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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2010

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"Taking Woodstock" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movies-january-2010-taking-woodstock210

Synopsis

After failing as an artist/designer in New York City, Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) heads back home to his parents’ (Imelda Staunton and Henry Goodman) run-down motel in upstate New York.  After learning that a neighboring town has pulled the permit for a large outdoor “music festival,” Tiber uses his position on the local Chamber of Commerce to offer up his town as an alternate location.  Little does Elliot know that his actions will wind up helping to define an entire generation.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2009, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 1 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Demetri Martin, Dan Fogler, Henry Goodman, Jonathan Groff, Eugene Levy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Imelda Staunton, Emile Hirsch, and Liev Schreiber
  • Directed by Ang Lee
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: Full Nudity
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

“Taking Woodstock” is an interesting take on one of the defining moments of the “hippie-generation.”  The actual concert is really just a background player in the story of Elliot Tiber and his family.  Personally, I really enjoyed this unique take on the festival, as it is something that to my knowledge has not been done before.   The story was excellent and the acting was top-notch, particularly Imelda Staunton and Henry Goodman in their roles as Elliot’s parents.  I won’t spoil the fun, but Liev Schreiber definitely went out on a limb with his role, and I think it made a nice addition to the progression of the storyline.   Based upon real-life events, “Taking Woodstock” earns a must-see recommendation from me.

Technical

The 1080P image is consistently true to the source.  Most scenes are sharp with accurate colors but there are numerous shots that were made to look like home-video footage from the time period, complete with lots of film grain and washed out colors.  Black levels and contrast were good throughout.   Despite being a film about Woodstock, the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is fairly sedate.  Since this film is not about the music, you only hear the performances from “miles away.”   During the obligatory “acid-trip” scene, the surrounds finally make their presence known, but are mostly used for subtle ambient effects throughout the rest of the film.   There is little use of the LFE channel either.

Extras

There aren't a ton of extras on this disc.  There is a look into the real "Earthlight Players," deleted scenes, a feature commentary, and featurette on "Peace, Love, and Cinema."  The disc is also BD-Live enabled.