David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • Boxing cleverThe astonishing thing about this riveting documentary by Stuart Douglas is that at just two minutes and fifty-seven seconds, it's shorter than a round of boxing.
    • Sounds good to usWhat a lovely little film for designer label COS - bringing to attention the crisp tailoring of its Autumn / Winter collection via the medium of sound.
    • Glazer's Magic DustGlazer has captured the spectacle of Florence's Calcio Storico for Canon.
    • Compromising positionsThe scenarios in this delightful ad show a deep understanding of the nature of parental compromise.
    • Do hold your breathA little boy holds his breath throughout the day as if trying to break some kind of record in this Cancer Society of Finland film.
    • Dying DaysThis commercial by Simon Ratigan is an absolutely gorgeous evocation of the Guardian's Weekend supplement.
    • Stop right thereGive up smoking? Are you having a laugh?
    • Back to basics (not Asics)This sterling piece of work for Reebok promoting its Classics range takes us to the North West where the brand began.
    • Do you want a bride with that?You can fit a lot into your lunchtime if you grab something to eat from KFC.
    • N-R-M-A, I Wanna Go To The N-R-M-AThis insurance commercial from Australia uses a tried and trusted formula to draw attention to the idea that we all want something better.

THE BLACK BOX

JASON:

Have you seen that new Gaviscon ad?

ALICE:

The one with the twins?

JASON:

That's it... John and James.

ALICE:

Horrible. Would you want to go to bed with a man who wears pyjamas and cries?

JASON:

Er, no. Not that there's anything wrong with that sort of thing.

ALICE:

Indeed. Bit much to poison them though.

JASON:

Eh? Gaviscon's not a poison.

ALICE:

I think you'll find it is.


Short Films
"Boxer"
2 mins 53s
15 September 2014

The astonishing thing about this riveting documentary by Stuart Douglas is that at just two minutes and fifty-seven seconds, it's shorter than a round of boxing.

How is it possible to create so much engagement in such a short span of time when the piece feels so languid?

The sequences from the boxing match perfectly bring to life the protagonist's mixed metaphor of "you don't really hear nothing... tunnel vision, if you know what I mean." We certainly know what he means once we've seen the artful way it's been characterised on screen.

It's a vivid reminder too that even though many of us now associate East London with the bearded warriors of the Shoreditch Taliban, the old residents are clinging on to a entirely different set of traditions. Anyone whose memories stretch back to pre-hipsteric times will recognise these faces and these accents, and may well feel a pang of sadness that they're now so marginalised. It's good to see vestiges of an earlier London are still there if you look hard enough.

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COS
"Foley Artists"
2 mins 04s
16 September 2014

What a lovely little film for designer label COS - bringing to attention the crisp tailoring of its Autumn / Winter collection via the medium of sound. Directors Lernert Engleberts and Sander Plug worked with two foley artists who created a host of innovative and apt phonics for the purpose, and this stylish piece was the result.

It's delightful on several levels: first, there's the sheer unexpectedness of it all. We expect sound with our moving images on the whole, but we don't think about the fact that sometimes what we hear might have needed enhancing - or even creating from scratch, so to speak.

So there is the novelty of discovering a process behind the scenes that we're generally unconscious of, and also the realisation of how inventive that process needs to be.

In turn, that leads us to think about the detail and invention that goes into making the clothes on view. We infer that if the label is original enough to use sound design as a way of communicating its quality, it's also going to be original in its styling.

On top of this there's the minimalist clarity of the actual film, with its clean lines, strange selection of objects, and the two poker-faced foley artists (lovely performances from Freddie Webb and Joe Farley). It's fascinating stuff, and we love the skein of humour woven through it... to look at the serious faces of these two young men you'd never think their day job might require them to brush their own thighs with oven gloves.

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Canon
"Gladiator Football"
90s
15 September 2014

When you get Jonathan Glazer to direct your TV commercial, you inevitably raise the industry's expectations, and you undoubtedly hope the maestro's magic dust will be sprinkled liberally over the completed film.

So is it? Well, up to a point, Lord Copper.

Glazer has certainly captured the spectacle of Florence's Calcio Storico - an annual contest which has retained the brutality of football's medieval origins in an apparent free-for-all of physical violence. The shots are beautiful, and that's very much the point as the whole thing was filmed using commercially-available equipment made by Canon.

