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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant music and a closer look at the band, 4 Aug. 2008
Hate to give my favourite band only four stars, but the music is the highlight here. The EP is stunning, moody and engrossing, a great roundup that includes live tracks and a quite different lyrical version of Boxer's Slow Show. Makes me eager to explore more of their back catalogue and look forward to newer material.

I first saw the film having read a review that it's largely arty nonsense. True, the images are disjointed and jumpy, it probably goes on too long and the combo of music with narrative makes it difficult to hear either. But the interviews shed some light on what makes the band tick, individually and collectively. The mood you'd expect from their recorded work or live show runs through the film. Watching the painstaking layering, tweaking, fine-tuning and negotiating to create the music makes the finished version of Boxer all the more impressive. Here is a band that is deeply committed to its craft, and their emerging success after years of playing is well deserved.

You might only watch the film once or twice, but if you're a fan it's worth a look. The EP's a must-buy.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great EP, awful DVD., 14 Jun. 2008
S. Graves "blacksquirrel" (portsmouth, uk) - See all my reviews
OK lets get the positive stuff done. 4 Stars for the excellent CD EP, its worth buying for this alone, all the tracks are really strong and well recorded, including the demos and live tracks, a brilliant addition to the back catalogue.....

The down side is that the DVD is awful, ok I admit I only managed to watch about 22mins of the full hour. Its really well shot and has some lovely images... so maybe turn the sound off and listen to the EP instead whilst watching it.

Unfortunately its very very pretentious, lots of random shots and sounds, almost like a ponderous ambient track, when there is some speaking its so low in the mix and covered by muzak that its too difficult to hear. And whats being said not very interesting.

Why are there so many 'making of' dvd's like this now.... buy this for the EP and leave the DVD in the sleeve
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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I know this isn't out yet, but..., 18 May 2008
I've seen a few of the videos that are going to be on this and I know most of the songs. Mainly I'd like to comment on the director, Vincent Moon. He is particularly pretentious, and will make you very aware of the cameraman's presence, but he does bring out a certain honesty in the artists he covers. Rather than filming it simply he will attempt to be 'cinematic' on the fly - and it nearly never works. He does find some rather wonderful locations, both visually and acoustically, but then he bumps up the contrast and ruins the look.

But I can say for sure that there'll be a bunch of amazing songs on here, I for one will take as many versions of About Today as they care to make, but if you're reading this and you're new to the band, buy boxer instead, as this is more of a vignette on that.

:edit: I did buy it, being a rather diehard fan, and it turns out the cd's great. The new songs (as in, ones not on albums) stand up quite well. Blank Slate's has a bit more grit and drive to it than I was used to from the national, the version of virginia is a really nice piece of instrumentation, and the lyrics of Santclara an Tall Saint have really stuck with me.

The middle is a bit of a lull with two demos that sound exactly like demos, but are appreciable. The first 'Forever after years' didn't strike me particularly. Then an early version of slow show, with different words is sort of fascinating. With some weird meandering bits that I'm glad they cut, but something that's quite nice that they left out too. Matt gets his words the wrong way around at the start of the song, which is awfully cute.

Then we have a version of Lucky You, not one of my favourites and not especially interesting. But then we have a cover of Mansion on the Hill. It's really nice and not really like something they'd write so I think it's a nice addition. Then we have Fake Empire live, the crowd love it and so do I, though I think they should've jammed with it a bit longer. Then we have About Today, live again, off their cherry tree EP, it's a soft and wonderful song, (by the way, my favourite version of this is on a great session they did for French radio, google "the national" and "black sessions" for a nice 13-song set) and deserves the tagline 'transcendent.' Good buy in all.

The video on the other hand only cemented my opinion that Vincent Moon is a misguided posturing waste of space. You will only use one of these discs a great deal.
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A Skin, A Night & The Virginia EP
A Skin, A Night & The Virginia EP by The National (DVD - 2008)
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