The premise is that 50 Hi8 camcorders were given to 50 audience members spread throughout Madison Square Garden, and the recruited camera men and women were instructed not to turn the cameras off. The idea is brilliant -- not only because the viewer is bombarded by a fresh take on the show every few seconds, but also because of the "uncut" rawness of the footage (one scene takes us on an extended tour of the MSG restroom facilities).
Some reviewers have criticized the camerawork and editing of the film, calling it too choppy, even disorienting. This is an apt criticism (APT!), but this viewer felt it made the DVD more immersive. This "home movie-esque" technique allows the DVD viewer to feel almost
voyeuristic in watching someone else watch the show.
In the opening scene, the director titles the DVD while addressing the cameramen, "This is going to be great -- in 20 years you will watch the DVD and say, 'Awesome. I fuckin' shot that.'"
Regarding the performance, the Beastie Boys are still at the top of their game, getting better with middle age. The transitions are smooth, the banter is fun, and the teamwork is flawless. For everyone that hasn't seen the Beastie Boys live, this will serve as the appetizer --enticing the viewer to track them down. Mix Master Mike provides the Boys standard tracks with more than a little flair, making the old seem new and fresh.
Watch for a certain fellow New-Yorker former Rabbi, male-model, and dodgeball loser rapping along to "3 MC's and one DJ."
Special Feature Report: "A Day in the Life of Nathaniel Hornblower" showcases David Cross as the liederhosen-wearing Nathaniel Hornblower, director of the DVD and most of the Beastie's videos. Cross' career has had some moments of brilliant comedic timing, impeccable writing, and mind-blowing awkwardness, and this video short is spot-on the latter.
Rating: 4 out of 5.