6.14.2011: What To Watch – DVD/Blu-ray Releases

The Horror Haven boat is a rockin’ with a full boat of new and old movies plus two seasons of two television shows.  What are you waiting for?  Read on for all of this week’s releases.

Battle: Los Angeles (2011) on DVD, Blu-ray and Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo.  Starring Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar) and Bridget Moynahan (I, Robot).  Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).

Inspired by the Battle of Los Angeles or The Great Los Angeles Air Raid, a false WWII air raid of Los Angeles caused by UFOs, Battle: Los Angeles was shot using standard film (not 3D which is the fashion nowadays) in a documentary war film style.  The reason being “the goal was: this is a war movie, a documentary style war movie – with aliens in it” according to Eckhart who broke his upper arm during filming but continued on without a cast.  The Strause brothers of Colin and Greg who directed Skyline, another Los Angeles-based alien invasion movie released four months before Battle: Los Angeles, were investigated by Sony Pictures Entertainment for using Sony resources for their own movie as they had worked on Battle in the visual effects department.  The Strauses denied any allegations and claimed Sony was trying to force them to change Skyline‘s release date.

Synopsis:  Marine Staff Sergeant, Michael Nantz (Eckhart), who has just had his retirement approved goes back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.  courtesy of IMDB

The Boondock Saints: Truth & Justice Edition (1999) on Blu-ray.  Starring Sean Patrick Flanery (The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones), Norman Reedus (TV’s The Walking Dead), David Della Rocco (The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day) and Willem Dafoe (Spider-man).  Written & Directed by Troy Duffy (The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day).

Although now a movie with a huge cult following, Boondock Saints was a troubled production with casting and location issues.  A screenplay inspired by Duffy’s personal experiences was purchased by Miramax but the production company pulled out before pre-production citing the aforementioned problems; Duffy wanted to cast a number of actors including Stephen Dorff, Mark Wahlberg, and Kenneth Branagh.  Franchise Pictures, an independent studio, stepped in to finance the movie with Flanery, Reedus and Dafoe cast, and Duffy’s band, The Brood, producing songs for the soundtrack.  Boondock Saints was shown in limited theatrical release (only five screens for a week) but with the now-bankrupt Blockbuster Video, Duffy was able to fund more screenings and the movie’s cult status was achieved.

Synopsis:  Two Irish brothers, Connor and Murphy (Flanery and Reedus), accidentally killed mafia thugs.  They turned themselves in and were released as heroes.  They then see it as a calling by God and started knocking off mafia gang members one by one.  Detective Paul Smecker tries to figure out the killings, but the closer he was to catching the Irish brothers, the more he thinks the brothers are doing the right thing.  courtesy of Boondock Saints

Chatroom (2010) on DVD.  Starring Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass), Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later), Matthew Beard (An Education), Hannah Murray (TV’s Skins [UK]) and Daniel Kaluuya (TV’s Psychoville [UK]).  Directed by Hideo Nakata (Ringu).

Chatroom, aka Ch@troom, is a straight to video (in the US) movie from director Hideo Nakata, known for directing the original Japanese versions of The Ring (Ringu) and Ring 2 (Ringu 2), and then directing the US version of Ring 2.  It is based on the play Chatroom by Enda Walsh who wrote the screenplay too. In 2010, Chatroom premiered at the Cannes Film Festival under the Un Certain Regard section.

Synopsis:  When jaded teens Jim (Beard), Eva (Poots), Emily (Murray), and Mo (Kaluuya) meet William (Johnson) online, they’re seduced by his charisma.  But William isn’t what he seems.  He’s calculating and manipulative and doesn’t have time for people in the real world.  Jim is vulnerable and has no idea how dangerous his new friendship with William will be.  When Jim confesses he’s on anti-depressants, William knows he’s found a victim.  He vows to help Jim get off his drugs, and the rest of the group fall in line.  What begins as friendly advice to help Jim becomes twisted, and Eva and Mo realize the deadly game William’s playing, but the wheels are in motion.  Jim is set on a path of self-destruction and is going to do the unthinkable.  As Eva, Emily, and Mo try to save Jim, William begins a terrifying game of cat and mouse, chasing them across the Internet, shutting down their systems and cutting them off from his victim.  Fantasy meets reality when William and Jim are face-to-face in rush hour on the underground. Without the faceless security of the online world, everything becomes real. It’s now a race against time to save Jim, but the clock is ticking… and we fear someone must die.  courtesy of UpcomingHorrorMovies

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Ultimate Edition (2007) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Ultimate Edition (2009) on Blu-ray.  Starring Daniel Radcliffe (Broadway’s How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying), Emma Watson (The Tale of Despereaux) and Rupert Grint (Wild Target).  Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts I and II).