These cameras must be fantastic - but we can't help feeling a pang of disappointment that we don't actually get to see them. Although it would disturb the purity of the spectacle captured so beautifully by Glazer, wouldn't it have been better for Canon if this was a bit more of a 'making of' with glimpses of those filming the action?

We may be doing it an injustice as this is actually only one strand of a significant new integrated campaign and there may be other opportunities to appreciate the value of the cameras within other aspects of it.

But we're not sure about the music either. Aram Khachaturian's Sabre Dance is a striking piece and it suits the frantic action but it's not a bold choice. Anyone who's been watching the drama Gomorra on Sky Atlantic will have made the joyous discovery that Italian really lends itself to rap - how cool would this have been if that had been its soundtrack?

But, we don't want to end on that note because it's negative and this is genuinely a sparkling piece of work that deserves the five stars we've given it. That's what you get when you ask Jonathan Glazer to direct your commercial... as well as expectations that are hard to meet.

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Big Chop's Away

Post house Big Buoy have launched a new editing division called Big Chop under the stewardship of Colin Sumsion.

Big Chop's five editors have worked on a myriad of different projects and according to an enthusiastic press release, they're geared up and ready to go.

So... who's for the Chop, as it were?


CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

VW Tiguan
"Compromises"
60s
14 September 2014

The scenarios in this delightful ad show a deep understanding of the nature of parental compromise.

To the gentle strains of I'd Do Anything, a dad whose impulses and desires have been beaten and shaped into a passive receptacle filled with infinite patience cedes to his offsprings' wishes; missing the chance to witness a goal at the footie, sacrificing golf trips to take his princess to a party, and watching mind-numbing children's TV to keep his little girl company.

There's a sense of helplessness surrounding him as his family sweep past in the shoe shop; a feeling that life is happening to him without his having any control over it except to relinquish what he has piece by piece, including the storage space for his precious record collection. You can imagine that after years of being whittled away he will simply cease to be.

But there's a contentment behind his suppressed sighs and the gazes of regret. It's beautifully subtle, but what's played out is the understanding that the countless little sacrifices are part of the deal and - even while you're missing out on grown-up stuff - there's nothing like the pleasure you feel when your children are happy.

And there at the end is his car to fall back on, a solid, reliable friend who demands nothing of him when all he needs is a little respite. Alone in his Tiguan he is, temporarily, the master of his own domain again; taking time to regroup, enjoy the solitude, and look forward to heading back into the fray.

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Recent Promos

Metronomy
"Month of Sundays"
3 mins 30s
11 Sep 2014
This disorientating video for Metronomy's distinctive folk-pop track Month of Sundays is a superb piece of filming. Pinwheeling deliriously, its weightless feel is in direct contrast with the setting - slabby, monolothic residential blocks from the Brutalist school of architecture. If this is Cooper's debut music video, we have a lot to look forward to from him in the future.

Kwabs
"Walk"
3 mins 34s
10 Sep 2014
Kwabs' popularity continues to rise, and this soulful crowdpleaser is likely to contribute to his ascent. Singing about the best way to treat life - roll with whatever hand it deals you - he bounces through the city as his surroundings throb with the energy he gives off. Director David Mould does a great job of capturing the tone.

Glass Animals
"Hazey"
4 mins 01s
9 Sep 2014
Sensual, hypnotic and slightly alien, this video for Glass Animals' Hazey is the perfect accompaniment for the track. We love the instruments and arrangements on all their songs, but sometimes the songs themselves don't quite hit the spot for us. This video, though, with its focus on the fluidly double-jointed dancers, makes us want to listen and watch again and again.

JUCE
"Burning Up"
4 mins 12s
10 Sep 2014
Girlband JUCE are making quite a name for themselves, and this sunny number - filmed at Brixton Splash - has a real feelgood factor. Vibrant and laidback all at once, the atmosphere is captured perfectly by director Jess Colquhoun as one of those magical sunny London days brings everyone out into the streets to celebrate.

