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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 May 2004
In the current climate of artists squashing 16 songs on one release(plus a couple of "bonus" tracks), "Making Movies" at first sight looks like a half-hearted attempt at an album. But each of the tracks on here is a real gem, with as much thought put into the lyrics as the accompaniment. "Tunnel of Love" is an exhilarating ride on the rollercoaster of lust (the Spanish City is a fairground in Newcastle by the way) while "Hand in Hand" thuds to the crashing rythmn of an angry broken heart. "Les Boys" is perhaps the weakest song on the album, but an enjoyable, smoky ditty nonetheless... "Romeo & Juliet" is (in my opinion) the jewel in the crown - an explosive, heartfelt love song which anyone who listens to it will feel was written just for them to tell their story. "Making Movies" may perhaps have been overshadowed by "Brothers in Arms" and "Love over Gold" but it is nonetheless an effortlessly brilliant album, a must for anyone who enjoys good music that makes sense.
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For years, I only had three of the Straits' albums on vinyl, this one, Love Over Gold and their debut. This was the only true rock'n'roll record of the trio, Lover Over Gold being a technical wet-dream for prog-hungry middle agers, like I am now.

Now on CD, Making Movies feels like a classic, sort of a West Side Story for the 1980's with stories about love, passion and teenage angst, opening with the impressive and ambitious Tunnel Of Love, while the opening chords and lyrics of Romeo & Juliet were amazing at the time and still today, they resonate with lyrical beauty and oft-quoted lines.

They're all fine tracks, the distinctive tinkling of the ivories from Springsteen's keyboardist, Roy Bittan, adding an extra, welcome dimension. Even the awkward fish out of water, Les Boys, which is often seen as an anticlimax end track, is pretty good, 'Cabaret' style, with swing and style that perfectly evokes the gay scene in Berlin, that it's about. Not so rock and roll but hats off to Mark for not only writing it but getting it on the album.

A few have mentioned the poor CD quality and as it's been a long time I've been able to play LPs, at least in pristine condition, it's impossible to compare, but would have to admit, there is a slight mid-range mush which during loud sections allows the otherwise clear sounds to clog up. Mark's rocky vocals in Solid Rock get muffled and indistinct because of this.

Fortunately Dire Straits were wise enough to change their style from album to album, instead of churning out the same stuff, conveyor-belt style, simply because it worked - and sold. Therefore, each studio album is unique but also will have different fans. I would say that Making Movies is amongst their top three, not the best, nor worse, but different.
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VINE VOICEon 5 September 2000
"Makin' Movies" was the Dire Straits comeback album, following the relatively poor performance of their second LP, "Communique". Starting off a seven-song album with an eight minute song might seem like suicide, but all the tracks are so strong that such a bold move made sense.

The band had to re-invent themselves after a dodgy patch involving a half-empty second US tour and David Knopfler leaving half-way through the recording of this album. The results, though, were a real step up for the band. Mark Knopfler's songwriting moved into a completely different league to that on display on the previous two records. He'd also started taking control of the production with this album too. It's his vision from start to finish.

"Tunnel of Love", the eight-minute opener, moves around like one of the twisters he sings about. The long guitar solo ended up becoming a highlight of the live show and is still an example of how to write innovative guitar music. It's just a great song.

The commercial highlight comes early on in the form of "Romeo and Juliet", which was a successful Top Ten hit here in the UK. The lyrics are standard fare but the whole song works well. The dynamics are excellent, the ebb and flow help the story along.

"Skateaway" is a very American sounding early-eighties pop song. It was a single in the US, but listening to it now, it seems to be stuck in that time. There are some nice ideas (a strong melody, for a start) and Pick Withers' drumming is as impressive as ever.

"Expresso Love" is probably the most sexist song in Knopfler's notepad. There's some good riffing going on, but those lyrics...! "I was made to go with this girl just like the saxophone was made to go with the night." Hello? Just... NO!

That track is followed by greatness: "Hand in Hand". "Romeo & Juliet" may have made the charts, but "Hand in Hand" has got great lyrics (Elmore James' influence shown in the opening line, blues fans!), brilliant playing and from start to finish is a powerful and emotional piece of writing.

"Solid Rock" probably states most clearly Mark Knopfler's vision of the band. Strip away all the glitz and glamour and you have a band that is really determined to make it. And after the two albums that followed this, you couldn't argue with that vision.

