From lockup to lighting up, 'Truth' won't be told alone

Social issues abound in new releases

When Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" hits DVD on Nov. 21, it will be joining a quartet of other socially relevant new releases.

Two are documentaries. Just out is "The Road to Guantanamo," from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film revolves around three British Muslims, known as the Tipton Three, who were captured while on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan and detained for two years at Guantanamo Bay, the notorious U.S. military prison in Cuba. "Who Killed the Electric Car?" a whodunit-style look at the demise of General Motor's EV1, will be released Nov. 14, also by Sony. The film follows the doomed car from its much-ballyhooed inception to its ignominious end — the last fleet of EV1s reportedly was crushed in the Arizona desert — and was an official selection at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals.

"Audiences are looking to well-researched documentaries because they don't have time to find the information on their own," "Electric Car" director Chris Paine said. "People feel nervous about the state of the world, and films like ('Electric Car') give them more information to make better decisions. Democracies depend on a well-informed public. And as a filmmaker, I want to tell a great story."

"The Hamburg Cell," a British telefilm slotted for a Nov. 17 DVD release by Acorn Media, is a fictionalized account of the life of United 93 hijacker Ziad Jarrah. The film is based on trial transcripts, the official 9/11 Commission report and interviews conducted during a two-year period. It originally aired on HBO in the U.S. and on Showtime and CBS in Canada.

20th Century Fox's "Thank You for Smoking," which arrived Oct. 3 on DVD, also finds fact meeting fiction in the realm of social relevance. It's a black comedy about a shameless tobacco industry lobbyist who spins stats to make smoking appear harmless even though the health hazards of tobacco are increasingly difficult to refute.