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Sex, Germs and Antarctica

16 Sep, 2008 By: Billy Gil

Billy Gil

Some independent films recently announced on DVD aim to satiate tastes for adventure and controversy.

Prebooking today and streeting Oct. 21 is First Run Features’ Sex & Justice, at $24.95. The film covers Clarence Thomas’ 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings and the allegations made by Anita Hill of sexual harassment from Thomas. Feminist writer Gloria Steinem narrates the film.

The controversy made an indelible impact on ’80s children like myself. Surely you remember your parents and teachers shrugging off questions about the whole thing, probably in the same way children of the ’90s might have asked their elders during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, “what’s a ‘deponent’?” 

Also recently announced is What We Do is Secret, the biopic of legendary L.A. punks The Germs. The film is coming to DVD Nov. 4 (prebook Oct. 7), from Peace Arch Entertainment, at $29.99.

I didn’t get a chance this summer to see Shane West playing lead singer Darby Crash in theaters — or on stage with the real-life reformed Germs — but the whole thing is so weird and brilliant, at least from a marketing perspective: Reform a band, sans its deceased lead singer, with a young, pretty-boy actor in his place to generate buzz for the film about the band. I still can’t picture West singing “Lexicon Devil,” even though I’ve heard it on MySpace, and reviews were mixed, but I’m intrigued.

Last but certainly not least, Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World is coming from Image Entertainment Nov. 18 (prebook Oct. 21). End of the World, while not as powerful as was his moving Grizzly Man, is an entertaining look into the adventurous and largely eccentric folks who make their home and livelihood in Antarctica, with stunning shots of penguins, ice and all that good stuff that makes Antarctica so alluring.

The two-DVD set ($27.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($35.98) have an audio commentary with producer Henry Kaiser, cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger and the witty, wily Herzog, who narrates the film as well. The set also has an interview with Jonathan Demme of Herzog, and the featurettes “Under the Ice, Over the Ice”; “Dive Locker Interview: Werner Herzog Talks with Rob Robbins and Henry Kaiser”; “South Pole Exorcism” and “Seals and Men.”


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