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Taking Woodstock [Blu-ray]


(Ang Lee, 2009)








Theatrical: Focus Features

Blu-ray: Universal Studios Home Entertainment



Region: FREE!

Runtime: 2:00:32.225

Disc Size: 41,432,547,006 bytes

Feature Size: 31,668,332,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.908 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-Ray Case

Release date: December 15th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080P / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1




English DTS-HD Master Audio 3357 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3357 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
French DTS Audio 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Spanish DTS Audio 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
English Dolby Digital Audio 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English, French, Spanish, None



• Deleted Scenes (11:05)

• Peace, Love, and Cinema (19:22)

• Commentary with Ang Lee and Jason Schamus

• No Audience Required: The Earthlight Players (3:47)


Description: A generation began in his backyard…From Academy AwardŽ-winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) comes Taking Woodstock, the comedy inspired by the true story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) and his family, who inadvertently played a pivotal role in making the famed Woodstock Music and Arts Festival into the happening that it was. When Elliot hears that a neighboring town has pulled the permit on a hippie music festival, he calls the producers thinking he could drum up some much-needed business for his parents' run-down motel. Three weeks later, half a million people are on their way to his neighbor’s farm in White Lake, New York, and Elliot finds himself swept up in a generation-defining experience that would change his life–and American culture–forever.



The Film:

Luckily I saw “Woodstock” again in April, so it was fresh in my mind while watching “Taking Woodstock,” Ang Lee’s entertaining film about the kid who made it all possible — in Woodstock, anyway. This is Elliot Teichberg, a young interior designer who leaves a New York career to return home to upstate New York and help his parents bail out their failing, shabby motel.

He’s already held outdoor “music festivals” at the motel, which have involved people sitting on the grass and listening to him play records. Now he learns a nearby town has refused a permit to the organizers of a proposed August 1969 rock concert. As the head of the tiny Bethel Chamber of Commerce, near Woodstock, he calls them and offers a permit. And history is made. What if Woodstock had been named after the town that turned it down, Wallkill?

Excerpt of review from Roger Ebert located HERE


Image:  NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.


The image quality for the release is quite good. Many of the shots are intentionally done in soft focus, but the image clarity rarely, if ever, suffers for it. The colors look quite vibrant, but really shine during the outdoor shots and the acid trip towards the end of the film (see capture 10). There's no sign of artificial manipulations or damage (not a surprise for a film that was released last year). Over all, there's really no fault to find in this surprisingly clear and sharp VC-1 encoded 1080p transfer.














Audio & Music:

You have a number of options to choose from on the audio front, with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track being the obvious choice. If you want to listen to the film with Spanish or French dialogue, then you can still do so in a non-HD 5.1 track. Additionally there's an English language version that's done in stereo. The film sounds great, however, with the HD track, there aren't any imaginable complaints. The music comes to life in the film (though if memory serves, there's surprisingly little taken from the concert itself) with tracks like Arlo Guthrie's "Coming Into Los Angeles" and Crosby, Stills, and Nash's "Wooden Ships" sounding gorgeous. The film also comes with optional English, French, and Spanish subtitle choices.



Extra wise, we first get a few deleted and/or extended scenes that were all generally enjoyable, but were obviously trimmed to keep the run time down. Next, there's a twenty minute documentary called "Peace, Love and Cinema" that features interviews with the cast and crew. Additionally, there's a short look at the actors that play the oft-nude theater troop that lives in Elliot's barn called "No Audience Required: The Earthlight Players". All of the documentary shorts are presented in HD and are charming in that they tend to capture some of the same jovial and carefree attitude of the feature. Finally, there's a commentary with Lee and screenwriter Jason Schamus that is mostly about the film's production.




Bottom line:

Going into the film, I was a little cautious. I've long admired Lee, but the trailer made the film look atrocious. Thankfully, the final product is much better than the promotional material made it out to be. Instead of the wacky slapstick that the trailer implied, the film was a small, intimate, and lighthearted look at the lives of one family who finds themselves swept up in one of the decade's biggest events. While the film doesn't rank amongst Lee's best work, it is nevertheless an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Definitely recommended.

August 3rd, 2010







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