Taking Woodstock

2009

Biography / Comedy / Drama / History / Music

71
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 28,019

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 12, 2020

Director

Cast

Liev Schreiber as Joe Shumate
Mamie Gummer as Tisha
Paul Dano as VW Guy
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.08 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
120 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.22 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
120 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bobt145 9 / 10 / 10

Ang Lee Nails It!

If you want to have a real sense of the concert and the mass of young people who attended, as a crowd, by all means check out "Woodstock" from 1970. It's all there, the music, the rain and mud, the buzz on the soundtrack replicating the buzz on the sound system at Yasgur's Farm. But if you want to get a feeling of what Woodstock meant on a personal level, then Ang Lee's your man and you've come to the right place. How Lee managed to film this recreation without using real footage, I have no idea. That's apparently what he did. There in a number of shots is the hillside, mud and slop, with the stage below. The few food stands and portable johns at the top of the hill. The winding pathways through the side venues of jewelry, art, a class for this and a political table for that. The long narrow road that still leads off of New York State Route 17B to the Yasgur hillside where it happened. It rained a lot, but there was sun, this was mid-August and Lee bathes us in the warm glow of peace. Especially true to the event as I remember, the state cop who returns a peace gesture, the locals making sandwiches and offering water from hoses. Everyone who was there and lucid has a personal remembrance. Mine began on Friday evening with air mattresses not more than 50 feet from the stage and ended with the sacrifice of a blanket abandoned on the mudslide the hill had become by early Sunday morning. In between, I managed to shuttle down state route 55 and into New Jersey the back way, after the music ended Friday night, Saturday morning. Then back from New Jersey up the same road and finally ending about two miles the other side of the concert where the vehicle stayed untouched until it was reclaimed near dawn on Sunday. By that time, all though I'd only had a few generous puffs of weed, freely offered by those who had some, I was hearing double and it was time to pack it in. Yes, the brown acid warnings from Chip Monck (name?), the event "voice" echo'd in the acid trip of Demetri Martin, the young son who blunders into inviting the event to White Lake. The colors and details are incredible as seen from his eyes, slowly beginning to shift and then expanding until the hillside is undulating in waves around the lit stage below. A remarkable shot. Martin won't win any academy awards; Imelda Staunton might for her portrayal of his paranoid Jewish mother who has hidden a fortune while her rundown motel is nearing foreclosure. And an honorable mention should go to Liev Schreiber as the cross-dressing former Marine who provides security at the motel. Stereotypes? Sure. Few hippies ever were as mentally vacant as the Earthlite players. Did anyone buy Emile Hirsch's early post-Vietnam anguish? Fortunately, it was left on the doorstep of the main film and Hirsch's character later rings true. Just a high school buddy come home. But see the film for its personal feel, very true to the event. The wish that Dylan would arrive. The helicopter flights to the medical tent. (only a small number of half-a-million needed any treatment at all.) The question, what about the boys in Vietnam. As one girl says on 17B, "Wish they were here." I was back just a little more than a week. Went with an Army buddy I'd never see again. Yet no one gave us grief for our short hair, mandatory to get out of Vietnam. The music? Well, Arthur Lee and Love are the perfect accompaniment to the acid trip inside the bus (they never played at the festival.) When the early strains of Friday night's music begin to waft over an idyllic lake where dozens of kids bathe nude, it's Arlo Guthrie and I caught myself thinking, damn, it was dark when Guthrie appeared. But that was forty years ago and the memory can't be trusted. Just the personal feeling. And despite some of the weaknesses in the subplot, Ang Lee did get the feeling right. For the personal memories, he absolutely nailed it!

Reviewed by Jeradactyl 8 / 10 / 10

Captures the Spirit of Woodstock in a Unique Way

From reading some of the other comments it sounds like most people that are disappointed in this film were mainly put off due to their expectations for a film that focuses on the music. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I loved the unique focus on the small town that hosted the festival and how it affected all of their lives. I believe it was a great way to really capture the vibe of Woodstock without getting too rapt up in the actual musicians that were playing, which to me has been focused on enough over the years. If you have been to a multiple day festival before you will have a wonderful sense of nostalgia. This movie completely captures how amazing people can be when they remove themselves from the hum drum monotony of their day to day lives and get together with like minded strangers for a few days of complete freedom and joy. A great feel good movie with a lot of veiled depth about the people that helped make Woodstock one of the most famous events the world has known.

