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New to DVD: Spike Lee, Cornell Wilde and Harryhausen

Shesgotta_2 Some things never change. Spike Lee likes to push buttons; Cornell Wilde likes to take center stage; and Harryhausen likes to have a say in the his F/X even after they’re done.

A touchstone for indie cinema, Spike Lee’s feature debut She’s Gotta Have It is finally on DVD 20 years after its theatrical release. There’s none of the self-seriousness that Lee exhibited a few films later. To the contrary, his portrait of a free-spirited woman isn’t afraid to challenge preconceptions about sexuality, monogamy, and race in a lighthearted way. The DVD may have no extras, but the digital restoration does wonders for the crisp black-and-white cinematography—and even more for its one color sequence.

Actor Cornel Wilde was nominated for an Oscar for playing Chopin in A Song to Remember but audiences really loved him in The Naked Prey (1966)—said to have influenced Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto . It’s a twisted adventure: Wilde stars as a safari’s only survivor, a man who’s stripped of his clothes then hunted as prey. Critics hated it; crowds loved it as does Paul Giamatti who’s featured on this Criterion High Definition DVD reading a story that likely inspired the film.

If you can’t watch movies unless they’re in color, you may welcome the new box set "The Fantastic Films of Ray Harryhausen." The collection includes five 1950s sci-fi movies for which the master of stop-motion devised special effects (often the best things about these movies). Two of the films which were made in B&W are included in colorized versions, a process Harryhausen supervised himself.

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