Director Joshua Oppenheimer and Producers Werner Herzog and Errol Morris have stunned film festival audiences from SXSW, Toronto, Berlin, Telluride, and True/False with their imaginative documentary The Act of Killing. They travelled to Indonesia to examine the place of Indonesian death squads in contemporary society. In 1965, the Communist government fell and a small-time gangster, Anwar Congo, rose to prominence as the leader of the death squads. It is estimated these squads were responsible for over a million killings, yet the Indonesian people celebrate the perpetrators as heroes.
Oppenheimer asked the killers to reenact their killing sprees set to music and re-imagined as scenes from popular action or comedy films. The result is further dehumanization and detachment of their atrocities from a moral compass long discarded by a regime of corruption. Cinedigm along with Drafthouse Films will release Oppenheimer’s celebrated work on Blu-ray and DVD January 14, 2014. The release will include the original 122-minute theatrical cut, the 166-minute director’s cut, audio commentary with Oppenheimer and Herzog, a 45-minute interview with Oppenheimer on Democracy Now!, VICE Presents Herzog and Morris on The Act of Killing, deleted scenes, trailers, and a 40-page booklet with an essay by Morris.
Somali pirates further captured the world’s imagination in 2009 when they managed to board the Maersk Alabama, the first United States cargo ship to be captured by pirates in 200 years. Paul Greengrass has slightly fictionalized these real-life events in Captain Phillips (2013). As captain of the ship, Phillips (played by Tom Hanks) finds himself thrust into the precarious position of trying to protect his ship, his crew, and himself throughout the ordeal. Throughout the tenuous negotiations, Phillips comes to know his captors as fully-actualized people rather than the cold-blooded monsters everyone would imagine them. Sony Pictures UK will release Captain Phillips on DVD and Blu-ray February 10, 2014 as a standard release and a Limited Edition SteelBook.
RLJ Entertainment and Image Entertainment will release writer/director Sandra Nettleback’s Last Love on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013. The film stars Michael Caine as Matthew, a lonely widower living in Paris. A chance meeting with a young dance (Clémence Poésy) sparks in him a new appreciation for life. Matthew reaches out to his estranged children (Gillian Anderson and Justin Kirk) as they both attempt to heal their hearts and find a sort of peace in one another. Last Love will be presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound and include deleted scenes and outtakes.
New Year’s Eve will see another home video release: XLrator Media has announced it will release director Randall Miller’s CBGB on Blu-ray and DVD. The film looks at the legendary New York club founded by Hilly Kristal in 1973 to showcase country, bluegrass, and blues music. The club eventually grew into the underground playground for aficionados of punk rock and cutting edge sounds. Over the years CBGB hosted acts such as The Police, The Ramones, Blondie, The Talking Heads, The Flaming Lips, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Sonic Youth, and The B-52s. The film stars Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman, Justin Bartha, Richard de Klerk, Johnny Galecki, Ashley Greene, Rupert Grint, Taylor Hawkins, Stana Katic, Donal Logue, Joel David Moore, Freddie Rodriguez, Mickey Sumner, and Bradley Whitford.
Funimation Entertainment has detailed its planned release of Dragon Ball Z: Season 2. The release will contain 35 episodes of the anime series as well as the U.S. trailer, a voice actor interview, textless opening and closing animations, and Dragon Ball Z Retrospective: Part One. The episodes have been painstakingly restored frame by frame to remove tape marks, blemishes, and other damage and imperfections. The soundtrack has been remastered, colors improved, and the entire season has been reframed frame by frame to present a “modern HD widescreen presentation.” Dragon Ball Z: Season 2 will hit the shelves February 18, 2014.
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