Straw Dogs (2011) (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=231320&d=1324311448
The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: Screen Gems 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 110 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller


Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS-HD MA 5.1,
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish
Starring: Laz Alonso, Kate Bosworth, Willa Holland, James Marsden, Dominic Purcell, Alexander Skarsgard, James Woods
Directed by: Rod Lurrie
Music by: Larry Groupé
Written By: Rod Lurie, David Zelag Goodman & Sam Peckinpah (1971 Screenplay)
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 20, 2011







"We Take Care Of Our Own."



Film Synopsis:

A young couple (James Marsden and Kate Bosworth) moves to a quaint southern town. Soon their perfect getaway turns out to become a living hell when dark secrets and lethal passions spiral out of control. Trapped by a pack of depraved locals led by a ruthless predator (Alexander Skarsgard, TV’s “True Blood”), they face a night of agonizing suffering and endless bloodshed. Now their only hope for survival is to become more savage than their merciless torturers. Also starring two-time Academy Award® Nominee James Woods (Best Actor, Salvador, 1986 and Best Supporting Actor, Ghosts of Mississippi, 1996).




My Take:

Not everyone can get there with a map. Seems like these guys couldn't get there with a GPS either; I guess that just seems to be the way with remakes. It goes to show you a great movie is more than a good story. Some of my favorite films are great because so many things line up to get them to be as amazing as they are. Jaws, The Sting... could go on about a bunch of films where the luck of the right cast, director, story, music, location...it just all lines up magically. This remake of 1971's Straw Dogs (no the original is not exactly one of those magical films) is missing the magical bits that aligned to make the original an extremely good thriller. Missing is the awkward feeling the unique character the rural English countryside provided, and it is now traded for a more traditional backwoods-esque Louisiana. Gone is the direction and pacing of the great Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch). And what is missed the most is Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of David Sumner. Hoffman's geeky innocence and charm worked in spades in the original in the roll of a man who is pushed to his breaking point. The new cast looks good on paper, but the depth of character combined with the cold emotionless crimes was not portrayed the way I could connect to or be scared from. Alexander Skarsgard plays the lead tormentor, and he never seems to get dark enough. James Mardsen (X-Men) plays Dustin Hoffman's character of David Sumner, and he was convincing with his take until the end showdown. His turn to the darkside, when he is pushed over the edge was not there. There was no moment I felt that snap like the original...that is the key to this film being a success and it was not there. While I am getting into it the suspense leading up to it is terribly lacking as the film just plods along until the "showdown" at the end. As hard as I am being on the film it was technically competent, well filmed and I would assume passable to those who have not seen the original. I do believe if you have yet to see the original Straw Dogs do yourself a favor and check that out over this.




Parental Guide:

Rated R for strong brutal violence including a sexual attack, menace, some sexual content, and pervasive language





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 94



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697


Video: 88



  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=121037369
Straw Dogs comes to on Blu-ray Disc from Sony Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21.8 mbps and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 mbps.

Straw Dogs is another gorgeous release from Sony. It looks like film, it looks like high definition. When those two things combine we sure do have a win win. The only flaws (if you can call it that) were with the colors which seemed a bit on the yellow/warm side, and this did effect flesh-tones from time to time. Besides that, which is how it was filmed, everything is spot-on. Details are visible on foreground as well as background images, black levels and shadow details, which are paramount during the nighttime face-off are stunning. The DTS-HD MA is quite nice as well. It really sucks you into the rural Louisianian surroundings with a 360 degree sound field full of natural ambiance. Dialouge is never lacking, though the expected heavy Cajun accents are missing. Dynamics are of the highest order, and just watch the end showdown to see some great audio design. Gun fire, screaming, glass shattering, the thud of a nail gun...it's all so clear, crisp and precise. This is a winner both audio and video-wise.



