DOJ Indicts North Korean Military Hackers for 2014 Cyber Attack on Sony Pictures, AMC Theatres

The Department of Justice Feb. 17 unsealed a federal indictment charging three North Korean computer programmers with participating in a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy to conduct a series of destructive cyberattacks, to steal and extort more than $1.3 billion from financial institutions and companies, including Sony Pictures and AMC Theatres.

The indictment alleges a broad array of criminal cyber activities undertaken by the conspiracy, in the United States and abroad, for revenge or financial gain. The schemes included a destructive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014 in retaliation for The Interview, a movie comedy that depicted a fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The attack resulted in the release of confidential emails and sensitive information from the studio, executives and other employees, leading to the departure of co-chairman Amy Pascal.

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The hackers also targeted AMC Theatres, which was scheduled to screen the movie in December; and a 2015 intrusion into Mammoth Screen, which was producing a fictional TV series involving a British nuclear scientist taken prisoner in DPRK.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un

Named in the indictment, filed Dec. 8, 2020, in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Jon Chang Hyok, 31; Kim Il, 27; and Park Jin Hyok, 36 — all alleged members of units of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), a military intelligence agency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which engaged in criminal in a single conspiracy to cause damage, steal data and money, and otherwise further the strategic and financial interests of the DPRK government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean military hacking units are known by multiple names in the cybersecurity community, including Lazarus Group and Advanced Persistent Threat 38, according to the DOJ. Park was previously charged in a criminal complaint unsealed in September 2018.

“As laid out in today’s indictment, North Korea’s operatives, using keyboards rather than guns, stealing digital wallets of cryptocurrency instead of sacks of cash, are the world’s leading bank robbers,”  Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a statement. “The Department will continue to confront malicious nation state cyber activity with our unique tools and work with our fellow agencies and the family of norms abiding nations to do the same.”

The indictment expands upon the FBI’s 2018 charges for the cyberattacks conducted by the North Korea to extract revenge and obtain money to prop up its regime.

“The ongoing targeting, compromise, and cyber-enabled theft by North Korea from global victims was met with the outstanding, persistent investigative efforts of the FBI in close collaboration with U.S. and foreign partners,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “By arresting facilitators, seizing funds, and charging those responsible for the hacking conspiracy, the FBI continues to impose consequences and hold North Korea accountable for its/their criminal cyber activity.”

Animated ‘The Little Prince’ Heading to Disc Feb. 9 From Paramount

The animated adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic story The Little Prince arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 9 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Featuring a voice cast including Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Albert Brooks, Paul Rudd, Mackenzie Foy and Paul Giamatti, the film debuted on Netflix in 2016.

From the director of Kung Fu Panda comes this re-imagined take on the story. At its heart is “The Little Girl” (Foy), prepared by her mother (McAdams) for the very grown-up real-world. After her eccentric, kind-hearted neighbor “The Aviator” (Bridges) introduces her to an extraordinary world where anything is possible, she learns of “The Little Prince” (Riley Osborne). And so begins a magical and emotional journey.

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Special features include a 25-minute featurette on the making of the film, as well as a music video for the song “Turnaround” by Camille. The Blu-ray additionally includes access to a digital copy of the film.

James Franco-Directed Drama ‘Pretenders’ Coming to DVD Nov. 12 From MVD

The drama Pretenders, directed by James Franco, will come out on DVD Nov. 12 from MVD Entertainment Group and Cleopatra Entertainment.

In the film, a French new wave-obsessed film student finds his muse in a mysterious actress that both he and his best friend fall in love with. After years of sex, betrayal and collateral damage, the trio ends up in a dangerous situation that leaves one of them fighting for his life.

The cast includes Juno Temple (Maleficent), Shameik Moore (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Franco (The Disaster Artist), Dennis Quaid (Frequency), Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe), Brian Cox (Adaptation) and Jack Kilmer (The Nice Guys).

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The film was an official selection at the 2018 Torino Film Festival and had an early fall limited theatrical release.

