The Work of Director: Chris Cunningham / Michel Gondry / Spike Jonze

Here is a fantastic idea, beautifully executed. Take a handful of innovative video, short film and commercial directors, gather their work and throw it all onto DVDs loaded with extras, interviews and info. And coincidentally, The Directors Label was actually founded by its first three subjects. Spike Jonze is well known for a ton of innovative videos from Fatboy Slim ("Praise You"), Beastie Boys ("Sabotage") and Weezer ("Buddy Holly") but who knew he did the posthumous Notorious B.I.G. vid "Sky's the Limit"? And what DVD is going to include commentary from the guy wearing the dog's head in Spike's Daft Punk video "Da Funk"? This DVD includes everything from his greatest coup (Christopher Walken's dance in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice") to the funniest extra (Spike's guerrilla style "Rockefeller Skank" street dance that inspired the "Praise You" video). Chris Cunningham is synonymous with Aphex Twin, and his video style is perfect for Twin and other IDMers like Autechre and Squarepusher. He has the fewest number of vids here but they're all intense, particularly the Richard D. James-faced children of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" video and the disintegrating victim of Leftfield‚s "Afrika Shox." Cunningham skews closest to commercial concerns, as evidenced by his promo clips for Nissan, Playstation and a never shown Levi's commercial. But he‚s also a video artist: his best extra is the multi-limbed, Aphex Twin-scored "Monkey Drummer." Five years ago, Michel Gondry was best known for his career-making Björk videos; lately, he's done the same for the White Stripes, including the Lego one ("Fell In Love With A Girl") and the Sesame Street expanding drums and amps one ("The Hardest Button to Button"). Gondry is closest of these three to an artist and his DVD is the most packed, with tons of vids as well as short films made with different friends and a rather scatological autobiographical film called "I've Been 12 Forever." (The shit theme also extends to a short called "One Day," in which David Cross plays a pile of poo demanding equal rights.) All three of these are seriously overwhelming — Gondry explores the most interesting art, Jonze makes the best videos and Cunningham pushes the boundaries of commercial and artistic acceptance. Each disc is accompanied by a massive, beautiful booklet and the presentation and design are immaculate. Now comes the wish list for the next participants in this project: first on mine would be Floria Sigismondi and David Fincher. (The Directors Label/Palm Pictures/Sony Music)