Bonus Features:



  • Commentary with Writer/Director Rod Lurie

  • (HD) Courting Controversy: Remaking a Classic

  • (HD) The Dynamics of Power: The Ensemble

  • (HD) Creating the Sumner House: The Production Design

  • (HD) Inside the Siege: The Ultimate Showdown

  • BD Live enabled







Final Thoughts:

Straw Dogs was a technically competent film, and might be considered decent to folks yet to see the original. When compared against Sam Peckinpah's 1971 version it is apparent that this is missing the soul and madness found in the original. Sony delivers a great package giving a Director's commentary that is worth a listen as it makes you like the film a little bit more, and the few short and watchable featurettes. The video as quite fantastic and the DTS-HD MA surround track is of reference caliber. I do believe if you have yet to see the original Straw Dogs do yourself a favor and check that out over this.






attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







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post #2 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 11:57 AM
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Greetings,

Thanks Lee!

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post #3 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 12:54 PM
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Well that is sure disappointing...I'll take your advice and check out the original, though, since I've never seen it.
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 01:56 PM
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Bought this the other day...thanks Lee for making me feel good about it, haven't watched it yet but had higher expectations for this.

Oh well...
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post #5 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 02:09 PM
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Haven't seen the Dustin Hoffman version which was the original but watching this 2011 remake i thought was decent to wtf?

James Marsden's character at the end left me with the expression WTF?!? Are you kidding? It's like where did you lose your brass and how did you grow a va jay jay? lol Thought the ending scene was a total weak sauce.

Overall it was an ok film. Going to have to check out the orig after this review.

Merry Christmas everyone.
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post #6 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EAGLEFAN67 View Post

Bought this the other day...thanks Lee for making me feel good about it, haven't watched it yet but had higher expectations for this.

Oh well...

It's watchable, and it sounds incredible. Have you seen the original?
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post #7 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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post #8 of 27 Old 12-23-2011, 07:24 PM
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I've the original by Sam Peckinpah and this one is on my queue. Based on your reviews, maybe it's not worthwhile.

Dustin is hard to beat as an actor with range for James Marsden.
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post #9 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 05:11 AM
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I just watched the newest version of the film last night on blu ray. I have never seen the original movie. I liked the movie. It does move a little slowly. The hunting scene in the woods is pretty good. It's completely quiet and very dark and out of nowhere a loud screaming bullet flies across the room and then a deer thuds across the screen. The fight scene at the end of the movie is good both in audio and video. The best part of this whole movie is Kate Bosworth. She visually keeps the entire movie together. Especially in the slower parts of the movie.
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post #10 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 08:23 AM
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Thanks Lee--kind of what I figured for this film but I want to give it a watch--I have it on my Netflix list.

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post #11 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

I just watched the newest version of the film last night on blu ray. I have never seen the original movie. I liked the movie. It does move a little slowly. The hunting scene in the woods is pretty good. It's completely quiet and very dark and out of nowhere a loud screaming bullet flies across the room and then a deer thuds across the screen. The fight scene at the end of the movie is good both in audio and video. The best part of this whole movie is Kate Bosworth. She visually keeps the entire movie together. Especially in the slower parts of the movie.

Ahh the "hot actress quotient". Looking at her did help.
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post #12 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 04:11 PM
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I've seen both versions and I enjoyed the remake. I saw the original when it first came out and I watched it again after watching the remake. I really enjoyed the remake. Video and Audio were outstanding!! It's definitely worth a look.

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post #13 of 27 Old 12-24-2011, 04:46 PM
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You seemed to indicate the video was perfect but only got an 88?
If the flesh tones were filmed to be yellowish, why should it be an issue (and get 4 out of 5)?
Have not seen the movie yet, on my rent queue
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post #14 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sergiohm View Post

You seemed to indicate the video was perfect but only got an 88?
If the flesh tones were filmed to be yellowish, why should it be an issue (and get 4 out of 5)?
Have not seen the movie yet, on my rent queue

