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Buy from Amazon

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HBO presents
Stomp Out Loud (1997)

"Do you have an affliction or something?"
- Custodian (uncredited)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: February 27, 2001

Stars: Luke Cresswell
Other Stars: The Cast of Stomp
Director: Luke Cresswell, Steve McNicholas

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (no objectionable content)
Run Time: 00h:45m:52s
Release Date: January 23, 2001
UPC: 026359148422
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B+BB+ C+

DVD Review

Well, here comes one of those childhood memories I never thought I'd have reason to dredge up in public. Sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, Chicago-based WGN-TV's The Bozo Show featured a guest performer billed as "Eddie Mason, Master Percussionist." I remember this act primarily because of its bold, unadulterated suckiness - one man, armed with a handful of drums and xylophones, performing his questionable compositions with utter seriousness and very little musical sense. I only saw this unfortunate performer once, but somehow his legend took root and grew in my psyche. I can still recall his immortal lyrics with some degree of accuracy: Ice Cream Man / (thump thump thump thump) / Ice Cream Man / (thump thump thump thump) / I got Popsicles, Dreamsicles / Chocolate vanilla fudge...

But I digress. I am very glad to report that Stomp Out Loud presents percussionists of a very different stripe, a unified, intricately synchronized group of inventive artists who turn everything they touch into rhythmic magic. Founded by Luke Cresswell in the U.K. as an act for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the original act known as Stomp grew to encompass stage, screen and television, with five active companies touring the world. This HBO special blends the original U.K. company with members of the New York cast, filmed over a two week period in New York City, utilizing classic numbers from the stage show and new material created for the film.

It must be said that the energy of a live Stomp performance can't ever be captured on film; I'm sure the experience of being there, seeing this amazing work done in real time, would be head-and-shoulders above any recorded presentation. And words can't really do justice to Stomp either, though I'm going to try anyway. Stomp Out Loud is like Riverdance with an industrial bent and far less pretense, though the physical prowess on display is easily as impressive as any act you'll ever see. The TV special reimagines the stage show nicely, alternating concert performance segments with opened-up vignettes set in kitchens and alleyways, turning basketballs, playing cards, and junkyard finds into marvelous percussive instrumentation. Audio/video synchronization and editing are clever and sharp, though your eye will never be able to follow the performance closely enough to keep up, and the production captures the group's sense of musical, mathematical joy with remarkable success.

Stomp Out Loud is as Stomp does. If it makes a sound, Stomp makes it sing. Fantastic stuff.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: HBO presents Stomp Out Loud in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio, as created for airing on the cable TV channel. Shot on 35mm film and transferred to video for editing, there's a slightly soft look to the production, with some interlacing shimmer evident on thin edges. Color is solid and free of chroma noise, and detail is good (aside from a few slightly smeary shots) with dust, sweat and a palpable sense of energy coming through nicely. A competent presentation, given the broadcast-videotape source.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
PCMEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Stomp Out Loud features two soundtrack options: a linear PCM 48k 16-bit stereo surround track (reproducing the original Dolby Surround mix) and a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. The uncompressed PCM track features significantly stronger bass throughout, while the 5.1 mix has a stronger sense of concert-hall ambience during the live performance segments. Both analog-sourced tracks are solid, capturing Stomp's dizzying, infectious array of thumps, taps, grunts and rattles with decent fidelity and dynamic range. You can't really go wrong with either selection, though the audio-critical nature of the program makes one wish for a fully-digital master and transfer.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Production Notes
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. General Information and Timeline
  2. Photo Gallery
  3. Awards
  4. Credits
Extras Review: HBO's Stomp Out Loud DVD features an ample 14 picture-menu chapter stops and well-designed, easily navigable menus. The disc also includes a number of supplements—all are presented as space-efficient still screens of text and photos, with no video or audio extras, but they're still plentiful and generally informative:

General Information and Timeline:

Nine screens of history, covering the evolution of Stomp, followed by an 11-screen timeline detailing the group's significant milestones through March of 2000.

Directors/Cast:

Biographies of chief Stomp-er Luke Cresswell and Stomp Out Loud director Steve McNicholas, with headshot photos of 7 members of the original U.K. cast.

Filmography:

Chronological listing of Stomp-related films, TV specials and commercials.

Making of Stomp Out Loud:

Seven pages of production notes, covering the project's two week New York City shoot fairly thoroughly.

Photo Gallery:

Nine screens of full-color publicity photos of Stomp in action.

Awards:

3 displays listing various theatrical and festival awards earned by Stomp in all its incarnations.

Credits:

A single screen listing the main producing credits for Stomp Out Loud and HBO's DVD presentation.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Stomp Out Loud captures the innovative percussion performance group quite well, going beyond the traditional "concert film" approach in significant ways. HBO's DVD is nicely transferred with informative supplements; it's well worth a rental, and belongs in any fan's DVD collection. Recommended.

 


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