Thursday, January 24 2013, 01:03 PM MST
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 22, 2013
By Ryan Michael Painter
(KUTV) Its a relatively quiet week for DVD and Blu-ray releases
(which is a relief because Im up to my neck with films from the Sundance Film
Festival). The biggest releases are critically acclaimed police drama End
of Watch, Takashi Miikes Hara-Kiri: Death of a
Samurai and Pina, Wim Wenders documentary on modern-dance pioneer
Documentary: Life is Embarrassing: The Wayne White Story
Drama: End of Watch, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
Beauty is Embarrassing: The Wayne White Story (DVD)
Wayne White is an unconventional artist. Hes a puppeteer, designer and voice-over actor that has worked on Pee-Wees Playhouse, The Smashing Pumpkins Tonight, Tonight and Peter Gabriels Big Time videos. His art is shown in coffee houses and high-end galleries. He has a twisted sense of humor and a love for colorful-four-letter words. Hes inappropriate and innocent at the same time.
End of Watch (DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) are police officers in Los Angeles. Theyre fearless, more than a little cocky and about to get in way over their heads.
End of Watch is a mix of traditional cinematography and found footage (courtesy of Gyllenhaals characters desire to make a documentary about his day-to-day life for a film class). The combination can be a bit jarring at times, but it matches the tone of the film as the story balances comedic moments with the grim and often horrible crimes that happen around them. The film, which was written by David Ayer (Training Day), pushes everything to extremes. Its violent, filled with constant profanity and yet there is also something deeply inviting about it. Gyllenhaal and Pen have an undeniable chemistry and you like them enough, both as characters and actors, to take this journey with them.
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (DVD and Blu-ray)
Takashi Miike is known for his exceptionally violent films like Ichi the Killer or his dark thrillers like Audition. In 2010 he remade 1963s The Thirteen Assassins as 13 Assassins, a brilliant samurai epic that only hinted at the directors reputation for pushing violence to its extremes. His follow up to 13 Assassins is Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, a remake of 1962s classic Harakiri. The film not only proves that 13 Assassins wasnt a fluke, but it shows the director straying further from his trademark violence to produce a solid drama of revenge and honor. Thats not to say that the film lacks violence entirely. The word Harakiri itself is a reference to the ritual suicide, or seppuku, performed by samurai. The film is a faithful, but not redundant remake. It changes a few details, but keeps the central themes of the original intact. If youre a fan of samurai films, or are interested in exploring the genre Id highly recommend Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcast Group)