4 out of 5 because I didn't perceive them to look completely natural at all times.
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post #15 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 07:16 AM
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Saw the original way back in the theater and have owned the dvd for some time now. I pretty much expected a review like Lee's when it came to the re-make. Hell, when Hollywood tries remaking classics from directors like Hitchcock, Peckinpah, etc., you just know it's not going to work. But, I intend to buy the re-make because I have this odd tendency to collect re-makes of originals...
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post #16 of 27 Old 12-25-2011, 02:11 PM
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Lee -- Thanks for your helpful review. I had been on the fence over whether to rent the Straw Dogs remake but have decided to get it based on your assessment of its HD audio as reference quality. The dramatic weaknesses of the film notwithstanding, an audiotrack that good doesn't come along every day. I'll report my impressions after I have had a chance to watch the BD.
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post #17 of 27 Old 12-26-2011, 06:24 AM
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Is this a 24bit track? 2.1mbps seems low.

And the video should look good, it came from a 4K master.

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post #18 of 27 Old 12-26-2011, 08:21 AM
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Bought it and watched it last night. Was okay, but will make me appreciate the original much more the next time I watch it. James Marsden is no Dustin Hofgfman and Rod Lurie is no Sam Peckinpah, but for those unfamiliar with the original, it will be a good watch. Either way, the original or the remake, you will be in for a violent bloodfest. And the remake, as Lee said, has the look of both film and hidef and that's great.
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post #19 of 27 Old 12-28-2011, 09:33 AM
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I watched the remake this past weekend, thought it was pretty good, though I'm not a fan of Marsden.

I've never seen the original, but I do know of it. Will have to give it a go this weekend.

Currently testing 3D with Sammy DLP, shutter glasses, and HTPC
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post #20 of 27 Old 01-31-2012, 04:20 AM
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I was going to blind buy this movie but I'll think I'll wait until its released here to rent first. Thank lee.

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post #21 of 27 Old 02-03-2012, 05:54 AM
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Watched it... Hillbilly!! Plays on every hillbilly stereotype ever created! So, it was pretty funny in a not so subtle way. Completely predictable, simple, not memorable but had a few laughs and enjoyed the very hot Kate Bosworth.

Sound and video fine.

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post #22 of 27 Old 02-10-2012, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

The dramatic weaknesses of the film notwithstanding, an audiotrack that good doesn't come along every day. I'll report my impressions after I have had a chance to watch the BD.

Waiting on that audio assessment, esp. LFE content....
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post #23 of 27 Old 02-10-2012, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaych View Post

Waiting on that audio assessment, esp. LFE content....

I recently cancelled my Blockbuster subscription and have decided not to go back to Netflix. Consequently, I will have to get the Straw Dogs BD from a Redbox kiosk, which I will do one of these days. As promised, when I see it, and hear it, I will report my impressions here. It may be a while, though. I just got my Downton Abbey Season 2 and Shakespeare In Love BDs from Amazon and plan to watch them first.
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post #24 of 27 Old 02-10-2012, 10:09 AM
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^^^Probably smarter to rent first. I don't do that anymore, just buy. Don't even watch before buying more -- still have the whole late seasons of Justified and Boardwalk Empire to watch, almost all of BSG (which I never saw), Spartacus, all three Soprano sets on BD, soooo many others....but I go through buttkicker-soundtrack withdrawals, and need to turn to take-no-prisoners movietracks for that. Even if I jump the gun on this one before you pick it up, I'll look forward to what you might have to say....
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post #25 of 27 Old 03-10-2012, 02:25 PM
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Satisfying watch for me - not exactly the typical home invasion. However, it certainly won't win any acting awards.

Oh - and I agree - some really good audio moments.
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post #26 of 27 Old 05-29-2012, 09:53 AM
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Finally got a chance to watch it tonight. Wasn't bad at all.

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post #27 of 27 Old 05-31-2012, 11:49 AM
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The thing that got to me in the original, which is why I didn't see the remake, was the surprise brought about by not knowing anything about the plot. It was a time when teasers didn't convey the entire movie and only one movie played weeks at a time in one theater. The buildup was unexpected, fierce, effective. Same thing happened during Deliverance. If that ever gets remade, which I doubt will occur, I won't go see it.
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