STUDIO: Universal Music & Video
MSRP: $24.98
Music Video Commentaries:
Rabbit in Your Headlights:
With Dennis Lavant (in French, subtitled) and James Lavelle
Into My Arms: With Nick Cave
A Song for the Lovers: With Richard Ashcroft
The Universal: with Graham Coxon
Virtual Insanity: with Jay Kay
Karmacoma: with 3D
Sexy Beast: Ray Winstone and Sir Ben Kingsley
Birth: Nicole Kidman, Danny Huston, Jean Claude Carriere,
cinematographer Harris Savidas and Milo Addica
Featurette: Diary of a Lunatic

I have a tough time thinking back to when I actually gave that much of a damn about music videos. Back in the day, I had to go over to my buddy’s house to watch MTV (back when MTV actually played videos) because we didn’t have cable. There I’d get treated to Michael Jackson (back when he still looked like Michael Jackson) videos like Beat It or Billie Jean or even better, Thriller. There was The Police with the cool videos from Synchronicity. Dire Straits, early Madonna, Duran Duran, Elton John, hair metal bands like Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Cinderella, etc. The ‘90s was when I really could get into videos because we had cable and I went to college where we had cable in the dorms or fraternity house. But as we’ve moved into the 21st, and hip hop has dominated our culture, videos more and more are becoming the same: big booty girls (though I ain’t mad at that), rappers in front of Benzes or Bentleys bling bling-ing and the 20 guys in basketball jerseys who don’t really do anything except stand around with their pimp cups and mack on said big booty girls. They’re shot from 20 different angles and edited together at such a pace as to make your eyes explode when you watch them. But it seems, that even when videos do try to do something different, it’s some artsy fartsy crap that loses me anyway. So what do I do? I sit back and watch the big booty girls of course.

"My bitch better have my money…"

To say that I don’t quite live for music videos like I used to is a pretty accurate statement. The only video directors I can name off the top of my head are Hype Williams and formerly, David Fincher. So when the opportunity came to check out the work of video / commercial / film director Jonathan Glazer, I thought I might try something different.

The Work


Radiohead – Karma Police: One of the more simply-directed videos you’re likely to come across, and quite strange. Half of it is a POV shot from the driver’s seat of a car that takes off down a countryside road slowly after some guy who is being chased. Occasionally, we get a pan to reveal that Radiohead front man Thom Yorke is the blasé passenger who is singing as we drive. Eventually the man being chased gives up the run and turns the tables on his pursuers. This was a cool song and cool video.

"Yes could we have another round of Cosmopolitans and the latest issue of Men’s Health please?"

Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity: This is the only video of Glazer’s that I’d ever seen before. And it’s easy to remember for two reasons: the ultra cool use of a floating set and stationary furniture, along with forced perspective…and Jay Kay’s sick pimp hat. This is one of the cleverest videos I’ve ever seen. The song is good too.

UNKLE with Thom Yorke – Rabbit in Your Headlights: A homeless man in a parka who looks like he lost a fight with a polar bear roams a crowded tunnel as cars zoom by him, occasionally turning him into roadkill as UNKLE’s melancholy song plays in the background. The man then picks himself up and continues on his journey before he’s run over again and again. Then the man finally strips off the parka and gives one unlucky motorist the surprise of his life. Cool-ass video.

Richard Ashcroft – A Song for the Lovers: A simple offering of a shirtless young man listening to the song in his hotel room. Room service arrives and there may or may not be someone else in the room with the young man. This wasn’t the best video by far, but there is a nice little bit of suspense that builds to an unexpected conclusion at the end.

Hands down the most impressive and shocking music video special effect ever was when this nameless extra shot water out of his ass…

Radiohead – Street Spirit:
Glazer’s homage to trailer park life…in the twilight zone. Stop and start motion and slow motion along with double exposures and black and white mood lighting. This is definitely one of those more arty kind of deals, but I found it interesting to watch.

Massive Attack – Karmacoma: A bunch or weirdos doing weird shit in a joint that could pass for the hotel in The Shining. Things that stand out in this video: an oily guy who’s preoccupied with his navel, teenage Village of the Damned twins, a guy in his underwear with a seriously pierced tongue, and a Goodfella who appears to be lost. Never studied Massive Attack before, but I did recognize the guy who was a Mangalore in The Fifth Element.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Into My Arms: A bunch of people of various ethnicities crying into the camera shot in black and white. Quite moving and quite boring at the same time. Not crazy about the song either.

Blur – The Universal: Probably the weirdest of his videos. A performance piece from Blur in a Kubrick-inspired martini bar while more weirdos do weird shit. Things that stand out in this video: a Red Man who used to be Blue, a giant golf ball with a sound system in it, old twins with rose-colored glasses drinking martinis and a side trip to a housing project.

It was there, alone in his room, unkempt and penniless, when Nunziata finally realized that blowing the Meg deal by insisting on a Ron cartoon might not have been the best decision…


Eleven commercials for products spanning Levis’ and Wrangler Jeans, Guinness Beer, Volkswagen, Stella Artois Beer, and Barclay’s financial services. Any one of these could be that one really good commercial that you see during the Super Bowl. Hell, many of these are better than any you see during the Super Bowl. The problem here in America is that our commercials don’t have the time to tell really good stories. But it seems in Europe directors have more of a free reign to work the products their pitching. I enjoyed many of the commercials more than Glazer’s videos. For one, he wasn’t hampered by the song of the video and was able to use his own musical choices.

