“The Great Debaters”
Denzel Washington directs and stars in an upbeat tale about a 1930s professor at a small Texas college for black students who challenges racial divides by assembling a world-class debate team that winds up in a showdown with the golden-tongued squad from Harvard. The movie comes in a single-disc or two-disc edition, with extras that include deleted scenes, commentary by Washington, a background featurette and two music videos. Among extras exclusive to the two-disc set are segments on the film’s music, costumes and design, plus an interview with co-star Forest Whitaker. Two-disc set, $32.95; single DVD, $29.95. (Genius) Read the review.
“Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection”Professor Henry Jones Jr. is offering a refresher course on his past achievements before you join the throng to see his latest, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which hits theaters May 22. The first three flicks starring Harrison Ford as the archaeologist with the outlaw attitude — “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” — arrive in new DVD versions separately and in a three-disc “Adventure Collection.” Each film comes with an introduction by director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas (Spielberg confides that he wasn’t too enthusiastic over Lucas’ Holy Grail idea for “Last Crusade,” while both discuss Spielberg’s notion of making it a father-son reconciliation between Harrison Ford’s Indy and Sean Connery’s Henry Jones Sr. They also address the critical drubbing received by “Temple of Doom.”). Other extras include segments on the melting-face effects in “Raiders” and the snakes, rats and bugs that gave the films their “ick” factor, plus a session with the women in Indy’s life, Karen Allen, Kate Capshaw and Alison Doody. “Adventure Collection” DVD set, $49.99; single DVDs, $26.99 each. (Paramount)
Frank SinatraMarking the 10th anniversary of Sinatra’s death, a huge batch of his films arrive in four DVD boxed sets, along with a 1992 miniseries about his life. “The Rat Pack Ultimate Collector’s Edition” features four Sinatra romps with such regular cronies as Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford in the original “Ocean’s 11,” plus “4 for Texas,” “Robin and the Seven Hoods” and “Sergeant’s 3.” “The Golden Years” set has Sinatra’s “The Man With the Golden Arm,” “None but the Brave,” “Some Came Running,” “The Tender Trap” and “Marriage on the Rocks,” while “The Early Years” package has “Double Dynamite,” “Higher and Higher,” “Step Lively,” “It Happened in Brooklyn” and “The Kissing Bandit.” “The Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly Collection” features “On the Town,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Anchors Aweigh.” Philip Casnoff stars as the singer in the miniseries “Sinatra,” which features Sinatra’s own vocals on dozens of songs. “Rat Pack” set, $59.92; “Golden Years” and “Early Years” sets, $39.92 each; “Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly” set, $24.98; “Sinatra” miniseries, $19.98. (Warner Bros.)
TV on DVD:
“Two and a Half Men: The Complete Third Season” — Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer return as mismatched siblings playing dad and uncle to an 11-year-old. All 24 episodes from the sitcom’s third year come in a four-disc package. DVD set, $44.98. (Warner Bros.)
“Saturday Night Live: The Complete Third Season” — The Coneheads are back, along with John Belushi’s Samurai Warrior and Steve Martin’s musical tribute to “King Tut” as season three of the pioneering late-night comedy show comes to DVD in a seven-disc set with all 20 episodes. DVD set, $69.98. (Universal)
“Mission: Impossible — The Fourth TV Season” — In 1969, Leonard Nimoy dropped his Vulcan ears after “Star Trek” was canceled and began a two-year stint as a member of Peters Graves’ elite squad in the spy series. The seven-disc set has all 26 episodes from year four. DVD set, $49.99. (Paramount)
“Lovejoy: The Complete Season Three” — Before he was a foul-mouthed Old West saloonkeeper on “Deadwood,” Ian McShane was a British antiques geek who solves crimes on the side. A four-disc set has 13 episodes, plus an interview with McShane. DVD set, $69.98. (BBC)
“The Adams Chronicles” — This lavish miniseries, aired in 1976 amid the U.S. bicentennial celebration, stars George Grizzard as John Adams and Williams Daniels as John Quincy Adams, along with David Birney and Nancy Marchand. The four-disc, 13-episode series traces a century and a half of history for one of America’s most prominent families. DVD set, $59.99. (Acorn)
Other new releases:
“Youth Without Youth” — Francis Ford Coppola’s first film in a decade was a strange one, starring Tim Roth as an elderly, suicidal language scholar who gets a chance to correct past mistakes — and perhaps repeat them — when a lightning strike restores his youth. Extras include commentary from Coppola. DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $38.96. (Sony) Read the review.
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” — With the sequel, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” arrived in theaters May 20, the first movie chapter in C.S. Lewis’ fantasy series comes to high-definition video with this Blu-ray release. Blu-ray, $34.99. (Disney) Read the review.