meals. The contrasts between the two men, and their relationships was very well-done and I enjoyed the episode a lot. Besides, Gordon Jackson is just wonderful as Hudson, the butler, and he gets to really shine in the story.

Overall, Series 2, feels much more like the Upstairs, Downstairs I remember – and the suffragette episode is one I clearly remember watching when I originally saw the show. I highly recommend the series.

One warning – I have the 40th Anniversary Edition on DVD, and I watched the making of special and Simon Williams and Alfred Shaughnessy interview on this DVD – both are filled with spoilers for the rest of the series. If you have not seen Upstairs, Downstairs before, do not watch any of the extra features until you have watched the entire series. In addition, the interview of Simon Williams and Alfred Shaughnessy takes place outside and the sound is abysmal. I had to use the close captioning/subtitle feature to have any idea what Simon was saying, as he seems to have either lost or turned off his mike halfway through the interview – it’s really an awful presentation.

Cheese and Puff Pastry Swirls

Ingredients

  • 1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry (1/2 box)
  • Finely shreded Cheese such as co-jack or cheddar
  • Dried Dill (optional)
  • Egg Wash

Defrost puff pastry according to package directions or in refrigerator.  Pastry should be pliable, not frozen, but not overly warm. Lay full sheet on lightly-floured, non-stick surface (I use a large, plastic cutting board). Lightly flour surface of puff pastry, and also push together seams. Be careful to not over-work pastry or it will become tough. Spread a thin layer of cheese over puff pastry.

Roll pastry into a log, with the cheese inside and pastry on the outside (like a jelly roll). Lightly coat surface of roll with egg wash.  If the edge doesn’t seem to seal, use egg wash to get it to stick. Slice into 1/4th inch slices.  Lay slices on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with dill if desired. Top surface can also be coated with a little egg wash if desired.

Bake as package directs – mine said 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Check that swirls are done.

Serve warm in bread basket.

I tried out this recipe today and it worked out really well. Easy to make and delicious! I used co-jack (Colby / Monteray Jack) cheese, but cheddar would probably work just as well.

For an Italian Twist, try Mozzarella Cheese, Basil or Italian Seasoning, and possibly tomato (well drained). I haven’t tried the Italian version yet.

Doctor Who – Complete Episode List Including Missing Episodes

Doctor Who is the World’s Longest Running science fiction program. It’s also one of the longest-running scripted dramas in the world. But, at some point in the series’s history, the BBC decided to clear out space in their vaults, and many older programs, including Doctor Who were junked or destroyed.  Within a few years the BBC realized their mistake, and began a world-wide search for older, missing, stories. The recovery of “The Web of Fear” and “Enemy of the World” was well-publicized. However, some stories from the Hartnell and Troughton Eras are still missing.  This table lists all Doctor Who stories in original air order, with the missing episodes noted.  Of special note, “The Underwater Menace” was at one point scheduled for release, with the still-missing episodes to be restored using animation and the original sound track. That rumored (aided by a “coming soon” notation on Amazon dot com) release still has not appeared. Stories not marked “Missing” are available on DVD, though some may be out of print.  For more information on the efforts to restore Doctor Who, go to the Doctor Who Restoration Team website. For a fun music video of every Doctor Who Story, See Babelcolour‘s videos on youTube. Direct link to the 50th Anniversary Edition.

And for more information on Classic Doctor Who in book form, the two most useful factual books are:

The Doctor Who Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier (4th Edition also by Randy Lofficier, Mystery Writers of America Presents an imprint of iUniverse, Inc. 2003; original versions published by W.H. Allen & Co. PLC and Virgin Publishing, Ltd.)

and

Classic Doctor Who DVD Compendium Every Disc, Every Episode, Every Extra compiled by Paul Smith, Wonderful Books, London, 2014.

Both are extremely useful and highly recommended as reference books.

