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Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense DVD


Over the course of three nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre in December 1983, filmmaker Jonathan Demme joined creative forces with cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth and Talking Heads ... and miracles occurred. Following a staging concept by singer-guitarist David Byrne, this euphoric concert film transcends that all-too-limited genre to become the greatest film of its kind. A guaranteed cure for anyone's blues, it's a celebration of music that never grows old, fuelled by the polyrhythmic pop-funk precision that was a Talking Heads trademark, and lit from within by the geeky supernova that is David Byrne. The staging--and Demme's filming of it--builds toward an orgasmic release of music, rising from the bare-stage simplicity of Byrne, accompanied only by a boom box on "Psycho Killer" to the ecstatic crescendo of "Burning Down the House", by which time the Heads and additional personnel have all arrived on stage for a performance that seems channelled from heaven for the purpose of universal uplift. (God bless Demme for avoiding shots of the luckiest audience in 80s pop history; its presence is acknowledged but not at the viewer's expense.) With the deliriously eccentric Byrne as ringleader (pausing mid-concert to emerge in his now-legendary oversized suit), this circus of musical pleasure defies the futility of reductive description; it begs to be experienced, felt in the heart, head and bones, and held there the way we hold on to cherished memories. On those three nights in December 1983, Talking Heads gave love, life, and joy in generous amounts that years cannot erode, and Demme captured this act of creative goodwill on film with minimalist artistic perfection. Stop Making Sense is an invitation to pleasure that will never wear out its welcome. --Jeff Shannon

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  • Average Rating for Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense [1994] - 4 out of 5

    (based on 1 user reviews)
  • Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense [1994]
    Grant Morrison

    Let us all take a minute from our busy lives and give Jonathan Demme a big round of applause shall we. This gentleman certainly knows how to make a fantastic piece of film. Silence of the Lambs and recently Rachel Getting Married are just two films that show his expertise. The review in question however is neither Silence of the Lambs or Rachel Getting Married; it is the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense.

    Like with the majority of my reviews I just like to come out with it and say how I felt overall with the film. And with Stop Making Sense I was blown away. With no nauseating quick MTV style cuts in sight, this film was a breath of fresh air. Perhaps I am a little biased here, being a big Talking Heads fan perhaps I am looking at it with rose tinted spectacles pressed too firmly against my brow, but don't we all when it comes to film?...

    Tell you what. Instead of sticking to a generic review of analysis; picking through all the good and the bad points however few there may be, I will just run down a list of why you should go and give this a watch.
    Using the succinct Top 5 style found in High Fidelity here we go.

    1) The Songs - Starting with a lonely performance of Psycho Killer by the genius that is David Byrne, the slow gradually builds as each member of the band joins Byrne on stage. And with each member comes a different instrument, and with each instrument comes an excellent song to go along with it. So two thumbs up here.
    2) Tina Weymouth - The Talking Heads bassist is just a beautiful woman. She has a charismatic sheen to her that comes with an awesome array of funky bass lines that everyone will be sure to enjoy.
    3) Movement - What an unbelievably vague word to have used for this list, shame on me for using it. Anyways onto the point. A good few bands today appear to have forgotten how to have fun on stage these days. You are a rock and roll star, don't just stand like a robot and strum away. Dance like a robot or strum like a robot to make your persona more interesting. Or better yet, buy Stop Making Sense and pop on "Life During Wartime" to discover what having fun is like in a band.
    4) Camera Work - This again brings praise to Jonathan Demme. As mentioned previously there are no quick cuts found throughout modern music videos. They are however numerous long shots that allow a viewer to really get a good feel for the event. Couple this with some excellent shots during "What a Day That Was" and you are in for a good time camera wise.
    5) The Big Suit - The big suit that David Byrne dawns during the song "Girlfriend is Better" has become an iconic picture in popular culture, and you owe it to yourself to watch the suit in action....

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