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Tim's Vermeer Reviews

Page 1 of 5

Super Reviewer

February 17, 2014
'Tim's Vermeer'. One man's curiosity and capacity for obsession detailed in a painstakingly entertaining way. Who says art and technology are at opposite ends of the spectrum?

Seeing the months it took, I really what drove Vermeer, or what drove anyone of that era to create paintings like they did?

Super Reviewer

March 6, 2014
As an inventor and special effects innovator, Tim Jenison probably deserves having a documentary made about him just on those criteria alone. But it is his investigation into 17th century painter Johannes Vermeer who was renowned for photographic like realism in his paintings that is of interest in the fascinating and entertaining documentary "Tim's Vermeer" from Penn & Teller.

Due to not wanting contemporaries stealing ideas from him(and probably also to mess with future art historians), Vermeer left behind no notes on his methods. However, certain art historians have theorized that he created his famous paintings with mirrors, or more precisely a camera obscura. That's where Tim Jenison comes into the picture and the documentary by using his engineering expertise to recreate the conditions necessary, first on a copy of a modern photograph of his father-in-law(signed with a black felt tip pen, no less), followed by a reconstruction of one of Vermeer's paintings with a little help from some of the most patient family imaginable.(To be honest, I do suspect there was a little horsetrading involved.)

Not only does all of which not take away from the magic of the paintings, but actually puts us all in awe of the painstaking tasks it took to create such great art. This was at a time when Vermeer had to create all of the geometry of his setup from scratch.
John B

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2013
Penn and Teller's documentary on their friend and his discoveries about the likely painting style of Vermeer is really really good. P & T deserve special credit for realizing that the film works well with them out of it. They got a fantastic composer to boot.

Super Reviewer

January 19, 2014
A fascinating, funny, creatively inspiring documentary about one man's obsession with finding the truth behind a painting master. It not only stands as a terrific documentary, but what it discovers about the art world will forever change how we look at art from the past. However you can find this film, you just have to see it.
March 21, 2014
Art isn't easy. Not even if you have technological accoutrements. Or rather, mirrors. In the outstanding documentary Tim's Vermeer, inventor Tim Jenison proposes a daring and provocative theory: that 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer cheated. Well, not exactly. Jenison, the founder of New Tek and innovative creator in computer graphics, has long believed that Vermeer achieved his masterpieces with the help of optical devices of the period, including camera obscura and simple mirrors. It may be why his paintings are so photo realistic. Jenison gets expert input from artist David Hockney and author-mathematician Philip Steadman to lend real credibility to his argument. But more importantly, Jenison sets out to actually test his theory by reproducing the scene of Vermeer's "The Music Lesson" in a studio warehouse in San Antonio, Texas, using only what materials would have been available to Vermeer in the 1600's and actually trace it onto canvas. Just like watching paint dry yes? Wrong. Tim's Vermeer plays out like a riveting detective story. Jenison spent five years straight with his experiment, enlisting his friends, magic-and-comedy team Penn and Teller to direct and narrate his story. Jenison's mission is not to challenge Vermeer's genius for composition and concept, but to show that art and technology aren't mutually exclusive, and may have been friends for a lot longer than originally realized. It's a trip worth taking.
March 1, 2014
OK, my feelings about this film may be a little inflated because of the setting I saw it in: a packed house at the True/False film fest complete with a Q&A with Tim Jenison afterwards. But there is no way this isn't a fascinating film dealing with art, invention, and obsession!
April 16, 2014
Even if you have no clue who Veemer was you can still dig the stimulating documentary about Paintings, Optical Gizmos, & Art History as retold by magicians Penn & Teller
Mark S.
April 10, 2014
Pretty good movie, but suffers from poor direction and pacing. Well worth watching nonetheless! Some interviews were shot with completely mismatched cameras or camera settings! Really amateurish at times.
April 7, 2014
I saw this terrific documentary 3 weeks ago in Red Bank. It is STILL PLAYING at the
The Showcase on Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park. Can you believe a documentary staying
in local theaters that must be good.

When I learned it had to do with art/painting/history etc. I cringed. My Dad is a world
reknown art historian, my Mom was into the arts, my 4 siblings are into art and me, the black
sheep, agonized when we were taken to an art museum (seen 'em all). I have a great
memory of going to the Louvre 40 years ago with the family and my Dad insisting that
I give it at least 15 insides look at incredible art before bolting for the gift shop or
going outside to bounce a ball on the stairs,

So this is a documentary about notes computer graphics/inventor guy named
Tim Jenison (new name to me) who is smitten to uncover how an iconic Dutch painter
name Johannes Vermeer (Painted "Girl with a Pearl Earring" - I know from the movie of
the same name starring Scarlett Johanson) could paint such a life like paint that is looked
like a photo 150 years before photography was invented.

Clearly Mr. Jenison had the time, $ and ingenuity to tinker, test and tweak
(this project takes like nearly 10 years). He creates an invention/tool that he thinks
Vemeer might have stumbled upon 300 years earlier and explaiins ifs
amazing painting ability unlike any other.

His journey takes him to English coast where Vermeer would paint, to meet noted
artist David Hockey and even to Buckingham palace where the Queen has a Vermeer.

Directed by famed magician and friendTeller (of Penn and Teller fame) , this was so fascinating
Then he comes back home (Texas) I think Vermeer actually builds at exact historic
replication of the room of the painting to capture all its details.

This painstaking, time consuming, obviously expensive and incredible reproduction
sets the stage for a most fascinating documentary - seriously.

Go see it.
April 5, 2014
I went and saw this as a lover of Vermeer's work and as an art teacher. Several weeks prior, I was fortunate enough to see some of Vermeer's work being shown at the Frick Museum. Watching this movie gave me a whole new perspective to what I observed. Granted, yes there times when it felt a bit long, but this really was eye opening about what Vermeer could have possibly done in his time. It was truly quite fascinating to see this man go through the painstaking labor of love that only another artist (no matter what the field of study, from visual arts to science) can understand.
April 3, 2014
i saw it and loved it. Original subject and fascinating mystery.
March 29, 2014
Great documentary about a fascinating subject. Vermeer has long been my favorite artist, ever since my first tour of Europe over thirty years ago. The rediscovery of his secrets does nothing to dampen my appreciation for the work.
March 26, 2014
Loved this documentary and Tim did the work in San Antonio! Wonderful movie about the connections of science, art, technology, thinking, drafting, creativity and genius with humor too.
February 18, 2014
I loved this movie, a story of a man obsessed. The art, the science and the skepticism were great. Well directed and edited.
March 19, 2014
Probably the most enjoyable movie ever made that involves watching paint dry.
March 19, 2014
This movie takes an interesting, occasionally exhaustive look at one man's quest to prove that the Dutch Old Master Vermeer used an intricate system of mirrors and optics to render his paintings essentially photographically onto the canvas. And how does he prove it? By duplicating the setting of one such painting and painting it himself from scratch. Over the course of several YEARS of research and assembly, and months of often painstaking brushwork.

Narrated by Penn and directed by Teller of the magician duo Penn and Teller, guest-starring Martin Mull and a number of art experts, this film is both educational and very, very interesting. Not to be missed.
March 17, 2014
Better then I expected!
March 16, 2014
Fun to watch, but I'm not entirely convinced. It seems like the logic is backward, but the process is very entertaining.
March 16, 2014
Just got home from seeing Tim's Vermeer. Amazing movie, amazing man, amazing discovery. If you like art and hearing and watching an increbile story of what man can do when he decides to, this is your movie. Only 80 minutes long. Loved it.
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