Story # Ep. # Ep. Title Num. Eps. Comment
William Hartnell
1 1 An Unearthly Child 4
2 2 The Daleks 7
3 3 The Edge of Destruction 2
4 4 Macro Polo 7 MISSING
5 5 The Keys of Marinus 6
6 6 The Aztecs 4
7 7 The Sensorites 6
8 8 The Reign of Terror 6
9 9 Planet of the Giants 3
10 10 Dalek Invasion of Earth 6
11 11 The Rescue 2
12 12 The Romans 4
13 13 The Web Planet 6
14 14 The Crusade 4 MISSING
15 15 The Space Museum 4
16 16 The Chase 6
17 17 The Time Meddler 4
18 18 Galaxy Four 4 MISSING
19 19 Mission to the Unknown 1 Missing, Prequel to #21 below
20 20 The Myth Makers 4 MISSING
21 21 The Daleks Master Plan 12 MISSING
22 22 The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve 4 MISSING
23 23 The Ark 4
24 24 The Celestial Toymaker 4 MISSING
25 25 The Gunfighters 4
26 26 The Savages 4 MISSING
27 27 The War Machines 4
28 28 The Smugglers 4 MISSING
29 29 The Tenth Planet 4
Patrick Troughton
30 1 The Power of the Daleks 6 MISSING
31 2 The Highlanders 4 MISSING
32 3 The Underwater Menace 4 MISSING
33 4 The Moonbase 4
34 5 The Macra Terror 4 MISSING
35 6 The Faceless Ones 6 MISSING
36 7 The Evil of the Daleks 7 MISSING
37 8 Tomb of the Cybermen 4
38 9 The Abominable Snowmen 6
39 10 The Ice Warriors 6
40 11 The Enemy of the World 6
41 12 The Web of Fear 6
42 13 Fury from the Deep 6 MISSING
43 14 The Wheel in Space 6 MISSING
44 15 The Dominators 5
45 16 The Mind Robber 5
46 17 The Invasion 8
47 18 The Krotons 4
48 19 The Seeds of Death 6
49 20 The Space Pirates 6 MISSING
50 21 The War Games 10
Jon Pertwee
51 1 Spearhead from Space 4
52 2 The Silurians 7
53 3 The Ambassadors of Death 7
54 4 Inferno 7
55 5 Terror of the Autons 4
56 6 The Mind of Evil 6
57 7 The Claws of Axos 4
58 8 Colony in Space 6
59 9 The Daemons 5
60 10 Day of the Daleks 4
61 11 The Curse of Peladon 4
62 12 The Sea Devils 6
63 13 The Mutants 6
64 14 The Time Monster 6
65 15 The Three Doctors 4
66 16 Carnival of Monsters 4
67 17 Frontier in Space 6
68 18 Planet of the Daleks 6
69 19 The Green Death 6
70 20 The Time Warrior 4
71 21 Invasion of the Dinosaurs 6
72 22 Death to the Daleks 4
73 23 The Monster of Peladon 6
74 24 Planet of the Spiders 6
Tom Baker
75 1 Robot 4
76 2 The Ark in Space 4
77 3 The Sontaran Experiment 2
78 4 Genesis of the Daleks 6
79 5 Revenge of the Cybermen 4
80 6 Terror of the Zygons 4
81 7 Planet of Evil 4
82 8 Pyramids of Mars 4
83 9 The Android Invasion 4
84 10 The Brain of Morbuis 4
85 11 The Seeds of Doom 6
86 12 The Masque of Mandragora 4
87 13 The Hand of Fear 4
88 14 The Deadly Assasin 4
89 15 The Face of Evil 4
90 16 The Robots of Death 4
91 17 The Talons of Weng-Chiang 6
92 18 The Horror of Fang Rock 4
93 19 The Invisible Enemy 4
94 20 Image of the Fendahl 4
95 21 The Sunmakers 4
96 22 Underworld 4
97 23 The Invasion of Time 6
98 24 The Robos Operation 4
99 25 The Pirate Planet 4
100 26 The Stones of Blood 4
101 27 The Androids of Tara 4
102 28 The Power of Kroll 4
103 29 The Armageddon Factor 6
104 30 Destiny of the Daleks 4
105 31 City of Death 4
106 32 The Creature from the Pit 4
107 33 Nightmare of Eden 4
108 34 The Horns of Nimon 4
109 35 Shada / 30 Years in the TARDIS 6
110 36 The Leisure Hive 4
111 37 Meglos 4
112 38 Full Circle 4
113 39 State of Decay 4
114 40 Warrior’s Gate 4
115 41 The Keeper of Traken 4
116 42 Logopolis 4
Special Special K-9 and Co. – A Girl’s Best Friend 1
Peter Davison
117 1 Castrovalva 4
118 2 Four to Doomsday 4
119 3 Kinda 4
120 4 The Visitation 4
121 5 Black Orchid 2
122 6 Earthshock 4
123 7 Time Flight 4
124 8 Arc of Infinity 4
125 9 Snakedance 4
126 10 Mawdryn Undead 4
127 11 Terminus 4
128 12 Enlightenment 4
129 13 The King’s Demons 2
130 14 The Five Doctors 1
131 15 Warriors of the Deep 4
132 16 The Awakening 2
133 17 Frontios 4
134 18 Resurrection of the Daleks 4
135 19 Planet of Fire 4
136 20 The Caves of Androzani 4
Colin Baker
137 1 The Twin Dilemma 4
138 2 Attack of the Cybermen 2
139 3 Vengeance on Varos 2