Alt-J
"Every Other Freckle"
3 mins 36s
10 Sep 2014
Alt-J's new album promises to be a stunner if the three releases so far are anything to go by. This latest comes with not one but two terrific promos: a dedicated 'boy' version and a dedication 'girl' version. We've gone with 'girl', but if you want to see the other, click on the boy version and decide for yourself which you prefer.

Daphne Guinness
"Evening in Space"
4 mins 12s
9 Sep 2014
THIS is why we have the British class system. How else could such OTT eccentricity ever be summonsed into existence? Former opera singer Daphne Guinness - blanketed from the grittier side of the world by birthright and genetics - has forayed into music videos in order to promote her debut album, out in September... and this piece of bonkersness is the result.

Banks
"Beggin for Thread"
4 mins 15s
6 Sep 2014
Banks smoulders with sensual menace in this video for her new track, Beggin for Thead. The thread she's begging for is "to sew up the hole you ripped in my head", which gives you a hint of the mood she's in; and the deliciously chiaroscuro lighting is an apt fit. Red-hued dancers provide additional tension and invoke the idea that dark doings are afoot.

La Roux
"Kiss And Not Tell"
3 mins 59s
8 Sep 2014
This latest track from La Roux's tardy follow-up album, Trouble in Paradise, is insanely catchy. Wonderfully cheesy production design based on the garish styling of late night chat line ads sets the tone, while the camera switches between shots of dated phones and La Roux's profile, which summons up Low-era Bowie all buzzed up on confectionery not cocaine.

Cloudboat
"Hideaway"
4 mins 31s
6 Sep 2014
Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts - Cloud Boat - sound quite a lot like Local Natives fronted by James Blake. That's not in any way a bad thing. This is one of the more plangent tracks on Model of You and comes with by a video in which a man who needs to come to terms with a break-up finds himself accompanied by a yeti-like monster for a while.

Ten Walls
"Walking with Elephants"
3 mins 01s
6 Sep 2014
This track starts promisingly, but unfortunately never quite gets out of its blocks and beyond the intro. Nonetheless, the very able director Nez has managed to create and intriguing video to go with it, featuring black / whitescreen-clad figures who, after running through a wintry coastal landscape, jump into the sea and propel their way along like humanoid dolphins.

clipping.
"Inside Out"
3 mins 35s
6 Sep 2014
This is the second time the innovative trio has collaborated with Carlos Lopez Estrada, and we can see why. The off-kilter feel of both Work Work and Inside Out is something Estrada knows how to enhance; here, a swaggering dude walks through the night-time streets pouring forth lyrics about the war outside, while in the place of his head a perpetual eruption of the things he's talking about issues from his empty collar. Terrific.

The Presets
"No Fun"
5 mins 49s
6 Sep 2014
This track from Aussie dance duo The Presets sounds like a cross between Matthew Dear and Heaven 17. Crystal clear synths, lethal hooks and a throbbing pulse add to the electric 80s vibe and there's a compelling video, all suggestion and abstraction, luring you along for the ride. But that's not all: there's an interactive version into the bargain.

The Weeknd
"Often"
4 mins 09s
26 Aug 2014
Director Sam Pilling creates some shots that are as smooth and immersive as a Valium bath in this promo for The Weeknd, but unfortunately, because it's a promo for The Weeknd, it also features lotz o' laydeez getting it on and disrobing as they stalk around some luxury hotel suite. Evidently their minds are unhinged by desire for the singer with the Accidental Hair.

Peace
"Lost on Me"
3 mins 49s
19 Aug 2014
We rather like the way this appears to be having a dig at the mindlessness of boy bands. The group are rehearsing a routine with the aid of cue cards, and when an accident on set distracts their choreographer it doesn't occur to them to stop practising. They veer out of the studio with their click-and-walk moves, and slowly head towards their doom. Just wish this came from a more subversive outfit than Peace - it has the potential to be a very cool idea indeed.

The Kooks
"Forgive and Forget"
3 mins 27s
18 Aug 2014
Well, well, well. The buzz surrounding The Kooks' reinvention is completely justified so far. After the excellent first two singles from their soon-to-be-released sophomore album Listen, here comes this equally infectious third: a joyous, funky, gospelly romp with a delicious video from Ivana Bobic. Atmospherically lit, it incorporates the pre-cinematic zoetrope designed to give the illusion of movement... and what could be more uplifting than a vision of space-age space chicks tricked out like angels of the future?

