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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 75:18)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • Additional footage - Concert footage
  • Animated menus
Barenaked Ladies - Barenaked in America
Aviva/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 138 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Barenaked Ladies Ė Barenaked In America is a rockumentary about the Canadian band during their Stunt Tour of North America in 1998. This behind the scenes look at life on the road was directed and produced by Jason Priestly (Beverly Hills 90210) and gives a good insight into the band and their private lives. Priestly obviously has a connection with the band, be it through the music, ice hockey or simply from being a fellow Canadian. Interviews with the band members right through to the bus driver and people on the street that hate them show us what BNL are all about. Topics covered are as far ranging as early influences to which Sesame Street character is each memberís favourite. On the serious side, the topic of how band member Kevin Hearn discovered he had Leukemia just as the band were about to hit the road for their Stunt Tour is also brought up. Chris Brown gave up his place in the band Bourbon Tabernacle Choir to replace Hearn whilst he underwent treatment. Seeing Hearn join the band on stage to perform several songs was a heartfelt moment and a triumph. Moments such as this show how close the band are, both as musicians but primarily as friends.

Fans of the band will love this documentary as will comedy and music fans alike. Although I wouldnít consider myself a fan by any means, having only heard the few hit singles they have had outside of North America, watching this film has made me one. It is hard not to be sucked into their very contagious humour and catchy, up-beat songs. A fine example of their talent is during their improvisation during concerts. Steven Page and Ed Robertson begin belting out lyrics from something they may have seen in the audience, the rest of the band joining in, making it sound like a song that had been pre-rehearsed and planned well in advance. For a band playing to stadium sized audiences, this can be seen as both brave and suicidal but it works extremely well and the fans love it. BNL seem truly in sync with each other. One thing I found truly annoying during this film though was the constant mention of Canada. Hey guys, we worked out in the first minute that you were from Canada so why keep going on about it?

Although there are many video snippets and the odd song live on stage you are left desperate for a good dose of BNL Live. This is where the extra footage comes in and truly satisfies.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

This is not the best transfer in the world for the most part. Film artefacts are the main annoyance, with some major examples at 35:25 and 71:46 to name a few. These can be quite distracting at times. It's generally grainy but colours are good, as are blacks. Shading is also good for the most part. This of course all depends on which footage is used, some is from their earlier years or even filmed from a TV monitor. I canít help feeling that for a film that was made in 1998, surely they could have found a better source. Having said that, the concert footage used in the documentary and in the bonus footage is of a much higher standard.

Dolby Digital stereo is the only soundtrack provided for the Barenaked In America documentary, however the additional bonus concert film from the Stunt Tour is available in both DD stereo and DD 5.1.

There is only one extra on this DVD, but what an extra it is. Several songs recorded live during the filming of the documentary. Running time for this bonus footage is 46 minutes and captures the band in their element.

Songs performed:

Itís All Been Done
Who Needs Sleep
Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank
Alcohol
Call and Answer
Some Fantastic (Ivory and Ivory)
One Week
Break Your Heart
The Old Apartment
Brian Wilson
If I Had $1,000,000
(with end credits)

As stated earlier, this concert footage is presented in DD 5.1 and DD stereo. Both are good and if forced to choose I would perhaps lean more towards the stereo version, it seems a little clearer although the 5.1 does give a better concert feel. Picture quality is very good with little to no artefacts. Colours are generally deep and clear with little over-saturation. Blacks seem to vary depending on which camera is used and stage lighting but this doesnít take anything away from the overall production. As with the documentary, grain is constant but this can be common in live performances. There is little to no aliasing.

For diehard BNL fans this is a must. For the rest of us it is definitely worth a look, either for the contagious humour or simply for the infectious music. A better option for this DVD may have been to release a full concert as the main feature with the documentary as a bonus feature, but I feel the aim of this film is to both promote BNL and Priestly as a film maker.


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  •   And I quote...
    "No itís not a porn movie. This is a rockumentary about a Canadian band that will have you in stitches, eh!"
    - Adrian Turvey
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai DV-P2000
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-29S55AT 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Akai AM-SS1500
    • Speakers:
          Akai
    • Centre Speaker:
          Akai
    • Surrounds:
          Akai
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