140 4 The Mark of the Rani 2
141 5 The Two Doctors 3
142 6 Timelash 2
143 7 Revelation of the Daleks 2
144 8 The Mysterious Planet 4
145 9 Mindwarp 4
146 10 Terror of the Vervoids 4
147 11 The Ultimate Foe 2
Sylvester McCoy
148 1 Time and the Rani 4
149 2 Paradise Towers 4
150 3 Delta and the Bannermen 3
151 4 Dragonfire 3
152 5 Remembrance of the Daleks 4
153 6 The Happiness Patrol 3
154 7 Silver Nemesis 3
155 8 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy 4
156 9 Battlefield 4
157 10 Ghost Light 3
158 11 The Curse of Fenric 4
159 12 Survival 3
Paul McGann
160 The (FOX) TV-Movie 1
Animated Special The Scream of the Shalka 6 15-min. eps.
Christopher Eccleston
Series 1
161 1 Rose
162 2 The End of the World
163 3 The Unquiet Dead
164 4 Aliens of London
165 5 World War Three
166 6 Dalek
167 7 The Long Game
168 8 Father’s Day
169 9 The Empty Child
170 10 The Doctor Dances
171 11 Boom Town
172 12 Bad Wolf
173 13 The Parting of the Ways
David Tennant
Series 2
174 Special The Christmas Invasion
175 1. New Earth
176 2. Tooth and Claw
177 3. School Reunion
178 4. The Girl in the Fireplace
179 5. Rise of the Cybermen
180 6. The Age of Steel
181 7. The Idiot’s Lantern
182 8. The Impossible Planet
183 9. The Satan Pit
184 10. Love and Monsters
185 11. Fear Her
186 12. Army of Ghosts
187 13. Doomsday
Series 3
188 Special The Runaway Bride
189 1. Smith and Jones
190 2. The Shakespeare Code
191 3. Gridlock
192 4. Daleks in Manhatten
193 5. Evolution of the Daleks
194 6. The Lazarus Experiment
195 7. 42
196 8. Human Nature
197 9. The Family of Blood
198 10. Blink
199 11. Utopia
200 12. The Sound of Drums
201 13. Last of the Time Lords
Animated Special The Infinite Quest
Series 4
202 Special Voyage of the Damned
203 1. Partners in Crime
204 2. Fires of Pompeii
205 3. The Planet of the Ood
206 4. The Sontaran Stratagem
207 5. The Poison Sky
208 6. The Doctor’s Daughter
209 7. The Unicorn and the Wasp
210 8. Silence in the Library
211 9. Forest of the Dead
212 10. Midnight
213 11 Turn Left
214 12 This Stolen Earth
215 13. Journey’s End
The Specials (Series 4.5)
216 Special The Next Doctor
217 Special Planet of the Dead
218 Special The Waters of Mars
219 Special The End of Time, Part 1
220 Special The End of Time, Part 2
Animated Special Dreamland 1
Matt Smith
Series 5
221 1. The Eleventh Hour
222 2. The Beast Below
223 3. Victory of the Daleks
224 4. The Time of Angels
225 5. Flesh and Stone
226 6. The Vampires of Venice
227 7. Amy’s Choice
228 8. The Hungry Earth
229 9. Cold Blood
230 10. Vincent and the Doctor
231 11. The Lodger
232 12. The Pandorica Opens
233 13. The Big Bang
234 Special A Christmas Carol
Series 6
235 1. The Impossible Astronaut
236 2. Day of the Moon
237 3. Curse of the Black Spot
238 4. The Doctor’s Wife
239 5. The Rebel Flesh
240 6. The Almost People
241 7. A Good Man Goes to War
242 8. Let’s Kill Hitler
243 9. Night Terrors
244 10. The Girl Who Waited
245 11. The God Complex
246 12. Closing Time
247 13. The Wedding of River Song
248 Special The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe
Series 7
249 1. Asylum of the Daleks
250 2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
251 3. A Town Called Mercy
252 4. The Power of Three
253 5. The Angels Take Manhatten
254 Special The Snowmen
255 6. The Bells of St. John
256 7. The Rings of Akhaten
257 8. Cold War
258 9. Hide
259260 10. Journey to the Center of the TARDIS
261 11. The Crimson Horror
262 12. Nightmare in Silver
263 13. The Name of the Doctor
264 Special The Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary Special
265 Special The Time of the Doctor
Peter Capaldi
Series 8
266 1. Deep Breath
267 2. Into the Dalek
268 3. Robot of Sherwood
269 4. Listen
270 5. Time Heist
271 6. The Caretaker
272 7. Kill the Moon
273 8. Mummy on the Orient Express
274 9. Flatline
275 10. In the Forest of the Night
276 11. Dark Water
277 12. Death in Heaven
278 Special Last Christmas