He does two Barclay’s Financial commercials with Samuel L. Jackson where he just tracks as Jackson spouts off a long diatribe of a literal “he said, he said.” Then for Levis he features a young man and woman crashing through walls and running up woodland trees ala Crouching Tiger on their way to the moon and beyond; as well as a kung fu odyssey with Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street) as he makes his way to the laundromat. There’s one for Volkswagen where he features a lot of slow motion of people fighting fires or boxing or in a riot, including having police riot dogs snap at one poor bastard’s head at 100+ frames a second.

Poor Fred found out the hard way that the New Orleans Police Department was quite serious about jaywalking…

But like in America, it seems the best commercials are beer commercials and some of Glazer’s better works are for Guinness and Stella Artois. There’s an extended cut of a commercial called Surfer that features riding breaks with white horses jumping out of the waves. Another features Catholic priests who are eager to rescue one of their own when he falls through the ice with a delivery of Stella Artois – but it turns out they’re more interested in the beer than him when they make him dive back in to retrieve it. Another Guinness commercial features the yearly race between a aging yet popular local Olympic swimmer and a pint of Guinness as it pours out of the tap. The kicker is that the race is a little rigged. Then there’s another Stella Artois commercial where a son goes on a long journey to bring his dying father a pint of Stella Artois. But he downs it on the way home and looks to the clergy to find a scapegoat. Another weird Guinness commercial involves a local pub patron who dreams of the meaning of life and of squirrels sharing a pint.


Any one of these commercials kicks ass and is completely wild and different. Glazer runs the gamut from slow, moving shots and down-tempo, moving music, to frenzied images with high energy music. I think collectively these were an even better example of his work than the videos.


There are two excerpts from Glazer’s films, Sexy Beast and Birth. The first features a scene between Ben Kingsley as he spouts off the f-bomb every other millisecond and Ray Winstone as he sits there and takes it. The other is the long tracking shot of the opening where Nicole Kidman’s husband is jogging before he collapses and dies and is subsequently “reborn.” There are also interviews with Winstone and Kingsley for Sexy Beast and Nicole Kidman, Danny Huston, Jean Claude Carriere, cinematographer Harris Savidas and Milo Addica for Birth.

The first CHUD caption guaranteed to be protested by Native Americans…

Glazer has a striking visual style that draws obvious comparisons to Stanley Kubrick. I can see the similarities, but quite honestly, Kubrick never floated my boat beyond mid-tide. However, I found Glazer’s style to be highly unique and imaginative, with a broad range of techniques and ideas and images. He tends to favor long tracking shots, slo-mo, loners and lost souls and chaos. Fans of Glazer are going to get their hearts delight with this offering.

8.6 out of 10

The Look

The look of this DVD is really in fact what this DVD is all about as it’s a director’s showcase, and there’s definitely a lot showcased here. The videos and commercials look fantastic and Glazer’s style as a director of the film medium is beyond question. What really stands out on this disc is the menus themselves, as they follow a nameless homeless man (possibly Glazer himself, couldn’t tell) around a city, checking out the subway, a furniture store and being hounded by a documentarian with a camera.

9.4 out of 10

It was good to see that Stone Cold still enjoyed a good beer in his golden years…

The Noise

Since half of the disc is music videos, there’s plenty of audio to be had here. Haunting tunes from Radiohead and UNKLE with Thom Yorke, to Jamiroquai’s groovy track, Virtual Insanity. None of the songs really rattle the speakers as most of them here are ballads or slow tempo offerings. But Glazer’s real musical style is offered in his commercials as he uses up-tempo party beats, classical music and also some slow music for his slow motion projects. The whole thing is offered in Dolby Stereo and just sounds fantastic

9.0 out of 10

The Goodies

Along with the interviews for Sexy Beast and Birth, there’s the following interviews and commentaries:

Rabbit in Your Headlights: With Dennis Lavant (in French, subtitled) and James Lavelle
Into My Arms: With Nick Cave
A Song for the Lovers: With Richard Ashcroft
The Universal: with Graham Coxon
Virtual Insanity: with Jay Kay
Karmacoma: with 3D

"Hey Buddy, you almost done back there?"
"Yes, Mr. Aiken…"

The commentaries I was most into were Jay Kay’s take on his video and the one for Rabbit In Your Headlights. Nick Cave’s commentary was about as exciting as his video and Graham Coxon reveals in his commentary that he actually doesn’t like doing videos very much, even though his is one of the most visually striking of the bunch.

There’s also an eight-minute home movie-style interview / rap session with a band called Diary of a Lunatic, where they discuss their low-budget video. One disappointing fact is that Glazer himself is never heard from for any of the projects shown here (at least not that I could tell). Nevertheless, for hardcore fans, there’s plenty here for you to satisfy your appetite.

7.3 out of 10

Tunnel farts are the deadliest farts…

The Artwork

Kind of surprised that of all the images to be had from Jonathan Glazer works, they’d go with this one from Radiohead’s Street Spirit. It’s unusual but doesn’t particularly grab you. There is, however, a 56-page booklet filled with photographs, sketches, storyboards and interviews that makes up for it ten times over.

5.0 out of 10

Overall: 8.8 out of 10