David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Young Thug
"Wyclef Jean"
4 mins 52s
17 January 2017
USA Promos

This is not your typical music promo, to put it delicately. It consists of director (sorry, co-director) Ryan Staake explaining - in intricate detail - how the promo he'd planned to make fell apart spectacularly... mainly because the artist never showed up.

Young Thug's only contribution (in spite of his insistence on a co-director credit) is a voicemail played to explain his creative vision: "kiddie cars... and bad bitches, a lot of hoes". Oh, and of course some mobile phone footage of him miming to 'Wyclef Jean' and eating Cheetos.

Staake, by not attempting to stitch together a promo from the footage he shot of background performers and instead adding in text screens to explain exactly what happened on the shoot, has miraculously managed to create a hilarious and extremely engaging piece of work. One that many in the industry are sure to find relatable.

The whole shoot sounds like a mess: the crew are repeatedly being told that Young Thug's arrival is imminent and they should prepare immediately - only for him to still not show up, a cop car is destroyed with rubber bats while real cops watch the carnage, label reps scream at the crew over shots they consider more risky than risqué...

Then - just at the thrilling climax of Young Thug's arrival (only 10 hours behind schedule) - he refuses to get out of the car because his Instagram account has been hacked! At this point, it would have been disappointing if he'd actually appeared, instead of taking off into the fading light to fight the internet.

Short Films
"2D Run"

Matt said:




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Young Thug
"Wyclef Jean"
4 mins 52s
17 Jan 2017
This promo consists of director (sorry, co-director) Ryan Staake explaining in intricate detail how the film he'd planned to make fell apart spectacularly... mainly because the artist never showed up. Young Thug's only contribution is a voicemail about his creative vision ("kiddie cars... and bad bitches, a lot of hoes"). Oh, and some mobile phone footage of him miming to 'Wyclef Jean' and eating Cheetos.

"Focus Group"
16 Jan 2017
Chevrolet's latest in their 'real people, not actors' campaign features a focus group of 'real Lego figures' discussing the Batmobile... with its owner present. They suggest the car's owner is probably a defensive weirdo with no friends, which is pretty much the same conclusion drawn in the Sky Broadband campaign he features in on this side of the pond.

13 Jan 2017
This spot introduces Kuri - a robot home assistant which promises to be 'one of the family' - and assures us that the little guy isn't going to rise up and take over humanity. Yet the way the little guy watches classic killer robot movies of its own accord is unnerving to say the least... though if nothing else, at least our new overlord will be cute.

Honda Civic
"Made Mean"
13 Jan 2017
This US Honda ad takes us beneath the spick and span factory floor to meet one mean-looking assembly line. Despite appearing like they could burst into a refrain of “Crush! Kill! Destroy!” at any moment, these bots are only concerned with constructing the new Civic model. A well-animated shift from the car brand’s usual output.

13 Jan 2017
This ad for recruitment company Monster is dry as a bone and all the funnier for it. A woman has her CV scrutinised before she's introduced to the company's philosophy: Always Be Working ("like unlimited vacation... only the exact opposite"). Turns out even the boss's son isn't immune to the tyranny of 'abwah' - so choose your interviews carefully.

"Get Sh*t Done"
11 Jan 2017
This ad for Fiverr is basically capitalism on steroids. The relentless focus on business development includes upsetting small children and terrifying employees with a chainsaw: according to Fiverr, nothing should get in your way. We're told to 'promote the crap' out of our business and not trust anyone but ourselves to 'get shit done'... we're motivated and slightly terrified at the same time.

Old Spice
"Dry Times"
11 Jan 2017
These commercials for Old Spice spoof Old West tropes with the brand's characteristic sense of humour. Their deodorant is so effective it's left the, uh, pit farmers' land too dry to grow their 'pertaters' - a line delivered in a perfectly rubbish accent. In the second clip, an old man shakes his fists skyward at the Old Spice gods as his son is smushed to death beneath a giant deodorant stick.

Nestlé Toll House
11 Jan 2017
A girl discovers her inner conservationist in this US ad for Nestlé Toll House, the food giant's dessert brand. Concerned at the Amur leopard's survival prospects, she holds a bake sale which is unsurprisingly a roaring success. The ad also suggests Nestlé cares about our animal friends. Given their reputation amongst environmental groups, it may take a lot of cookies to change perceptions.

"Brother Dominic"
2 mins
8 Jan 2017
This short for Xerox is sumptuously cinematic in its sweep, with each detail and element lovingly considered. From the moment it opens on a remote monastery overlooking a rural idyll, it's obvious this is going to be something special... and it doesn't disappoint. The action focuses around Brother Dominic, who is creating pages of an illuminated manuscript with laborious care.

"Kyrie 3: Improv"
10 Jan 2017
Well, you won’t see this on the regular NBA fixture list; it’s Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers versus Questlove of, erm, The Tonight Show. While Roots drummer Questlove lays down a free-form beat, Irving responds with his own quicksilver moves. Anything you can do, I can do better. A slick tribute to sporting and musical prowess from Nike and the Hoffman Brothers.

Great Big Story
3 mins 43s
10 Jan 2017
This short documentary from director James Sharpe focuses on Kyoto's Shoraian restaurant. Food blogger Andrea Soranidis travels deep, deep into the woods to experience cuisine with an artistic flavour. Owner and calligrapher Fuyoh Kobayashi explains how the restaurant's unique location and creative spirit produces a dining experience like no other. Whimsical animation complements her story.