Agile Update – Week 15

Last week wasn’t great in terms of getting things done. A big part of that was not having Internet. The new modem arrived late Tuesday, and I installed it on Wednesday, which included spending over an hour on the phone with my provider (the “customer service associate” I spoke with first had absolutely no clue – none. The second guy, after I escalated the call did know what he was doing, and was able to talk me through programming the satellite dish – with the exact longitude, latitude of the house and the azimuth of their satellite.) I will say, though, that once I finally got it working, my Internet – which had been lousy even before the power outages, improved.

I did get to lab to work on my portfolio in InDesign, but only one day. I also did my Pilates once last week – two sets, one for arms with hand weights (little mini bar bells). I paid my tuition for Summer, and ordered and received my textbooks. One thing I did get done over the weekend was download all the sample files, exercises, and other on-line resources for not only the three books that were assigned for my Summer class – but for the two books I bought myself:  Adobe Photoshop Revealed and Adobe Illustrator Revealed.  So I have everything ready.

Only two posts last week, my Agile update, and one movie review that was posted to both Blogger and WordPress. I also reviewed a book on GoodReads, and updated an older post on my Live Journal, as well as posting one of my older GoodReads reviews over on Live Journal. I don’t use Live Journal that much anymore, but I like to keep my account active.

Much of my weekend was spent playing Rise of Nations, Rise of Legends.

I’m hoping my schedule will be back to normal this week and I can get things done, especially in terms of movie reviews, writing articles, and posting entries here on WordPress.

The Thomas Crown Affair

  • Title:  The Thomas Crown Affair
  • Director:  John McTiernan
  • Date:  1999
  • Studio:  MGM
  • Genre:  Romance, Action
  • Cast:  Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Faye Dunaway
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“Regret is usually a waste of time. As is gloating. Have you figured out what you’re gonna’ say to your board when they learn that you paid me $30 Million more than others were offering?” – Thomas Crown

“It’s obvious that you like men, but you never keep any of them around very long, either.” – Thomas Crown
“Oh, well, men make women messy.” – Catherine

“You really think there’s happy ever after for people like us?” – Catherine

The Thomas Crown Affair is a fun, romantic, romp – in both senses of the word – romance. Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a very successful and rich businessman who has made his multi-billion dollar fortune by acquiring other businesses, then selling them off. The realities of such a source of income aren’t explored – basically, he’s rich, successful, lonely, and bored.

Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) is a highly successful insurance investigator and bounty hunter. She makes her considerable fortune collecting a portion of the recovery fee from high stakes art theft recovery.

Michael McCann (Denis Leary) is a cop, who – we find at the end of the film – would rather work homicides, or help abused women and kids then worry about a multi-million dollar art theft.

