Selected home-video releases:
Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin team up for this sturdy family adventure adapted from Wendy Orr's novel. Breslin stars as the title character, a fearless young girl left alone on an island after her scientist dad (Gerard Butler) vanishes. In need of a father figure, she strikes up an e-mail correspondence with what she thinks is her literary hero (also played by Butler in fantasy sequences), but her pen pal actually is a neurotic author (Foster) who hasn't left her apartment in ages. The DVD and Blu-ray disc come with deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary from Foster, Breslin and husband-and-wife directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett.
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The 2007 Academy Award winner for foreign-language films spins an unusual twist on the idea of collaborating with the enemy. Based on a true story from World War II, the Austrian film follows the convoluted path of a master counterfeiter (Karl Markovics) who is thrown into a Nazi concentration camp but gets preferential treatment by leading a team that prints phony Allied currency to weaken the economies of Germany's adversaries. Accompanying the film on DVD and Blu-ray is a conversation with a real-life counterfeiter and Holocaust survivor.
Giant bugs are back to take on Earth in this adaptation of Robert Heinlein's sci-fi novel, which makes the leap to Blu-ray accompanied by the debut of “Starship Troopers 3: Marauder” and the previous small-screen sequel “Starship Troopers: Hero of the Federation.” Casper Van Dien, who starred in the 1997 big-screen original but skipped the earlier sequel, returns in a tale of human soldiers rescuing trapped comrades on a planet infested with huge insect enemies.
‘Pete Seeger: The Power of Song'
The life, times and music of folk-protest patriarch Seeger are chronicled in this documentary that features interviews with the singer and admirers including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and Peter, Paul and Mary. Director Jim Brown follows up on his earlier music documentary, “The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time,” which centered on a farewell performance by Seeger's former singing group. This time, the focus is on Seeger's solo influence and the blacklisting he endured during the McCarthy era. DVD extras include five short films from the Seeger family archives.
‘I Got the Feelin': James Brown in the '60s'
The hardest-working man in show business graduated from godfather of soul to keeper of the peace after Martin Luther King Jr. was slain in 1968. The night after the assassination, Brown's concert at the Boston Garden aired live on public television as his plea to the city's mourning and angry residents to stay off the streets and avoid a riot. This three-disc set includes the documentary “The Night James Brown Saved Boston,” chronicling that evening through footage from the show and interviews with Brown collaborators, activist Al Sharpton and people who attended the concert.
TV on DVD
“Lonesome Dove”: One of Hollywood's best Westerns turned up on the small-screen with this adaptation of Larry McMurtry's tale of two ex-Texas Rangers (Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones) leading a cattle drive to Montana. This new two-disc DVD version and Blu-ray two-disc set come with a making-of documentary and interviews with cast and crew. A DVD gift set includes a branded flask and a deck of cards.
“The Executioner's Song: Director's Cut”: Tommy Lee Jones also starred in this 1982 adaptation of Norman Mailer's narrative about Gary Gilmore, killed by firing squad as the first man executed in the United States after the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
“Star Trek: The Original Series – Season Two”: Capt. Kirk and company get a DVD overhaul with this new version of year two of the 1960s sci-fi show. The eight-disc set has all 26 episodes, which have been remastered for improved sound and image, including new visual effects and a fresh recording of the theme music. Among the extras are episodes from the animated series and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” that featured the fuzzy little tribble creatures introduced in the original show's second season.
“Family Ties: The Fourth Season”: Michael J. Fox returns as the conservative son of 1960s free spirits (Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross) in the 1980s comedy that co-starred Justine Bateman. The four-disc set has season four's 24 episodes.
“Foyle's War: Set 5”: Michael Kitchen is back on the beat as the title character, a police detective cracking cases in a British town during World War II. The three-disc includes three feature-length mysteries set near the end of the war. Extras include a making-of segment.
“Robin Hood: Season Two”: This youthful take on the outlaw of old England, his band of allies and the treacherous sheriff of Nottingham features Jonas Armstrong as Robin and Lucy Griffiths as his lady Marian. The five-disc set has the second year's 13 episodes, plus commentary and behind-the-scenes segments.