I’ve watched five DVDs from 2004. That’s enough for a list! I’m afraid number 1 is going to be appearing at the top, because I can’t work out away to get lists to appear upside down.
- Ricky Gervais Live 2: Politics
Officially the funniest man in the world, Ricky Gervais returns to the sort of hilarious stuff he used to do on The 11 O’Clock Show. Indeed, I’m sure that some of the stuff on this DVD has been recycled from The 11 O’Clock Show. But I can’t complain. I don’t think anybody has made me laugh as much as Ricky Gervais has. I do not exaggerate when I say that Politics is unmissable.
Not only do you get Gervais’ full stand-up routine, which is worth the cost of the DVD in itself, but there are also plenty of extras. ‘Meet Karl Pilkington’ is just brilliant. This DVD is just a must-have; I cannot fault it.
- The Day Today
This has probably been the most-played DVD of the year. You can keep on watching and watching, and it still doesn’t get any less funny. Despite the fact that the programme is now ten years old, this news spoof is still as relevant as ever.
My only real problem with The Day Today is the non-news bits – The Bureau especially. What has it got to do with news? And it isn’t even funny. However, the extras are good. Amongst the extras are all the ‘mininews’ episodes and the pilot episode, which makes for interesting viewing.
One of the easter eggs is an audio-only two-way between Chris Morris’ pompous newsreader character and inept economics correspondent Peter O’Hanraha-hanrahan during the September 11th attacks. It must not be missed. With two DVDs’ worth of material, this is definitely worth the money.
- The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of all Time / Radiohead Television
More free petrol please Radiohead’s slightly misfiring project designed to promote their 2003 album Hail to the Thief released on DVD. It takes the form of four ‘television programmes’, one of which hadn’t previously been seen. It is described as “twenty-four short films with music by Radiohead”, which kind of hits the nail on the head.
The short films are all animations which were submitted in a competition. As such, it’s a wee bit hit-and-miss, but there’s more than enough hit to make sitting through the miss worthwhile. And it also means that, animation wise, it’s quite varied. Lots of interesting things going on.
And, best of all, there is plenty of previously unreleased and amazing Radiohead music to sink your teeth into. Fantastic stuff. I would say if you’re itching to hear new Radiohead, this DVD is a must because this certainly isn’t leftovers.
Episode 4 is the best of the lot. Lots of fantastic music, great animations, and a brilliant video for I Might be Wrong.
I think it’s only available through WASTE. So go go go.
- WarpVision: The Videos 1989-2004 / Watch and Repeat Play
Spot the difference A video retrospective from Warp Records, spanning from the very early low-budget videos directed by Jarvis Cocker to the slick modern-day CG videos.
I have to say, once again it’s a bit hit-and-miss. Watching the early videos is a bit painful sometimes. But before you know it we’re into the late 1990s, Warp’s heyday. Indeed, well over half the videos were made in just these past five years.
Like the Radiohead DVD, some of these videos were entered into competitions, and this is one of the most contentious parts for me. I think that the wrong videos were chosen for Chris Clark’s Gob Coitus, Mira Calix’s Little Numba and Prefuse 73’s Half of What. Luckily, you can still view the alternatives on the original competition website.
Particular low points of the DVD for me are Jimi Tenor’s Midsummers Night (quite a cheesy song; Jimi Tenor isn’t really my thing), and the video for Beans’ Mutescreamer (lipsynching in the forest, yess!). But there are plenty of great videos, and with a slideshow of classic Warp album artwork making up one of the extras, this DVD is a fine round-up of Warp’s visuals.
The best thing about the DVD, though, is the extra CD that comes with it – Watch and Repeat Play. You can check out my review of that here.
- 50 Years of Formula 1 On-Board
With a title like that, how can you go wrong with this DVD? All too easily, so it seems. When you think of all the information you can cram onto a DVD, this seems like such a waste of an opportunity.
Sure, there is plenty of great footage. Indeed, some of it goes back fifty years. But there’s just so little of it. It amounts to about five or ten minutes of footage per era. And only about two thirds of what’s there is on-board footage. The last twenty minutes or so of the DVD are taken up by a run down of each Formula 1 World Championship winners (although I have to say some of the footage of these drivers, whilst not on-board, is pretty good). I can’t help but feel that they could have done so much more in terms of on-board action.
What is there, though, is great. A trip round part of the notorious ‘old’ Nürburgring. Ayrton Senna’s hair-raising qualifying lap for the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher sparring at the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix.
But best of all is the on-board footage of what is probably my favourite overtaking manoeuvre – Mika Häkkinen overtaking Michael Schumacher whilst they both simultaneously lapped Ricardo Zonta, sandwiched in between the two champions, at the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix. We get to sit on-board with Häkkinen for over a lap before the manoeuvre itself; we watch as he gradually reigns Schumacher in. As the Finn makes his move, the camera switches to an on-board view of Zonta. One can only imagine what it must have been like to see Schumacher and Häkkinen at either side of you, braking for the corner. Absolutely fantastic footage.
Nevertheless, I still feel that this DVD could have been so much better.
What does 2005 hold DVD-wise? Well, you tell me, cos I haven’t got a clue. Maybe that Plaid DVD will be released at last.