Ibeyi
"River"
3 mins 45s
12 Aug 2014
This is one of those rare times when a video doesn't just enhance a track, it gets right inside it and makes us see the very essence of the music. It's an extraordinary song to start with - the voices of twin sisters washing over the riverbed of compressed percussion - and director Ed Morris has brought its beguiling, siren qualities to the surface.

Dolman
"On Stoney Ground"
4 mins 18s
6 Aug 2014
This striking video dramatises the story of a rugby club, most of whose young players went on to die in World War I. It's an appropriate theme as the centenary of the war's start has just been marked, and reflects the war references in the track itself, by Dolman - a rather impressive project featuring musicians linked with Portishead.

Dirty Vegas
"Setting Sun"
3 mins 28s
6 Aug 2014
This isn't one of the more memorable tracks by Dirty Vegas, but it's certainly a memorable video. What does it depict? Yoga on a beach. How can that possibly be interesting? Because it's made by the Surrender Monkeys, who evidently know how to compel you to watch to the very last moment. And let's face it, they know about yoga because in their own words, one is a "black belt in Ashtanga" while the other enjoys "hours-long tantric sex sessions". Empiric proof if ever you needed it.

We Are Shining
"Hot Love"
3 mins 12s
29 Jul 2014
Model of the moment Adwoah Aboah provides an intense focus to Simon Cahn's video for Hot Love by 'We Are Shining'. The London-based duo continues to build on their experimental vibe; a melting pot of gospel, Latin, African and European influences that are oddly reminiscent of superb 80s band Yargo. Aboah's essential stillness acts as a strong counterpoint to the frenetic playing in the unlikely supermarket setting.

Tensnake & Jacques lu Cont (ft Jamie Lidell)
"Feel of Love"
3 mins 56s
30 Jul 2014
The track itself is no great shakes, but add the video and you get something very amusing indeed. Directed by Remy Cayuela, it invokes the Woody Allen scene from Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask). The only problem for these game little sperm, however, is their eventual destinations.

Royal Blood
"Figure It Out"
3 mins 05s
10 Jul 2014
Rapid risers on the music scene Royal Blood - a two-piece based in Brighton - have released this glam-tinged belter which comes with an appropriate video from Ninian Doff. Lashings of thrashy riffs set the tone for the unfolding story of a girl in a shopping mall, whose dazed appearance seems connected to the bloodstains that show up on her in blue-filtered light.

Lily Allen
"URL Badman"
3 mins 37s
8 Jul 2014
Lily Allen's never one to take things lying down - and after accusations of racism over her last video Hard Out Here she's hit back with this track about loser trolls who don't have a life beyond anonymously badmouthing people. As you'd expect, the track is full of sassy, smartly-observed lyrics and directorial duo The Sacred Egg do a great job of visually interpreting them.

Daniel James
"Ain't No Money"
3 mins 47s
4 Jul 2014
Up-and-coming singer songwriter Daniel James has released the lead single Ain't No Money from his eponymous debut EP... and a rousing, gospel-tinged number it is. About greed and corruption, it comes with a striking video from director Mark Jenkinson. Set in the streets of the city at night, a venal businessman is pursued by some unexpected followers who increasingly unnerve him.

Santigold
"Kicking Down Doors"
4 mins 19s
2 Jul 2014
It may be on a rather uncool Pepsi World Cup-inspired compilation album, but Santigold's latest is a banger. Produced by Yogi - the trio associated with Skrillex - it's a trap-infused, electro-fried tribal chant that goes toe-to-toe with M.I.A.'s best. And, even better, it comes with a superb video from director Andy Morahan, inspired by the football game that took place in No Man's Land during WW1's Christmas Truce.

Diplo
"Dat A Freak"
3 mins 12s
30 Jun 2014
The build, build, build, drop school of EDM from the likes of Diplo and A-Trak is invariably a dancefloor winner, and this - while not quite in the same league as Butters Theme or Jumbo - will garner a lot of play in the clubs this summer. The accompanying video isn't exactly original, but it's been done with humour and pzazz and is very entertaining in a sniggery teenage boy kind of way.

Recent Promos

David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.