Various The Work of Director Mark Romanek

When it comes to big money, career-defining, memorable videos in the commercial sphere no one beats Mark Romanek. Spike Jonze is cleverer and Michel Gondry is more arty, but Romanek consistently puts arresting images next to smash hits, and he's so good he can actually make you not hate a horrible song with a compelling video (see Michael and Janet Jackson's "Scream"). In the course of his career, he's made an icon out of Lenny Kravitz (performance stunner "Are You Going to Go My Way"), he captured the final images of another icon (Johnny Cash's "Hurt," a video that prompts honest, choked-up emotion) and gunned down a third (in Romanek's only hip-hop video to date, he portrays the death of Jay-Z in "99 Problems"). It's actually shocking just how many of the memorable clips of the last 15 years bear his stamp, and how diverse they are in look and conception, a list that includes Audioslave (their fireworks/performance "Cochise" was Romanek's toughest ever); Nine Inch Nails' "Perfect Drug," Madonna's "Rain"; Eels' "Novocain For the Soul" and Linkin Park's "Faint." Sometimes Romanek's powerful vision has unintended effects, like the backlash that Fiona Apple suffered for her near child-porn "Criminal" video. (In the included interview clips, she says "We can be friends again," after she badmouthed the director for years.) There's an artist montage of clients saying repeatedly that Romanek is a "perfectionist," but you can't argue with the results, which always show up on screen. "The bands' subjective experience [of a video shoot] isn't that important," Romanek says unrepentantly. "It's better to have a good time than a bad time, but it's all about the camera." One of the few directors that has a seemingly perfect sense of vision and song, with impeccable taste in music and how to capture an artist in fascinating, compelling ways. For big budget, artful but populist clips that endure, Romanek is the brand name of choice. Plus: making of "99 Problems" featurette, interviews, more. (Palm Pictures)