The final track "Les Boys" is fairly funny, but seems to be hindered by Knopfler's lack of confidence in this area. Knopfler seems to be confused as to whether to ham it up or tone it down and the song itself crosses the line between humour and offence.

Overall, the concepts, sounds and songwriting are beyond what Knopfler could have achieved just twelve months before and the prominence of the keyboards really lifts the whole set. The attitude and character shown here is what gives that album four rather than three stars.
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on 20 November 2000
This is my favourite Dire Starits album ever. It is not immediate, but over time, I defy you to dispute its status as a classic. Every song is a revelation, and it is perhaps the most satisfying and consistent of all their albums. 'Hand in Hand' is a highpoint, so too is 'Tunnel of Love'.
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on 26 July 2006
Making Movies, the ORIGINAL album, is, as many other reviewers have commented, a much underrated classic. I could bang on for hours about the superb lyrical quality, the rough simplicity, and the sheer brilliance that just oozes from every note, but others have done that.

This review is about the current CD (1996). I wouldn't normally bother, but ten years should be ample time for Vertigo to have come to their senses and done something about it.

So what's the problem with this? Well, if you want that classic late-night-empty-ballpark sound, buy "Love over Gold" crack open a really decent Remy (ice cubes if you really must, personally I wouldn't), turn the lights down and the volume to eleven. Enjoy. If, however, you want something that sounds like it was given to the teaboy to play with as his first mix, buy this.

I can't emphasize just how much this isn't the original Making Movies. It once had a wonderful feel of intimacy about it. On here it's, well, gone. Imagine seeing an old friend after a while and discovering they've taken to wearing makeup and a bad wig. You know the real person is under there, somewhere, but you just can't get the garishness out of your mind.

So now I've picked up the sleeve, and found out that the truly great Bob Ludwig is the guilty party. I'm somewhat shocked by this, but I have to ask Bob, why? You know what you're doing, heck, you must be a multi millionaire by now and I just record the occasional band for fun. It's not my name on any number of classic albums of the last thirty years, it's yours.

But I'm not deaf, and neither are you, so why on earth didn't you just line up on the tone and leave the faders alone and the outboard gear just out?

It's got compressor pumping on Skateaway, Tunnel of Love has caved-in, and if Juliet had any sense, she'd have thrown a bucket over this Romeo. The essence has gone. It simply isn't the Dire Straits of the time. The balance of the mix has been changed, heavily re-eq'd and reverb's been added in a way that can only be described as tacky.

OK I'll shut up now. The MP3 generation probably won't notice, but for those of us who care, this should NOT be the Dire Straits handed down to posterity.

My CD copy of the original was nicked (stolen) some years back, and I thought this might be a replacement. It really isn't. I strongly recommend you check out your local library or an Amazon secondhand record shop instead. Otherwise, if you're under 30 and own an iPod, you might never really hear what Dire Straits was all about.
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on 17 July 2009
All of the previous reviewers are spot on! Tunnel of Love is my all time favourite Dire Straits. Lyrical genius and a beautifully crafted and deeply touching song of a bitter sweet encounter. One of the previous reviewers summed this album up nicely as quality not quantity in terms of the number of songs on the album. Highly recommended album. Will modern music ever see this sort of quality again?
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on 16 August 2015
First heard this great album in a record store in Sicily whilst on an afternoon shore leave from my ship all the crew loved it when I spotted it in the amazon. store just had to download it tunnel of love Romeo and Juliet classic tracks great lyrics great guitar my favourite straits album gonna get loads of playing time Loeffler is sublime !!!!
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on 6 July 2015
I love Dire Straits plus of course Knopfler solo and when eg worked on a Dylan album, and did All The Road Running with Emmy Lou, and find the Local Hero soundtrack.

But this is from the era of the young muso lads leaving an audio tape on George Melly 's doorstep, placed neatly alongside his morning bottle of milk, and Melly listened to it and played it and we know the rest of the story.
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on 13 September 2015
I probably lent it to someone telling them how good it is and never saw it again! So its good to have this classic LP back in my collection. Lovely sound quality on the heavy vinyl, although no written evidence on the sleeve that this is a re-mastering.
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on 3 July 2006
I suppose any die-hard Dire straits fan will tell you brothers in arms is Dire Straits best album, but i have always prefered this one. Yes, i suppose you could say this is more commercial than BIA, but every song on this album with the exception(predictably!) of Les boys, paints a wonderful picture in your mind and as the song develops, so does the picture. Very few albums have had this affect on me. Making the best movies!!
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