Movie Review: Stop Making Sense

Title: Stop Making Sense
Release Date: 1984
Director: Jonathan Demme
Production Co: Music Television (MTV)
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Documentary / Concert
Rating: *****

Review: So it’s shameful to admit, but I’ve never watched this before. Oh, I’ve seen it because it aired constantly on cable television when I was a child so I saw many sections, but never sat down and watched it end to end.  I’m happy to say that it lives up to its reputation as one of the all-time best concert films and the music holds up as well too.  It’s interesting to see Talking Heads so young, so geeky, somewhat awkward yet planning everything out so thoroughly.  I can imagine in 1984 that some glam metal band would be good at making a grand concert spectacle but David Byrne knew what not only how to make a great concert but what would make for a great film as well.  The addition of members of the bands and the stage crew playing a visible role in setting up the stage is inspired.  I also liked the transition of the band to the Tom Tom Club for “Genius of Love.”  This is a great movie.  I should have watched it sooner.

Movie Review: The Land Before Time

Title: The Land Before Time
Release Date: 18 November 1988
Director: Don Bluth
Production Co: Universal Pictures
Country: USA | Ireland
Language: English
Genre: Animation / Family / Adventure
Rating: **1/2

Review: Cute baby dinosaurs trek across a barren wasteland in search of the mythical Great Valley and learn a lot about not being prejudiced and working as a team along the way. I found it uneven over all. The animation is absolutely gorgeous at times and then crappy the next scene (the dinosaurs keep changing size!). Are they going for naturalistic-looking animals or cutesy anthropomorphic dino kids? And the plot is lifted from dozens of family films from Bambi to An American Tail (the latter not-coincidentally director Don Bluth’s previous film). It ended rather abruptly too as if they needed to meet the running time. From what I’ve read online the initial vision was a dialogue-free attempt at creating a naturalistic dinosaur setting that morphed into a family-friendly adventure.  The lack focus shows.

I expect kids aren’t going to really notice the difference but I think this could have been a much better movie with a little effort. My son liked it. The Sharptooth was pretty scary for him and the death of Mother Longneck prompted lots and lots of questions. Well really everything prompted lots of questions. But he wants to watch it again.

PS – Spike, the lazy stegosaurus who eats all the time, totally rules.