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Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘Throne of Blood,’ ‘The Act of Killing,’ ‘Raging Bull’ & More

Written by on January 7, 2014 

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer)

No film last year affected me more on an emotional level than The Act of Killing, and to call what Joshua Oppenheimer has concocted here a documentary is a severely limiting generalization. Confronting evil in a true form shorn of its sensational cinematic mask is no easy task, and revealing it to itself more difficult than even that. It’s a genuine surprise that when Oppenheimer approaches these mass murdering cinephiles—members of the 1960’s Indonesian death squads—and asks them to talk about their brutal crimes, they enthusiastically agree. Most fascinating is that The Act of Killing isn’t staged as a reckoning upon which these men confess atrocities. Instead, they gleefully reenact their past crimes in the style of the films they love—westerns, musicals, gangster flicks—and we watch them as they are presented, face to face, with the reality of their own inhumanity. – Nathan B.

The Killing Fields (Roland Joffé)

This emotional and brutally honest true story follows Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Waterston), who remains in Cambodia in 1975 after the government falls. He convinces his friend and translator Dith Pran (Ngor) to stay with him to report on the bloodbath perpetrated by one of the most brutal regimes of the 20th century and on the United States’ role in precipitating the horror. The two continue to work until the Khmer Rouge, the terrorist government that killed nearly 3 million, arrests them. Schanberg is eventually released and returns to New York. Pran is sent for execution but barely manages a daring escape from the killing fields and from Cambodia. With the help of Schanberg, Pran emigrates to the U.S. and becomes a staff photographer for the New York Times. (Official Synopsis)

Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa)

A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa, sets Shakespeare’s definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan. As a hardened warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune gives a remarkable, animalistic performance, as does Isuzu Yamada as his ruthless wife. Throne of Blood fuses classical Western tragedy with formal elements taken from Noh theater to create an unforgettable cinematic experience. – Criterion.com

Rent: We Are What We Are

Recommended Deals of the Weeks

(Note: new additions are in red)

2001: A Space Odyssey (Blu-Ray) – $7.99

Adventureland (Blu-ray) – $5.00

The American (Blu-ray) – $4.98

Big Fish (Blu-ray) – $10.49

Children of Men (Blu-ray) – $9.98

Cloud Atlas (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Cool Hand Luke (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Contact (Blu-ray) – $6.49

Contagion (Blu-ray) – $10.06

Dark City (Blu-ray) – $7.99

The Departed (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Die Hard (Blu-ray) – $4.96

District 9 (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Ed Wood (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Eyes Wide Shut (Blu-ray) – $10.49

Fight Club (Blu-ray) – $5.99

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Halloween (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Heat (Blu-ray) – $8.49

Jurassic Park (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Looper (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Blu-ray) – $4.96

Memento (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Once Upon a Time in the West (Blu-ray) – $8.99

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Raging Bull (Blu-ray) – $4.49

Skyfall (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Blu-ray) – $7.79

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Tropic Thunder (Blu-ray) – $8.77

The Truman Show (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Usual Suspects (Blu-ray) – $7.98

Wanderlust (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Zodiac (Blu-ray) – $9.98

What are you picking up this week?

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