Country Strong (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 Old 04-13-2011, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
Mod & Bluray Reviewer
Lee Weber's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,537
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 178 Post(s)
Liked: 483
The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Screen Gems- 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Genre: Drama, Music

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

Audio Format(s): English, French, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Tim McGraw, Leighton Meester, Gwyneth Paltrow
Directed by: Shana Feste
Music by: Michael Brook
Written by: Shana Feste
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 12, 2011

"It doesn't matter where you've been as long as you come back strong."

Film Synopsis:

Soon after a rising young singer-songwriter (Garrett Hedlund) gets involved with a fallen, emotionally unstable country star (Gwyneth Paltrow), the pair embark on a career resurrection tour helmed by her husband/manager (Tim McGraw) and featuring a beauty queen-turned-singer (Leighton Meester). Between concerts, romantic entanglements and old demons threaten to derail them all.

My Take:

I really really didn't want to have to say what I am about to say. I actually enjoyed 'Country Strong'. Ill be the first to admit it really isn't a very good flm and some of the dialogue is accidentally hilarious, including whoppers like when Gwyneth Paltrow says "I got one of those Brazilian bikini waxes," and Tim McGraw replies "I just took an Ambien." It was meant to be deep and show the state of their relationship, but me, I just laughed at most of the drama here.

Speaking of drama, this movie had it all. Kelly Canter (Gwenyth Paltrow, Iron Man) is an aging alcoholic super-star who left rehab early to go on a comeback tour. Her relationship is strained with her Husband-Manager (Tim McGraw, Friday Night Lights), who has chosen a young unknown girl, Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl) to open the tour. Of course he has the hots for this beauty queen turned wanna be singer. If thats not enough...wait for it...wait for it...While in rehab, Kelly has been having a little affair with Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund, Tron: Legacy), who is a local country singer, playing small bars as a passion, not concerned about fame. Kelly gets him added to the tour and Beau ends up falling for Chiles.

Are you taking notes?

Then for good measure we learn that before her rehab stint, Kelly had lost her baby late in pregnancy due to her drunkenly falling down on-stage at a Dallas concert. This blow is a weight she and her husband cant get over, and neither can some extremest in the public who send her a care package of a bloodied baby-doll with "baby killer" written on it.

Still with me?? Unfortunately Writer/Director Shana Feste didn't quite follow it all too well either. I think the story was perfectly laid out in her head, but the ball was dropped, as all of this drama never had the proper time to fully develop, lacked a sense of urgency, and seemed swept under the rug for brevity's sake.

I did start by saying how hard it is for me to admit I liked 'Country Strong', especially with its over-blown, soap-operatic plot and country music (this cowboy is not a fan). Somehow through its drama induced stupor, 'Country Strong' had an hosest charm. Gwenyth scores a home run with this stellar performance, possibly the best I have seen here. She has a great voice and sang her songs, as did the rest of the cast. It's the cast had me caring for the characters, making me wish they had more time to flesh this love triangle out (with 4 is it a love square??), but at almost two hours, they were already pushing it.

Parental Guide:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving alcohol abuse and some sexual content.

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: 86

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

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

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

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

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

Video: 90

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

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

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=121037369
'Country Strong' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22.7 and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 2.7 mbps.

I really enjoyed Sony's A/V presentation with this release. The music sounded great, hi-hats and cymbal high end were crisp and articulate, but never tiny. The low end was accurate and tight, giving things a nice punchy feel. Surrounds seemed to liven up as crowd applause during concert scenes, but then were almost absent. Dialogue and vocals were always easy to understand, in moments of drama as well as song. The video portion had outstanding black levels with lucid details in shadows. I saw no discrepancies in colors, any video noise or compression flaws. The image had a healthy dose of celluloid grain which added to its highly detailed 1080p encode.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Deleted Scenes

  • (HD) Original Ending

  • (HD) Featurettes

  • (HD) Music Videos

  • (HD) "Shake That Thing" - Extended Performance

  • (HD) Trailers: How Do You Know, Burlesque, Soul Surfer, The Tourist

  • BD-Live

  • movieIQ

Final Thoughts:

'Country Strong' was saved by Gwyneth Paltrows superlative performance, saving this unsure film, about unsure people. The music was surprisingly good, and that is a coming from someone who is typically annoyed by country music. Sony packs this Blu-ray release with a few worthy featurettes as well as its usual top-tier A/V presentation. I recommend a rental to interested parties, and a purchase to fans of the film theatrically.


Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

Panasonic TC-P65VT25
Marantz SR5005 Receiver
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Artison Portrait LCR and Artison LRS Surround Speakers
Martin Logan Dynamo 500 Subwoofer
Lee Weber is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 Old 04-13-2011, 05:15 PM
Blu-ray Reviewer
Ralph Potts's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Middletown NY
Posts: 14,032
Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1683 Post(s)
Liked: 6124

Thanks Lee..


Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviewer
My Home Theater
Follow me on Twitter @RalphAVSreviews
Ralph Potts is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 04-13-2011, 05:24 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
Summa's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 2,943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 185 Post(s)
Liked: 369
Is this some sort of belated April Fools joke, Lee?
Summa is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 9 Old 04-13-2011, 06:21 PM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
gwsat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 21,017
Mentioned: 100 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4471 Post(s)
Liked: 5820
I watched Country Strong last night and despite my abiding admiration of Gwyneth Paltrow's talent, was underwhelmed. As Lee noted in his review, the film's screenwriter, Shana Feste, who also directed, is over the top. Despite the poor writing I really liked Paltrow's performance, particularly her last number at her character's performance in Dallas. Paltrow can really sing and is more than a competent actress. Nevertheless, I ended up mostly disliking the overlong and overwritten Country Strong. 5 Stars out of 10

HT setup: Sony 75XBR X940D UHD HDR TV; Kaleidescape Strato Movie Server 6 TB and Terra Server 24 TB; Yamaha RX-A3060 AV receiver; Sonamp 2-1 2channel 100W power amp; Crestron Control System; 2 Rythmik FV18 subwoofers, 6 Hsu HB-1 Bookshelf speakers, 1 Hsu HC-1 Center speaker, 4 Focal ICW8 in-ceiling Atmos speakers; Oppo UDP-203 4K HDR BD player. TiVO Bolt 1TB DVR; TiVo Premiere Elite 2 TB DVR; Roku Premiere+; Apple TV 4K
gwsat is offline  
post #5 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 09:37 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
JamE55's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,190
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Like what Lee said if it weren't for Gweneth's performance this film would've been lost. Garrett should just stick to Tron.

Leighton was the eye candy and Tim well not really sure what's he's doing there. Maybe he just got lost in the shuffle? lol!
JamE55 is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 09:40 AM
Advanced Member
Georgeb's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 959
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks for the review, Lee. Despite it all, I'll probably buy this, not only for Gwyneth, but for McGraw, too, who has shown in the past ( Friday Night Lights ) that he has acting chops. And I like musicals of all stripes.
Georgeb is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 09:42 AM
rboehl's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 74
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked: 17
I also thought that it was a 5 out of 10 at best.
rboehl is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 04-14-2011, 09:44 AM
AVS Forum Addicted Member
mgkdragn's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Illinois, East of St Louis
Posts: 15,403
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2971 Post(s)
Liked: 3878
I was against this film from the get go, yet, it turned out I actually liked it .. it's not "A Star is Born" .. but it is pretty good .. music was great ..

Uncle Willie

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
mgkdragn is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 05-09-2011, 07:44 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
General Kenobi's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kalifornistan
Posts: 6,288
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 406 Post(s)
Liked: 742
Wife and I just watched this last night and enjoyed it. I did hope it was building t something a little less predictable but we still enjoyed it. Music was excellent, going to pick up the soundtracks this week.

Kenobi's 31 Days of Horror: 
General Kenobi is offline  
Sponsored Links
Reply Official AVS Forum® Blu-ray Disc Reviews

Country Strong Blu Ray , Marantz Sr5005 Audio Video Receiver Black

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off