Selected home-video releases:
Most summers, a $300 million-plus blockbuster such as this would have been the heavy hitter of the season. But Robert Downey Jr.'s entry into the superhero business turned out to be the leadoff batter for the half-billion-dollar smash “The Dark Knight.” Downey stars as boozy, womanizing billionaire and inventor Tony Stark, whose abduction by terrorists leads him to build a high-tech, gadget-loaded metal suit and embark on a crusade to save the world and boost his healthy ego a bit more. A single-disc DVD version comes with deleted and extended scenes, while two-disc DVD and Blu-ray editions are loaded with extras. Besides the deleted and extended footage, the sets have a huge range of making-of and background segments on the Marvel Comics character's history, visual effects and the engineering that went into his suit. Also included is Downey's screen test.
‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall'
The latest installment from the Judd Apatow comedy machine elevates “How I Met Your Mother” co-star Jason Segel to lead status after a long apprenticeship as a supporting player in producer Apatow's productions. Segel plays a chump newly dumped by his girlfriend (Kristen Bell), a TV star vacationing with her new beau at the same Hawaiian resort as our heartbroken hero, who tries to put his troubles behind him with the help of some new pals and an enticing hotel employee (Mila Kunis). The movie comes in a single-disc DVD release with the theatrical version or a three-disc DVD set that has both the theatrical cut and an unrated extended edition. The unrated cut also is available on Blu-ray. Extras accompanying the unrated version include deleted scenes, segments on the movie's puppet sequences and cast and crew commentary. The movie also comes in DVD and Blu-ray comedy collections with Apatow's “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”
‘Taxi to the Dark Side'
The Academy Award winner for best documentary of 2007 offers a harsh examination of U.S. policies and practices on torture and interrogation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay amid the war on terrorism. Director Alex Gibney centers his chronicle on an Afghan cab driver who died in captivity in 2002, using that case as the hook for a broader look at the civil-rights implications of American methods. Gibney provides audio commentary for the film.
‘An Autumn Afternoon'
The final film from Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu (“Late Spring,” “Tokyo Story”) features his frequent on-screen collaborator Chishu Ryu as a widower bidding farewell to his grown daughter, whom he is gently pushing from the nest with an arranged marriage. The 1962 film is accompanied by excerpts from a 1978 French TV documentary examining Ozu's career and commentary with Ozu biographer David Bordwell. The DVD also has a booklet with essays on the filmmaker.
TV on DVD
“My Three Sons: The First Season, Volume One”: Fred MacMurray became the all-American dad with the comedy that debuted in 1960 about a widower raising three boys. The first 18 episodes from the debut year come in a three-disc set.
“My Name Is Earl: Season 3”: TV's favorite trailer-trash gang returns in the comedy starring Jason Lee as a shady character trying to make amends to the many people he's wronged. The third year's 22 episodes are included in a four-disc package, along with deleted scenes and featurettes.
“Numb3rs: The Fourth Season”: Rob Morrow is back as an FBI agent working with his math-whiz brother (David Krumholtz), forging an odd-couple approach to cracking crimes. The five-disc set has year four's 18 episodes and a handful of featurettes.
“Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series”: Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman return as one of TV's stranger romantic couples in the fantasy series about a Manhattan prosecutor who forges a relationship with a half-man, half-lion creature living beneath the city. The 16-disc package has all 55 episodes from the show's three seasons.
“Sports Night: The Complete Series – 10th Anniversary Edition”: The acclaimed but short-lived comedy from Aaron Sorkin offered a preview of the smart dialogue and snappy style he injected into “The West Wing.” The ensemble cast features Felicity Huffman, Peter Krause, Josh Charles and Robert Guillaume in a backstage look at a sports cable show. The eight-disc set has all 45 episodes from the show's two seasons, along with segments on Sorkin and the stars.
“Adam-12: Season Two”: Martin Milner and Kent McCord resume their patrol as squeaky-clean cops protecting and serving the people of L.A. The second season's 26 episodes are packed in a four-disc set.
“The Jewel in the Crown”: A 25th anniversary edition offers a DVD update to the epic miniseries set against the end of Britain's colonial era as India edges toward independence. A four-disc set packs all eight episodes of the drama starring Peggy Ashcroft and Charles Dance.