Taking Woodstock (Blu-Ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 5.5
(OUT OF 10)
James DiGiovanna and I differ a bit on this one. While I agree that it's not one of the better films from director Ang Lee, I still kind of liked it. It's an equally enjoyable and frustrating film about the mechanics behind and during the Woodstock festival.
Demetri Martin plays Elliot Tiber, the real-life figure who helped organize the 1969 concert with the permit he purchased for his small Catskills-motel music fair. The movie doesn't focus on the music of Woodstock; in fact, you only hear some of the concert from far distances, because Elliot never truly makes it to the festival.
Instead, the film is a hit-and-miss comedy about coming of age (and out of the closet) featuring decent supporting work from Liev Schreiber, Emile Hirsch and Eugene Levy. I think it's funny that we never get to see the show (hell, just rent Woodstock), and Lee does a good job depicting the total chaos of 500,000 people amassing in upstate New York.
Some of it does come off as a bit clichéd, especially the depiction of Elliot's parents, played in cartoonish fashion by Henry Goodman and Imelda Staunton. I suppose a much better film could be made about Woodstock and the way it took upstate New York—and the world—by storm, but Lee's film certainly has its moments.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Some deleted scenes (including three only found on the Blu-Ray version), a look at the real-life Earthlight Players and a commentary from Lee.
A Perfect Getaway: Unrated Director's Cut (Blu-Ray)
SPECIAL FEATURES D+
DVD GEEK FACTOR 5.75
(OUT OF 10)
I wound up liking this movie a lot more than I thought I would. Steve Zahn and Timothy Olyphant do a decent job of turning something that could've been stupid into something that qualifies as passable entertainment. I guess director David Twohy deserves some credit as well.
Zahn and Milla Jovovich star as newlyweds vacationing in Hawaii, where the news has just broken that another young couple has been murdered. While hiking, they meet up with the mysterious Olyphant and his girlfriend (Kiele Sanchez, who is easy on the eyes). They wind up camping together, and Zahn and Jovovich become more paranoid with their new companions after some suspicious behavior.
Olyphant is a lot of fun as an adventurer who seems like he could be killing people in his spare time. He is one of the more underrated actors out there, as is Zahn, who gets a chance to do something unlike anything he's done before. He's previously done drama (Rescue Dawn), but this gives him a chance to really show his chops. Jovovich does a fine job, although I wish she'd quit acting for a little while and make a new record. I hadn't really noticed Sanchez in anything before, but she's a standout in this one.
I suggest that you learn as little as possible about the movie, and watch it on a Saturday night. What starts off as a routine thriller becomes markedly better by the time credits roll.
SPECIAL FEATURES: You get two versions of the film: the theatrical version and a slightly different unrated one. The only special feature to be found is an alternate ending. That is isn't good as far as supplements are concerned.
Jennifer's Body: Unrated (Blu-Ray)
20TH CENTURY FOX
SPECIAL FEATURES B
DVD GEEK FACTOR 5
(OUT OF 10)
Surprisingly, the best aspect of this film is Megan Fox, who, when given the chance to actually act and do something more than stick her butt up for the camera (Michael Bay is a whore!), can be quite entertaining. She's pretty good here as a high school student who gets into the back of a strange band's van and comes back all wiggy.
She's pretty much matched by Amanda Seyfried, who is quite a versatile actress. I love her on Big Love, loved her in Mean Girls and even liked her in Mamma Mia!, a movie that kind of sucked. Here, she plays best friend of Jennifer (Fox), a cheerleader who has taken to eating her male classmates and generally acting creepy.
I must also give compliments to director Karyn Kusama, who gets across a couple of good scares in this movie. With a good script, she's probably capable of making a decent movie. This time out, she unfortunately lets some rather bad writing derail her.
So the true fault for this film's ultimate failure falls on the shoulders of writer Diablo Cody. Cody's annoying tendency to be overly cute, clever and hip with her dialogue gets the best of her here. It worked fine in Juno, but that film had a killer cast led by a director (Jason Reitman) who knew what to do with the cute stuff.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Both the unrated and theatrical versions, audio commentaries with the director and Cody, and some video diaries.