The film opens with Crown starring at a painting of haystacks in the Impressionist wing of a large unnamed art museum in New York. He apparently does this a lot, as one of the museum guards recognizes him and the two also make small talk. Meanwhile, the loading dock workers are surprised when a large crate is delivered. They are expecting an Egyptian sarcophagus, but instead a large Greek horse sculpture was delivered instead. Soon, a group of men break out of the horse and attempt to steal paintings from the museum. They are caught, but an investigation quickly indicates that a Monet, worth $100,000 million dollars is now missing from the museum. The Monet will be the McGuffin of the film – it also brings together the main characters.

Leary’s Mike McCann, is a tough, wisecracking, swearing, New York City cop who would rather investigate a murder or do anything else other than investigate an art theft. But he’s called in, and his initial sweep of the Impressionist wing, isn’t successful – either in finding the missing Monet, nor in understanding how the crime occurred or what the thieves were trying to accomplish. But even Mike, appreciates the slightly twisted humor of the Trojan Horse being used to gain access to the museum.

During his initial investigation, Catherine arrives. Much more experienced in investigating art thefts – she corrects nearly every assumption Mike’s made. They spark some. It’s Catherine, who realizes that the showy and unsuccessful attempted theft was a distraction, so the Monet could be stolen by someone else – and she and Mike immediately suspect Crown.

The resulting cat-and-mouse game has Catherine and Mike attempting to catch Crown and get the Monet back. This is complicated by Crown’s romantic pursuit of Catherine. Mike sees Crown’s interest as a way for him to keep her off-balance so he doesn’t get caught. Mike is also jealous of Crown – not necessarily simply his money and success, but he would like to become romantically involved with Catherine himself – though he knows she wouldn’t be interested in a plain, blue-collar, cop like him, especially when she could easily have a rich, successful, businessman like Crown.

Crown romantically pursues Catherine – dancing with her in a club, taking her home for a steamy session of sex, taking her for a flying lesson in his glider, and then taking her away for a weekend to his Caribbean Island get away. Their romance is intercut with the investigation by both the police and Catherine of the art theft. On Crown’s side, his romance is intercut with sessions with his psychologist, played by Faye Dunaway. She points out his deep distrust of women.

Trust will be a re-occurring theme of the film. Can two extremely rich people really trust someone new? Especially when that person may have a reason to not be trusted? Catherine has trouble trusting Crown because not only did he probably steal the Monet – but he may be only using her affection to get away with the crime. For his part, Thomas Crown has reason to not trust Catherine – after all, she could find evidence of his illegal activities – and have him arrested.

The Thomas Crown Affair  is stylish, smart, bold, romantic, and steamy. The music is wonderful, though my (very cheap) copy seems to be missing some of the music. Setting the story firmly in the art world gives it a gloss that a similar romantic film in another setting wouldn’t have. There’s some wonderful direction of the initial theft, and Crown’s crazy plan to return the Monet – let’s just say, The Purloined Letter, and leave it at that. Brosnan is sexy, and plays his smart, rags-to-riches character well. Russo is also sexy and smart.

I enjoyed seeing this film again. It’s more of a romance than a caper film – the stolen Monet really is no more than a McGuffin. Russo has excellent chemistry with both Crown and Mike. And the film has the last minute twist-that-isn’t-really-unexpected that works for this type of romantic film. Overall, it’s a great role for Brosnan, and I wish he would make more of this type of romantic film.

The Thomas Crown Affair is a remake of the film of the same name from 1968 starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. In my opinion, and I’m sure a lot of people would disagree with me – the modern film is better. Personally, I really dislike Steve McQueen – he gives me the creeps, and he’s so icy and cold. McQueen’s the type of actor I constantly expect in his roles to turn out to be a serial killer or something, and I just cannot watch him. Dunaway is also a cold actress, and I just can’t see her playing a romantic role well (though in the 1960s, icy blondes were popular in romantic and suspense films.) Brosnan is much better as a romantic hero – and he gives Crown the depth of someone who is emotionally closed off, and what that costs him. Russo is the exact opposite of cold. Leary adds to the plot, giving the 1999 film a much more modern feeling.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating: 3 out of 5 (Slightly predictable)
Next film:  The Three Musketeers (1993)