June 30, 2009

Do the Right Thing

Also this week: Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Eastbound & Down, Lookin' to Get Out, Street Fighter

Highlight of the Week

Do the Right Thing: 20th Anniversary (Universal) There's no better way to spend a hot summer’s day than getting reacquainted with Spike Lee’s third, finest feature. Despite the director’s problematic outlook in the film’s controversial climax, the narrative, by and large, paints a dynamic depiction of two sides, making the “right thing” appear far from clear-cut and the characters more empathetic. Speaking of controversies, the DVD comes with its own: the transfer appears altered from 2001’s DP-approved Criterion release, with the sun-drenched colour timing substantially reduced. Nearly all of the previous extras are ported over, along with several upgrades. What’s new: half-hour, Lee-directed doc; newly discovered deleted scenes; oven-fresh Lee commentary. What remains: cast and crew commentary; hours of behind-the-scenes material. What’s missing: Fight the Power music video (with Lee commentary) and Spike’s Last Word.

Also Available

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose: The Complete First Season (Shout! Factory) If you’re about 30, chances are you once thought of Parker Lewis as the raddest dude this side of Bayside High. And for good reason: the guy was like Ferris Bueller, Zack Morris and every Christian Slater character rolled into one happenin’ lothario. His dress code, technical savvy and general good-vibes ’tude are no longer state-of-the-art chic, but nostalgia alone will totally make you want to don high-tops and an extra-large pastel blouse. Extras: seven commentaries, robust documentary on The History of Coolness.

Eastbound & Down: The Complete First Season (Warner) Jody Hill’s Observe and Report was a letdown, but fans of his and Danny McBride’s The Foot Fist Way will appreciate this series’ equally inspired blue-collar irreverence. The show’s six-episode arc plays like one epic feature. It’s great stuff, and guaranteed to divide audiences. Extras: three commentaries, making-of, deleted scenes, Kenny’s comeback film, “Kenny Powers: Greatest Hits” and a pair of faux auto ads. 

Lookin’ to Get Out: Extended Version (Warner) Hal Ashby’s studio-butchered film took two years to make it to cinemas. According to Jon Voight in the DVD liner notes, this slightly longer cut is what Ashby intended to release. While the director’s superior efforts were behind him, this is a worthwhile release for devoted fans of the late hippie auteur. Non-fans should begin with his streak of ’70s gems. Extras: 16-minute interview with co-writers Voight and Al Schwartz, and actors Burt Young and Ann-Margret.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li (Fox) Videogame-to-movie franchises are never a pretty sight, but we’re going out on a limb by ranking this (along with 2003’s House of the Dead and 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) as part of the trinity of apocalyptically abysmal translations. Extras: theatrical and unrated cut (including more inexcusable footage), commentary, making-of, featurettes.