May 07, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Praise You” Fatboy Slim: Director Spike Jonze pulls an inspired prank: He purports to match Fatboy Slim’s cool club track to amateur documentary footage of the Torrance Community Dance Group performing B-boy moves outside an L.A.-area theater. In fact, no such troupe exists and Jonze himself plays the choreographer, leading his dancers through the dorkiest steps imaginable before a clueless crowd. Jonze nails the naive enthusiasm of the talentless, capturing a character as low in self-awareness as he is brimming with spirit. It’s a transfixing riot, a music-video equivalent to Waiting for Guffman. A

”Lobster & Scrimp” Timbaland (with Jay-Z): If you can scratch vinyl, why not video? Director Steve Carr makes his images freeze, suddenly run backward, or sputter ahead, all with the fitful rhythm of a master turntablist. It’s an apt visual answer to Timbaland’s taut beat. If Carr’s clip lacks the clarity of the producers’ sound, at least its fidgety movement gives the piece tricky rhythm. B

”Freak on a Leash” Korn: Because music videos often can’t be bothered with plot, preferring to flit through an eternal present, they lack a whiff of tension. Korn’s clip offers a bracing corrective to that. Its special effects let the viewer follow the shattering path of a bullet in slo-mo, through bottles, walls, even buildings. One can’t help but watch the bullet’s murderous motion with mounting dread — at least the first time through. Though it never winds up tearing through a living thing, which limits the sense of consequence, the result still rivets. And the scenario provides an object lesson in video’s underrealized potential for suspense. A

”What’s It Gonna Be” Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson: Can a video have too many special effects? As evidenced by this high-priced folly, it can. Perhaps influenced by Jackson’s presence, director Hype Williams (with Rhymes) seems deeply afflicted by her family’s more-is-more syndrome. He piles on enough morphing techniques to make Michael’s ”Scream” look spare. Too bad the results just seem recycled, lacking precisely what technical tricks need most: surprise. C

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST