Selected home-video releases:
‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'
Nearly 20 years after he literally rode off into the sunset, the world's most famous archaeologist-adventurer returned to the big screen, a bit rustier for the mileage but still able to throw a good punch. The summer blockbuster reunited Harrison Ford's Indy with the love of his life, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen, reprising her “Raiders of the Lost Ark” role), and introduces Shia LaBeouf as the couple's love child, who tags along on a quest involving aliens from another dimension. Spielberg notes in an interview on the two-disc DVD and Blu-ray sets that he always viewed the sunset shot that ends “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” to be his farewell to Indy, but Ford, executive producer George Lucas and the fans would not let the franchise rest. While Spielberg said no to Lucas' initial idea to have Indy in an all-out battle with extraterrestrials, he eventually came around to a compromise story that pitted Indy and Soviet operatives (including Cate Blanchett) in a Cold War race to discover the alien power of a crystal skull. Extras include extensive behind-the-scenes material on visual effects, stunts, makeup and the far-flung locations where the movie was shot. The two-disc DVD set also comes in a “Complete Adventure Collection” that includes previously available single-disc releases of the first three Indy flicks.
‘Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection'
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Eight of the suspense master's tales are gathered in a boxed set, led by Hitchcock's best-picture Academy Award winner “Rebecca,” starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, and the Ingrid Bergman classics “Spellbound” co-starring Gregory Peck and “Notorious,” with Cary Grant. Also included are “Lifeboat,” featuring Tallulah Bankhead; “The Paradine Case,” with Peck; “Sabotage,” adapted from Joseph Conrad's “The Secret Agent”; and the murder mysteries “The Lodger” and “Young and Innocent.” The eight-disc package comes with a 32-page booklet with background on Hitchcock, while each film has commentary from cinema historians and a mix of featurettes and vintage interviews with the director. Some of the movies also are accompanied by radio dramatizations that aired in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, and the set features an American Film Institute tribute to Hitchcock.
TV on DVD
“That '70s Show: The Complete Series Stash Box”: Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher and their pals from the decade of disco and bell-bottoms return with this set packing all 200 episodes of the comedy series. The 32-disc set has dozens of background segments, commentary and a booklet with cast interviews, photos and a copy of the series' finale script.
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – The Eighth Season”: William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger lead the Vegas team in the flagship series of the forensics franchise. Season eight's 17 episodes come in a five-disc set.
Other new releases
“War, Inc.”: John Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Hilary Duff and Marisa Tomei star in a satire about the business of war that centers on a U.S. operative who goes undercover in a corporate overseas job to carry out the assassination of a foreign oil minister.
“Chaplin”: Robert Downey Jr. stars as comedy legend Charles Chaplin in Richard Attenborough's film biography, which gets a DVD makeover in a 15th-anniversary edition that includes two featurettes and a home movie on Chaplin. Attenborough also contributes fresh recollections about the film.