Home advantage

Close the curtains: Summer is the time to get personal with your favourite entertainment system and the season’s new releases.

With a small number of theatres offering up virtually identical menus, Haligonians can rightfully feel like they get the shaft when it comes to first-run movie options. There's even less variety in the summer, when loud, expensive blockbusters tend to gobble up all the available screens.

The glass-half-full way to look at the situation, though, is that summer is the ideal time to deepen your relationship with your home entertainment system. The big screen may seem sexy, but it teases you with endless commercials and previews, rarely wants to try anything truly adventurous and gives its affection to anyone---even the gabbers and the loud-crunchers. Your DVD or Blu-Ray player, on the other hand, is always at home waiting for you, is always up for something new and is even willing to let you skip directly to the climax if that's what you're into.

Cherish this unique relationship, movie lovers, and use the summer season to catch up on flicks you either missed at the theatres or never had a chance to see on Halifax screens.

Green Zone, for example, underwhelmed at the box office during its theatrical run, but anyone who enjoyed the collaborative efforts of Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass in the Bourne sequels should at least take a flier on this Iraq-set actioner, which hits stores June 22. Action lovers can also look forward to The Losers (July 20) and Repo Men (July 27).

Those into quieter, more cerebral fare can pick up The White Ribbon, the latest cheerful ode to the human spirit from Funny Games director Michael Haneke, on June 29. Other summer art-house attractions include Cooking with Stella (July 6), a drama by Canadian siblings Dilip and Deepa Mehta starring Don McKellar and Lisa Ray, Noah Baumbach's anti-romantic comedy Greenberg (July 13) and the French crime drama A Prophet (August 3).

Prefer fact to fiction? The season's true-life sked is highlighted by the gay-marriage doc Saving Marriage (July 13) and Barry Levinson's Poliwood (July 20), a chronicle of celebrity activism during the 2008 presidential election. Meanwhile, Tales from the Script (July 6) has screenwriting pros like William Goldman, Shane Black and Allison Anders telling the stories behind their stories.

Fans of virus-run-amok horror can check out Breck Eisner's remake of George A. Romero's The Crazies on June 29, or wait until August 24 to pair it with Romero's latest zombie opus, Survival of the Dead. Don't Look Up (July 27), Mutants and Eyeborgs (both July 6) also promise some chills and sci-fi thrills---or, if not, some accidental laughs.

If you'd rather the comedy was intentional, you can plan a(nother?) Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey on August 10. Other than that, though, it's a thin slate for summer yuks.

TV buffs, on the other hand, will enjoy a plentiful bounty with the release of season sets of Entourage (June 22), Friday Night Lights (August 17) and House (August 31). Fans of Ugly Betty can cheer and mourn with the last instalment of the show's four-season run (August 17), while Lost addicts can dissect the final season frame-by-frame as of August 24.

Whatever you're looking forward to watching at home, chances are you'll be tempted, once in a while, to venture out to the theatres this blockbuster season. And that's OK. Your disc player will always forgive your dalliances with the big screen, but just remember which one really loves you.

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