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DVD reviews: ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’

Also new: Season 8 of ‘CSI,’ ‘Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“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 reunites 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 segment 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 that 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. Two-disc DVD set, $39.99; two-disc Blu-ray set, $39.99; “Complete Adventure” DVD set, $99.98. (Paramount) Read the review.

“Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection”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, 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. “Rebecca,” “Spellbound” and “Notorious” also are available separately. DVD set, $119.98; “Rebecca,” “Spellbound,” “Notorious” DVDs, $19.98 each. (20th Century Fox)

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 massive set packing all 200 episodes of the comedy series. The 32-disc set has dozens of background segments, along with commentary and a booklet with cast interviews, photos and a copy of the series finale script. DVD set, $199.98. (20th Century Fox)

“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. DVD set, $84.98. (Paramount)

“The Unit: Season 3” — Dennis Haysbert stars as the leader of a U.S. military strike force carrying out top-secret missions. The three-disc set has the third year’s 11 episodes, most accompanied by cast and crew commentary. The package also has deleted scenes and a handful of featurettes. DVD set, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Nash Bridges: The First Season” — Don Johnson and Cheech Marin are San Francisco cops in the crime series that debuted in 1996. A two-disc set has the first eight episodes, plus commentary and interviews with Johnson and Marin. DVD set, $42.99. (Paramount)

“The Partridge Family: The Complete Third Season” — Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Susan Dey and the family that sings together return with a three-disc set packing all 25 episodes from year three. DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)

“The Universe: The Complete Season Two” — The science series explores space travel, supernovas, black holes, the possibility of alien life and other cosmic matters. The second season’s 18 episodes are included in a five-disc set. DVD set, $44.95. (A&E)

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. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray, $34.98. (First Look) Read the review.

“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. DVD, $19.98. (Lionsgate)