Six FilmRise Titles, Including Nicolas Cage Starrer ‘Vengeance: A Love Story,’ Coming to Blu-ray in March From MVD

A Nicolas Cage drama, a James Franco genre mash-up and film festival winners are among six FilmRise titles coming to Blu-ray Disc in March from MVD Entertainment Group.

The lineup begins with five titles streeting March 12th.

The Nicolas Cage action-drama Vengeance: A Love Story, a film in the vein of Death Wish, stars Cage as a detective seeking justice for a single mother that is brutally assaulted in front of her 12-year-old daughter.

Chloë Grace Moretz stars in The Miseducation of Cameron Post, based on the novel by Emily M. Danforth. The story follows Cameron as she’s sent to a gay conversion therapy center where she forms a bond with a group of fellow teenagers, and together they fight for survival. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Bonus features include an audio commentary with director-co-writer Desiree Akhavan and producer-co-writer Cecilia Frugiuele; a behind the scenes photo gallery; the theatrical trailer; and an accolades trailer.

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Clio Barnard’s Dark River, winner of the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, is the story of a woman that returns home to her family farm after the death of her father. Having been gone for more than 15 years, she is forced to face dark memories from her past while attempting to rekindle the relationship with her brother.

Life in the Doghouse is a documentary that showcases the work done by Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta at Danny & Ron’s Rescue. In their 10-plus years of working together, the duo has saved more than 10,000 dogs. Bonus features include deleted scenes, a trailer and a photo gallery.

The final March 12 release is the modern cult classic The Greasy Strangler. Bonus features include audio commentary with director Jim Hosking, Michael St. Michaels and Sky Elobar; exclusive cast and crew Interviews; the original theatrical trailer; the red band trailer; and a teaser trailer.

Due March 26th is Dan Bush’s The Vault, a genre mash-up that opens like a pretty standard heist film about a bank robbery, but the tables take a turn when it’s revealed that the bank is haunted. The Vault Stars James Franco, Taryn Manning and Clifton Collins Jr.

Monarch Releasing Franco’s ‘Sound and the Fury’

Monarch Home Entertainment will release The Sound and the Fury, a 2014 adaptation of the William Faulkner novel, on DVD Dec. 11.

The story deals with the decline and fall of the Compsons, a once-proud aristocratic Southern family.

The cast includes James Franco, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson, Ahna O’Reilly and Scott Haze.

Season Two of ‘The Deuce’ Coming to Digital Dec. 3, Disc Feb. 5 From HBO

The Deuce: The Complete Second Season will come out on digital Dec. 3 and Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 5 from HBO Home Entertainment.

The Deuce: The Complete Second Season continues to trace the evolution and power dynamics of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square neighborhood in the 1970s. Picking up in late 1977, five years after season one, The Deuce’s backroom massage parlors and hotels have exploded into sprawling emporiums, while the New York Mafia’s grip on the porn business is beginning to slip as talent migrates to the West Coast. Season 2 also captures the disco era in all its excesses before developers, crack cocaine, AIDS and videotapes conspire to end the scene.

The cast includes James Franco (The Disaster Artist), first season Golden Globe-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Margarita Levieva (“Revenge”), Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (“The Wire”), Dominique Fishback (HBO’s “Show Me a Hero”) and newcomer Luke Kirby (“Rectify”).

Bonus features include “The Deuce Season 1 Recap”; “Candy’s Back,” showing viewers where Candy (Gyllenhaal) is headed in season two; and “Height of Porn,” which explores the proliferation of porn in late ‘70s New York.

Lionsgate Bringing Franco’s ‘Future World’ to Home Video July 10

Lionsgate will release the post-apocalyptic sci-fi actioner Future World, co-directed and starring James Franco, on Blu-ray, DVD and digital July 10. The film is currently available on demand.

Future World tells the story of a young prince searching the wastelands of the future for a cure for his dying queen, when he encounters a ruthless warlord (Franco) who forces him to fight for all of humanity. Co-directed by Bruce Thierry Cheung, the cast also includes Suki Waterhouse, Jeffrey Wahlberg, Snoop Dogg, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Lucy Liu and Milla Jovovich.

The Future World Blu-ray and DVD will include a behind-the-scenes featurette.