The Last Waltz


MGM Home Entertainment, $24.98 THE BAND called it quits in '76, a time when two divergent schools of rock concerts were in competition. Punk dictated the annihilation of spectacle, whereas what we now call "classic rock" spotlighted flashy solos and iconic grandeur. The Band excelled at a middle ground: They simply played. That was the entire show. Released May 7, the DVD of this celebrated '78 swan-song documentary lacks any shocking behind-the-scenes revelations, but both commentary tracks—one by director Martin Scorsese and guitarist Robbie Robertson, another by assorted musicians and others—have the loose, funny flow of old-timers bullshitting at a record store. Scorsese played hooky from his musical New York, New York to document The Band's guest star- inundated finale on Thanksgiving Day 1976. That he opted to film in 35mm and hired a who's who of A-list cinematographers is far less interesting than New York co-producer Irwin Winkler contributing to Waltz's commentary, only to snip, "To this day, I've never seen the film." We also get entertaining jam outtakes from the six-hour-plus show at San Fran's Winterland Theatre as well as a redundant making-of featurette. This stuff pales next to Dr. John, Ronnie Hawkins, and even Band drummer Levon Helm rambling on like Grandpa Simpson. Hawkins, who mentored the boys through their formative years, barks of Helm: "When he came out of his momma, he had one hand on his pecker and the other one slappin' a hambone, and his daddy said, 'This kid is gonna be a musician.'" Yup, they could play, all right. Case closed. Andrew Bonazelli OPEN TO question is the wisdom of putting crap like Out Cold and Porky's on disc (both May 21), a date that also greets Born Romantic (Brits go salsa dancing) and the superior Australian sexual roundelay Lantana, with Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, and Barbara Hershey among its very able cast of adulterers. New to DVD on the same date is Wong Kar-wai's superstylish 1994 Chungking Express; its chief extra is an introduction by Quentin Tarantino, a huge fan of Wong's. Jean-Paul Godard's 1987 movie-set comedy Keep Your Right Up debuted on disc May 7, and May 21 sees the much-anticipated DVD of Memento. Eds.

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