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Stop Making Sense: 25th Anniversary Edition (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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Stop Making Sense (2018) - Blu-ray Review

When it comes to concert films, there are few things better than the teaming of Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) and David ByrneStop Making Sense, the title coming from a lyric inside the Talking Heads’ song “Girlfriend is Better”, is a concert film that is unparalleled in its uniqueness. 

This vision of Talking Heads, upon the release of their INCREDIBLE Speaking in Tongues album, is as dynamic as their music is full of polyrhythmic funk and Byrne’s iconic phrasing.  What we have with this movie is a look at a Talking Heads concert in which the band is introduced one by one.  And it all begins with a thin man in a massively big suit, a cassette tape player, and a acoustic guitar. . .

"an entertaining ride through Talking Heads’ legacy."


. . . Psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est, sings Byrne and then, as a little bass is added to funk up the show, Tina Weymouth strolls out on stage.  In that fashion, the members – including Christ Frantz on drums and Jerry Harrison on guitar – are slowly introduced, but the players don’t stop there.  All in total, there are nine individuals – of mixed ethnicities and genders – to bring together one hell of a setlist for this audience. 

Thanks to Demme’s camera and the explosive (at the time) 24-track digital recording, Stop Making Sense remains an energetic experience.  Byrne is in control and spellbinding to watch as he wiggles, wiggles, wiggles his way through SIXTEEN Talking Heads songs, including Tom Tom Club’s hit “Genius of Love”, and (thanks to the blu-ray) an additional three songs.

Filmed in four nights at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, California, the film feels like one continuous show thanks to the moving set and the constant performances from the band.  We see stagehands pushing the stands and the sets around and we see the band assemble in an organic way that is visually arresting and then, because we do have video screens behind the fully-formed band, we get a visual component that is as engaging as the band itself. 

Stop Making Sense (2018) - Blu-ray Review

And, like I mentioned earlier, then there is Byrne himself.  Between his animated self and the monitors behind him, flashing body parts and messages, it is simply an entertaining ride through Talking Heads’ legacy.  Now, I can’t tell you what to watch, but it is damn hard to take your eyes off of what Byrne is doing on the stage.  Whether jogging like a long-distance runner around and around the centerpiece or mirroring what the backup singers are doing, he is a total kick on the stage.  Add to that what the signs are saying behind him and you have the makings for a very influential movie.  Zoo Television anyone?!

Stop Making Sense is now available on Blu-ray from Palm Pictures.

5 beers

Stop Making Sense (2018) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
88 mins
Director
: Jonathan Demme
Writer:
Jonathan Demme; Talking Heads
Cast:
David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir
Genre
: Documentary | Music
Tagline:
Why stop making sense? Why a movie? Why a big suit? Where do the odd movements come from? What will the band do next?
Memorable Movie Quote: "I've got a tape I want to play."
Theatrical Distributor:
Cinecom Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 24, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 13, 2009
Synopsis: An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

Stop Making Sense (2018) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Palm Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- October 13, 2009
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, of most importance are the audio tracks to choose from.  Fans get a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and a LPCM 2.0 with which to listen to the band’s output.  The visuals are the best they are going to get from this film.  Originally shot in 1984, there are some limitations to the edges and to the crispness of the overall picture.  Black levels are, for the most part, solid.  There are some nice details in the guitars and the drums and in Byrne’s oversized suits. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is, in fact, a commentary recorded by the members of the band and Demme.  It is a good track that will please fans of the band and of the film as it is loaded with anecdotes and with Byrne’s observations.

Special Features:

Included with the release are three bonus songs, a montage sequence (acting as an excerpt from the movie), an hour long press conference from 1999, a cool bit that has Byrne interviewing himself, a look at the sketches for the stage show, a peek at the inspiration for his oversized suits, and a trailer.  Overall, a good mix of information for the concert film.

  • 1999 Press Conference
  • David Byrne Interviews…David Byrne
  • Montage
  • Bonus Songs
  • Storyboards
  • Big Suit
  • Trailer

Stop Making Sense (2018) - Blu-ray Review

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