In this week's new DVDs, six friends enter a cave before falling into the abyss, Zach Braff searches for one last kiss, a couple of detectives get rather pissed and a writer and his soulmate reminisce.
But first, in Hollywood, it seems that something's amiss...
An all-star cast, including Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank, headlines "The Black Dahlia," a provocative crime film directed by the modern master of the suspense thriller, Brian De Palma.
Written for the screen by Josh Friedman and based on James Ellroy's novel, the film is inspired by the infamous 1947 killing of an aspiring actress. The film weaves a tale of lust, corruption, greed and depravity around the brutal murder of fledgling Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Short, also known as "The Black Dahlia."
The film follows a pair of Los Angeles detectives, Lee Blanchard (Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Hartnett), as they investigate a shocking and gruesome murder that fascinated the nation and remains unsolved today.
With a corpse so mutilated that photos are kept from the public, the case becomes an obsession for the men, and their lives begin to unravel. Blanchard's relationship with his girlfriend Kay (Johansson) is threatened, while Bleichert finds himself drawn to the enigmatic Madeleine (Swank), a wealthy woman with a dark and twisted connection to the victim.
"The Black Dahlia" is available today in separate widescreen and full screen versions.
"Factotum," starring Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei, is based on the acclaimed novel by Charles Bukowski, first published in 1975.
Henry Chinaski (Dillon) considers himself a writer, and on occasion writes. Mostly he quests for the booze and women that sidetrack and seduce, rather than inspire greatness.
When he falls for Jan (Taylor), the soulful connection fails to save either from their self-destructive ways, and the relationship totters between earnest connection and reflective loathing.
With exceptional performances that capture the intoxicated journey though life and art, "Factotum" is the story of a man living on the edge; a writer who risks everything, tries anything, and finds poetry in life's pleasure and pain.
If you're looking to welcome the New Year with the ultimate gruesome horror flick, you can't do much better than "The Descent."
Writer/director Neil Marshall's eagerly awaited follow up to his 2002 hit "Dog Soldiers," the film stars Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Muler, Nora-Jane Noone and Myanna Buring.
"The Descent" tells the story of six girlfriends who meet in a remote part of the Appalachians for their annual extreme outdoor adventure, in this case the exploration of a cave hidden deep in the woods. Far below the surface of the earth, disaster strikes, and there's no way out.
The group splinters and each woman pushes on, praying for another exit. But there is something else lurking under the earth. As the friends realize they are now prey, they are forced to unleash their most primal instincts in an all-out war against an unspeakable horror - one that attacks without warning, again and again and again
"The Descent" is out this week in separate unrated widescreen and full screen versions, a full screen theatrical cut and on Blu-ray Disc. (The unrated and Blu-ray disc editions include deleted scenes and an alternate ending, previously seen only in the UK.)
That's all we have for you this week, as the DVD release slate is in a bit of a post-holiday slump.
As always, a list of top DVD releases for this week can be found in our left sidebar. You can also click "continue reading" (below) to read this extended post, which also includes a list of top DVD releases for this week.