Review: Country Strong Blu-ray

Country Strong Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Shana Feste | CAST: Gwyneth Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, Tim McGraw, Leighton Meester
RELEASE DATE:
4/12/2011 | PRICE: DVD $28.95, Blu-ray $34.95
BONUSES: original ending, deleted scenes, music videos, featurettes, MovieIQ
SPECS: PG-13 | 117 min. | Music drama | 2.40:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French, Spanish, Portuguese subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Country StrongGwyneth Paltrow (Seven) gives a stellar performance in Country Strong, and not just because of her much-talked-about singing voice. She’s at once vulnerable and strong as the country music star who’s at the top of her career while her life spirals downward.

An alcoholic, Paltrow’s Kelly is dragged out of rehab by her husband/manager (Tim McGraw, The Blind Side) to continue a tour she abandoned after a drunken fall on stage in Dallas. She brings along promising singer/songwriter Beau (Garrett Hedlund of Tron: Legacy), with whom she’s having an affair, and McGraw brings country star wannabe Leighton Meester (The Roommate), who will do anything to get what Kelly has.

McGraw and Hedlund do a great job of flanking Paltrow in this touching and sad drama. And, of course, the music is good even if you’re not a big country music fan.

The film looks and sounds wonderful on Blu-ray, from the colorful stage costumes and lights to the mascara rolling down Paltrow’s face with tears. All the stars did their own singing for the movie, and their voices are beautiful in high-definition.

The Blu-ray even gives more chances to hear them, with an extended performance of Paltrow doing “Shake That Thing,” a music video with Paltrow doing “Country Strong” and the music video for singer Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger,” which was used in the movie. The playlist also is featured in the BD-Live MovieIQ feature.

The songwriters behind the songs are featured in the featurette “Putting the Words in Their Mouths: The Songwriters.” It’s an interesting piece that details how each character had a different music producer to make sure that each had a different sound. Two other featurettes explore the cast and those fun country costumes.

Rounding out the disc are some good deleted scenes and the original ending, which actually better follows the character Meester plays even though it’s not necessarily a happy one.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.