Reviewed by Chris Knipp 8 / 10 / 10

Getting inside by hovering on the outskirts

Building a sweet coming-of-age comedy around a major American cultural event of the Sixties, 'Taking Woodstock' is lodged on the periphery of the legendary half-million-strong August 1969 "peace and love" rock concert held on Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm near the hamlet of White Lake, in the town of Bethel, New York. While director Ang Lee gives perhaps the most vivid sense on film yet of what it might have been like to witness the event unfolding as a "townee," he approaches it crab-wise, getting inside it by hovering on the outskirts. In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Quentin Tarantino remarked at how hackneyed biopics are. He suggested the best way to depict the life of Elvis would be to make a movie about one day in the life -- say, the one when The King walked into Sun Records the first time. Lee takes a similar approach to the enormous muddy happening of August 15-18 1969 (this film is a 40th-anniversary celebration). After all it's been thoroughly covered by documentary filmmakers, and most of the acts were thoroughly filmed and recorded. But 'Taking Woodstock' partly trumps that real footage by depicting how the happening built like an invasion, focusing on some of the locals and the promoters and a couple of the acid heads but never even focusing on the stage at all. This might sound like a Robert Altman knockoff, but it's really quite different. Lee isn't trying to build up Woodstock through lots of vignettes and pieces. This is more like Tolstoy's vision of the Battle of Waterloo, but instead of the battle itself, the distant noise and tumult is that of a concert with thousands swarmed around it. That's true for a moment or two, at least, and those moments are haunting. But Ang Lee is no Tolstoy (though he did his own peripheral (Civil) war picture in Ride with the Devil). In the end he doesn't focus on the battle at all. Though Lee's young protagonist, Elliot Teichberg (Demetri Martin), a gay Jewish every-youth and the dutiful son of an impoverished middle-aged couple whose decrepit motel has useless pretensions to being a Catskills resort, is depicted as making it all happen by, as head of the minuscule township's Chamber of Commerce, linking up charismatic, bushy-haired young promoter Michael Lang (Jonathan Groff) with enterprising dairyman Max Yasgur (Eugene Levy), Ellie remains a peripheral figure of the concert, not even the witness of any of the 32 acts performed on stage. Ang Lee's new film lacks the somewhat hackneyed solemnity and pretension of his (admittedly far more emotionally powerful) 'Brokeback Mountain' or (much more stylish) 'Lust, Caution,' but his idea of depicting a great event, like Breugel, by magnifying peripheral figures, is a nifty one. Elliot Teichberg is the main such Breugel figure, but his parents, the long-suffering Jake (Henry Goodman), and the rigid, paranoid Sonia (Imelda Staunton) loom large for him and us, humble laborers who make the crucifixion come to life. So do the damaged but charismatic young Vietnam vet Billy (Emile Hirsch) and Vilma (Liev Schreiber), the drag queen security guard who's a link with Ellie's New York life as a budding interior decorator, and with the Stonewall riots that had happened just a couple weeks earlier when Elliot was in Lower Manhattan. And there are plenty of others, notably the VW Guy (Paul Dano) and VW Girl (Kelli Garner), who start Ellie on a wonderful acid trip in their van, becoming his guides on an introductory tour of psychedelics. Yeah, "you had to be there," but as hackneyed as the Trip trope is, this is a good one: in its details as in its overall approach, 'Taking Woodstock' often succeeds because it doesn't try too hard and is cozy, offhand, and humorous. The Sixties aren't about heroics or style, but about getting down, smashing barriers, breaking free -- way-stations of the romantic experience and milestones in any coming-of-age. Woodstock didn't really happen on the stage but in the mud and vans and tents, and Lee shows it that way. Its realities also included an insufficient number of Porta Potties, and townspeople raging at Elliot and Max for making the event happen but then charging big fees for cabins or sandwiches or a drink of water. Elliot's own mother is one of these. But then, somebody gets Jake and Sonia high and they dance in the rain. The motorcycle cop comes to do crowd control and ends up wearing a flower and giving rides. It's corny, but it happened. On the other hand, the borderline caricature depictions of Jews, Schreiber's amiable but overly broad transvestite, and even Emile Hirsch's clichéd, if lively, battle-scarred vet, all could have been thought through better. Broaching such large events even peripherally, Lee and his writers, James Schamus, Elliot Tiber (author of the source memoir) and Tom Monte, arguably do owe us a bit more of the sex, the bad trips, and the music itself -- which can't be left outside the story of a great concert, whether its protagonist got to the stage or not. If you look at the real people -- Michael Lang, for instance -- they were rougher and sexier than anybody in this movie. The images of Elliot Teichberg's coming-of-age are as lightweight as everything else, and in the superficial sketching of his gayness the movie is as bland as the ditsiest biopic. 'Taking Woodstock' is a sweet, gentle, easy take on events. But remember that it's a coming-of-age comedy that happens in the midst of a tumultuous event, and you'll see that the light touch is not invalid. This was not the great Bad Trip concert; it was the great Good Trip concert. And the light touch allows the film to feel comprehensive with delicacy and keep its focus on the young man's sensibility.

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