Harry's Shave Club
"Jeff and Andy"
2 mins 40s
9 Jan 2017
This entertaining film for Harry’s Shave Club tells the story of one company’s battle with the big boys. When founders Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield decided a good shave needn’t cost the world, these “American Internet Cowboys” began building an e-shaving giant. Of course, entrepreneurs like Jeff and Andy are always going to encounter some obstacles.

"Right Light"
15 Dec 2016
We’ve seen lots of variations on the Christmas lights meme this year. Now Toyota unveil their own bright idea to promote their annual Toyotathon sales event. We see family and friends driving into the countryside on a mission. As dusk approaches, rolls of lights are arranged with purpose. Soon we spot a plane overhead, and one passenger looks out the window onto a luminous greetings card.

14 Dec 2016
Nike save us the trouble of watching The Walking Dead (still haven't forgiven you for Glenn, Scott Gimple) and summarise pretty much every zombie movie ever to create more time to run. Although the existence of certain apps suggests the two can be combined quite effectively... if being chased by hordes of the undead is your idea of a good time.

"Do You See What I See?"
15 Dec 2016
Santa is everywhere at Christmas... but only for kids who believe. This ad for Meijer is carefully crafted, keeping the reveal about the potential St Nick until right at the end. The starstruck performances from the kids feel genuine and complement the lovely visual touches throughout (Santa's buying carrots in the final scene, which is somehow extremely gratifying).

14 Dec 2016
Nike break down the foibles of social media in another entertaining ad. According to the Siri-like voice, forty-five minutes on Facebook amounts to hundreds of baby photos, needy narwhals, and notifications that “someone you don’t remember likes something”. In other words, why not do something more meaningful with your time... like exercise?

"Nick Offerman's Hogmanay"
60 mins
13 Dec 2016
Modern-day Hemingway Nick Offerman returns with another sedate seasonal ad for his preferred tipple, this time spending an entire hour silently drinking whisky and resolutely ignoring the New Year's party happening at the Lagavulin distillery behind him. Unlike similar long-form ads (such as the US Cellular 'Lawnmower' film) there are no Easter eggs here - nothing but the stoic silence of a man waiting for one of the crappiest years on record to finally be put out of its misery. Cheers.

"Time is Precious"
12 Dec 2016
This punchy campaign sees Nike dispense with the big names and dynamic visuals in favour of a minimalist approach. The sportswear giant charts modern life by the numbers with a Siri-esque voiceover before reminding us just how much screen time we indulge in. Unsurprisingly, flicking left (and occasionally right) on a dating app isn’t the brand’s idea of exercise.

Belvedere Vodka
1 min 34s
8 Dec 2016
The wit in this spot for Belvedere is as dry as the very best vodka martini. It promotes the fact that half the profits of every special edition bottle sold will go to the charity (PRODUCT)RED fighting AIDS in Africa. And rather than creating some kind of commercial chimera - a vodka ad that wants to be both worthy and sexy - it takes a beautifully tongue-in-cheek approach.

Sandy Hook Promise
2 mins 28s
5 Dec 2016
There are so many mass shootings in the USA that there needs to be a particularly grim element about one for it to really lodge in our memory. The massacre at Columbine stuck in the public consciousness as the worst of these atrocities until December 14, 2012 when a lone gunman killed twenty children aged between 6 and 7 plus six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and a new baseline in horror was set.

5 Dec 2016
Crayola call on the animated blooper tradition established by classics like Toy Story in this ad for their latest products, including an 'emoji maker' and spray pen. The 'auditions' for Crayola spokesperson - sorry, spokescrayon - have some funny visual gags as the hapless applicants try to land the job. Neat stuff with Aardman's characteristic fun and creative style.

Childhood Trauma
6 mins 40s
4 Dec 2016
This touching PSA drawing attention to the long-lasting impact of childhood abuse is, at times, hard to watch. The actor playing Chad successfully conveys a sense that he's too overwhelmed to speak as he struggles to articulate the horrors of 'his' past. He returns to the house where the abuse took place.

"Jeff Bridges"
30 Nov 2016
Jeff Bridges stars in this festive UGG commercial directed by Biscuit’s Jeff Low. We catch the actor at home sorting presents for under the Christmas tree. Suddenly, the tree gives Bridges his own present - a pair of UGG slippers. The man’s grateful for his fur-lined gift, though he’s oblivious to the tree’s toasty predicament. Read the subtitles, man!

Ok Go
"The One Moment"
4 mins 13s
24 Nov 2016
Viral wonders Ok Go are back with another compelling, visually complex promo which takes a few watches to fully appreciate. Which won't be a problem, because this has made a social media splash which guarantees you'll see it a few times whatever platforms you use. The video is first shown in its entirety in real time - shot in 4.2 seconds - and then shown in slow motion to accompany 'The One Moment'. The colourful salt bursts, paint splatters, and exploding guitars are visually hypnotic, keeping our attention right to the end of the song.

"Alexander Wang"
24 Nov 2016
Analogue and digital collide in this visually arresting film from Adidas Originals and director Karim Huu Do. The ad flits from VHS quality footage to crisp modern visuals as a gang of X-Men converge on a shipment. Constant aesthetic shifts keep the viewer engaged while the brand's upmarket collection is shrouded in urban mystique.

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