We know, we know…the eighth and final Harry Potter movie drops July 15 with the ultimate wizard fight between Harry and he who shall not be named (yes, Voldemort).

Synopsis (Order of the Phoenix):  With their warning about Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) return scoffed at, Harry (Radcliffe) and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) are targeted by the Wizard authorities as an authoritarian bureaucrat slowly seizes power at Hogwarts.  courtesy of IMDB

Synopsis (Half-Blood Prince):  As Harry Potter (Radcliffe) begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s (Fiennes) dark past.  courtesy of IMDB

Haven: The Complete First Season (2010) on DVD and Blu-ray.  Starring Emily Rose (TV’s ER), Lucas Bryant (TV’s M.V.P.), Nicholas Campbell (TV’s Republic of Doyle) and Eric Balfour (Skyline).

Based on Stephen King’s novel The Colorado Kid, this one-hour SyFy-acquired series premiered July 2010 with a 13 episode season.  The series returns July 15 10/9c on SyFy, of course.

Synopsis:  Shrewd and confident FBI agent Audrey Parker (Rose) who has a lost past, arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine on a routine case.  Before long, her natural curiosity lands her in the epicenter of activity in this curious enclave, which turns out to be a longtime refuge for people that are affected by a range of supernatural afflictions.

As the townspeople’s dormant abilities begin to express themselves, Audrey helps keep these forces at bay while discovering the many secrets of Haven — including one surrounding her own surprising connections to this extraordinary place.

Heavy Metal (1981) on Blu-ray.  Starring Richard Romanus (TV’s The Sopranos), John Candy (Spaceballs) and Joe Flaherty (TV’s Family Guy).  Directed by Gerald Potterton (TV’s The Smoggies).

From the publisher of Heavy Metal magazine, executive producer Leonard Mogel with producer Ivan Reitman produced this Canadian animated movie full of fantasy, science fiction, nudity, sexuality and violence.  The cult status film includes nine stories from Soft Landing to Epilogue but the story Neverwhere Land was cut out due to time (from the original).  For 15 years, Heavy Metal was tied up in legal problems from the film’s music rights allowing only cable movie channels to air it but not be released on home video (issues were resolved in 1996).

Synopsis:  A sweeping story of the battle of good against evil is told through an anthology of short animated films about the Loc-Nar, a glowing green orb, that is the personification of ultimate evil in the universe.  courtesy of IMDB

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) on Blu-ray.  Starring Keanu Reeves (The Matrix), Dolph Lundgren (Masters of the Universe) and Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers).  Directed by Robert Longo (TV’s Tales from the Crypt).

The cyberpunk film Johnny Mnemonic was to be a low budget art film by Longo and writer William Gibson but was unable to get the $1.5 million financing.  Instead, Sony Pictures turned it into a $30 million movie as it was relevant to the times with the rise of the Internet and technology culture.  The movie was loosely based off a short story by Gibson in which Johnny’s girlfriend, Molly Millions (aka Jane), was the primary character, not Johnny.

Synopsis:  Johnny Mnemonic, a data courier, carrying a data package literally inside his head too large to hold for long, must deliver it before he dies from it.

Red Riding Hood (2011) on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy.  Starring Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight), Billy Burke (Twilight), Shiloh Fernandez (Happiness Runs) and Max Irons (Dorian Gray).  Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).

From the folk tale Little Red Riding Hood, Red Riding Hood was produced by Appian Way Productions, Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company.  The movie was released a little more than a month earlier on March 11th 2011 with a novelization of the film released even before that date.

Synopsis:  For years, the villagers of Daggerhorn have maintained an uneasy truce with a werewolf – but the beast changes the stakes by killing the older sister of beautiful young Valerie (Seyfried).  Promised in marriage to one man but in love with another, Valerie has her life dramatically affected yet again by the creature’s bloody actions.  When a werewolf hunter warns that the beast takes human form by day and walks among them, panic sets in as the death toll rises.  And Valerie learns she has a unique connection to the wolf that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect…and bait.  courtesy of Warner Bros.

Supernatural: The Complete Second Season (2006) on Blu-ray.  Starring Jensen Ackles (TV’s Smallville), Jared Padelecki (Friday the 13th [2009]) and Jim Beaver (TV’s Harper’s Island).  Created by Eric Kripke (TV’s Tarzan).

The season two set of Supernatural includes 22 episodes, a Blu-ray exclusive of “The Devil’s Road Map“, commentary, a featurette, a gag reel, a gallery and unaired scenes.

Feed me at sharon@horrorhaven.com

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One Response to “6.14.2011: What To Watch – DVD/Blu-ray Releases”

  1. loch ness monster…

    […]6.14.2011: What To Watch – DVD/Blu-ray Releases « Horror Haven Reviews[…]…

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