Beastie Boys

Video Anthology

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Beastie Boys fans should prepare for a feast with this two-DVD collection from the Criterion collection (Capitol Records had planned a regular collection, but seem to have abandoned it along the way.) The collection is not by any means completely comprehensive (there are 18 videos included), but it does manage to be exhaustive in terms of what it does cover (and offer.) Each disc includes nine videos, with each group presented twice -- the first is a sequential presentation that offers a choice of Dolby 2.0, Dolby 5.1, band commentary track, or directors commentary track. While the Beastie Boys tracks are more or less continuous, with pauses, the directors' commentary tracks are built up from sessions with various directors, including some conducted by telephone by Criterion producer Ralph Spaulding (these have a tendency to wander off in oddball directions; it's surprising how willing people are to give bizarre answers to freaky questions). The directors tend to be more to the point than the band, who keep running out of things to talk about in regard to the video. The second presentation sets up the access track by track. This allows for the incorporation of a great deal of supplementary material, from basic data on each shoot to photographs (a goldmine for fans of Spike Jonze, who is nigh-unto obsessive about photo-documenting whatever he works on) to video proposals, designs, and background materials. What fans will want to get at, however, is the impressive number of remixes that the set sports -- more than 40 remixes are included as alternate audio tracks. Many of the tracks also include alternate video angles -- usually consisting of assemblies of footage from stages prior to the editing process. An excellent set, certainly good for the hardcore element of Beasties fandom and a treat for serious video geeks. Working through this set, be warned, is an effort that will consume hour after hour.

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