Sunday, 8 June 2014

Blu-ray Review - The Spike Lee Joint Collection Vol. 1

The Spike Lee Joint Collection Vol. 1
(25th Hour & He Got Game)
Director: Spike Lee
Starring: Edward Norton, Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Brain Cox, Milla Jovovich
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Retail: $20.99
Running Time: 135 minutes (25th Hour), 136 minutes (He Got Game)
Rating: R


Arrving on Blu-ray this Tuesday, June 10, 2014 is the The Spike Lee Joint Collection Vol. 1, featuring 2002's 25th Hour starring Edward Norton and 1998's He Got Game starring Denzel Washington and the NBA player, Ray Allen. Special features for 25th Hour include a new audio commentary by director Spike Lee and Actor Edward Norton, deleted scenes, audio commentary with director Spike Lee, audio commentary with writer David Benioff, "The Evolution Of An American Filmmaker" featurette, and "Ground Zero" - A Tribute. He Got Game features a brand new audio commentary by director Spike Lee and actor Ray Allen.

Released in December 2002, 25th Hour stars Edward Norton as Monty Morton, who has only 24 hours before he goes to prison for selling drugs. He drags his two best friends, Frank Slaughtery (played by Barry Pepper) and Jacob Elinsky (played by the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman), along with his younger girlfriend, Naturelle (played by Rosario Dawson), to a bar for last drink.

The film did moderately well bringing in nearly $24 million on a $6 million budget. It received mostly positive reviews from critics.

The 1998 sports-drama He Got Game stars Denzel Washington as Jake Shuttlesworth, a troubled man severing time for killing his wife. The governor gives him an opportunity to get a lesser sentence, but the catch is that Jake must convince his son, Jesus (played by Ray Allen) to sign with the "Big State" college on a basketball scholarship. While Jake's daughter, Mary, is excited to have her father temporary back, Jesus wants nothing to do with Jake, as he had witnessed Jake kill his mother.

He Got Game underperformed at the box-office, but it received mostly favorable reviews from critics and moviegoers alike.

Its nice to see a few of Spike Lee's films finally becoming available on Blu-ray. While I was well aware of He Got Game, this is the first time I have watched the film. I'm not the biggest basketball fan, but the film is enjoyable, especially with Denzel Washington's great performance. I had no idea  that 25th Hour even existed before watching it on Blu-ray last week. Despite the slow pacing, the film features an outstanding cast, including the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing a school teacher who has a crush on his student (played by True Blood's Anna Paquin). Overall, both films on The Spike Lee Joint Collection Vol. 1 are wonderfully directed and acted, and are worth viewing on Blu-ray.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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